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.
In the modern age, in most nations, religious ideals have come to hold a place wholly separate from the centers of secular political power, and most people have come to accept this reality as the way things ought to be. I believe, however, that it is time that international organizations whose purpose is to support the ideal of world peace reconsider their relationship with the great religious traditions of the world.
On this point, the United Nations, more than any other international organization, can set a good example and lead the way. The world has great expectations for the United Nations as an organization embodying humanity's aspiration for peace. In the United Nations, the representatives of all nations work in concert to promote peace and human prosperity.
Of course, the conscientious efforts to establish peace, undertaken by these national representatives at the United Nations, often meet stubborn resistance. The accomplishments and achievements attained through the United Nations have been significant. However, there is much room for improvement. I believe there is an urgent need today, within the United Nations and through its many activities, to encourage mutual respect and increased cooperation between the world's political and religious leaders.
The original ideal for human beings is that we live with our mind and body united in resonance with God's true love. It is because human beings resemble God as God’s sons and daughters that the mind and body of each individual can truly unite without struggling against each other. Within God there is no disharmony between internal and external characteristics. This is so because the absolute God has no contradiction or conflict within God’s Being.
The human ideal to achieve oneness of mind and body can be realized only when people completely possess God's true love. The biblical verse, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God," illustrates this point. Peacemakers are persons whose mind and body are in unity centering on the true love of God.
As a result of the fall, human beings lost the standard by which our minds and bodies could be brought into oneness and harmony, and humanity has lived in internal strife and self-contradiction. The clashes of the mind and body within the individual have expanded and now manifest themselves in the family, society, nation, and the world. For example, this unresolved struggle between mind and body is what precipitated the elder brother Cain's murder of his younger brother Abel.
All the conflicts and wars in history have been essentially battles between a Cain camp, relatively tending towards evil, and an Abel camp, relatively tending toward goodness. Humanity must end these struggles between Cain and Abel camps and restore the original state of harmony and love. To do this, each of us must end the conflict between our mind and body, and bring them into harmonious union.
At their root, human problems are not entirely social or political, and so social and political approaches will always be of limited effectiveness. Although secular authorities rule most human societies, religion lies at the heart of most national and cultural identities. In fact, religious faith and devotion have far greater importance in most people’s hearts than do political loyalties.
The time has come for religion to renew itself and manifest true leadership in the world. People of faith should feel responsibility for the plight, suffering and injustices experienced by the world's peoples. Religious people have not been good examples in the practice of love and living for the sake of others, and for this reason should engage in deep self-reflection. It is time for religious people to repent for their preoccupation with individual salvation and narrow denominational interests. Such practices have prevented religious bodies from giving their utmost to the cause of world salvation. Our age more than any other demands that we go beyond our faiths, and the interests of particular religions, and put our love and ideals into practice for the sake of the world.
In particular, God calls upon us leaders, especially religious leaders, in hope that we will stand against the injustices and evils of the world, and bestow His true love upon the world. Hence, all people of faith must become one in heart in order to give full expression, both in words and actions, to God's passionate desire for humanity's restoration and peace.
World peace can be fully accomplished only when the wisdom and efforts of the world's religious leaders, who represent the internal concerns of the mind and conscience, work cooperatively and respectfully with national leaders who have much practical wisdom and worldly experience about the external reality or "body." In this light, it is time for us to give serious consideration even to the prospect of restructuring the United Nations. For example, perhaps it is possible to envision the United Nations as a bicameral institution.
The existing United Nations structure, composed of national representatives, may be regarded as a congress where the interests of each member nation are represented. However, I submit that serious consideration should be given to forming a religious assembly, or council of religious representatives within the structure of the United Nations. This assembly or council would consist of respected spiritual leaders in fields such as religion, culture, and education. Of course, the members of this interreligious assembly will need to have demonstrated an ability to transcend the limited interests of individual nations and to speak for the concerns of the entire world and humanity at large.
The two chambers, working together in mutual respect and cooperation, will be able to make great advances in ushering in a world of peace. The wisdom and vision of great religious leaders will substantially supplement the political insight, experience and skill of the world's political leaders.
Even at this moment, more and more conflicts are breaking out across the world over disputed borders. As a result, the world is sustaining substantial loss of human life. In addition, the money poured into war-making and peacekeeping runs into the billions of dollars. So many resources and efforts are being wasted. Yet, comprehensive solutions have not been fully achieved with respect to any given conflict.
I propose that each nation, in addition to its current ambassador, send a religious ambassador to the United Nations to serve as a member of the religious assembly, or U.N. senate. The mission of the representatives to this U.N. senate would require that they have a genuinely ecumenical or interreligious consciousness and that they have the training and ability to teach a universal, transnational ideal of peace. The nature of their purpose and mission would prohibit their promoting the narrow interests of a particular country. Rather, they would carry out their duties for the ideal of peace in the world and for the sake of all humanity in accordance with God's Will.
The interreligious ambassador appointed as a member of the United Nations senate or council should have a global consciousness and take responsibility to represent the United Nations' global vision and agenda. In this sense, these persons could be thought of as global ambassadors from the United Nations. Wherever they go in the world, these ambassadors would promote movements dedicated to the realization of peace and social welfare. Moreover, in all nations, they would serve as conscientious guardians of lofty ideals such as justice, security, and peace.
This will provide hope to the citizens of the world, and especially the youth. People will then have the opportunity to see with their own eyes the emergence of young people around the world seeking true love and lasting peace. Those selected as ecumenical and transnational ambassadors will also be able to help guide and supervise various U.N. sponsored projects in health, education, welfare, and other fields.
Respected world leaders, let us join our hands and hearts to improve our institutions and organizations so that the precious wisdom of religion, along with that of scholars, statesmen, and people of insight and knowledge, can be mobilized to solve the serious and urgent crises of the world.