The Heart of the Creed: Empathy, Human Rights and Democracy
In order to value human rights, it first is necessary to have empathy, to see other people as human. This may appear obvious to us now, but for Europeans, it was in the 18th century only that people began to be seen as being autonomous, equal human beings. Prior to that time, many kinds of people, such as servants, slaves, children, women and people without property were not regarded as autonomous individuals who employed independent moral judgment.
Empathy is key in recognizing human rights and creating democracy. From a psycho-spiritual perspective, recognizing another person’s humanity and therefore their human rights, is a sign of emotional and spiritual maturity. Society has many ways of ranking people, but the moral value implicit in the Creed, i.e., the self-evident assertion that all people are created equal, tells us that our innate worth transcends any social ranking.
by: Alan James Strachanand Janet Coster