International Leadership Conference: Chairman?s Address
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman, UPF|
Washington DC, United States
May 15, 2007
It gives me great pleasure to be here in Washington DC, the capital of this great nation, to open the International Leadership Conference on "American Leadership at a Time of Global Crisis." We also gather to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Washington Times and the 100th Anniversary of United Press International, the flagship publications of News World Communications.
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak
The United States of America is sometimes referred to as a melting pot of the people of many races, religions and nationalities. From the time of the Pilgrim Fathers, this land has been a haven and a place of hope and opportunity, rooted in religious freedom and the conviction that there is a divine providence at work in history that has as its eventual outcome the total liberation of God and all humanity.
Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon came to this country to advance God's providence. He was called by God to awaken this nation to fulfill its moral and spiritual mission. From the time of its founding, America was to be a "city on a hill," a "new Jerusalem" that would be a model of a God-centered nation where people of every race, religion, nationality and culture live together as one true family.
Although America is known to be a Christian nation, he came here with a mission to revitalize Christianity as a religion of true love, service and sacrifice for the sake of others, including people of other races, religions and nationalities. He wanted to see Christians practicing true love in their daily lives, ever ready to give their lives for others, and even ready to love their enemies.
He was saddened by the spread of materialism and selfish individualism. He knew that this would undermine this nation's capacity to fulfill God's will.
Therefore, he has always taught of the supreme importance of spiritual values and spiritual growth. Again and again he calls us to be aware of the significance of the spiritual world as a living reality, the place where our ancestors dwell. The spiritual world has a direct influence on this world. Each and every one of us are surrounded by spiritual beings. Some of these spirits are good, but many are bad. Therefore, we must understand the spiritual world and learn the way to connect to the highest realms of the spiritual world.
He did not oppose communism because of its economic theory, but because it promoted a materialistic ideology and tried to eliminate religion and spirituality. Such an ideology is directly opposed to God's providence, which works through love, sacrifice and spiritual awareness.
Father Moon came here to try to put a stop to family breakdown. The breakdown of the family can only lead to disaster, especially for the children. Today, sexual promiscuity is destroying America. For this reason he has taught about "absolute sex;" that is, the sacred value of the sexual organ, marriage and sexual relationships between husband and wife. Unless America can understand the essential value of purity and fidelity, it will continue to decline. Economic, military and political power will not save it. That is why he has always emphasized the Blessing and the sacred value of the family.
He began his mission in America by visiting every state and presenting a message about the need for America to understand its position in the world as an elder son. He called Americans, and Christians in particular to lead the way in promoting interreligious understanding. For this reason he founded the Unification Theological Seminary in 1975 as an interfaith graduate school. On this foundation he launched a global interfaith movement that is without parallel, centered on the premise that interreligious peace is absolutely essential to world peace. This is especially true in the Middle East, where interreligious discord and conflict are at the root of today's crisis.
It was in this nation as well that he started the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in 1972, so that Nobel Prize winners, scientists and scholars could work together cooperatively in an interdisciplinary way to promote human well-being, centered on absolute values.
In 1982, even in the midst of being persecuted in the nation he came to serve, he launched The Washington Times. Many people advised against it, saying that he could not make a profit. However, he was not focused on profit. At that time, he knew that the media was too often dominated by bias, consumerism and self-interest. At the heart of the ideal of a free press is an ideal of a good society, a world of peace and cooperation. The Washington Times was established to provide a voice for faith, family and freedom. That is why we call it "America's Newspaper."
Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak greets H.E. Victor Ciorbea, former Prime Minister of Romania
However, the vision of The Washington Times is not for a selfish America or an isolated America. The vision is rather for an America that embodies the ideal of living for the sake of others and overcoming barriers that divide people. America should be a peace nation or an "Abel Nation;" that is, a nation that offers its efforts for peace to heaven and lives ceaselessly for the sake of others.
At the present time, many people around the world do not see America as a nation that embodies the highest spiritual and moral principles. It is seen as a nation that exports consumer products, along with moral relativism, hedonism and the decadent culture of Hollywood. In this way, America is inadvertently corrupting the rest of the world with its own decadent culture and moral decline.
At this point in its history, America must restore its commitment to family, faith and freedom. Its focus on faith, however, should not be narrowly sectarian. Rather, we must be respectful and embracing of the global family of faith traditions and we must promote interreligious cooperation; in particular, Jews, Christians and Muslims must come to respect and love one another. Otherwise, none of us are worthy of the legacy of the founders of these traditions.
I hope that, through this conference, we can help America understand the destructive nature of promiscuity, sexual immorality and family breakdown.
If America is to practice true leadership, it should not uphold irresponsible or selfish freedom. It must stand for unselfish, responsible freedom.
America's situation in the world is very difficult at the present time. In many ways time is running out. That is, moral and spiritual decline will weaken America. There must be a turnaround in this nation, from the grass roots level. This cannot be a sectarian or narrow transformation, but rather a revolution of true love and heart. This nation was formed for a purpose. It is not too late to see that purpose realized. Its purpose has nothing to do with vanquishing other nations or peoples, but rather it has to do with embracing and serving others.
I want to leave you with these points to consider:
First, America's strength does not rely on its economic, military or political power, but on its faith and families.
Second, while America is predominantly a Christian nation, we must remember that we live in an interreligious world and that God values true love more than any religion.
Third, Americans should love the world and seek not only "one nation under God" but "one world under God."
Fourth, America must understand that true sovereignty is not achieved by force, but only by true love.
I hope, that as outcomes of this International Leadership Conference we can encourage America and other nations to promote the following:
First, support for Rev. Moon's call for the Bering Strait Peace King Bridge and Tunnel Project, not merely for the sake of trade and development, but for the sake of peace and cooperation between East and West.
Second, the convening of an unprecedented, global interfaith summit among major religious leaders from the Middle East, for the sake of bringing peace to that region.
Third, a new, revitalized interreligious, interracial and international peace corps to promote human development worldwide.
Fourth, development of an interreligious council at the United Nations.
Fifth, support for the mission and work of the Universal Peace Federation, as an "Abel UN," a United Nations that offers its efforts for peace to heaven, ceaselessly living for the sake of others.
To accomplish these goals we must all work together. Let us begin that process now.
The world needs each and every one of us. We are truly living at a critical turning point in history, a time of global crisis. Let us turn this crisis into opportunity, and let us turn conflict into reconciliation and lasting peace and co-prosperity for all of God's children.
Let us build a world of lasting peace. May God bless you.
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