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Introduction to the Universal Peace Federation

December 2017
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Interfaith

I am grateful for the opportunity to say a few words and to add my welcome Rev and Mrs Hyung Jin Moon on their first visit to this country. I am also glad to express my personal support for the call for an Inter-Religious Council at the UN made ten years ago by Revd. Dr. Moon.

The need for a religious or spiritual presence at the UN has long been recognised by the World Congress of Faiths. Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War, Sir Francis Younghusband, the founder of the World Congress of Faiths, said, 'No reconstituted League of Nations will be of the slightest avail unless it is inspired  by an irresistible spiritual impulse.' In 1943, George Bell, Bishop of Chichester and  a leading member of WCF, said in the House that 'an association between the International authority and representatives of the living religions of the world' was of vital importance.


Efforts after the war to establish such a body were thwarted by the Soviet block. The situation now has changed and the UN General assembly has itself now recognised the importance of interfaith dialogue.

The need for an Interfaith Advisory Body at the UN remains.

There are several reasons for this.

1. The great religions agree that healthy societies – national or international – require a moral framework. And as the Global Ethic shows there is much agreement on what this should be. Laws are important – and it is right to hear to pay tribute to those who are law-makers – but society depends on trust and mutual care and concern. I remember Martin Luther King saying when he spoke in London that 'The law can stop   men lynching me, but it cannot make them love me.' Laws against stirring up religious hatred are important, but even more so is long term educational work to remove ignorance and prejudice.

2.  At a time when religion is abused by some to justify violence and religious differences are used to enflame economic and political disputes, politicians need the support of mainline religious leaders to persuade the faithful to repudiate extremism. The moral authority to religious leaders may also add weight to UN calls for a ceasefire, even if they were unable to stop the Iraq War.

3. Efforts after the war to establish such a body were thwarted by the Soviet block. The situation now has changed and the UN General assembly has itself now recognised the importance of interfaith dialogue.

The need for an Interfaith Advisory Body at the UN remains.

There are several reasons for this.

1. The great religions agree that healthy societies – national or international – require a moral framework. And as the Global Ethic shows there is much agreement on what this should be. Laws are important – and it is right to hear to pay tribute to those who are law-makers – but society depends on trust and mutual care and concern. I remember Martin Luther King saying when he spoke in London that 'The law can stop   men lynching me, but it cannot make them love me.' Laws against stirring up religious hatred are important, but even more so is long term educational work to remove ignorance and prejudice.

2.  At a time when religion is abused by some to justify violence and religious differences are used to enflame economic and political disputes, politicians need the support of mainline religious leaders to persuade the faithful to repudiate extremism. The moral authority to religious leaders may also add weight to UN calls for a ceasefire, even if they were unable to stop the Iraq War.

3. Much healthcare/relief work and education is delivered by faith-based organisations. The partnership between UN agencies and NGOs and civil society needs to be strengthened. Religions often reach down into local communities more effectively than many governmental otr international bodies.

What I think is now needed are detailed suggestions of how such an Interfaith Advisory Body to the UN might work . In the year 2000 there was a Millenium religious 'summit';  The World Economic Forum set up a senior council of 100 leaders, which included religious leaders. There are several interfaith NGOs.

But they are not integrated into the UN system and perhaps a working party should try to produce models for an Interfaith Advisory Body?

How do you identify religious leaders – by office or by charisma. Would you ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to represent the Anglican Communion or Archbishop Desmond Tutu?

How do you ensure the participation of women, young people and religious minorities?

How do you ensure that faith communities have the necessary expertise to translate lofty ideas into practical policies. It seems to me that besides an annual meeting of leaders, there would be need for each religion to have permanent representatives working together at the UN?

There will also be need to ensure that religious leaders do not try to usurp the role of heads of state and that nations do not use religion to give a cloak of respectability to questionable policies.Careful thought is needed about the scope and nature of an Interfaith Advisory Body – but the need for such a body is more urgent than ever.

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke President of the World Congress of Faith


ADDRESS BY REV. DR. HYUNG JIN MOON

Consultation Meeting on The Inter-Religious Council at the UN

August 31, 11:00am

Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons, London, UK

Distinguished British leaders from all walks of life, Ambassadors of Peace, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Dr. Braybrooke and Imam Sajid. Thank you for your inspiring, eloquent words and for gracing this occasion with your presence, and for your lifelong commitment in service to God and global peace.

It is my distinct honor and privilege to stand before you today in this historic venue, the “mother of all parliaments”, and to share with you a few words on behalf of my parents, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, Father and Mother Moon.

I am very happy to be in the UK, and I want to thank you sincerely for taking time to participate in today’s program, dedicated to consideration of my Father’s vision for an Interreligious Council at the United Nations.

It was ten years ago, August 2000, that my Father outlined his vision at a speech he delivered at the United Nations. He explained that just as each of us has both a mind and a body, and just as each one of us is both a spiritual being and a material or physical being, so too are human institutions and organizations. They too must have a mind and a spiritual center.


I am reminded that the first General Assembly of the United Nations was convened here in London, in 1946, at the Central Hall of the Methodist Church. I also note that the first meeting of the British parliament took place in Westminster Abbey. I believe England has always understood the necessary link between spiritual principles and values, on the one hand, and the public sphere of social, political and economic institutions, on the other hand.

My Father has great respect for the United Nations. Had it not been for the United Nations Peace Force, comprised of 16 nations, not only would the nation of South Korea not exist today as a free and democratic society where religion has flourished, but neither would my Father have survived to carry out his providential mission. Nor would I be here today. For, 60 years ago, on October 14, 1950, he was about to be executed in a North Korean prison camp where he had been imprisoned by the communist authorities for practicing his faith. On that day, miraculously, the UN peace force liberated my Father from Heung Nam concentration camp. Gen. Alexander Haig, former Secretary of State, and long-time friend of my Father, led the bombing raid that liberated my Father and spared him from certain death.

In his message at the United Nations in the year 2000, Father Moon explained that the UN would not be able to fulfill its mission without creating a council that would uphold the spiritual wisdom and heritage of humanity, representing God’s guidance for all of us. Toward this end, he recommended that there be a senate or upper house of spiritual leaders within the UN system, perhaps similar to your very own House of Lords. This council would include exemplary and mature representatives and learned advocates of the world’s spiritual traditions.

Throughout its history, this nation has been a great champion of religious freedom and interfaith cooperation. In virtually every city, village and hamlet, there are Sikhs and Jains, Muslims and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, Protestants and Catholics. In many cities there are interfaith councils. I believe all of you can appreciate the value of my Father’s proposal. It is an idea whose time has come.

I was recently in Jerusalem, where I had the opportunity to meet with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and representative leaders of Judaism, Islam, Christianity and the Druze tradition. Everyone expressed a strong desire for peace and explained that peace is an ideal that stands at the center of their sacred scriptures. At our UPF Consultation in Jerusalem they affirmed wholeheartedly the importance of Father Moon’s vision for the interfaith council, for a UN centered on God.  Father Moon sometimes calls this ideal a “Parent UN” or an “Abel UN.”

A few weeks ago I met with Hindu leaders in Nepal, and Buddhist leaders in Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains fully appreciate and understand that lasting solutions to our global problems and a comprehensive peace cannot be realized without a spiritual awakening, and the full participation of those who affirm and practice  spiritual principles.  

We all realize that peace is not simply the cessation of conflict. Rather, as we have learned from the great teachers and prophets of the ages, peace is much more than a political, economic or military accomplishment. Peace is rooted in our relationship with God. Hence, for example, Muslims say, salaam alekhem, Jews say shalom, Hindus say shanti, and Christians call Jesus the prince of peace.

When we are lacking in spiritual discipline and wisdom, peace is not possible.  Peace arises when we are in a right relationship with God, when our mind and body are united. If we are people of internal struggle, selfishness and sin, then all our efforts in this world will bear no good fruit, and will only lead to struggle and conflict.

Father Moon teaches us that the root of peace is the family. For this reason, he has championed the international and interreligious World Peace Holy Blessing ceremonies, bringing together couples from every corner of the world, calling each to dedicate their marriage and family to God’s ideal of true love and universal peace. There is no better way to create a world of peace than by strengthening marriages and building God-centered families. Father Moon teaches us that peace is rooted in the family; and the family is rooted in God; and God's essence is true love.

In this way, on the foundation of the individual and family centered on God, we can expand the realm of peace to other levels, to the tribe, society, nation and world.

Jesus instructed his disciples to pray centering not on “man’s kingdom” but “God’s kingdom.” The Kingdom of God is a world of peace, a world that fulfills the hope of all ages and all religions for a unified world of peace.

Jesus also called his disciples to repent and to forgive our enemies, and to work to deliver humanity from the bondage of sin. This is a formula for peace.

As important as political and secular social movements have been, God’s central providence throughout history has been led by the founders of the great religions. That process continues today. We ignore the essential and necessary importance of religion only at our peril. Those who advocate atheism, moral relativism, and selfish materialism are leading humanity down a wrong path that leads only to destruction.

Likewise, only nations who center on God’s true love should stand in central positions in the world today.

Hence my Father has called the UN to include the great faith traditions in its noble mission, and establish a council within the UN system.  Otherwise, the efforts of the UN will fall short of their objective, and humanity will suffer. We cannot disregard the truths of God that religion brings.

Father Moon was called to his great messianic mission by God, in a direct encounter with Jesus Christ, when he was only 16 years old. In 1960, he established the position of True Parents, together with my Mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. They stand in the position of True Parents with the mission to fulfill the mission of Jesus and complete God’s providence at this time in history, working hand in hand with God-centered people of all faiths.

Recently, my Father published his autobiography, entitled, As a Peace Loving Global Citizen." It has been at the top of the best seller charts in Korea for almost 2 years. It has now been published in English. I encourage you all to read this fascinating and inspiring book.  Through it, you will learn more about my Father’s vision, his character, and his mission at this time in history.

Indeed, through his autobiography, I invite each one of you to seek to understand the heart with which he has so relentlessly pursued his mission to bring about lasting world peace. A complementary copy of Father Moon’s autobiography is being made available to each one of you today. Our gathering here today marks the official launch of his autobiography here in Britain. Please read it and take its message to heart, as it provides many insights into the way to build a deeper relationship with God.

In conclusion, I want to thank each one of you, who represent the people of this great nation and the world’s great faith traditions.

I hope that each of you will make a determined effort to promote my Father’s vision for an Interreligious Council at the UN. More importantly I hope you will support him in his wider mission to establish God’s Kingdom on this earth.

Let us work together to build one family under God, and a world of universal peace. I believe this great nation and its people can play a central role in God’s providence at this time. I know that True Parents pray about this each and every day.

Thank you for attention. God bless you, your families and this great nation.


UPF Founding Statement:  Renewing the United Nations to Build Lasting Peace

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Monday, September 12, 2005

In his founding address of the Universal Peace Federation on September 12, 2005, Rev. Sun Myung Moon issued a call for a renewal of the United Nations. Many other leaders were echoing that theme during the 60th anniversary of the founding of the UN. Rev. Moon envisions the wisdom of the world's religions being included in the deliberations of this organization that embodies the hopes for peace of people in every nation. This proposal for an interreligious body had been introduced during his speech at the UN on August 18, 2000. The following are excerpts of that address.

Conflicts arise for many reasons. But one of primary factors contributing to their emergence is the deep-rooted disharmony that exists among the world's religions. Therefore, when we witness the many global tragedies occurring around us, we should recognize how critically important it is that the religions come together, dialogue with one another, and learn to embrace one another.

Read more: UN Inter-religious Council Proposal