Faith: The Journal of the International League of Religious Socialists

Autumn 2003 Edition (HTML Version)

Previous Editions
2003 ILRS Congress: Lucerne, Switzerland
The 2003 ILRS Congress was held in Lucerne, Switzerland on 15-17 August. Below we have offered some of the documents from the Congress.
Hand to Hand: Campaign Against Religious and Political Extremism
Documents on the theme ‘Who Is Our God?’
- Who Is Our God? - Cedric Mayson
Collection of Motivating Interventions
Other Documents:
Austrian Resolution on Peace

Campaign: Hand to Hand

One of the most important results to come out of the ILRS Congress was the formal launch of the first project of our Campaign Against Religious and Political Extremism.

The ‘Hand to Hand’ project puts forth five common principles and five common actions that believers of all faiths can unite round to build understanding and tolerance in the community, as well as to advance a progressive-minded perspective within each faith group. ‘The way to deal with the religious right is not with the secular left, but with the religious left inside of our secular parties,’ said ILRS Secretary General Andrew Hammer. ‘The religious left is the only force that can effectively debate and challenge the arguments used by the religious right, because we know exactly where and how the religious right has gone wrong.

More information on this campaign will be made available on the web site, as we examine the progress of the campaign as implemented in our member nations.

Download the Hand to Hand document here.

Documents on the theme ‘Who Is Our God?’

Cedric Mayson

The following document was presented to the Congress by Cedric Mayson, representative of the Commission for Religious Affairs of the African National Congress (ANC). Many delegates felt that this document captured the essence of the theme by its combination of both practical and theoretical points.

Who is our God? The Basis of Religious Socialism
A viewpoint from South Africa

This discussion paper comes from Cedric Mayson with major contributions from Iqbal Jhazbhay and inputs from Johan van Workum and Andrew Hammer. It attempts to approach religious socialism from a spiritual understanding, analyse problems within institutional religion, and explore ways to go forward.

1. Introduction

1.1 The phrase ‘religious socialism’ plays tunes on inherited themes of ‘politics’ and ‘religion’ which are not always harmonious. Many envisage a God ‘out there’ beyond the realities of life and respond on a ‘spiritual’ level only. However, God is not ‘out there’ at all, but the essence of living here and now, the Ground of our Being, ‘not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live and move and exist.’ The universal sense that the spirit of God in grounded in each human being, is captured in the Qur’anic verse: And when I have formed him and breathed My spirit (ruh) into him, so the angels prostrated all of them together in homage (Qur’an, 38:72 see also 17:70).

1.2 All humans are part of community by nature and cannot be separated from God. Our specific contribution is from a personal background in a national, religious and economic setting, but as part of wider society. Just as Beethoven, Benny Goodwin and Enoch Sitonga made music for Germans, Americans, or Africans, which also speaks to the whole of humanity, so from our different perspectives and experience we share the same vision of life: and it is godly.

Click here to read the entire document in Acrobat PDF format.

Documents on the theme ‘Who Is Our God?’

Collection of Motivating Interventions

Here we offer an Acrobat PDF file containing some of the motivating interventions on the theme, as presented by representatives of various Swiss religious socialist groups. (Readers can read a more extensive article on the ideas which motivated this theme in both English and German by Urs Eigenmann, which was published on this site in 1999.)

Download the file
Part 1: Urs Eigenmann
Part 2: Zürich Group, Eugen Schmid, Linda Stibler
Part 3: Ferdinand Troxler

Austrian Resolution on Peace

(Man kann hier dieser Artikel auf Deutsch lesen.)

The following resolution comes from our Austrian organisation, ACUS (Arbeitsgemeinschhaft Christentum und Sozialdemokratie). It is not a resolution of the ILRS, but was distributed to our member organisations on behalf of ACUS.

'Peace is not everything, but without peace everything is nothing'
(Willi Brandt)

The wars against the people in Afghanistan and Iraq have not solved any problem at all. These wars have only resulted in new victims, chaos and have not brought about any hope for a better life. Billions of US Dollars have been spent for these wars.

The Christian churches, the leading representatives as well as the grassroot activists as well as the representatives of all world religions have stated against these wars.

We express in accordance with the tradition of the international labour movement and the world religions


As religious socialists we advocate in the United Nations Decade of Peace and Nonviolence for the Future of the Children of the World and in the Decade of the World Council of Churches to Overcome Violence the following:

- abstention from violence, as enshrined in the United Nations Charta;
- the strengthening and democratisation of the United Nations;
- the abolition of all nuclear weapons, as first step for the extension of
nuclear weapon free zones;
- the abolition of all bacteriological and chemical weapons;
- the observance and implementation of all international disarmament
- against militarisation of outer space;
- zones of peace and disarmament in place of military blocs;
- against the new and enhanced armament of armies as offensive and
intervention armies; the successive reduction of armies with a view to
realising the concept of a non violent world;
- the implementation of the world wide ban of landmines;
- the worldwide right of conscientious objection;
- conversion programmes for the arms industry, as a first step towards a
stricter control of arms trade;
- the support of non-violent methods of conflict resolution like peace
brigades, civil non-violent interventions and social defence;
- re-education programmes for child soldiers;
- peace education and a culture of peace that includes all areas of living.

This site was created and designed by Andrew Hammer
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