Kung attacks US over loss of "moral credibility"

Receiving a peace prize in Germany for his work in interfaith relations, controversial Swiss theologian Hans Kung has attacked aggressive US war tactics and human rights contraventions as a result of "neo-imperialistic" American policies.

Swissinfo reports that Kung made his comments after receiving the Lev-Kopelev peace prize in the German city of Cologne for his work promoting better relations between religions.

Kung, who has been at odds with the Vatican for years, was awarded the prize for his "tireless work to help improve understanding between the world's great religions."

The jury cited the 78-year-old theologian's efforts to help set up the Global Ethic Foundation, based on the idea that there can be "no peace among the nations without peace among the religions."

Küng, who lives in Cologne, spoke his mind as usual at the ceremony. He took the opportunity to criticise President Bush, calling his administration's policies "inconsiderate, neo-imperialistic, in search of power and prestige."

He said that Bush liked to present himself as a Christian, but that the truth was that the American leader's attempts to grab more power showed contempt for one's fellow men.

Kung added that aggressive war tactics, mishandling of prisoners of war and civilians and contravening human rights were all part of this and resulted in a loss of moral credibility for the US even among its friends and allies.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey hailed Kung for highlighting the common ground between religions rather than the differences.

Rather than build barriers, she said, there should be respect on all sides.

"When a cashier wears a headscarf, we shouldn't focus on symbolic or formal aspects," she warned. "I remember that for my Catholic grandmother it was perfectly natural to wear such a scarf."

The award, which carries no prize money, was set up in memory of Russian writer Lev Kopelev, who died in 1997. Previous winners include Palestinian political specialist Sari Nusseibeh and Israeli editorialist Uri Avnery in 2003, and Chechen human rights activist Sainap Gachayeva last year, Swissinfo concludes.

Peace prize winner attacks Bush administration (SwissInfo, 4/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Foundation for a Global Ethic

World leaders bid to hose down flames of Benedict controversy (CathNews, 20/9/06)
Pope affirms estranged theologian Hans Kung (CathNews, 27/9/05)
Barcelona archbishop bans theologian Küng (CathNews, 25/11/03)

5 Dec 2006