Canadians For Compassion is the vision and aspiration of Jannet Ann Nordemann, a self-proclaimed compassionista, student of several of the world faith and spiritual traditions for over 30 years, lawyer and social entrepreneur. Jannet was inspired to share the Charter For Compassion after hearing Karen Armstrong at the TED.com event in 2008 where she was awarded the TED Prize. In November 2009, an event to celebrate the launch of the Charter For Compassion was held in London, Ontario, with representatives of many faiths and ethnic backgrounds attending. The response to the Charter was so positive that Jannet decided to set-aside her legal practice in order to dedicate her energies to becoming an “Ambassador” of the Charter For Compassion – launching a national campaign to invite other Canadians from each of the 10 provinces and three territories to affirm the Charter For Compassion. The national campaign also includes an initiative to collect 100,000 signatures from each of the 305 federal ridings across Canada – calling upon Parliament to declare Canada as a compassionate nation, following the principles of the Charter For Compassion.
Text of the Charter For Compassion
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others – even our enemies – is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre 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.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
More information can be found on: http://www.canadians4compassion.org/ where you can also sign the Charter.