For All Peoples and All Nations
The Ecumenical Church and Human Rights
By John S. Nurser
(Georgetown University Press, Hardcover, 9781589010390, 220pp.)
Publication Date: January 2005
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In this new century, born in hope but soon thereafter cloaked in terror, many see religion and politics as a volatile, if not deadly, mixture. "For All Peoples and All Nations" uncovers a remarkable time when that was not so; when together, those two entities gave rise to a new ideal: universal human rights.
John Nurser has given life to a history almost sadly forgotten, and introduces the reader to the brilliant and heroic people of many faiths who, out of the aftermath of World War II and in the face of cynicism, dismissive animosity, and even ridicule, forged one of the world's most important secular documents, the United Nations's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These courageous, persistent, visionary individuals -- notable among them an American Lutheran Seminary professor from Philadelphia, O. Frederick Nolde -- created the Commission on Human Rights. Eventually headed by one of the world's greatest humanitarians, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Universal Declaration has become the touchstone for political legitimacy.
As David Little says in the foreword to this remarkable chronicle, "Both because of the large gap it fills in the story of the founding of the United Nations and the events surrounding the adoption of human rights, and because of the wider message it conveys about religion and peacebuilding, "For All Peoples and All Nations" is an immensely important contribution. We are all mightily in John Nurser's debt." If religion and politics could once find common ground in the interest of our shared humanity, there is hope that it may yet be found again.