Sunday, June 17, 2007

Inquisition International vs. Amnesty International

A good response to the Vatican's call for boycott of Amnesty International is to buy Amnesty's just released album "Make Some Noise - Save Darfur".

Over 30 artists have recorded exclusive versions of iconic songs from the John Lennon back catalogue, whose royalties were donated by Yoko Ono. I just download the album which I'm listening now, and I can say it is (ah, ah!) an almost religious experience.

Intrigued by the Catholic Church's call for boycott of Amnesty International, I visited the Vatican's website, but I could not find their statement. So, I googled up the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from which the call for boycott came from, but the Council's page has nothing either (maybe the Pope should send his press officers and webmasters as interns to get trained by some of the NGOs' most performing Communications Departments). Finally, I typed "Amnesty International" on the Vatican's search engine. And there I found two Vatican documents dated October 2004 and August 2005 respectively about Street Children, in which an Amnesty International report is quoted almost like the Gospel!

I'm sure Amnesty has better things to do than arguing with the Vatican, but their response on their website is right on:

""We are a movement to protect citizens including the believer but we do not impose beliefs. Ours is a movement dedicated to upholding human rights, not specific theologies. Our purpose invokes the law and the state, not God. It means that sometimes the secular framework of human rights that Amnesty International upholds will converge neatly with the standpoints of certain faith based communities; sometimes it will not. Amnesty International encouraged the Catholic Church not to turn away from the suffering that women face because of sexual violence and urged the Catholic leadership to advocate tolerance and respect to freedom of expression for all human rights defenders, including Amnesty International, just as Amnesty International will continue to defend the freedom of religion".

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