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The Global Ethic & the 5th Directive

October 24, 2018

Twenty-five years ago, the Parliament of the World’s Religions made an audacious decision. It would offer the world something it had never had—a declaration expressing the ethical commitments held in common by the world’s religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions. It commissioned theologian Hans Kung to write an initial draft. After many revisions and months of consultation by Kung and the Parliament’s leaders with scholars and leaders from various traditions and regions, the Parliament’s Trustees approved a final draft. The result, “Towards a Global Ethic (An Initial Declaration),” or the Global Ethic, calls for a change of consciousness and expresses four ethical directives elaborating a commitment to a culture of
1. respect for life
2. economic justice
3. truth and compassion
4. women’s rights

From the start, the Global Ethic was intended to be a living document. Since 1993, the Parliament has been paying attention to shifts in agreement between the world’s traditions. It noticed their growing concern for the environment and made another audacious decision: to expand the Global Ethic with an ethical directive elaborating this shared sense of responsibility to the well-being of the planet and its ecosystems. To elaborate this directive, it launched a months-long, collaborative process during which it consulted (as it had, twenty-five years earlier) with scholars and leaders from various traditions and regions.

In July (2018), the Parliament’s Trustees approved a final version of the expanded Global Ethic whose fifth directive spells out a commitment to a culture of
5. care for the Earth
To read this directive, click here. To read the expanded Global Ethic, click here.
Since July, over 200 people have endorsed the expanded Global Ethic. Here are a few of the individuals (the Parliament does not seek organizational support) who have signed their names in suppor

Hans Küng (Christianity, Germany)
Swami Agnivesh (Humanism, India)
Ibrahim Özdemir (Islam, Finland)
Whitney A. Bauman (Atheism/Agnosticism, Germany)
Ahmad Abedi Sarvestani (Islam, Iran)
Carlos Zorro-Sanchez (Christianity, Colombia)
John Moreschi Jr. (New Thought, USA)
Pratima Desai (Zambia)
Teddy Chalwa Sakupapa (Christianity, South Africa)
Andreas Corban-Arthen (Paganism, USA)
Opinderjit Kaur Takhar (Sikhism, UK)
Jelson Oliveira (Christianity, Brazil)
Naomi Lelai Leleto (African Traditional, Kenya)
Serene Jones (USA)
Kallistos Ware (Christianity, UK)
Piseth Keo (Buddhism, Cambodia)

Susannah Heschel (Judaism, USA)
Sadhvi Shri Shilapiji (Jainism, India)
Karen Armstrong (USA)

Steven Bouma-Prediger (Christianity, USA)
David Rosen (Judaism, Israel)
Wande Abimbola (Yoruba, Nigeria)
Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Buddhism, USA)
Homi B. Dalla (Zoroastrianism, India)

Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye (Ghana)
Guoxiang Peng (Confucianism, China)
Diana Eck (Christianity, USA)
Hugh Locke (Haiti)

Christopher Peters (Indigenous, Canada)
Heup Young Kim (Christianity, S Korea)
Muhammed Haron (Islam, Botswana)

Terry Kleeman (Taoism/Daoism, USA)

The Parliament and the Global Ethic’s recent endorsers invite you to show your support for the expanded declaration. To sign, click here, or type the following link into your browser: -base-url-/global-ethic-signatures. And please spread the word and invite others to sign too!