Unification News for March 2003
Bringing Harmony Among Religions and Advising Political Leaders
Rev. Michael Jenkins
In the notes of Father's morning message of March 2, Father was quoted as saying, "To unify Korea we must unify church and state. We must establish a political party and then unify church and state."
This interpretation of Father's actual words give a very misleading impression. In western political thought "unity of church and state" conveys the idea of the establishment of an official state religion. From Father's extensive commitment to dialogue and the development of interreligious conferences on peace we see that his teaching always emphasizes the Biblical theme of the prophet "advising" the king. He also teaches that the "prophetic" voice at this time is most clearly heard when there is harmony of the world religions. As with a symphony, every religion has its distinct character, integrity and unique expression. However, when harmonized together on the "key" notes they bring forth the most beautiful inspiration toward understanding and peace. Rev. Moon's thought teaches that essence of God is love for all races, religions, peoples, nations and cultures and that His hope is that all people realize true families that are blessed by God living in harmony and peace on all levels. He teaches that a harmonized and cooperative interreligious body can best communicate and advise the heads of state, assemblies and congresses of the world concerning the realization of such a world of peace based on the family.
Father also emphasizes in his teaching that the government should embody godly values and policies as the natural expression of the religious beliefs of its people. A better translation of Father's words would be "we must harmonize religion and politics." In fact our translator, Mr. Tim Elder, upon careful review, concluded that rendering the thought conveyed on March 2 as the as "unity of Church and state." would have better been expressed as the "Harmony between religion and politics".
Of course, Father opposes the strict "separation of church and state" in the sense that he does not favor a completely secularized, amoral society in which religion is removed from the public square. But by no means does Father wish to "unite the church and state" in the sense of making the Unification Church or any other faith an official state religion. That's why he says the "interreligious" body should "advise" the governmental bodies of the world.
Because the phrase "unite the church and state" can be so easily misused by our opponents to create trouble for our movement, it is important that the previous language be corrected on any public websites and that members be advised about the need for caution in speaking of the concept of the relation of religion and politics.
The context of a free relationship and cooperation between the religious and political spheres is not narrow. Rev. Moon's teaching and practice is consistent and clear. His respect for the absolute value of all religious traditions and that they are all rooted in the same God is the ground from which his idea of a better relationship between religious and political leaders may be realized.
His concept of religious leaders advising and giving wise counsel to political leaders is not a vision of one religion in control but rather the spirit of the Lord working through the collective consensus of all. The spirit of cooperation between religion and politics is set forth quite well in Rev. Moon's address entitled, "The Path to World Peace in View of God's Will", given at the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace Assembly 2001.
He states: "Inter-religious reconciliation and cooperation is an essential condition for world peace. I have campaigned tirelessly for interreligious harmony and dialogue. I always have devoted a far greater proportion of my funds for that purpose than for the growth and development of the Unification Church. Its first requirement is that the religious people sacrifice themselves, harmonize and cooperate with other religions. With this they become capable of advising the political leaders...
"Therefore, religious leaders and believers should be the guides who lead people to peace. If religions only emphasize narrow-minded denominationalism and fail to teach true love for God and the universe, we will never free humankind from the horrors of war. In the face of this global crisis, religious leaders have to practice true love, humbly following God's Will, walking hand in hand beyond the boundaries of their own religion."
"The inner power of religion touches our hearts and can recreate us as people of peace. It can cultivate our ability to practice self-control from within. It can overcome historical hatreds and resentments among us. This is the root from which arises true peace and stability. If religions demonstrate love for each other, cooperate with each other, and serve each other, putting the higher ideal of peace ahead of particular doctrines, rituals and cultural backgrounds, the world will change dramatically. Beyond National Self-Interest.
"I once again emphasize the proper role of the United Nations in realizing world peace. As a representative organization for world peace, the United Nations has made many contributions. Last year, I presented my proposals to solve the fundamental problems plaguing the planet Earth, given that the world's circumstances have changed and the complex situations in which nations find themselves today are unlike those at the time of the United Nations' founding.
"One of these proposals was to establish a special body (of religious and political leaders) that would discuss and evaluate the religious, spiritual and moral dimensions of world problems. The United Nations must serve the world and God's ideal of creation effectively. To do so, it must transcend the power of politics and national diplomacy, which reflect the motives of nations seeking their own self-interest. Only then can it truly protect the human rights of all peoples and nations and build world peace.
"This is not limited to the United Nations. Maintaining order in the world and protecting public prosperity and peace will be difficult as long as political sovereignty operates on the principle of national self-interest and ignores or undermines moral and spiritual values.
"What is required is that high-level leaders ground themselves spiritually and morally upon God's ideal and govern according to universal principles. No political power or earthly authority should stand above God and the laws of Heaven."
This gives a better understanding of the concept that Father is putting forward concerning the harmonization of religion and politics.
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