Unification News for July 1999
Remaking the World by Love
Our efforts to create a world safe for our children have come to naught. Our best and brightest bomb countries into submission and our young people kill senselessly. The presence of radical evil in the world remains, undiminished by the marvels of technology and surpluses of wealth. Columbine High School tells us this as much as World War I did. The kids may not smoke, but their guns do. There is no way to explain Columbine or Kosovo except by the naked power of evil.
Happiness remains as elusive for this generation as it did for any in history. But now, we in America have the added burden of lacking any meaningful purpose, any significant enemies. We have met the final enemy, and it is ourselves. Life and liberty have not brought happiness. The premise that we might create a good world by conquering the frontiers of creation through science no longer holds. We have technical power over everything except for the human spirit, the realm of human relationships, our own interior motives. We have yet to find ourselves, as individuals, as families, and as a world.
Doctors and Drugs
Not that we haven’t tried. The sixties’ impulse to find higher consciousness through mind-altering chemicals did not go the way of tie dyed shirts and headbands. Prescription medications such as Prozac, Ritalin and Luvox are designed to affect the brain, and hence the human personality. They have presumably beneficial purposes, to calm those under stress and to lift up those who are depressed. But there is a good deal of debate as to the wisdom of their use. According to Francis Fukuyama (The National Interest 56, Summer 1999, p. 30), "Ritalin’s effect on the brain is similar to that of a number of illegal amphetamines, indeed, to cocaine. Stories of Ritalin’s effects often make it seem like the drug soma administered to the citizens of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to make them passive and conformist." Kelly Patricia O’Meara, in Insight magazine, expands upon this. "According to the 1995 Archives of General Psychiatry, ‘Cocaine is one of the most reinforcing and addicting of the abused drugs and has pharmacological actions that are very similar to those of Ritalin.’ … The abuse of [Ritalin] can lead to tolerance and severe psychological dependence. Psychotic episodes [and] violent and bizarre behavior have been reported." (Insight, June 28, 1999, p. 12)
The secularist project, exalting science, attempts even to take dominion over the human spirit. Millions of Americans—including a large number of children and teenagers—are regular consumers of these mind-altering prescription drugs. Fukuyama points out that "Ritalin is now used by three million children in the United States today; school nurses dispensing daily Ritalin doses have become a common feature of many schools…" O’Meara cites the figure of 5 to 6 million children on these drugs, administered "when there is no scientific data to confirm any mental illness. … If you look at the criteria listed in the DSM-IV for ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder), you’ll see that they are taking normal childhood behavior and literally voting it a mental illness." (p. 13)
O’Meara makes a further, chilling point when it reports that there is a linkage between the use of these drugs and school violence. In shootings in Notus, Idaho (1999), Littleton, Colorado (1999), Conyers, Georgia (1999) and Springfield, Oregon (1998) the assailants were under doctor’s orders to take Ritalin, Luvox and or Prozac. Another similar incident, in Jonesboro, Arkansas (1998), has not revealed whether or not the violent youths were taking the drugs, but it is known that they were under psychiatric counseling.
Insight points out the payoff financially. Americans currently spend $1,873,117,800 on Ritalin—that’s one BILLION eight hundred MILLION dollars. We are talking wealth-producing entrepreneurship here, big-time. But at what cost? The State of Michigan’s Medicaid program had 223 children three years old or younger diagnosed with ADHD, and 57% of those children were medicated with two or more psychotropic drugs including Ritalin, Prozac, Dexedrine, Aventyl and Syban (O’Meara, p. 13). Could this, one wonders, have any relationship to the inability of immature parents to cope with the normal growing pains of their children? Could it have anything to do with the lack of preparedness many mothers—I’m thinking especially of single-mothers—have for the tribulations of raising a family?
The alternative solution for the ills of the human spirit is that of religion. After all, we might consider, if those millions of children were cared for in loving families, they would not need psychiatrists and drugs. Religious faith and morals, guided by ministers of God’s word, form healthy families and children. Once relegated to the ash-heap of history, and more recently rebounding, religion should provide the key to resolving these ills.
Here the situation is complex. Religions have served humankind well, but not well enough. The very fact of their existing multiple faith at odds with each other, unable to bring their people together as one human community, testifies to the shortcomings of all religions. The persistence of family breakdown, concubinage, prostitution, incest and so forth witnesses the failure of religion to go deep enough into the well of the man-woman relationship. And when religious leaders speak to the outbreak of violence, as in Kosovo and Littleton, their message is that under present conditions we are powerless against evil. That we can find salvation in spite of evil is the most positive read religious leaders can provide. That is no foundation to build a program.
Religion once dominated American life. I have on my wall a reproduction of a Norman Rockwell cover of a Saturday Evening Post. For my younger readers, the Saturday Evening Post was a very popular American weekly magazine two generations ago. This particular cover is dated April 18, 1942. It cost ten cents, but that’s beside the point. In April of 1942 America was deep in the bloody throes of World War 2. The lead story of this issue was entitled, "For What Are We Fighting?" by Dr. Felix Morley.
The Rockwell painting depicts the answer to this question. The setting is a small village somewhere, anywhere, in America. There are white clouds in the sky and rolling hills covered with grass and trees. In the distance are a few houses nestled around a church, its steeple rising high and proud. In the foreground is a family at work outside their own house. The husband is digging in a vegetable plot. The wife is hanging laundry and a daughter is playing. The man is shirtless, with his back to the sun. It is a peaceful, bucolic, yet very typical picture of the American dream. It depicts the original family at one with nature. It is a lovely scene and that is why it is on my wall.
At the same time, one is tempted to add the caption, "what is wrong with this picture?" We’ve seen Saving Private Ryan. We know of the incredible sacrifice of the World War 2 generation. In that movie, Captain Miller expressed something similar to the Saturday Evening Post cover—we just want to get back to our wives. Miller’s line is similar to the cover, but not the same. The cover includes the community, even if it is just in the background. The other houses and the church reveal that we were fighting not just for our own family and livelihood but for the small town, for a way of life, a culture. In the 1998 depiction, Saving Private Ryan, the purpose of the war was narrowed down to "my wife."
And we’re all familiar with the famous photos of the troops returning from the war. What do they depict? Man and woman embracing. The pre-eminent such photo was shot on Times Square. Were they a married couple? It is unlikely. Billy Joel’s song, "Allentown," put it this way: "Well our fathers fought the second world war / Spent their weekends on the Jersey shore / Met our mothers at the USO / Asked ‘em to dance, dance real slow."
Licit or illicit, the victorious American man and woman embraced and brought forth the baby boom. They attended church—church attendance was highest in American history. President Eisenhower endorsed attending "the church of your choice." Billy Graham ascended to the clouds warning of the immanence of the Second Coming. But like it or not, the kids left those small towns. They left their parents. They voted with their feet (as well as other parts of the body). They mounted a huge rejection of the American way of life, the Rockwell-Saturday Evening Post world. Why?
All You Need is Love
Why would that generation—even for a period of a few years—reject wealth, security, influence, knowledge and power? It is because all those things mean nothing without love. It’s no secret that the energy behind the sixties "hippie" movement was essentially the search for true love. Remember 1967, "the summer of love"? (Or have you tried desperately to forget it?) The Beatles sang "All You Need is Love." Even the most crass Rolling Stones put out a single in 1967 called "We Love You." There was a band called "Love." The baby boomers had everything except true love and they knew it. They were perfectly aware of what they were about. They couldn’t control what they were doing, but they could justify it, in the name of love.
To tie things together, hippie movement, the love movement of the sixties, has its roots at the end of World War 2. At that moment, 1945, God sent the Messiah. Sadly, tragically, God just did not get His staging right, and the Christian world was looking in the wrong place for the Messiah to come. "Men of Galilee," said the two men dressed in white to the disciples of Jesus as they watched him taken up and hidden by a cloud, "why do you stand here looking into the sky?" (Acts 1:11a)
Back in my college days there was a poster about the return of Jesus. Jesus is depicted as a young, very physical man, bearded with long hair, walking into a church. The minister and congregation want nothing to do with him; they are shocked, shocked, that he would disrupt their service. Eerily accurate, from my point of view. The Messiah came as a physical man walking into a church, into many churches, in Korea. Those churches were run by Koreans but had the backing of American and other western Christian bodies. They wanted nothing to do with this self-proclaimed Reverend Moon. Their salvation came in the form of recognition from the Christian powers of America.
What did the Messiah come to do? He came for one essential purpose: to bless, to liberate, to rightly order, the love of man and woman. And he had to start with himself—that’s why he had to come as a physical man, get it?
This blessing of man and woman in true marriage was, I argue, the one and only act of God needed by the world at that moment. He came for the simple purpose of giving God’s unprecedented, absolute and eternal blessing to the marriages of those men and women who had suffered and sacrificed through a terrible world war for the sake of God and humankind. Those men and women, our parents, deserved it. They were all coming back home after years of separation to get married.
And where did the Messiah end up? As everyone else was enjoying marriage and children, he sacrificed his. As everyone else was escaping or ignoring communism, he entered a communizing society to try to stave it off. As everyone’s churches were prospering, his was torn apart by Christians, communists and newspapermen, and he was languishing in a death camp. That’s where the Messiah was.
That is why the fifties, the golden age of American church-of-your-choice religiosity, proved to be the seedbed of false love: Kinsey, Hefner, Madeline Murray O’Hare, William Burroughs, Ginsberg, Bardot, Monroe, Presley and so forth, bringing forth the degradation our families and society has endured over the past forty years. It is no wonder religions have run out of optimism.
Marriage and the Messiah
Today one religious leader is calling humankind to step boldly into the future. The Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon have persevered and risen up, no thanks to any worldly power, to declare the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. They declare that the love of God in True Parents provides the spiritual, ideological and practical means to bring into substantial reality the original creative ideal of God, today, here, against all odds.
Everyone interested in explanation can spend a lifetime discovering it. Reverend Moon's published speeches comprise 300 volumes, and there is a massive literature in addition to that. But their prophetic message for the end of the millennium is simple. The human race must assemble itself in front of God as true, blessed families. If we can create true families for all, world peace will arrive naturally. It is that simple; it is cause and effect. And as with every prophecy, there is a warning of self-destruction if we fail to meet God’s expectation.
A true family is one in which husband and wife will never commit adultery or divorce. This is impossible, you might say. Yes, I agree, it is impossible except for one factor, that of God’s blessing power. God’s blessing liberates men and women from the shackles of sexual sin. Within an immoral environment, many who are blessed may yet succumb to temptation. The critical mass of successful families have as their mandate the creation of a moral society, in which the blessing of all can be protected, in which humankind will be truly free of sexual sin.
A true family is one that practices neighborly love beyond race, nation and religion. And it is one that teaches its children sexual purity--sexual abstinence prior to marriage. On the foundation of sexual purity and assent to universal ethical ideals, a couple can be blessed by God, transferring from the lineage begotten of the original sin, to the lineage of the children of God, rooted in the True Parents. This is the work, the essential contribution, of the Messiah. On this foundation, world peace and true freedom will come.
The nihilistic forces within our culture obstruct the fulfillment of this prophecy. The dominant cultural message is anti-marriage, anti-faith and pro-free sex. The culture must change. It will change. Most crucially, our youth must be spared from the trials and temptations of the teenage years. Let us liberate our young people to the realization of the gifts with which God has endowed them. Let us lift off of them the spiritual shackles of the dating and mating rituals of the modern era.
To accomplish this, Reverend and Mrs. Moon declare the mandate schools and religious institutions can and must work with parents to educate and nurture our young people to be sexually pure. Through responsible education, young people easily recognize that the right way to go in life is that of chastity and faithful marriage.
It is of the highest priority that we prepare our youth for successful marriage. Our young people deserve God-centered family life education extolling the virtues and values of true love, chastity, fidelity, in short, life for the sake of others. Social science now is revealing that early marriage and child bearing is the most advantageous course of life for women. And men who enter family life are relatively free of the alcohol and drug abuse, criminal behavior and psychological problems that torment single men. Clearly, early marriage of all young people, on the foundation of education, counseling and, most of all, family support and love, is the key to turning this world toward the most constructive direction. But most importantly, it is the will of God.
But the question of "who is the right one for me?" remains for each and every young person. For some 800 years the west has developed a vision of romantic love as the best method, bracketing family and societal concerns. The results are disheartening. We could well use a new vision of what a successful marriage is. As Dr. Frank Kaufmann has suggested, marital success should not be equated with or reduced to passionate sexuality. The successful marriage has to do with the mutual creation of persons of true love and public responsibility. It has to do with spiritual growth in relation to God. Let passion be passion, I would add, like a delicious dessert for a healthy meal, but you’ve got to eat your vegetables first.
Reverend and Mrs. Moon call for parents, teachers and civic authorities to re-enter the realm of marriage guidance. This will require the harmonized, intensive efforts of the world's religious, governmental and cultural communities. But Reverend and Mrs. Moon prophesy that through such a global movement, the root of evil will be eradicated forever and God will bring forth His Kingdom in our midst. It is a matter of our commitment to the ideals of true love, and our concern for our young people, who bear the future of the world.
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