Articles From the April 1995 Unification News
What the FFUWP Offers The USA
Recently reading a well-known book caused me to reflect on what the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace has to offer American society.
Robert Bellah's Habits of the Heart is a serious look at a core problem of American society-what this University of California sociologist considers to be our all-pervasive individualism. And while Bellah believes that an individualist lifestyle is ultimately not satisfying for individuals, his larger concern is that a society comprised of isolated, distracted individuals with no concerns larger than themselves ultimately provides fertile ground for the rise of tyranny.
But Bellah is not without solutions. Looking to American history, he identifies the republican and Biblical traditions as sources of hope. The republican tradition, not to be confused with the Republican party, is one that emphasizes service and even sacrifice for the sake of the larger whole. Exemplified by such patriots as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, this tradition is a source of societal coherence and health.
Likewise, the Biblical tradition, with its emphasis on love to one's neighbor, is a force that contributes to the building of community and the advancement of society as a whole. Indeed, John Winthrop, the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, envisioned that he and his fellow Puritans would construct in the new world a model society that would serve as a "City on a Hill"-beacon of hope to the entire world.
Bellah proclaims the recovery of these traditions as necessary to the future well-being of the nation.
There is, however, a problem with Bellah's remedy. However much these traditions have contributed to American society, they are clearly deficient-such that they have been unable to guard against their own erosion. Indeed, these traditions have in part formed the soil from which the trend toward individualism has grown.
It is thus not sufficient simply to recover the old. Something new must be added.
The nature of that missing element was suggested by Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. Based on the fact that 30% of all births in the United States in 1991 were to single women, and suggesting that the great majority of these babies will grow up inadequately nurtured, undereducated and with inadequate economic opportunities, Bradley anticipates increasing violence and social dislocation in American inner-cities in the decades to come.
Obviously to address such problems, the nation could pass more laws and build more prisons. Bradley suggests, however, that we do not want to exchange a violent society for a repressive one.
In any event, Bradley's message implicitly identifies family structure as bring at the root of many current social problems.
It is here that we identify the missing element in Bellah's formula for recovery. While much of the challenge facing American society is related to a defective family unit, neither the republican nor Biblical traditions offers an adequate model of the family such that they could help clarify our thinking and offer direction. The republican tradition, for example, holds individual patriotism as its icon; the Biblical tradition, and in particular Christianity, holds out salvation of the individual as its spiritual ideal. Thus, the ideal models of these traditions do not relate to our societal need.
While begun only recently, the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace, founded by the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, has in important ingredient to add to the valuable republican and Biblical traditions. The Family Federation holds that the family, and the love within it, represents the ideal of God's creation. Understood as the framework for the realization of True Love, the ideal family is seen ultimately as the dwelling place of God's love and the central spiritual goal of human existence. Affirming the family as having profound spiritual significance-indeed both here on earth and in eternity-the Family Federation relates its spiritual ideal to our nation's societal need.
The United States has been described as the "first global nation." With representatives of all the world's races, religions and nationalities here, and given its preeminence in the world, the United States still has the opportunity to offer vision and direction to the entire world. To fulfill that role, however, it must not only recover its republican and Biblical heritages, but build on them to solve its problems with its most basic unit, the family. It is in spiritually mature families that the best future for America lies and through which this nation may yet realize its founders' vision of being a "City on a Hill."
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