I’ve been doing what I can to share the idea of the Charter for Compassion.

I just read that
“The names of all affirmers on December 31 will be sent along with the Charter for Compassion to 5 world leaders whose countries are engaged in conflict.”

and I notice that Karen Armstrong was interviewed by CBC (repeat of show will be Nov 26)

Also, I’m still hoping for some feedback on my Nov 20 posting.

2 Responses to Sharing

  1. lisa k-hilts says:

    Dear Elizabeth,
    I would like to respond to your question since something similar was ask on the discussion groups under, Potential Contradiction Between the CFC’s message and the ToU. I don’t think the poster for this question ever got an answer, but I would like to offer the following:

    As he got older, Mr. Lincoln’s concern for the development of young men was…dramatically evident in his work as an attorney. George Minier recalled this incident;

    “In the spring term of the Tazewell County Court in 1847, which at that time was held in the village of Tremont, I was detained as a witness an entire week. Lincoln was employed in several suits, and among them was one of Case vs. Snow Bros. The Snow Bros., as appeared in evidence (who were both minors), had purchased from an old Mr. Case what was then called a ‘prairie team,’ consisting of two or three yoke of oxen and prairie plow, giving therefor their joint note of some two hundred dollars; but when pay-day came refused to pay, pleading the minor act. The note was placed in Lincoln’s hands for collection. The suit was called and a jury impanelled. The Snow bros. did not deny the note, but pleaded through their counsel that they were minors, and that Mr. Case knew they were at the time of the contract and conveyance. All this was admitted by Mr. Lincoln, with his peculiar phrase, ‘Yes, gentlemen, I reckon that’s so.’ The minor act was read and its validity admitted in the same manner. The counsel of the defendants were permitted without question to state all these things to the jury, and to show by the statute that these minors could not be held responsible for their contract. By this time you may well suppose that I began to be uneasy. ‘What!’ thought I, ‘this good old man, who confided in these boys, to be wronged in this way, and even his counsel, Mr. Lincoln, to submit in silence!’ I looked at the Court, Judge [Samuel] Treat, but could read nothing in his calm and dignified demeanor. Just then, Mr. Lincoln slowly got up, and in his strange, half-erect attitude and clear, quiet accent began: ‘Gentlemen of the Jury, are you willing to allow these boys to begin life with this shame and disgrace attached to their character. If you are, I am not. The best judge of human character that ever wrote has left these immortal words for all of us to ponder:
    ‘Good name in man or woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
    Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name
    Robs me of that which not enriches him
    And makes me poor indeed.
    Then rising to his full height, and looking upon the defendants with the compassion of a brother, his long right arm extended toward the opposing counsel, he continued: ‘Gentlemen of the jury, these poor innocent boys would never have attempted this low villainy had it not been for the advice of these lawyers.’ Then for a few minutes he showed how even the noble science of law may be prostituted. With a scathing rebuke to those who thus belittle their profession, he concluded: ‘And now, gentlemen, you have it in your power to set these boys right before the world.’ He plead for the young men only; I think he did not mention his client’s name. The jury, without leaving their seats, decided that the defendants must pay the debt; and the latter, after hearing Lincoln, were as willing to pay it as the jury were determined they should. I think the entire argument last not above five minutes.”38

    William Green said of Mr. Lincoln in 1860: “Whenever he could find a young man he put him on right course, encouraged morality integrity and honesty – all that have looked up to him as an oracle have succeeded well….”39 At the end of his 1860 trip to New York City for the famous Cooper Union speech, Mr. Lincoln visited the “House of Industry” in the infamous Five Points section of Manhattan. After the 1860 election John V. Farwell recalled that Mr. Lincoln visited a Mission Sunday School which Farwell ran for delinquent children in Chicago. Although Mr. Lincoln had asked that he not be called upon to speak, he did, according to Farwell: “My little friends, I am glad to see you in such a place as this, surrounded by men & women who seem to be intent upon nothing but doing you good. While I have never made a profession of religion, I do not hesitate a moment in recommending you to follow the advice of these teachers, and to say to you that the poorest boy among you may aspire to the highest positions in the gift of the people if capacity & energy are linked with honesty in the development of character.”40

    basically, the most compassionate thing we can do for another is to rescue them from the shame that would diminish their character later on. Hope this helps somewhat to answer your question. lisa

    • ewellburn says:

      Thanks Lisa,

      Your post got me thinking of the need for compassionate laws — as a society we need to have protection in place, but it doesn’t have to be seen as punitive.

      And I guess this could also apply to self-protection – at the personal level or beyond. Hopefully this is the beginning of an answer that will explain the premise of the charter to those who say that compassion can’t work when someone is trying to harm you.

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