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VOL. 16, NO. 1 • SPRING 2010

Fulfilling the Great Commission in the 21st century Social justice in the life of Christ


PERSPECTIVE

Mending the fabric Along the gate to the sprawling BY United Nations (UN) headquarters— CHRISTIN an 18-acre site along the East River in DAVIS Manhattan—the flags of our world’s

nations send a pulsating shot of color across the street-side entrance. After completing the security screening, I received credentials to enter a private area of the complex by escort. Up a set of stairs and down a long corridor, I admired the diverse and ornate gifts that the UN has received from governments, empires and regimes. I entered the Security Council Chamber—where the business of international peace and security is conducted. The front wall is covered by a massive oil canvas mural of a phoenix rising from its ashes, a Norwegian artist’s depiction of the world rebuilding after the Second World War. In one corner of the image, a group of people weigh out grain for all to share. Side walls swathed in blue and gold silk tapestry frame two graduated levels of observation seats before the main horseshoe meeting table. World leaders gather here. On this day, the 15-member council met to vote on a resolution to end sexual violence against women and girls in conflict-related situations. Resolution With an earpiece for translation, I listened to representatives of each nation make a statement on the issue. They all returned to the fact that in the midst of wars, crimes against the vulnerable continue. As a cohesive unit, the Security Council decried this reality and resolved to fight against it. During the closed-door assembly, the council voted unanimously to adopt the draft resolution 1888 (2009), “Women and peace and security,” submitted by 65 nations. “Even though women and children are rarely responsible for initiating armed conflict, they are

often war’s most vulnerable and violated victims,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “The resolution we passed today represents a step forward in our global efforts to end violence perpetrated against women and children in conflict zones. The dehumanizing nature of sexual violence doesn’t just harm a single individual or a single family or even a single village or a single group. It shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings.” Dignified The imagery stuck with me. Though this meeting was specifically focused on violence against women and children, how many human actions today “shred the fabric that weaves us together as human beings”? Malnutrition, dehydration, lack of access to medical care, sexual exploitation, forced labor, oppression, bloodshed... In 119 countries, The Salvation Army works assiduously to deter and end those issues that shred the fabric of humanity. Much of this work is now in large part coordinated through the International Social Justice Commission (ISJC). According to the commission, “justice challenges human inequity and reaches out from the intelligence of the heart to touch human need.” The concept: recognizing human value and respecting humanity at large. As Dr. James Read, ISJC senior policy analyst and director of Canada’s ethics center, said, “We should see people as entitled to what is fitting of human dignity.” This issue of Caring, “Intelligence Department,” is meant to edify, equip and persuade each one of us in taking up the cause of social justice and beginning to mend the fabric that weaves us together. With intelligent hearts, we will go on touching human need. n Christin Davis is the managing editor of Caring.

DOING THE MOST GOOD

SPRING 2010 CARING PAGE 3


Mending the fabric - Perspective column