Unification News for July 1996
Into The Mainstream
We Unificationists have made great efforts to be accepted, both as individuals and as a worldwide faith. We've worked at this for several decades, with gradually increasing success. Each of us has felt the sting of persecution, and no one enjoys such things. Yet we are willing to bear it, knowing that the Kingdom of Heaven will finally arrive when humanity has learned Principle and accepts the True Parents.
We tend to view the path to this universal acceptance as following a smooth, upward curve. However, the reality may become a bit more complicated. We seek acceptance for more than its own sake. Also, society will be affected in ways which are seldom discussed.
Widespread acceptance carries perils of its own. I'll illustrate this with three historical examples. In its earliest years, Christianity was tempered by the fires of persecution. Countless heroes and martyrs were forged, and they've been honored ever since. After the reigns of Constantine and Theodosius, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. At that point, citizens flocked to be baptized. Sometimes their motives were far from pure.
Centuries later, the Puritans fled to America to escape the harsh oppression of state-church Europe, preferring to face the dangers of an unknown continent. Within decades, they had themselves become the well-established oppressors of the Colonies they ruled.
Recently, the Mormon Church has enjoyed a surge in its worldwide membership. Their 150 year long persecution has ebbed to almost nothing. Already some of them are speaking of "the good old days," when the mettle of their people was often tested-and found true.
During the time of Rev. Moon's unjust criminal prosecution, many commentaries appeared on the subject of "Rev. Moon and the Constitution." In reading these, as good as they were, your author was somewhat disappointed. You see, none of them discussed how Rev. Moon's teachings would eventually affect the Constitution itself. For this must surely occur.
Unificationist organizations such as CAUSA have long taught about the righteous Constitution of the United States, and its evil counterpoint, the (now failed) ideology of marxism. Clearly America has the best political and economic system in the world-and in all of history. Still, the UNews has recently carried several excellent discourses pointing out the shortcomings of democracy and capitalism. A system less individualistic, and more spiritual, will inevitably have laws that are, to some extent, different from today's. Already there exists a rough draft of the Heavenly Constitution.
Today, leaders in many areas of life are speaking about Family Values. Some of these leaders, to put it politely, are more sincere about this than others. Family values involve `traditional morality,' that is, understanding and living the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.
It's easy to give a speech about these values, but relatively difficult to live by them. Bluntly put, the number of clergy and politicians "caught with their pants down" attests to this. Some years ago, your author made the passing acquaintance of a United States Senator who was widely known as a staunch conservative. Later, the man quietly left office, rather than risk getting caught at some highly immoral shenanigans.
The Divine Principle sets out heartistic and behavioral standards which are far more strict than any past ones-especially because the Principle's are mainly self-imposed. As it becomes the accepted standard, these powerful yet hypocritical leaders will feel tremendous pressure. One wonders how they may ultimately react.
There are other sorts of leaders out there, self-appointed ones, who don't even try to appear respectable. As more and more communities live by the Principle, illicit activities such as gambling, drug dealing and prostitution will decline. The `gang lords' will know full well who is behind their loss of income. Their response might not be pretty . . .
Rev. Moon and his Unification movement have endured more than their share of criticism. On a `per capita' basis, surely more than anyone in history. A number of people have even made full-time careers out of this bashing-yet another of our many contributions to the economy!
Long ago, the American news media ran out of "distraught parent" stories. In Japan they are still -all too literally- scaring up a number of these sorry tales. Mostly, though, they've been complaining piously, and quite insincerely, about our wide range of prospering business ventures. Recently they've revived the complaints about `gun businesses,' this time involving alleged handgun manufacturing in Latin America.
As our movement succeeds, this flap may end up looking puny, in comparison to future uproars. Let's look at a purely hypothetical scenario, based on two well-known reports involving North Korea. One: North Korea has had a nuclear arms development program, which may or may not have ceased. Two: Rev. Moon is now well-received in North Korea, and many of their leaders are already studying the Principle. Hence: If the North develops such a weapon, and later fully accepts True Parents, there would then exist . . . a Unificationist atomic bomb! How would the critics, especially in Japan, react to that? (No matter how the issue got resolved.)
In history, many groups have sought to enter the mainstream of society. Some were foreign invaders, as in India and China. There, barbarians would often rule for a while, and then get swallowed up by the dominant, preexisting culture.
Others groups raised up new religions, lifestyles and/or technologies within their own cultures. These new ways were either widely accepted, or, their proponents simply waited until a new generation took over. Sometimes these changes were little more than fads, while at other times they were quite profound. In Japan especially, they were often both.
We Unificationists seek to enter the mainstream, not to be liked, or to make witnessing easier (though that would be nice). Rather, we intend to enter the mainstream in order to shift its course. A stream composed of 260 million Americans, and six billion humans, won't shift easily or overnight. Yet societies do change, and as often as not, by mere chance, or by self-centered design. At best they change through dedicated, peaceful activism, and at worst, by violent conquest and domination.
Whether through gradual teaching, activism, or even through some future `ultimate' fads, we will shift the streams of society. In fact we already have, though without much public recognition, much less understanding. However, many world leaders are very much aware of this.
We must be prepared for the rigors of popularity. As many religious leaders know, and C. S. Lewis explained in The Screwtape Letters, success is often unhealthy for the religious life. As society shifts, certain leaders will feel threatened. High level diplomacy, as well as mean-streets savvy, will be needed. People will come flocking to a popular movement-just because it's popular. Others will arrive seeking personal advantage. Standards must be explained-and upheld. Our public-arena and legal battles must be well chosen, and fought wisely.
The path to the Kingdom will not be a boring one, and the astonishing life we'll live once we get there will make all six billion of us wonder why we took so long.
by Paul Carlson
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