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T. Walsh: Remarks on 7th Anniversary of the Founding of UPF in Korea

Address at the 7th Anniversary of the Founding of the Universal Peace Federation in Korea
Cheongpyeong, Korea - November 24, 2012

On this anniversary of UPF-Korea, and on behalf of the Universal Peace Federation, I would like to congratulate and express the highest appreciation to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, Co-Founder of the Universal Peace Federation. Together with Father Moon, she launched the Universal Peace Federation in September 2005 at Lincoln Center in New York City. Soon thereafter, Father and Mother Moon began an unprecedented 120-nation tour, opening UPF national chapters in every corner of the world. They travelled to a different city each day, on a relentless schedule that allowed no time for rest. Father and Mother Moon were committed to providing a “roadmap for peace” that governments, religions, and the peoples of the world could embrace to their benefit, or dismiss at their peril. Father Moon was 85 years of age.

Some 85 years earlier, following World War I, the League of Nations held its first council meeting in January 1920 in Paris with some 40 member states, aiming to put an end to war through international cooperation. However, unable to prevent the horrors of World War II, the League lost credibility. It held its last assembly in Geneva in April 1946.

Already, in 1945, with its charter drafted in San Francisco prior to the end of World War II, the United Nations had been launched. Its first General Assembly was convened in January 1946 in London at the Central Hall of the Methodist Church in Westminster.

The ideal of peace, and the ideal of universal solidarity among peoples and nations is rooted in the original mind and heart of each and every human being, each of whom is created as the imago dei, the image of God. Despite the legacy of the human fall and a history of sin and selfishness, the vestiges of God’s goodness cannot be entirely erased from our conscience. Hence, we witness throughout history a tendency toward international cooperation and peace, and the institutional frameworks necessary to bring about those ends. That is why we see the rise of treaties, leagues, and intergovernmental organizations such as the League of Nations and the UN.

Unfortunately, however, the aspiration for peace is not the only trend we find in human history. History is a collective expression of the struggle between good and evil that we find in each human being.

As human beings we have a kind of dual nature, namely, an original nature that derives from God, and a fallen nature that derives from separation from God. This reality has forced us to find a path that steers between utopian idealism, on the one hand, and sober realism, on the other hand. Utopian idealism leads to destruction when it fails to recognize that sin is pervasive in each one of us, requiring vigilant efforts to eradicate its effects. Sober realism also may lead to destruction when it becomes cynical or loses sight of the higher ideals and the potential for goodness that lies within the human heart. One of the great strengths of religions, when functioning at their best, is the wisdom they provide toward understanding, at the deepest level, the limitations and “fallen” attributes of human nature, while at the same time recognizing the capacities for goodness that are made possible though our relationship with God.

The calligraphy that Father Moon wrote at the time of UPF’s founding can be translated as “True love is the philosophy and guiding principle of the Universal Peace Federation.”

What is “true love”? It is not simply an emotional feeling or a good feeling toward some other. After all, often our feelings of love, solidarity, and fondness are rooted in a self-centered love, one that may be limited to those who are members of our own family, tribe, race, or nation. Such a love has led to ethnocentrism, tribalism, racism, nationalism, and plutocratic societies.

Neither is true love a simple call to kindness, reconciliation, or pacifism, for the sake of peace. For, oftentimes, true love requires us to take a strong stand against that which is wrong, evil, corrupt, or unjust. Thus, after all is said and done, true love may often require that we fight for what is right.

We are living in a very dangerous world. Very often, lurking beneath the veneer of diplomatic civility, or hidden within the coded rhetoric of political and even religious discourse, are diabolic strategies for power and domination.

Thus, true love, in order to be effective, must understand not only humanity’s potential for goodness, but also our potential for evil. God understands this tragic reality more than anyone. True love, therefore, is a love that understands and aligns itself with God’s heart and God’s will and God’s providence.

True love’s highest priority is to liberate the heart of God. This was always True Father’s primary objective. More than anyone, he came to know the suffering heart of God, and he opened the way to God’s liberation. It is the completion of that task which is our responsibility.

True love also seeks to understand and align itself with God’s providence. Providence indicates that God is engaged with the world and with the lives of human beings, families, tribes, nations, governments, and religions, always leading and guiding us. Through history---made up of the ideas, decisions, and actions of human beings---God seeks to restore and fulfill his original ideal.    

True Father tried desperately to help us understand the need for an “Abel United Nations.” An “Abel UN” should be a UN that embodies the ideal of true love.

Up until very recently, the ideals of global governance and global administration have been guided by Western secular thought, which, although seldom acknowledged, had its roots in Christian thought and ideals. With the new millennium, however, there has been a shift to a new era in human history, one that centers on the Asia-Pacific. We have heard it said that the 19th century was the century of the British Empire and that the 20th century was America’s century, or, some had said, a “Christian Century.” The 21st century is an “Asian Century.”

However, we know that Asia is not simply a homogenous or monolithic civilizational sphere. Also, Asia, as with the leaders of previous eras, must struggle against its own evil tendencies if it is to rise above the levels of success of its predecessors, rather than descend into various manifestations of our fallen nature.

For this reason, UPF and UPF-Korea stand in a central and critical position to take the lead in establishing the foundation for a new paradigm for international relations, interreligious relations, global governance, and global peace. Father Moon has provided the roadmap. It is our responsibility to build on his foundation.

So much good work has already been accomplished by UPF-Korea in seven years, including the promotion of “Strong Korea,” the “Freedom Society,” and the effort to open the way for dialogue and cooperation between South and North Korea. I also know that efforts have been made by UPF-Korea to encourage improved bilateral relations between Korea and Japan. If successful, such improved relations could form the basis for a wider, regional, multilateral association, union, or league of nations rooted in the UPF vision of Father Moon.

We are indebted to Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon for their leadership and foresight, their wisdom and courage. Today we honor UPF-Korea. Its mission has only begun. May it flourish, growing in strength, wisdom, and capacity each and every day. For the world needs you. Chukahamnida!