Rights and Religions

The commitment to build a Poor People’s Campaign and to call the nation to moral revival is, at its core, a religious and spiritual commitment. It is a commitment to resist the forces that degrade life and to build a world that loves life and helps it to thrive. It proceeds from a basic belief that all life, in its many beautiful and imperfect forms, is sacred. Many of our world’s religious and spiritual traditions, including the Human Rights movement, were born out of and sustained by this core belief. These traditions therefore have tremendous resources to help continue the fight today.

Yet their true power arises not only from the practices, documents, and doctrines they have produced. The power of these traditions is in the experiences of the people throughout history who have fought for dignity and justice. It is in the experiences of those who have fought against the forces that betray this belief in the sanctity of life and twist religion to justify the power of the few over the lives of the many.

The people that are coming together to build the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival possess the spiritual and religious insights we need in our time. In this struggle, and others like it across the world, our religious and spiritual traditions come alive and allow us to encounter and remember the deepest truth of who we are and who we want to be. The struggle is where we can encounter God.

The Kairos Center is dedicated to identifying, developing, and communicating these liberating ways of thinking and being religious that are arising through the work of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. This space, the Rights and Religions program of Kairos, is intended to hold some of those insights.

Books and Book Chapters

Kairos Center, The Spirit of Struggle: Writings on Religions and Human Rights

Religion and Human Rights Need Each Other | Larry Cox
Shakti: The Power of the Poor |
Shailly Gupta Barnes
Reading the Bible with the Poor: A Biblical Hermeneutic for Social Transformation |
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Islam and Poverty in the Sahel: An Interview with Sheikh Maman Kiota |
Adam Barnes
A Moral Movement for the Nation |
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Abahlali base-Mjondolo and Building the Struggle From Below |
An Interview with Mzwakhe Mdlalose and Dr. Richard Pithouse
Women, Islam, and the Secular-Religious Divide |
An Interview with Dr. Sheherazade Jafari

Articles and Essays

Larry Cox, “The Power of Religion and Human Rights: Keynote Speech at the 2017 Bernstein Symposium at Yale University

Larry Cox, “Human Rights Must Get Religion” in Open Democracy

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and Dr. Adam Barnes, “Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis: Reflections on Religion, the Bible, and the Movement to End Poverty