Schulz, William F(rederick) 1949-
SCHULZ, William F(rederick) 1949-
PERSONAL: Born November 14, 1949, in Pittsburgh, PA; son of William F. (a law professor) and Jean (a homemaker; maiden name, Smith) Schulz; married Beth Graham (a minister), 1993. Education: Oberlin College, A.B., 1971; University of Chicago, M.A., 1974; Meadville/Lombard Theological School, D.Min., 1975.
CAREER: Minister, human rights activist, writer, and lecturer. First Parish Unitarian Universalist, Bedford, MA, minister, 1975-78; Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Boston, MA, 1978-93, president, 1985-93; Amnesty International USA, New York, NY, executive director, 1994—. Member, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award International Advisory Committee; served on boards of organizations, including People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Communitarian Network, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Guest on national radio and television programs.
AWARDS, HONORS: Honorary degrees include a D.D. from Meadville/Lombard, 1987, and L.H.D. from Nova Scotia University, 1995; named Humanist of the Year, American Humanist Association, 2000; human rights award, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, 2002; Public Service Citation, University of Chicago Alumni Association, 2003; Harry S Truman Award for International Leadership, Kansas City, MO United Nations Foundation; Cranbrook Peace Award, Cranbrook Peace Foundation; Marylhurst University humanitarian award; named one of the World's 365 Most Influential People, Pray 365 Project.
(Editor and author of introduction) Transforming Words: Six Essays on Preaching, Skinner House Books (Boston, MA), 1984, second edition, 1996.
Finding Time and Other Delicacies, Skinner House Books (Boston, MA), 1992.
(Editor) The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, second edition, Skinner House Books (Boston, MA), 1993.
In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All, foreword by Mary Robinson, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2001.
Making the Manifesto: The Birth of Religious Humanism, Skinner House Books (Boston, MA), 2002.
Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights, Nation Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times and New York Review of Books.
SIDELIGHTS: William F. Schulz is an Unitarian Universalist minister who in 1994 became executive director of Amnesty International USA. Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, and is a Nobel Prize-winning organization with more than a million members that relies on grassroots activism to secure humane treatment for oppressed peoples worldwide. Its goal, as stated on its Web site, is a dedication "to freeing prisoners of conscience, gaining fair trials for political prisoners, ending torture, political killings, and 'disappearances,' and abolishing the death penalty throughout the world." Schulz has organized and participated in demonstrations and written extensively on behalf of social justice causes, such as racial justice, women's rights, and gay and lesbian rights.
Before joining Amnesty International USA, and while president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Schulz served on the Council of the International Association for Religious Freedom, the oldest international interfaith organization. He led the first visit by a member of Congress to post-revolutionary Romania in January 1991, after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu, an effort that helped expand the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in that country. In 1992, Schulz traveled to India as a consultant to the Holdeen India Fund, an organization with goals of ending communal violence and increasing the economic and political clout of women. Schulz led fact-finding missions to Northern Ireland and the Middle East and opposed U.S. military aid to El Salvador.
As executive director of Amnesty International USA, Schulz led a mission to investigate atrocities in Liberia in 1997, then to Northern Ireland in 1999 to advance the inclusion of human rights protections in the peace process there. Schulz has received many awards for his work and is a familiar speaker on campuses, at World Affairs council meetings, and in front of corporate audiences, and he is a frequent guest on radio and television programs.
Schulz has written extensively about human rights, particularly in his book In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All. The foreword is by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland who became U.N. high commissioner for human rights. The theme of this volume is that the securing of human rights also can result in protection for the environment, economic growth, improved public health, and a generally more peaceful world. America reviewer George M. Anderson wrote that Schulz "argues from a variety of perspectives that human rights, as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are key to everyone's welfare. In contrast, the trampling of them has led to much of the poverty, discrimination and war-related misery that afflict today's world."
Job losses in the United States are linked to labor abuse overseas. Schulz notes that the Economic Policy Institute found that due to the implementation of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), nearly half a million American jobs were lost between 1994 and 1998. He shows how American workers, as well as workers abroad who are paid substandard wages, are all suffering as Western companies move more and more jobs to poor countries.
Schulz uses case histories to make his points. In the chapter titled "Fire and Ice: Human Rights and the World around Us," he addresses environmental concerns as they are affected by human rights abuses. In one example, he relates how heavy logging in Mexico decimated half of the country's forests in four decades, which loss in turn damaged agriculture. Rodolfo Montiel Flores and Teodoro Cabrera Garcia formed the Organization of Ecologists of the Sierra de Petatlan and peacefully protested the Boise-Cascade Company, based in Idaho. When Boise-Cascade stopped logging the wooded areas in southern Mexico, furious landowners who had profited from the enterprise had the two activists arrested for growing marijuana. In 1999 Flores and Garcia were arrested, imprisoned, and tortured, and their lawyer was similarly beaten. They were still in jail at the time Schulz's book was published. Anderson noted that "while their ordeal illustrates the courage of many human rights activists, it also underlines the dangers they may face in confronting unjust structures." Anderson felt that the stories Schulz includes in the book "serve as concrete anchors that put flesh on the bones of the author's arguments."
Most of these stories come from around the globe, but one chapter is devoted to abuses in the United States, including those carried out by police who use racial profiling and brutality and prison officials who have been found guilty of torture with stun guns which leave no marks. Schulz's appendix, "How to Get Involved," lists three dozen human-rights organizations. Schulz emphasizes that letter-writing campaigns have had positive effects in the freeing of political prisoners. School Library Journal's Francisca Goldsmith said that In Our Own Best Interest "could form the basis for a high school forensics or model [United Nations] program."
Making the Manifesto: The Birth of Religious Humanism is an expansion of Schulz's doctoral dissertation, and his original research was conducted while six of the signers of the 1933 Humanist Manifesto were still alive. He was able to interview the late Edwin H. Wilson as he was writing his The Genesis of a Humanist Manifesto, which was published posthumously in 1995. Schulz was a signer of Humanist Manifesto II and in 2000 was named American Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. In Making the Manifesto he studies the influences of pragmatism and critical realism on humanism, as well as the effects of free thought, enlightenment deism, modernism, Darwinism, capitalism, World War I, the Great Depression, and the evolution of technology.
Schulz's book Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights addresses the relationship between terrorism and the denail of human rights.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, July 16, 2001, George M. Anderson, "Family All Are We," p. 27.
Booklist, April 1, 2001, Mary Carroll, review of In Our Own Best Interest, p. 1435.
Humanist, September, 2000, William F. Schulz, "The Humanist Basis for Human Rights," p. 25.
Human Rights Quarterly, February, 2002, Ingrid Tamm, review of In Our Own Best Interest, p. 312.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 3, 2001, David Rieff, review of In Our Own Best Interest, pp. 3-5.
New York Review, June 13, 2002, Michael Ignatieff, review of In Our Own Best Interest, pp. 18-20.
Publishers Weekly, March 26, 2001, review of In Our Own Best Interest, p. 78.
School Library Journal, May, 2002, Francisca Goldsmith, review of In Our Own Best Interest, p. 182.
Virginia Quarterly Review, autumn, 2001, review of In Our Own Best Interest, p. 141.
Amnesty International USA Web site,http://www.amnestyinternationalusa.org/ (January 10, 2003).
Digital Freedom Network Web site,http://www.dfn.org/ (February 26, 2002), Jeffrey Mackie, review of In Our Own Best Interest.