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Senate Breakfast, Washington DC

February 26, Senate Breakfast, Washington DC

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The Global Charter of Conscience

The Global Charter of Conscience was launched at the European Parliament in Brussels in June 2012.  It was largely drafted by Christian writer Os Guinness but it is not a Christian project per se.  It is aimed at the good of all and has had wide support. The early drafts were reviewed by more than fifty academic experts from perspectives such as law, religion, and politics. Their religious backgrounds were similarly diverse.  At the launch, Dr. Heiner Bielefelt, the UN Rapporteur on Religious Freedom, gave a passionate speech in support.

The Seismic Shift of the 1960’s

A survivor of the terrible Henan famine of 1943, in which five million died in three months, including his two brothers, Os was a witness to the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949 and the beginning of the reign of terror under Mao Tse Tung. He was expelled with many other foreigners in 1951 and returned to Europe where he was educated in England.

No Freedom Without Truth

Faith was foundational to the United States at three points. The first was winning freedom; just take the enormous influence of the “black regiment,” the preachers and thinkers behind the American Revolution. The second was the ordering of freedom; nothing is closer to the genius of the United States than the First Amendment and its establishing the separation of church and state in such a constructive way. And the third—which is less stressed today— was the sustaining of freedom; refer to James Madison’s argument that faith is vital to virtue, and that virtue is vital to freedom.