The Words of the Reverends Corcoran

World Religious Leaders Challenged to Restructure United Nations

Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International
866 United Nations Plaza, Ste. 529
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-826-8999 FAX 212-826-3352
December 1998

Press Release
Contact: Chris Corcoran 212-997-0050 x213

Washington, DC -- Against the backdrop of the impeachment vote on Capitol Hill and the U.S.-British bombing in Iraq, more than 100 religious scholars gathered here and discussed ways in which the United Nations could be restructured to include representatives of the world's religions.

"Many of the problems we face today are not political and legal but are cultural and religious," said Michael Cromartie, director of the Evangelical Studies Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington and a guest speaker at the weekend conference.

The conference, which included representatives from 29 nations and all major world religions, was sponsored by the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace. The organization's founder, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who is also the leader of the Unification Church, challenged the participants to restructure the United Nations, saying, "The path to world peace will be incomplete if we rely merely on the political, economic and military functions of the United Nations."

These aspects, said Rev. Moon, relate only to physical and material things. "The more internal and spiritual aspects can only be reached through the unity and united actions of the world's religions," he said. "I would like to take this opportunity today to supplement the existing United Nations by establishing a structure in which the U.N. and the leaders of the major world religions can participate together."

"It's really quite doable," said Elisabeth Ruzicka-Dempsy, a conference participant and information officer for the U.N.'s Development and Human Rights section. "If the representatives of the member states agree to it, such a structure could be put into place relatively easily," she said.

"I know of no single person, past or present, who is doing more for the mutual understanding between religions than Rev. Moon," said Prof. Cromwell Crawford, a conference participant who teaches world religions and ethics at the University of Hawaii.

Other notable conference participants included Dr. Leonard Swidler, theology professor at Temple University and editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies; Dr. Ingrid Shafer, professor of philosophy and religion at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma; and a U.N. ambassador .

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