The Words of the Walsh Family
On September 23, True Parents launched the "Abel UN." People will surely ask, "What is the Abel UN?" or "How did September 23 represent the beginning of the Abel UN?" The best answer of course lies within True Father's own Peace Messages. And, surely, guidance from Dr. Hyun-jin Moon or Rev. Kwak Chung-hwan will carry authority that is not claimed here. The following reflections are offered as a contribution to better understanding.
When we think about UPF or the Abel UN, we should not imagine an entirely new concept or idea, but rather an idea or vision that originates with God's ideal for humanity, with True Parents' vision of establishing God's kingdom and one family under God. The ultimate goal of God's providence has never changed throughout the course of history. Neither has it during the history of True Father's life of attendance to God. That ultimate goal is to restore the lost ideal of True Parents and True Family.
To achieve this ultimate goal, True Father has worked on so many levels simultaneously, some profoundly internal and others relatively external. There are aspects to God's providence, and special conditions that have been set, that are known only to God and True Father.
On a global scale, the achievement of God's original ideal required the challenge and horrors of World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the cold war.
We know that the UN was established following World War II, in 1945. It was at this time that Father was to have been received by Christianity, particularly in Korea, and on that foundation, in America. In other words, God's ideal was for Father, with an understanding of the Principle, to be able to guide America, the Allied Powers, including Roosevelt and Churchill, in developing the United Nations, its charter and its mission.
This did not happen. Due in large part to the growing strength of militantly atheistic powers, such as the USSR, there was no reference to God in the charter of the UN, and it emerged as an entirely secular, governmental institution.
Father had to construct a global foundation all by himself, without the help of any government, religion or NGO. As such, it was an almost impossible task. He established so many institutions, in so many realms of human endeavor; each one dedicated in a unique way to restoring some aspect of life and to contributing to the realization of God's original ideal. All these organizations were necessary to build God's kingdom; God, and Father, needed Abel institutions in every area of human endeavor -- the media, academia, the arts, sports, moral education, publishing, religion, government, business, the family, etc.
In 1991, Father launched both the International Federation for World Peace and the Inter-religious Federation for World Peace. In 1992, he established the Women's Federation for World Peace; in 1994, the Youth Federation for World Peace; and in 1996, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
At the close of 1998, Father announced that he would start a new organization, the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), with a mission to establish an inter-religious council within the UN, indicating that the existing UN was like a body without a spirit or mind, lacking in receptivity to spiritual wisdom, insight or inspiration. Thus, in February 1999, IIFWP was formed.
While on the one hand, IIFWP's mission was to promote the establishment of an inter-religious council at the UN, Father directed Rev. Kwak that its more important mission was to restore nations for God. To do this, IIFWP was to utilize Father's entire global foundation, i.e., the organizations mentioned above, covering every area of endeavor -- religion, humanitarian service, government, academia, media, civil society, the arts, sports, youth, the women's movement and so forth.
Toward this end, IIFWP sponsored a series of hoondok seminars in Washington DC, each one bringing key leaders from nations around the world, from government, religion and academia.
Then, in August 2000, for the first time, Father spoke at the United Nations and advised the UN to establish an inter-religious council, to celebrate Parents' Day each year and to create peace zones in trouble spots around the world.
At that same time, he established the World Association of NGOs (WANGO), and in the latter part of 2000, IIFWP and WANGO carried out educational programs in support of the MDGs, in nations around the world. [The UN's Millennium Development Goals are targets for poverty reduction, health, education, gender equality and resource preservation.] The following January, Father celebrated the Coronation for God's Kingship. In his prayer on that occasion, he spoke of the foundation laid by IIFWP and WANGO.
That same year, Father returned to the UN, and a "World Peace Blessing" was celebrated, with True Parents officiating.
This event stirred up detractors who insisted on misrepresenting the Blessing Ceremony as a formal marriage rite or as the religious ritual of a specific religious group, failing to understand that it is a celebration of all humanity as one family under God, linked together as one lineage.
At this time, Father launched the Ambassadors for Peace movement. The Ambassadors for Peace Certificate is signed by both Father and Mother. This was the first official certificate Father and Mother have ever both signed.
Later, in May 2001, to conclude Father and Mother's fifty-state tour of the U.S., we attempted to secure a room at the UN to allow Father to deliver his Peace Message. We were blocked. From that time, Father began to speak of an alternative course, one where he would seek to take on himself some of the UN's burden and responsibility.
In 2003, IIFWP launched the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), beginning with an international conference in Washington DC, in February. MEPI missions to the Holy Land began in May and laid the foundation for the advance of God's providence.
In October 2003, Father asked that IIFWP launch the Abel UN or Peace UN. Recognizing that we could not use the name United Nations officially, we proposed a name, the Inter-religious and International Peace Council (IIPC). This was hastily approved, given that we only had three weeks to prepare the launch of the Abel UN.
Father asked that representatives from each of the providential nations of World War II, plus Israel and Korea be sent to each other's nations. In effect, these IIPC "ambassadors" were representatives of the emerging Abel UN.
Over the course of time, serious effort was made to comprehend Father's intent in establishing an Abel UN. In 2005, Father directed Rev. Kwak to establish a new stage in the development of the Abel UN. This is the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). The Abel UN is an expansion of the mission of UPF, an institution that should coordinate the various components of God's providence in order to bring about a world of lasting peace, the kingdom of God. It is a different concept from the inter-religious council. Father wanted added to the UN. That effort represents a separate mission, that is, to work through UN member states to promote the establishment of an inter-religious council within the existing UN.
The founding or launch of the Abel UN has therefore less to do with the establishment of an external structure (or with official decrees of governments) and more to do with how we understand ourselves as a movement and how we understand our mission as the Universal Peace Federation. In this sense, on September 23, we were authorized and commissioned as the "Abel UN."
As such, we need to think through the ways in which an Abel UN should work. This has to do, at least in part, with setting up structures and councils, a charter, and so forth. However, we cannot simply imitate structures that have come before. If the Abel UN is a new paradigm, we have to discover or learn how a UN-like entity would function if established in the era after the coming of heaven, in an era that is moving beyond the limits of particular religions and nations, or the constraints of culture and ethnicity.
UPF's mission is thus surely to establish itself as a leading institution for peace. UPF does not wish to compete with the UN, but to support its work. At the same time, UPF, as the Abel UN seeks to demonstrate exemplary governance and, guided by the principle of living for the sake of others, seeks to fulfill its mission in relation to God's original ideal, the creation of one family under God.
Dr. Thomas Walsh is secretary-general of UPF.