Action Alert:
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Dr. Gary Dorrien and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Dr. Gary Dorrien at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel to give a talk surrounding the commemoration of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.  Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and Professor of Religion at Columbia University, both in New York City, and the author of 18 books on ethics, social theory, philosophy, theology, politics, and intellectual history.  An Episcopal priest, he is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America’s Religion and Socialism Commission.

Part of the Reading King in Boston Series, supported by Mass Humanities

Program Schedule

Solo by – George Walters-Sleyon, PhD “The Prayer”

Welcome and Introduction – Boston University School of Theology Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore

A Hymn for Human Rights Day (December 10):
“You Made Us In Your Image” (by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette)

Invocation – Mr. Kevin Peterson of The New Democracy Coalition

Selection by the Seminary Singers:
“Child of God” (composed by Mark A. Miller)

Introduction of the Speaker – George Walters-Sleyon, PhD

Speaker: Gary Dorrien, PhD – “Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rights of Humanity”

Reception of Speaker’s Remarks and Introduction to the Procession (distributing candles) – Rodney Petersen, PhD

Selection by the Seminary Singers:
“Prayer Chant: We Resist” (composed by Mark A. Miller)

Acknowledgment/Procession outside to surround the King Monument to read the Litany for the 71st Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – Boston University School of Theology Associate Dean Teddy Hickman-Maynard




Absent from this political season is much reference to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights – too religious for the political Left and too fraught with policy implications for the political Right. Professor John Witte argues in Christianity and Human Rights (2012) that a combination of Jewish, Greek and Roman teachings with the radical teachings of Christ helped to cultivate the new beliefs of dignity, equality, liberty and democracy that laid the ground for the human rights paradigm as it would emerge after 1948. These were themes picked up by the Black Social Gospel tradition upon which Martin Luther King, Jr., fed and then proclaimed. They form the bedrock behind his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, illustrated by Professor Gary Dorrien’s magisterial Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Social Gospel (2018).

The principles of the Universal Declaration are meaningful when recognized at the borders, in zones of conflict, and in the intimacies of our relationships with one another. Harvard Law School’s Martha Minow illustrates their value in her recent book, When Should Law Forgive? (2019): when among youth – whether child soldiers or among juvenile offenders in the United States; for those living under student and consumer debt – not just corporate or sovereign debt in the developing world; and when the law’s tools of forgiveness, amnesties, and pardons strengthen justice, peace, and democracy, and do not undermine the law’s promises.


December 10, 2019
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Tags:


Marsh Chapel, Boston University
735 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215 United States
+ Google Map