Compassion is no longer an option—it is the key to our survival. If our religious and ethical traditions fail to address these challenges, they will fail the test of our time.
~Karen Armstrong, “Compassion: An Urgent Global Imperative”
Welcome to the Charter for Compassion International page for Partners in the Religion, Spirituality and Interfaith sector. Here’s what you will find on this page:
- What role does Religion/Interfaith/Spirituality play in supporting the global movement for compassion?
- How does a Religious/Interfaith/Spirituality Organization or Institution become a Partner of the Charter for Compassion International?
- What groups or organizations are already Partners in the Religion/Interfaith/Spirituality sector?
What role does Religion/Interfaith/Spirituality play in supporting the global movement for compassion?
The Test of Our Time
Religions and spiritual traditions have provided humankind with a variety of paths to personal enlightenment, various teachings for developing a relationship with an entity or entities outside ourselves in a universe full of mystery, and to a number of scriptures that not only tell the story of these paths and teachings but also guide us in how to live in community with other human beings and the world we inhabit.
The seed for the Charter for Compassion is this latter point—the idea that all world religions share a common thread about how to relate to other human beings—our mothers and fathers, our families, our communities, as well as the strangers beyond our boundaries.
Charter founder Karen Armstrong, who has studied and written widely about world religions and religious traditions, urges a more global perspective by all those involved in particular religions, faith traditions, and interfaith efforts. That global perspective is the realization that all human beings—not just those with whom we share a community—
urgently need our compassion, and the conviction that we must act to provide such compassion wherever there is suffering.
The Charter’s Call to Compassionate Action
Recognizing that “the principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religions, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves,” the many world luminaries from a variety of faith traditions who contributed to writing the Charter made a specific call to all men and women:
- To restore compassion to the center of morality and religion
- To return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate
- To ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures
- To encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity
- To cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies
How does a Religious/Interfaith/Spirituality Organization or Institution become a Partner of the Charter for Compassion International?
Become a Partner of The Charter
Since Karen Armstrong received the TED prize in 2008 and worked with other influential scholars and leaders to develop the Charter, the document has become central to a global movement and an organization, The Charter for Compassion International.
Although the Charter for Compassion is in part supported by those who have committed themselves as Members, there is no fee for an organization to become a Partner, and we encourage you to join us by signing the Charter and then by declaring yourself a Partner organization.
The Charter provides regular, open conference calls for each of its sectors usually beginning with a provocative speaker. A summary report is published following each of these calls, and all Partners also receive general newsletters and announcements of upcoming events, conferences, and other information that may be of interest.
Each Partner organization has a dedicated link on our website so that others can read about what an organization is doing and perhaps form alliances with other organizations. An ongoing blog, relevant annotated bibliographies, and an ever-increasing library of resources is also available on our website. The Charter staff take seriously the need and the commitment to facilitate the connection of people who share the hope of making a difference.
What groups or organizations are already Partners in the Religion/Interfaith/Spirituality sector?
Explore Our Resources
Connect with other Charter Partners, check out our newsletters and reports on conference calls, and read articles in our Compassion Reader. Please let us know about other resources that should appear in this section.All paintings on this page by American figurative painter, George Tooker.