The Words of the Marsh Family
The Universal Peace Federation fully affirms and supports the United Nations' annual International Day of Peace. In 2010, UPF chapters around the world will join with UN agencies and with other NGOs in observations and celebrations of this day. In both 2008 and 2009, UPF hosted and participated in more than 40 such programs, and this year is expected to be equally active.
At the same time, UPF is concerned that the themes of past Days of Peace have on occasion focused narrowly on the externals of weapons reduction and nuclear disarmament. Important though these goals are, there is a danger of missing a more important truth, eloquently stated in the UNESCO Constitution written just after World War II in 1945:
"Since wars begin in the minds of man, it is in the minds of man that the defenses of peace must be constructed."
The UN's task to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" is of course not just the task of the United Nations but the entire human family.
Human conflict and the resort to arms and weapons have their roots in the breakdown of human relationships and the human failure to live up to our highest ideals and aspirations. Violence is a symptom of a moral and spiritual failure. If we are to eliminate violence and weapons of mass destruction, we must commit ourselves to a moral and spiritual awakening.
Lasting peace is secured not only through the reduction of weapons and arsenals but, more importantly, by the growth in solidarity among the whole human family and a recognition that we are all brothers and sisters who share a common spiritual and moral heritage. We are one family under God. It is this understanding that gives rise to the collective will to put an end to violent conflict.
Religion has profound relevance and significance in the effort to secure human rights. Religions teach that we share a common origin, the source of our sacred value and our rights as human beings. Religions teach of the value of each human being and the need to love and serve others. With increasing spiritual awareness, there emerges a great collective will to ensure the well being of all people. As such, we should advance the universal values found in the teachings of all the world's great religions.
At the same time, we must recognize the unfortunate and unpleasant truth that many, even most, of today's violent conflicts are exacerbated by religious disputes. Religions have too often failed to live up to their ideals of peace and the common good.
Therefore, on this occasion of the International Day of Peace 2010, the UPF once again calls for the establishment of an Inter-religious Council at the United Nations, both as a venue where the world's faiths can meet together in peace to address areas of conflict and friction and as a forum where wisdom and insight can be shared in hopes of helping the UN meet its many difficult challenges.
New York, September 21, 2010