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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

August 2022
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Speeches

D. Burton: Address to World Summit 2022, Session 6

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Thank you very much for that kind introduction, Dr. Jenkins. I also want to greet the conference leadership, including Dr. Yun Young-ho, Dr. Thomas Walsh, and numerous others whom you have already met at various points in this conference, for your untiring efforts to make the Universal Peace Federation’s global peacebuilding efforts effective and relevant.

This conference is unique in all the world for its intensity of focus on non-polemic solutions to the Gordian Knot that has been the Korean Peninsula standoff for 74 years; unique as well for the diverse range of its participants.

My dear friend Vice President Pence, I’m so glad you came. It’s always a pleasure to see you. But I have a question: If you’re here and I’m here, who’s taking care of Indiana?

Above all, I want to thank and wish a slightly belated happy birthday to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who, along with her late husband, founded the Universal Peace Federation and the various special interest associations within it, including the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, of which it has been my great honor to serve as co-chair these past several years.

Diplomacy, Security and Religious Freedom

In this session, we are concerned with issues of diplomacy, security and religious freedom. For anyone involved in politics or business or academia, we already understand the value of diplomacy and security in preventing the escalation of conflict. Diplomacy calms the waters. Diplomacy finds ways for every stakeholder nation to save face, to take something away to show the people back home that we are a respected nation and we were able to get enough of what we want.

Security too is well understood by everyone in this room. If you are strong, or you appear to be strong, predators will stay away from your shores.

Religious freedom is also essential in the mix of statecraft, but perhaps less well understood, because spiritual matters tend to be invisible. Religion involves faith, which is difficult to quantify.

There’s a famous conversation, apocryphal for sure, that may or may not have happened between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin when they and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt were at the Tehran Conference in November 1943 during World War II. To some proposal made by Stalin, Churchill expressed his opinion that the Pope might greatly disapprove. To which Stalin is said to have replied thoughtfully, “The Pope? How many armed divisions does the Pope have?”

Again, there is no proof that this widely reported exchange actually took place, but the point is made. Religion operates on a different playing field. When Dr. Moon speaks about the “logic of love” deserving an equal place at the table with talk of tanks and troops and strategies, she is speaking about keeping a chair open for God. Your God and mine.

Before I got involved in politics, I was a seminary student, preparing to be a minister. Although I didn’t stay on the seminary path, I did learn how to pray. And I used that skill all the time when I was working on issues of politics and policy. I believe it helped make me a better representative of my constituents. I had the freedom to speak privately with God anytime, about any matter. That isn’t always the case in the world. Some governments insist, and even demand, that there is no God. They can’t handle the idea of competition. That’s why religious freedom not only belongs in a discussion about diplomacy and security, but it is also essential that discussion of religious freedom have a place at the table. An honored seat for your God and mine.

If we are fully realized, fully rounded individuals, in all our dimensions of knowledge, science and faith, then we are true human beings and there is so much we can accomplish. Because you have chosen to attend this conference, and have overcome obstacles to get here, I think you must be optimistic by nature. Perhaps you are men and women of faith as well. Let us act on our faith, and do what we can to offer hope to this sad, troubled world.

Thank you very much.

 

 


To go to the World Summit 2022 Schedule page, click here.