A humanist declaration of peace

Throughout the ages, people of conscience have pondered the brutalizing character of war and the denial of human worth which it occasions. While the multitudes have followed tribal and national leaders in considering warfare to be sometimes justifiable, a few men and women of conscience have held steadfastly to non-violence as an ethical and religious commitment.

These persons of conscience have represented every variety of religious, philosophical, and cultural identity. Significant has been the peace witness of groups such as the Society of Friends.

Humanism has been historically concerned with issues of peace. We believe that our ultimate loyalties lie with the entire human community; that the best solutions to our problems and differences are found when we rely on human reason, compassion and good will; and, much like the Friends, we believe in the "inner light" (though we don't attribute it to any supernatural source) -- that is, we believe each human person to be special, their humanity is to be reverenced. These ideas, along with our belief in the individual and collective responsibility we all share in building our own future, are embodied in our tradition, from 500 years B.C.E. up to today.


1) We give our full support to those persons of conscience who choose for deeply held ethical reasons not to participate in war. Our support for such conscientious objection extends not just to the young man who is subject to registration and the draft, but to those persons of any gender or age who, due to deeply held ethical beliefs, cannot participate in war. This includes those persons who feel they must resist war taxes and all other manifestations of militarism.

2) We call upon our Humanist leaders to provide peace counseling to persons concerned about peace issues, regardless of that person's affiliation with any Humanist community.

3) We call upon our Humanist communities -- local, national, and international -- to provide registries where people of conscience may formally register their statements of conscientious objection.

4) We call upon our government, and all of the world's governments, to abandon war as an instrument of foreign policy. We support a multilateral, verifiable, freeze in the production and deployment of weaponry, especially nuclear weaponry, as the first step in a disarmament process that must include a commitment to negotiation, arbitration, conciliation, and compromise as the replacements for armies and navies in our international dealings.

5) We support the establishment, in as many places as possible, of academies of peace and conflict resolution.

6) We dedicate ourselves to an effort for the widest possible dissemination and ratification of this Humanist Declaration of Peace, and to educate ourselves on issues of peace and to share with others what we learn. We must work together on removing the causes of war by promoting the things that make for peace. We believe in peace on earth because we have nowhere else to go. Peace is patriotic. Peace is possible. We will work together to obtain it.

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