The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Faith and Human Rights and WALL.E


Faith and Human Rights: Christianity and the Global Struggle for Human Rights by Richard Amesbury and George M. Newlands covers an important subject. In 1948 the U.N. adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and since then the struggle to honor and defend the dignity of people worldwide has been waged on many different fronts.

Amesbury and Newlands begin with an overview of the role played by the Roman Catholic Church in the 1970s war in El Salvador when the U.S. government supported a repressive dictatorship. Archbishop Oscar Romero distinguished himself as a defender of human rights during the conflict. The second chapter examines the concept of human rights and the history of its development, noting that, over time the threats to human dignity have changed. The next chapter assesses the relationship between our moral reactions and our understanding of what it means to be a person.

In a look at Christianity and human rights, the authors explain that while the biblical notions of justice and righteousness have been used to promote human rights, they have also been used in support of capital punishment, slavery and patriarchy. Amesbury and Newlands conclude with a theology based on a Christology of self-giving, forgiveness and reconciliation (Fortress Press).


WALL.E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) is a lone robot dutifully compacting the tons of garbage, trash and rubble left in a large, deserted city. He has been performing these tasks for more than 700 years since humans left Earth for a more palatable and safe place suited to their consumer fantasies and yearning for luxury. His sole companion is a pet cockroach who has a knack for survival.

One day a space vehicle lands and deposits another robot on Earth. EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) is a sleek and fancy droid who can fly and is equipped with a laser gun. WALL.E falls in love. When EVE’s mission is fulfilled, he hitches a ride on the vehicle that takes her back to Axiom, a huge spaceship housing the remaining humans.

WALL.E, directed by Andrew Stanton, is a delight from start to finish. This extraordinary, computer-animated comedy will enchant viewers across the age spectrum with its wonderful love story. WALL.E the robot is a spiritual teacher who shares with us the following lessons: No task is too boring or repetitive that it can’t be handled with care. Wonder is a spiritual quality that makes everything interesting. Everyone needs a love song that lifts the spirit and provides solace to the soul. Falling in love is a risk that always leads to adventures and new possibilities. Loving another makes us sensitive to the needs of others.

Picking up litter and trash, in the big picture, is one of the kindest and revolutionary things we can do to preserve the planet. Inspiring others to do the right thing is one of the marks of a true hero (Disney/Pixar, G).


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February issue


Embracing diversity