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ABOUT THIS FIRST EDITION
"A Declaration of Universal Rights" is an attempt to define rights biblically, systematically and clearly. This first edition is not a final declaration, but rather a draft published to make possible
*The committee was originally named The United States Committee for the Defense of Christian Rights, and more recently Church in Persecution. The name was recently changed to Christians for Justice (which may also not be final) to more accurately describe the activities of the committee.
broader dialogue and participation in the development of a final declaration. To this end, it was printed especially for distribution to delegates from more than one hundred nations attending the "Lord of the Nations International Conference" held in Washington, D.C., April 30 through May 2, 1988. Despite its many shortcomings, it was believed that the work of this committee needed to be disseminated at this opportune gathering of so many Christians from various countries coming together to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the nations of the earth.
This document reflects certain universal rights which the Creator God gives all human beings, irrespective of their beliefs. It was drafted from a biblical perspective by Christian scholars. It is their hope that men and women will consider its ideas carefully, and if persuaded of its truth, work to implement its principles into their private, familial, corporate, ecclesiastical and national life. It is hoped that the churches around the world will take the lead in considering and implementing this document.
This document is not intended to establish any form of civil government or constitution as these vary according to cultures. It does seek, however, to articulate certain rights which any form of lawful civil government is obliged to secure.
It is acknowledged that our present sinful condition does not empower us to understand all matters completely, including rights, with complete clarity or certainty. However, we also acknowledge that those things contained herein are sufficiently clear and certain to warrant their consideration and implementation. It is expected that some things have been overlooked. The committee is very interested in your comments (see guidelines below).
The format of this first edition is designed to facilitate discussion and make study of the issues as easy as possible. The actual statements are put first in bold letters. Below them, divided by a series of asterisks, is official commentary on that part of the declaration directly above. The primary language of this draft is legal, with the commentary below each section being also legal, but intended to further clarify the intent of the language above. Occasionally the commentary will carry over onto another page. However, in that event, the commentary section will exist alone on that page to avoid confusion.
This committee intends to collect responses from the nations to this first edition. It is hoped that future published revisions will be forthcoming.