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T. Walsh: One Family Under God: A New Vision for Peace in the 21st Century

Keynote Address: Global Peace Tour 2009
Text of Address at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, March 31, 2009


Distinguished guests, friends, family, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a privilege and an honor to be here at the UNESCO Headquarters. I would like to thank the permanent Delegations of the Sultanate of Oman, of Ethiopia, and of the Republic of Kenya to UNESCO, and our other partners for making today’s event possible.

As we gather here in Paris, I want to share with you a dramatic vision of peace for the 21st Century, a spiritual vision rooted in time-enduring principles, values and aspirations, and it is inspiring a great peace movement throughout the world. That unifying vision is “One Family under God!”

Almost everyone in the world would agree that we are living in a time of global crisis. The attention of most governments, the G-20 nations, and the United Nations is currently focused on the ongoing worldwide financial chaos.

On top of that, there is the continuing challenge of conflict and violence flaring up all over the world. Even more fundamentally, we face a growing moral and spiritual crisis at home and abroad, evidenced by the rise of family and social breakdown, and the current war against terror which could potentially escalate into a global religious conflict.

Despite these challenges, I believe that the universal appeal of the vision to create “One Family under God” testifies to the fact that we do live at time when lasting change is truly possible, if we are able to understand the root causes of our problems. This is the main purpose of the Global Peace Tour, which is promoting a platform of interfaith cooperation, strengthening the family, and a culture of service for the sake of renewing our communities and nations. We are looking for nothing less than a moral and spiritual awakening rooted in the universal vision of “One Family under God.”

The importance of an interfaith effort for peace

An urgent challenge facing the world is to peacefully integrate her many religious and cultural traditions. As we all know, religious conflict is an ever-present threat to the stability and security of the world.

Peace among faith traditions cannot come about through mere dialogue or through “tolerating” one another's prayers and rituals. A true interfaith experience is a celebration of the core principles, values, and aspirations that bind all people together as one family.

Unfortunately, the United Nations, which should be helping the world to live together as one, has adopted an entirely secularist worldview, excluding the spiritual dimension of human experience. It has focused on the principle of national sovereignty as its guiding value, but with little consideration of God or the teachings of our world’s great religions.

Since the year 2000 the Universal Peace Federation has been calling for a renewal of the United Nations centered upon an inclusive system of faith-based leadership similar to the Security Council.

This is why we have been continually advocating the establishment of an interreligious council at the United Nations, based on an understanding of human rights as “endowed by our Creator,” in addition to forging innovative partnerships for the advancement of the Millennium Development Goals.

To do this, UPF is working in collaboration with governments, faith-based organizations, NGOs, and academic institutions, providing a value-centered and God-centered vision of peace. We are calling upon leaders from all sectors of society and people of good conscience to join forces and initiate a new “Great Awakening” which can set the direction of this century and millennium to be an era of global peace. Will you join us in this task?

Ladies and gentlemen, the task of promoting true interfaith understanding is an urgent priority for our world. Before we call ourselves Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Confucian; before we see ourselves as black, white, or yellow, or identify ourselves as American, Korean, or Chinese, we are all the sons and daughters of God and members of his eternal family.

The family as the school of love

We say “One Family under God” because the family is the cornerstone of peace. First, it is universal. Regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality and religion we are all members of families.

Secondly, the family represents the most intimate of human relationships. We use familial terms to describe the closeness of any relationship saying, “that person is like my father, like my mother, my brother, my sister, my son and like my daughter.” In short, the family should be the school of love where we learn to love all humanity in its richness and diversity.

Marriage and family are the fundamental building blocks of any society, but every nation in the world is in grave danger of losing this most valuable tradition. Divorce and family breakdown are at an all-time high. Every nation faces major challenges with its youth. The social and economic cost of the breakdown of the family is staggering.

The healing of the family is a spiritual task. We must make it our priority to bring God back into every family. When God is the center of our families, all our other problems will fade away. Let us create “One Family under God,” one family at a time!

A culture of service

Building a culture of service is another core goal and a vital step for peace. There is something deeply spiritual in serving others. It is not something we should do for only 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.

That is why we are promoting a spirit of volunteerism and peaceful cooperation around the world. Communities and nations are being transformed through our efforts to build a culture of service rooted in the peace philosophy of “living for the sake of others.”

I’d like to see people of all nations build on these efforts and create a grassroots movement that will spread into a global culture of serving others. Taking this one step further, I’d like to see volunteer partners representing nations and religions from around the world joining together to establish a global service alliance.

Imagine young people from enemy nations and from different faiths working side by side in service! Any initial misunderstandings and suspicions would fade away as they sweat, cry and laugh together with a common purpose and cause.

Call to Action

The dream of “One Family under God” will be the clarion call of our age! As Reverend Moon 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 with the Will of God can quell the turmoil of conflict throughout the world. It can end the strife and poverty of Africa, the conflict in the Middle East, and the final remnant of the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula. It is only as one family under God that we can solve the economic and moral crisis that is engulfing our societies and usher in an age of justice and equity for all nations.

The Universal Peace Federation and its Ambassadors for Peace are already putting these principles into action all over the world. In the Middle East, for example, Universal Peace Federation’s interfaith gatherings are helping Christians, Muslims, and Jews to rediscover 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.

In South Asia, our Peace Initiative played a crucial role in bringing the Maoist opposition and governmental forces into peaceful coalition, ending years of bloody conflict. Our UPF Representative in Nepal now has a busy portfolio as a member of the newly created unity government. We have also had many other breakthroughs in the Balkans, the South Caucasus, and in Mindanao, Philippines.

The Universal Peace Federation wants to support the mission and work of UNESCO. There is so much that we share in common, with emphases on peace building, education, values, ethics, interfaith cooperation, and human development.

This is a time of new hope. With God’s grace, as surely as light overcomes the darkness, an era of peace and prosperity will emerge from the depths of distrust and hatred as we work together as one family. Together, let us 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 France! Thank you very much!