„The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens. As Americans, we are blessed with circumstances that protect our human rights and our religious freedom, but for many people around the world, deprivation and persecution have become a way of life.“

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Lewis Pugh photo

„The right to have our environment protected for the benefit of our generation and the benefit of future generations is our most crucial human right.“

— Lewis Pugh Environmental campaigner, maritime lawyer and endurance swimmer 1969
Context: The right to have our environment protected for the benefit of our generation and the benefit of future generations is our most crucial human right. I do not say that lightly - especially given South Africa’s past.

Alan M. Dershowitz photo
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George W. Bush photo
George W. Bush photo

„Those in authority should take appropriate precautions to protect our citizens. But we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms.“

— George W. Bush 43rd President of the United States 1946
Remarks by the President In Photo Opportunity with the National Security Team http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010912-4.html, September 12, 2001

Pope John Paul II photo

„A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.“

— Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint 1920 - 2005
Address to a new ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See, 25 May 2000 Source: Libreria Editrice Vaticana http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2000/apr-jun/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20000525_ambassador-new-zealand_en.html

Benjamin Franklin photo

„Our limited perspective, our hopes and fears become our measure of life, and when circumstances don't fit our ideas, they become our difficulties.“

— Benjamin Franklin American author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman,... 1706 - 1790
Attributed in Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart (1993) and popularized in Richard Carlson's bestselling Don't sweat the Small Stuff (1997). The phrasing is anachronistic and no earlier connection to Franklin is known.<!-- The lead phrase, "Our limited perspective," was widely used in the late 20th century but has only two GoogleBooks hits from the 19th century and none prior. -->

Ilana Mercer photo
Ajahn Brahm photo
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Heather Brooke photo

„We need to codify our values and build consensus around what we want from a free society and a free internet. We need to put into law protections for our privacy and our right to speak and assemble.“

— Heather Brooke American journalist 1970
The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/20/we-should-all-be-hactivists "We should all be hacktivists now", Column in the Guardian, 20 April 2012.

Lyndon B. Johnson photo

„Our society is illuminated by the spiritual insights of the Hebrew prophets. America and Israel have a common love of human freedom, and they have a common faith in a democratic way of life.“

— Lyndon B. Johnson American politician, 36th president of the United States (in office from 1963 to 1969) 1908 - 1973
From a speech on the state of the Middle East, September 10, 1968 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/lbjpeace1.html

Barack Obama photo

„But I believe those human rights are universal. I believe they are the rights of the American people, the Cuban people, and people around the world.“

— Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961
Context: I believe that every person should be equal under the law. Every child deserves the dignity that comes with education, and health care and food on the table and a roof over their heads. I believe citizens should be free to speak their mind without fear to organize, and to criticize their government, and to protest peacefully, and that the rule of law should not include arbitrary detentions of people who exercise those rights. I believe that every person should have the freedom to practice their faith peacefully and publicly. And, yes, I believe voters should be able to choose their governments in free and democratic elections. Not everybody agrees with me on this. Not everybody agrees with the American people on this. But I believe those human rights are universal. I believe they are the rights of the American people, the Cuban people, and people around the world.

Barack Obama photo

„America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neither America's interests — nor the world's — are served by the denial of human aspirations.“

— Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961
Context: There has long been a tension between those who describe themselves as realists or idealists — a tension that suggests a stark choice between the narrow pursuit of interests or an endless campaign to impose our values around the world. I reject these choices. I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please; choose their own leaders or assemble without fear. Pent-up grievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence. We also know that the opposite is true. Only when Europe became free did it finally find peace. America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neither America's interests — nor the world's — are served by the denial of human aspirations.

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Pope Benedict XVI photo
William H. Pryor Jr. photo
Lyndon B. Johnson photo
Calvin Coolidge photo

„In doing all this we found that, though of many different nationalities, our people had a spiritual bond. They were all Americans.“

— Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
Context: In a conflict which engaged all the major nations of the earth and lasted for a period exceeding four years, there could be no expectation of material gains. War in its very essence means destruction. Never before were contending peoples so well equipped with every kind of infernal engine calculated to spread desolation on land and over the face of the deep. Our country is only but now righting itself and beginning a moderate but steady recovery from the great economic loss which it sustained. That tremendous debt must be liquidated through the laborious toil of our people. Modern warfare becomes more and more to mean utter loss, destruction, and desolation of the best that there is of any people, its valiant youth and its accumulated treasure. If our country secured any benefit, if it met with any gain, it must have been in moral and spiritual values. It must be not because it made its fortune but because it found its soul. Others may disagree with me, but in spite of some incidental and trifling difficulties it is my firm opinion that America has come out of the war with a stronger determination to live by the rule of righteousness and pursue the course of truth and justice in both our domestic and foreign relations. No one can deny that we have protected the rights of our citizens, laid a firmer foundation for our institutions of liberty, and made our contribution to the cause of civilization and humanity. In doing all this we found that, though of many different nationalities, our people had a spiritual bond. They were all Americans.

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