Compassion is a tough necessity

By Press Office
November 14, 2009

Commenting on the launch of the global Charter for Compassion (, Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK-based religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, said:

"The launch of the Charter, which we will be endorsing and promoting, is a truly hopeful sign that the great majority of people on this beautiful and fragile planet want to reject violence, bigotry, contempt for others, hatred and extremism.

"It is incumbent upon all traditions of belief, and all people who feel the call of compassion, whether religious or non-religous, to work against alienation and antagonism within their own communities, too. Blaming someone or something else will not do.

"Compassion is not ba 'soft liberal idea'. It is tough. It means a deep empathy based on a mutual understanding of suffering. It is through recognising each others' woundedness that genuine personal, communal, spiritual and political change comes. This involves acknowledging our temptation to wound others when we are hurt or offended, or when we simply do not understand them.

"Ekklesia will be inviting the great variety of people we work with - from evangelical Christians and secularists through to people of others faiths - to join us in signing the Charter for Compassion and looking at how our work can be adapted and transformed by recognition of each other, despite our differences and disagreements."

To find out more about the Charter, go to:

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.