Unification News for July 2004
The Religious Underpinnings of Our Great Society
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
One of our nation’s founders, John Adams, said, "Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
The religious underpinnings of our great society are essential to the health and well-being of our nation and all humanity. The Declaration of Independence’s self-evident truths that "all men are created equal" and are endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator, indicate that the very founding of this nation and the rights we share are dependent on our faith in God. Religious leaders and people of faith have served as the conscience of society, often reminding our nation's leaders that if we wish to preserve the blessings of liberty we must remain true to these principles.
Abolitionist religious leaders and the advice from Frederick Douglas gave Abraham Lincoln the strength to rely on the "self evident truths" and stand with faith in God to challenge slavery. Drawing upon these same truths, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. could rise above the division and hatred between races and move the hearts of the American people and the consciences of elected officials. As a religious leader, Dr. King not only touched the president of this nation but moved the leaders of the world. His teaching created a revolution in racial reconciliation that continues throughout the world today. In this spirit, Dr. King marched without prejudice in his heart. The love of God flowing through him changed history; a black Baptist preacher broke down the barriers of race and religion, inspiring white students and Jewish rabbis to stream down to the South, risking their lives to stand together with black Americans and the "movement" as Christians and Jews. Rabbi David Ben Ami, who stood with Dr. King in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, stands with Rev. Moon here today.
When religious leaders join hands together across traditional boundaries to walk for peace and justice, America’s greatness shines. When these interreligious leaders call upon America to return to its founding spirit, it is likened to Isaiah speaking the truth before Israel. So it was with Dr. King at the Marchon Washington in which he said, "I have a Dream". It was there that the soul of the American people was inspired and the direction of the nation turned toward an affirmation of equality. Because this was achieved in America, this affirmation could begin to expand throughout the world.
It is in this same spirit that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon has repeatedly addressed our nation’s leaders on Capitol Hill concerning the core values of this nation’s founding spirit. Many of these events over the last 30 years not only lifted up the Godly principles that are the foundation of this nation, but also honored the sacrificial people from all 50 states who have best embodied them.
That’s why the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace joined with many Senators and Congressmen on March 23rd to honor 100 people of all races and faiths with the Crown of Peace Awards, for living according to the fundamental values essential to people of faith. What are those core values? That God is the Parent of the entire human family; that the family is the school of love; that marriage between a man and a woman is the Biblical model for God’s image of an ideal family; that fidelity and faithfulness in marriage are essential to preserving that ideal; and that the free expression of faith is essential to strengthen the moral foundations of the family and the nation. Religious leaders are commissioned by God to set the example by living and teaching of love and faithfulness in marriage. They also should best demonstrate the path of reconciliation and love for all people by transcending racial and denominational barriers. This is what Jesus did. He saw no boundaries.
The IIFWP promotes the theme of "good governance" which is consistent with the vision of the founders of America. For there to be a healthy society, there must be a natural relationship between the religious leaders and our elected officials, based on the moral and spiritual underpinnings and constitutional principles of this nation. The religious leaders should inspire these values so strongly in their communities that they are naturally reflected in the representatives that the people choose. For a truly great society, there must also be a free press that is guided by those same ethics and moral values.
It is upon this foundation that statesmen have emerged who put principle, ethics and morality and the well being of the nation ahead of personal profit or gain. So it is with the Honorable Danny K. Davis (D-IL), a true statesman who affirms with grace and dignity that he was there and that he, along with other congressmen and religious leaders, gave the honor of "King of Peace" to Rev. Moon. Congressman Davis said in one interview that he joined in recognizing Rev. Moon for his work for world peace, and he made no apology for that. He said that for many, the event honored Rev. Moon as a True Parent. That is a statesman standing on faith and principle. Others too easily say, "I never knew."
At the Crown of Peace Ceremony on Capitol Hill, an atmosphere of peace was created through the reconciliation of religious leaders. The Congressman there honored their constituents and an atmosphere of respect for all religions and peoples crystallized. Therefore the message that IIFWP USA brought to America was not only one of faith but also one of action. Rabbi Mordecai Waldmann said that when he saw the love and unity of Jews, Christians and Muslims from all 50 states, he felt it was a miracle, and for that reason he blew the Shofar. Because of the IIFWP work in the Middle East, these interreligious leaders came not only from America but also from the Holy Land for March 23rd. For this consistent work, and a lifetime of dedication and commitment to the principle of living for the sake of others, Rev. Moon was honored as the King of Peace.
These leaders respect Rev. Moon as a great man of God and a man of peace. Some of them (including some of those here today) honor him as the Messiah. The question is, "Is Rev. Moon the Messiah?" As for me, I affirm that he is the Messiah, Savior and returning Lord who was anointed by Jesus to fulfill that mission. The term "Messiah" is used here in the Hebrew context and means the one "anointed," and it is an anointing that comes from Heaven. Therefore, Rev. Moon is not God and he is not Jesus. Instead, he is a man anointed by God to stand as the True Parent.
As "Messiah," Rev. and Mrs. Moon stand as True Teachers, True Parents and True King and Queen. They stand as religious leaders. There is no secular or political power for their role.
If he is "Messiah," why the controversy? Historically, all great men and women anointed by God have endured hardship and suffering to bring God’s message to this world. Their words are not always easy to receive. Jesus said, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out… And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off." (Matthew 5:29–30). Jesus also said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53) These shocking words cannot be understood literally, but rather only in the spirit. And so it is with Rev. Moon’s words. Religious leadersspeak in hyperbole and can only truly be understood in the heart and by the spirit. Especially the role of the "Messiah" must be understood in spirit.
Some would say, ‘how’ can the "Messiah" have been convicted of a ‘crime’? Yet again we are reminded of Dr. King, Gandhi and Jesus, each of whom faced imprisonment and even death. Jesus was accused of coming only to destroy the law. Unfortunately at the time of Jesus, there were no religious leaders to defend his innocence. America did not repeat the same history when Rev. Moon was being persecuted; religious leaders stood up and defended him. What the world should know is that the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the American Baptists, the Catholic League, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the ACLU and the Honorable Senator Orrin Hatch proclaimed in their Amicus briefs that Rev. Moon was innocent. In addition, the Rev. Dean Kelly, representing the National Council of Churches wrote, "… the whole appalling story of how Sun Myung Moon and his accountant were framed by the government of the United States … should be read by every American who values religious liberty and wants this miscarriage of justice never to be repeated." Religious and civic leaders are here today standing strong for the work of Rev. Moon. They know the man and his work and know that it is the work of God.
Rev. Moon affirms that America is called by God to set the example of cooperation between the sacred and the secular, and to be the leader of a world in which all of God’s children can sit at the banquet table of freedom, peace and happiness.
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