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Speeches

H.J. Moon: A New Vision of Peace for the USA

Excerpts of Keynote Address, Global Peace Festival
US Capitol Grounds, Washington, DC, August 9, 2008

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It is my pleasure and honor to stand with you today in front of the U.S. Capitol with the memorials of great Americans like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln bearing witness to our efforts. It is a breathtaking view and I feel we stand on hallowed ground, where the past and the present can align to build a greater tomorrow for all Americans and all of our neighbors throughout the world.


This mall commemorates the sacrifices of men and women who served the cause of freedom and paid the ultimate price on foreign shores. The world owes a great debt to this nation and the brave and selfless young Americans who were willing to oppose any foe and pay any price for the American dream and its founding principles.

These grounds have also been the venue for that rare brand of oratory that stirs men and women’s souls and moves their hearts. Just forty-eight years ago, newly elected President John F. Kennedy challenged all Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” He launched a bold new peace initiative, the Peace Corps, inspiring subsequent generations with a culture of global service.

Three years later, at the height of the civil rights struggle, a young, courageous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his passionate speech, “I Have a Dream.” He yearned for the day when the children of all races would be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Citing the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal and entitled to inalienable rights endowed by their Creator,” King said that the struggle for civil rights was not just a Black struggle for equality but a timeless ideal rooted in the American dream.

Thirteen years later a then relatively unknown Korean spiritual leader delivered a message to more than 300,000 Americans, declaring that the American dream was not a dream for America alone, but for all the people of the world. That man was none other than my father, the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon.

I would like to share with you a prophetic statement he made that night over three decades ago: “The United States of America, transcending race and nationality, is already a model of the unified world. She must realize that the abundant blessings which God has been pouring upon this land are not just for America, but are for the children of God throughout the world. Upon the foundation of world Christianity, America must exercise her responsibility as a world leader and the chosen nation of God.”

The Greatest Dream of All

As a proud son, I am filled with deep emotion as I stand here before you today. I was seven years old and in the audience when my father delivered this prophetic message. I believe my life, as well as that of my family, has come full circle as we gather once again on this hallowed ground to awaken this nation to fulfill its providential calling and lead the world to peace. For, I can tell you as surely as the sun will rise, that those words did not fall upon deaf ears that historic night long ago, but stirred the hearts and the imagination of a new generation of leaders, dedicated to realizing a truly universal and global expansion of the American dream. We are heirs to that prophecy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a crossroads. Throughout the world and at home, there is a growing anxiety in the air, stemming from one crisis after another. The global “war against terror” has fundamentally changed the way we, Americans, live. We are in a constant state of uncertainty, compounded by an economic downturn, rising energy and food costs and the collapse of our financial institutions. Add to that the massive devastation from natural disasters in New Orleans, Florida, and California and it seems all the power and might that America can muster will not keep us safe.

There are those who might be looking towards the presidential elections in November to fix the problems of our nation and the world. However, the solution to our national and global quandary cannot be solved by one man, party or administration. It is far too complex to be addressed in the same old political, economic, diplomatic or even military manner of the past. We definitely need change but not for the sake of change. The world needs leadership and America could provide it if it had a universal vision which could inspire and unite the human family.

One Nation Under God to One Family Under God

Let us be bold and dare tonight to dream big! Let us dream the greatest dream of all! I want to share with you a new vision for America. It is a vision rooted in our nation’s founding principles, a vision that exalts the ideal of “one NATION under God” and then takes it one step further into a greater, more universal ideal, of “One FAMILY under God.” It is a dream for all Americans and all people of faith. And most of all, I firmly believe that it is God’s vision for humanity.

Let us reflect, for a moment, on the birth of our nation in 1776, when thirteen “rag-tag” colonies announced their independence from the colonial yoke of Great Britain. It must have been a moment of great pain, anxiety, and exhilaration, for those who signed the Declaration of Independence knew very well what their fate would be if they had failed.

The amazing thing about the Declaration is the deeply spiritual rhetoric and the clear reference to God, or the Creator, as the true source of human dignity and intrinsic rights. I believe that same Declaration of Independence remains the most important document of our modern era. Although it was a secular document, it was leavened with spiritual undertones which evoked a prayerful yearning to establish a new land committed to principles upon which “One Nation” could be created “under God.” Thus, it carried a profound spiritual authority and became the basis, I believe, of a new covenant with God. That covenant was rooted in the biblical promise first made to Israel in the book of Isaiah. True to that prophecy, America invited all of God’s children to come and worship Him according to the dictates of their conscience.

Although predominantly a Christian nation, America was the first nation on earth committed to universal spiritual values. It was the first nation to champion religious freedom and human rights, regardless of denomination, faith, nationality, ethnicity, and race. America became a pluralistic melting pot, representing how the world could live in harmony under a national vision rooted in the sovereignty of God. Of course, there have been times when America has not fully lived up to its founding ideals. But at its best, America represents the hopes and aspirations of all God-affirming people around the world.

God’s Dream and the Fulfillment of the Christian Mission

The power of this vision goes all the way back to the very beginning of human history. Just as we have big aspirations and hopes for our children, so too did God have great expectations for humanity. God wanted His children to create a true family which could be the school of true love, true life and true lineage. It would have been God’s family where He would dwell as the true parent of all mankind. Yet, this dream was not realized. And therefore, God had waited patiently throughout human history, often in agony and lamentation, for someone to realize His unfilled dream.

Two thousand years ago, a young carpenter’s son, Jesus Christ, went beyond the traditions of his own people, referring to God as his Father and embracing all humanity as his brothers and sisters. Jesus taught a selfless, compassionate love, the need for individual spiritual responsibility, the promise of universal salvation, and the need to create the family of God. Tragically Jesus’ life was cut short and the new wine he was to bring was unfortunately poured into less-than-new wine skins. Yet, his legacy and message lived on through the foundation of world Christianity.

It wasn’t until the modern era with the founding of the United States that the true, universal spirit of Christianity took root. Instead of espousing any one faith or denomination, Americans have enjoyed the freedom to follow the dictates of their conscience, with the hope of creating a nation united under the sovereignty of God. This became the basis of the American dream in building “One Nation under God.” The dream to create “One Family under God” did not end with Jesus. It remained latent within the Christian message, waiting for someone to rekindle Jesus’ universal and global mission.

My father, the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon, has devoted his entire life to the fulfillment of that mission. He uprooted his family and invested thirty-four years of his life to awaken America to its providential calling. To my father, the dream of building “One Family under God” is not just the dream of one man, one woman or one family but the dream of all humanity and, most of all, the dream of God.

A True Family Is the Model for Peace

The message whose time has come for this age is “One Family Under God.” Why a family? First, the family is universal. Regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality and religion, we are all members of families. Secondly, the family represents the most intimate of relationships. When we feel close to someone, we use familial terms, saying “that person is like my father, my mother, my brother, my sister.” In the family we learn to love humanity in all its richness and diversity.

Before we call ourselves Christian, Muslim, or Jew, before we see ourselves as black, white, or Asian, before we identify ourselves as Korean, Brazilian, or American, we are first and foremost the eternal sons and daughters of God. We are all members of His eternal family. This is the starting point to realize the dream of creating “One Family under God,” one family at a time.

Service Uplifts Human Dignity

Ladies and gentlemen, last month at the Global Peace Festival in Paraguay more than 10,000 high school and college students spent several weeks cleaning every park in the capital city of Asunción. Senators, congressmen, priests, and community leaders were astonished, saying this level of public service had never been part of their culture, especially among the young.

I am pleased to tell you that here in Washington DC, the Global Peace Festival has also been spearheading a remarkable service effort. Over the past few weeks, schools have been cleaned and painted, children have been mentored, and parks and playgrounds made safe. We’ve received generous donations of food – enough to feed over a thousand families. To all who participated in these acts of service and kindness, and in particular to the Points of Light Institute, Boys and Girls Clubs, Service for Peace, and the other organizations who pulled it together, I want to say a heartfelt “Thank You!”

There is something deeply spiritual in serving others. It is not something we should do only for a day, a month or even a year. It has to become a way of life. When living for the sake of others becomes a habit, we come to see the true value God places on all human beings.

Building upon America’s great tradition of volunteerism, I’d like to see our nation’s faith-based and community partners joining with those of other countries to establish a Global Peace Corps that will be more than just an American effort. Tonight, each of us can start toward this ideal through our own contributions to the Million Acts of Service and Kindness. Living for others is an important step toward the dream of “One Family under God.”

Imagine if young people from enemy nations worked side by side in service. Any misunderstandings and hatred that existed would fade away as they sweat, cry and laugh together with a common purpose and cause.

Peace Among the World’s Religions

Another goal of the Global Peace Festival is to celebrate the common universal values shared by all faiths. As you’ve seen this evening, through the Universal Peace Federation’s interfaith gatherings in the Middle East, Christians, Muslims and Jews are rediscovering their common heritage in Abraham. They are realizing that they have more in common than the issues that currently divide them, and that they truly are brothers and sisters of faith longing equally for peace and reconciliation.

We have discovered that relations between faith traditions are not about mere toleration of one another's prayers and rituals. A true interfaith experience is a celebration of the core principles that bind all God-affirming people together as one family. When we remember our common origin and our common heritage, our eyes open to the obvious truth that all people, regardless of creed, race or culture, are indeed “One Family under God.”

America, as a nation of interfaith ideals, must now fulfill its destiny of leading the world toward peace. Working with the United Nations, I propose that the United States second the motion that my father made in the UN to establish an Interreligious Council of faith leaders similar to the Security Council. Many great minds agree that the greatest threat to global peace and future development is religious narrow-mindedness. This new UN council could be the forum for all faiths to find common ground and lead the peace process.

In addition, I believe the UN needs to recognize the centrality of God in the discussion on human rights. I propose that the UN Charter be modified to include the idea that humanity is “endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights” similar to the US Declaration of Independence. Without a spiritual root in our common heritage, fundamental human rights will continue to be abused.

Call to Action: Looking Ahead

Ladies and gentlemen, today at the US Capitol we are demonstrating a model of interfaith harmony and declaring a common commitment to establish “One Family under God.” This initiative will be extended to all 50 states and to every continent where the Global Peace Festivals will be convened this year and over the coming years.

We must revive America’s founding vision and expand that dream onto a global stage through the universal vision of “One Family under God.” It should be the clarion call of our age. As my father said in a recent Peace Message, the time has come “to tear down the man-made walls of race, culture, religion and country, and establish the peaceful, ideal world of God’s cherished desire.”

The power of one human family united, can quell the turmoil of conflict throughout the world--from the strife and poverty of Africa, to the conflict in the Middle East, and the final remnant of the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula.

As Americans and global citizens, standing upon this hallowed ground, under the steadfast gaze of our forefathers and those who paid the ultimate price on the altar of freedom, let us make a solemn pledge to expand the American dream and lead the world to peace through the vision of “One Family under God.” Then, as surely as light overcomes the darkness, an era of peace and prosperity will emerge from the depths of distrust and hatred both at home and in the far corners of our world.

Together, we can dare to dream the greatest dream of all! Let us own the dream to create “One Family under God.” May God bless you and your family, and may God bless this great nation of America! Thank you very much.