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Peace Education

Peace Needs a Change of Heart

USA-2009-12-16-Peace Needs a Change of Heart

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Las Vegas, USA
– There’s no place on earth quite like Las Vegas, a city devoted to the pursuit of pleasure, but proving for some a gateway instead to unhappiness and even despair. The city that promises much but often delivers little proved a fitting location for Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s first public speech in Las Vegas for almost ten years, on December 16.

In a wide-ranging discourse, he returned to the theme of renewing the United Nations so that it includes religious and spiritual resources into its efforts of conflict resolution, but also reminded the audience that peace begins within the individual and the family.

In his introductory remarks, Dr. Thomas Walsh, Secretary General of the Universal Peace Federation, reported that ever since the UPF Founder’s August 2000 call for an interreligious peace council at the UN, there has been a growing recognition of the need for spiritual leadership, with a greater role for the voices of moderate and committed religious leaders.

The attention of the media and many of the revelers may well have been focused a few blocks away on the latest gaudy jewel in Las Vegas’ eclectic skyline, the brand new, ten-billion dollar City Center casino and resort which opened officially at midnight that very day. Yet the more meaningful show was unfolding before the more than 1200 people crowded into one of Las Vegas’ oldest institutions, the Flamingo.

Rev. Emanuel Wasson III, Pastor of Las Vegas’ Holy Trinity A.M.E. Church, welcomed the large and mostly out-of-town crowd and urged them to leave Las Vegas with a different perspective. “Though we come from many different nations, let us celebrate the most important thing we all have in common,” he said. “And that is, that we are all the children of the one God. I hope you have a fruitful time in our city, but when you go home, remember to testify that the Spirit of God is alive and well in Las Vegas!"

“There are three central institutions in life,” said Bishop William Shields of Hopewell Baptist Church in Georgia, one of America's top 20 mega churches, “the home, the workplace, and the place of worship. All of these need to be in healthy balance with each other, but we know well that they are not. This is why our country is in a mess, and that is why Dr. Moon’s call to America to turn its face back to God is so important.”

Rev. In Jin Moon, President of the Unification Church of America, had the happy task of introducing her own Dr. to a packed house. “Everyone comes to Las Vegas hoping to win the jackpot,” she said, “and I think those of us who have come here today to hear these messages are already the winners of a much more important prize. My Dr. has not let his advanced age of 90, nor his six imprisonments, nor any amount of misunderstanding and bigotry sway him from the path of God’s will,” she said.

“As we welcome him today, let us determine that we ourselves will become like him, and be the people God needs to bring change to America and the world. We don’t need to wait for political or religious leaders to take action,” she said. “Let us seize the day!”

In his keynote address, Dr. Moon addressed the need for change of heart and a change of mind to bring America back in line with the destiny given to it by God. Rather than simply dwell on well-known problems such as promiscuity and corruption commonly associated with Las Vegas, he chose instead to draw the attention of the crowd to the missed opportunity for goodness. If even a portion of the colossal energy and expenditure invested in Las Vegas every day in the personal pursuit of pleasure could be diverted into a heavenly purpose, the pursuit of true happiness, how quickly the world could be changed, he said.

“I have watched many, many people waste their time and their money here,” he said, “but I still want to help them, and to help America. I can never forget the fact that it was American soldiers who freed me from a communist prison camp and prevented my homeland from being lost to tyranny, and I will always love America deeply. Yet I can see that in many ways the moral climate in this nation is getting worse.”

“I have prayed long and hard though the night, even during the darkest nights when I was in prison, to find out how to help the American people realize that God is our living heavenly parent and that the spiritual world is real,” he said. “Without God, there is no way that we can rescue America from a self-centered and individualistic culture that is far from the truth.”

Dr. Moon then went on to observe that our daily habits and the mental and emotional environment that these habits and choices create surround us with energies that have a profound but often unnoticed effect on our spiritual well-being. “There are a lot of evil things going on in Las Vegas,” he said, “but even this town can become a heavenly community filled with the children of God, the heavenly King.”

It Wouldn’t Be Vegas without a Show

At this point, Dr. Moon paused in his speech and, in the best tradition of a Las Vegas show, asked for audience volunteers to come up to the stage to participate in an exhibition of the power of qi, the spiritual energy that flows through all people and even all things.

Leading the display was Dr. Dow-soon Im, who discovered a simple demonstration of the way in which a person’s spiritual energy—qi—can be increased or radically diminished by the objects in his or her immediate surroundings. The volunteers gripped thumb and index finger together, and then Im or another volunteer would try to break the grip. Logically, it seems that strong men would have always more powerful grips than small women—but it doesn’t seem to work out that way. It all seems to depend on what the person making the “grip” holds in their other hand, and the energy associated with that object.

In the demonstration—performed in the plain sight of more than a thousand people—volunteers who held onto objects with positive spiritual energy, such as a picture of Jesus, Dr. Moon’s recently-published autobiography, or even the program of the event, found that their grip was immensely strengthened and could scarcely be broken. But when they held an object with negative energy the situation was reversed! The guide book to other Las Vegas entertainment seemed to be particularly weakening, although judging by the amount of exposed flesh in many of those shows, perhaps that’s no real surprise!

As the qi demonstration came to a conclusion, Dr. Moon invited one of his own sons, Kwon Jin, to come forward. Kwon Jin, an accomplished martial artist, inspired the audience with a song, a creative interpretation of “Imagine,” by John Lennon.

A Call to Action

“I want you all to make a promise to me today,” Dr. Moon said as he moved to his conclusion. “God desperately needs good men and women to build his kingdom now. Yet the nations of the world are wasting their time and effort on armies and weapons, and families are breaking down because people are not honoring the true love, life, and lineage that God wants to give to all of us. If you knew the depth of what I am saying, you would stay up all night to read my words and put them into practice.”

“We are living in a time when everything will become clear,” he said. “Think about it: these days, once you know how to use your computer well, you can use the Internet to find out almost anything in just a few minutes, including the things which people would rather remain hidden. “How much more so will the truth of the heavenly world be known when we learn how to use our God-given abilities in the right way! We must all live lives of purity and clarity.”

“How can then can we create a world of peace?” he asked. “Today we are talking about establishing an 'Abel United Nations.' What does that mean? It will be a world where the major nations such as the USA, Russia, and China, instead of investing billions in unnecessary weapons and defense technologies, will understand that God is waiting in sorrow for all his children to come to him in peace.”

“This task starts with every family and every couple,” he said. “The heaven I know is not a place that anyone can go to just by themselves. You and your spouse should become True Parents yourselves, and when you successfully multiply families of peace, this nation and the world will become peaceful too.”


For background materials on the proposal for an interreligious council at the UN, click here.

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