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Speeches

K. Rokaya: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020

 

Respected Heads of state and governments, Dignitaries, Religious Leaders, Organizers, Media, Representatives from the civil society and the private sector, Participants and Friends present in this historic and mega event in Seoul, Korea.

Within the time given to me, I want to mainly focus on the word secularization. It is because I personally believe that secularization   is at the root of most of the ills of today’s global societies and nations. According to the Collins Dictionary:

Secularism is a system of social organization and education where religion is not allowed to play a part in civil affairs.

In British English:

  • A doctrine that rejects religion, especially in ethics,
  • The attitude that religion should have no place in civil affairs.

In American English:

  • Worldly spirit, views, or the like; especially, a system of doctrines and practices that disregards or rejects any form of religious faith and worship.
  • The belief that religion and ecclesiastical affairs should not enter into the functions of the state, especially into public

The Cambridge Dictionary defines secularism as:

The belief that religion should not be involved with the ordinary social and political activities of a country.

The word secular comes from a Latin word that means “worldly,” “of this world,” “temporal.”

It is no wonder that public schools in France, which is commonly believed to be the birthplace of modern secularism, are “religion-free zones.”

It is mainly because of the concept of secularization, during the past several decades especially after World War II, governments, political parties, NGOs, civil society, academia, the media as well as the UN system have played a role to marginalize religion/spirituality and minimize/eliminate the role of religion in the political and public sphere.

The wave of secularization historically began with the French Revolution, whose main target was the abolition of monarchy and elimination of the role of religion/church. It spread like wildfire across Europe, North America and the whole globe, finally reaching my own country, Nepal, when in 2015 the only officially Hindu kingdom in the world became a secular state. I strongly believe that the promotion and propagation of the concept of secularization has made people (especially young people) lose interest and faith in religion and spirituality, as a result of which social fabrics have been destroyed, family values are fast disappearing, and age-old concepts of marriage, family, parenthood, husband/wife, and family relationships are losing their significance and slowly disappearing from the dictionary.

This is making people devoid of the divine/human qualities like love, compassion, kindness, truthfulness, respect, honesty, humility and so forth found in the Scriptures of all historical religions of the world. As a result of this, people are becoming selfish, utterly individualistic, materialistic, cruel, immoral, corrupt and criminal. In my opinion, most of the problems and challenges being faced by families, societies, and governments of the world are the result of secularization and the minimization/elimination of the place and role of God, religion, spirituality and morality.   

The good news, however. is that the governments, rulers, and people of the world including the United Nations now seem to be realizing that without religion, spirituality and morality, it is not possible to rule and manage societies. There is a global awakening of seeking national identity and spiritual roots of a nation. The emergence of President Trump in America is an example of this.

As reported by the Blaze Media, Rev Franklin Graham in his interview with Fox News said this: “Americans are tired of the ‘secularist’ federal government that has a ‘humanistic, atheist’ agenda. They were praying that God would change this and put somebody in the White House that believed in God and would listen to God's voice." According to Graham, “those prayers were answered in November,” referring to the November 2016 presidential election in America.

In America, a nation founded on Christian values, the effect and impact of secularism had gone to such an extent that President Trump during his presidential campaign had to say to the American people, “If I become the President, the American people can again say ‘Merry Christmas.’” And students are expelled just for saying “bless you” to their friends. President Trump’s new guidance on religion and prayer in schools is an example of how faith, religion, and morality are being restored back there.

In a recent interview, Attorney General William Barr warned of “an organized, militant secular effort” to suppress religion in the marketplace of ideas. “The problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on non-religious people, it’s the opposite — it’s that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people, and they’re not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith.”

In Russia, President Putin is giving back church properties taken by the state during the Soviet Union era and promoting partnership with the Orthodox Church. He is building new churches by his own initiative, the latest being the laying down of the foundation of a church in Singapore. Putin has said, “We cannot imagine a Russia without the Church.” He also has said, “Christianity is the foundation of Russia.”

In my personal view, the exit of Britain from the European Union is also another example of the new awakening about national identity, pride and moral values. The British people must have realized that remaining in the EU would eventually put pressure on them to embrace secularism, which would in turn put the future of the monarchy and the church, two pillars of the British empire, at risk. The gradual comeback of religion in China (Confucianism) and Japan; the emergence, popularity and rule of a Hindu religious party in India; the nationalist and anti-secular wave sweeping across Latin America and Europe; and the growing movement for the restoration of monarchy and reestablishment of the Hindu kingdom in Nepal are some other examples of this.  

To me, the main challenge and role of religious communities worldwide today is to accept, respect, unite, and work together. No religion should see another religion as a rival. Secularism, atheism, materialism, humanism, consumerism are some of our common challenges alone. No one denomination, no one religion, no one faith group can face these challenges. We need to stand together for the protection and preservation of religion, spirituality, morality and traditional social and family values and to prevent societies from further moral degradation and eventual destruction.

The Bible says, God is love, and love comes from God. The Bible also says God alone is good. So without faith in God, one cannot love and do good. There is too much emphasis today on the rule of law. What we need is the rule of love. True love, which only comes from God, does not keep a record of wrongdoing. It forgives and forgets. Jesus said, “The Sabbath is for man, but man is not for the Sabbath.” But today law is put above human beings, and for the sake of the law, human beings are being demonized and dehumanized.

The launching of the Clergy Leadership Conference at the national level and recently at the global level after the World Clergy Leadership Conference in New York on December 27–28, 2019, is the beginning of such an initiative for religions and clergy leaders joining hands, cooperating and supporting one another to restore the place and role of God,  religion, spirituality, morality and family values. At present I see only two individual voices coming from the faith community in the world, that of Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama. And the Family Federation under the able leadership and guidance of Mother Moon is the single largest faith movement with the widest reach, influence, impact and organizing capacity that can make mega global events like this one possible.

From now on and in future, the Family Federation should continue starting, promoting and strengthening Clergy Leadership Conferences all over the world for world peace, the preservation of family values, and the restoration of humanity. In the short term, the focus should be on one particular region like Asia or Europe: Asia, because it is going to be the future political, economic and spiritual epicenter of the world and it is the birthplace of major world religions; Europe, because it is the birthplace of secularism and at present the most secular region where traditional religious, spiritual, moral, values and family values and relationships are being challenged.

Religious and faith groups should not be competing with one another, but must come together and work together, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” All visible and invisible conflicts in the world; within an individual, within the family, within communities and societies, and among nations are just the reflection of the higher conflict/war between God and Satan, good and evil, light and darkness, love and hatred, truth and falsehood. Each of us must decide on which side we stand!

Thank you, and may Almighty God bless you all!

 

 


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