Human Rights

“Akinamama Model” for Promoting Human Rights in the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church

[1] Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church established the women’s desk in 1993 with the first two women leaders being white missionaries from Sweden. Prior to this intentional desk formation and having female leaders, the women were led by a male who represented women in matters pertaining to their well-being and progress. It was not until late […]

Human Rights and Immigration

[1] Detention-related human rights violations evoke the memory of Cold War and Latin American dictatorships — prolonged imprisonment of non-criminal defendants, unchecked executive discretion over who is detained and why, substandard conditions of confinement, midnight transfers to remote facilities, lack of access to legal counsel, etc.—such were the ugly realities of other places and another […]

Human Rights and Climate Change

[1] Heavy reliance on fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) together with ecologically damaging land use patterns have produced grave threats to justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. The related challenges posed by global warming and climate change are unprecedented in human history. The first half of this paper summarizes recent scientific findings […]

The Right to Property and Daily Bread: Thinking with Luther about Human Economic Rights

Introduction [1] The right to property stands at the cusp of legal and economic rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[1] It also stands, therefore, at the cusp of personal life and the public dimensions of life lived in the economic and political spheres of society. Enjoying a right to property is not only […]

A Lutheran Approach to the Family Values: Focus on Fiducia

[1] “Sex, Marriage and Family:” that’s the title of the LCA social statement from 1970.[1] I always wondered if this was the table of contents for the document – or a description of the way life really works. The ambiguity was delicious. In either case, “family” came last. It was almost an afterthought. That is […]

On Marriage and Family

[1] I am currently teaching a course entitled “The Relation of Man and Woman in Luther’s Theology.” The students, who are of varying ages, are mostly disappointed and sometimes appalled by Luther’s views. They recognize that his ideas must be read in their historical context. They wish the material had more obvious import for the […]

Placing the Early Christian Family in its Roman Context

[1] Modern Christian notions of the family have foundational roots set in the nascent period of Christianity’s earliest developments. At a time when the ELCA is currently revisiting and revising the church’s social statement on sexuality, it is fitting to return to the early roots of the family and the heart of our most foundational […]

American Exceptionalism and International Human Rights

Introduction [1] Thank you for inviting me to join you today to discuss American exceptionalism and international human rights. It is a pleasure to be here. [2] The U.S. repudiation of international human rights legal standards in the post-9/11 “war on terror” has been widely documented, passionately condemned and legally challenged. Torture at Abu Ghraib, […]

Christianity and Human Rights

[1] The historic relationship between Christianity and human rights is an ambiguous one. For hundreds of years the Christian Church actively promoted religious intolerance and persecuted those who failed to accept its moral values and customs. Many of these values and practices are today rejected as contrary to a human rights culture and moral decency. […]

Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism: Some Recent United Nations Initiatives

“While we certainly need vigilance to prevent acts of terrorism, and firmness in condemning and punishing them, it will be self-defeating if we sacrifice other key priorities-such as human rights-in the process.” – Kofi Annan, January 18, 2002 By its very nature, terrorism is an assault on the fundamental principles of law, order, human rights, […]