Executive Director Noah Bullock spoke about Cristosal and human rights issues in several northern California cities last week. Highlights included Noah’s participation in the Dialogue on Immigration Policy and Human Rights at Stanford University, and his messages to several Cristosal Board of Directors members’ churches. Board Vice President Audrey Denney’s home church, Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico, California, hosted a human rights seminar. The Bidwell and Chico community was largely responsible for raising money for the new Cristosal website. Noah expressed thanks, and addressed the relevance of human rights work in today’s world.
Cristosal is “inspired by people who are committed to a vision of how things ought to be,” Noah said. He credited people of faith with championing the idea of human rights from the very beginning. He traced that beginning to the Golden Rule, saying both are “fundamentally concerned about how we treat the other.” The idea of basic human rights has always been “a conviction; a faith statement,” said Noah. Even during the logic-based Enlightenment, when human rights theory first emerged, “they never really found a rationale argument for it,” he said. Instead, Noah said, “the issue of fundamental human equality… was actually just something we believe.”
After World War II, Noah said the beliefs around human rights became laws. He said the World War II generation “thought the origin of that terrible conflict was indifference to how people were treated in other countries.” As a result, Noah said, that generation worked to ensure that “the foundations of…peace…be rooted in fundamental respect for human dignity…among people from all nations.”
Noah concluded by explaining that “human rights is not just a charitable thing. It's not just a moral thing. It's a security thing.” He said, “I'm fundamentally concerned about how you are treated…because if they're able to violate you, sooner or later, someone could violate my rights and dignity.”
During his time in California, Noah also attended a Board of Directors meeting at board member Amy Denney Zuniga’s Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena. The people of Grace Church generously hosted the board members during their stay. Noah also visited board member Kathy Veit’s church, All Saints’ Palo Alto, as well as St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Davis, Christ Church Los Altos, the Diocese of El Camino Real, and the Church of the Epiphany.
Everywhere he went, Noah spoke up for the equality and dignity of all human beings. “My concern for the other is what I believe could keep us all safe,” he said.