The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 3
The Ground Zero Imam and Interfaith Explosion
The U.N. has long been obsessed with “Interfaith” this and that… trying to cram all religions together into a big batch of New Agey mush… (and perhaps injecting it with the green tinge of Gaia/Earth worship?)
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is involved with at least two of these U.N.-connected Interfaith organizations: the Interfaith Center of New York… (he’s a Vice Chair of the Center) and the Temple of Understanding…
In October, Imam Rauf will apparently be attending “The Interfaith Visionary Call To Action Conference on Sustainable Development” along with Keynote Speaker Van Jones. It’s in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Temple of Understanding.
65 Interfaith Visionaries
In honor of its 50th Anniversary
the TOU is hosting an historic conference
The Interfaith Visionary Call To Action Conference on Sustainable Development
The leaders of international interfaith organizations, along with other eminent interfaith visionaries, are convening for the first time in 50 years to explore the role of the interfaith movement in addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 · The Pierre Hotel · NYC
Keynote Speaker – Van Jones
My Prediction: Imam Rauf decided to pick a spot near Ground Zero so that there would be an outcry… and he’ll keep stringing this along until one day when he’ll do the “honorable” and “right thing”: announce that instead of an Islamic Community Center which promotes Interfaith Understanding, he’ll build an Interfaith Center devoted equally to all religions… and the crowds will cheer and people will actually be happy about an Interfaith Center… maybe for the first time ever…
Normally, the whole Interfaith thing hasn’t seemed, to me, to go over too well with conservatives… but not anymore… (Bill O’Reilly was calling for an Interfaith Center just tonight) and especially after Glenn Beck‘s big embracing of multiple religions together praying and locking arms at his recent Rally…
“The story of America is the story of human kind. Five thousand years ago…God’s chosen people were led out of bondage…Man first began to recognize God and God’s law. The chosen people listened to the Lord. At the same time those things were happening, on this side on this land another group of people were gathered here. And they too were listening to God,” said Beck.
As he spoke, two Native Americans appeared behind him to stand next to a rabbi. They were followed by a white preacher.
Facing these three individuals with arms outreached, Beck said, “God’s chosen people, the Native Americans and the pilgrims.”
Beck claimed, “When people came together of different faiths… the first thing they did was to pray together.” [...]
Beck said that 240 years ago America had the ‘black-robed regiment,’ preachers who opposed the British and were among the first killed by the British.
‘The black-robed regiment is back again today,’ said Beck.
On cue, 240 men and women marched up and stood behind him. Obediently with arms linked on the front row were Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land and fundamentalist pastor John Hagee. Religious-right mythmaker David Barton stood next to Sarah Palin…
At his rally last weekend on the Washington Mall, Fox News host Glenn Beck brought 240 clergy onstage. Harkening back to the Revolutionary War, Beck called the group a “Black Robe Regiment.” He said the clergy “all locked arms saying the principles of America need to be taught from the pulpit.”
The Black Robe Regiment included prominent evangelicals including James Dobson and Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, according to Beck. [...]
Land also told National Public Radio that the rally was neither political nor sectarian. “We had rabbis praying. We had Catholic priests praying. We had Muslim imams praying and participating. We had Protestant Christians,” said Land. “And [Beck] kept saying over and over again: This is not a political event, and politics is not the answer. The answer is spiritual renewal and rebuilding a civil society one person; one family; one church, mosque, synagogue, temple and one community at a time.” [...]
Breakpoint’s Diane Singer also questioned the rally. She was “disquieted” because Beck is a Mormon. She wrote, “If you’re like me and believe [Mormons] have been deceived into following ‘another Jesus,’ then perhaps you share my concerns. I want REAL revival to come to America, which means it must be based on Truth, not deception.”
During the ‘Restoring Honor’ rally on 8-28-10, Glenn Beck announced the re-emergence of America’s “black-robed regiment.” [...]
While the original black-robed regiment was exclusively Christian (and Protestant), this new brigade is not: [...]
Let’s summarize what he have so far: The black-robed regiment is back again today to turn the heart of the nation back to God, God is the answer. But this effort isn’t Christian, it isn’t political, and it isn’t sectarian. It includes Catholic priests, rabbis, Muslim imams, all working toward spiritual renewal and the rebuilding of a civil society one person; one family; one church, mosque, synagogue, temple and one community at a time because there is no right God or wrong God.
The aims of the new black-robed regiment appear to work quite nicely with these objectives:
- To promote, encourage and support engagement between Jews, Christians and Muslims both individually and through their respective communities through dialogue, education and research.
- To promote and facilitate the education of the public in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths and belief and in particular to advance the knowledge and understanding of: the teachings, traditions and practices of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths; the shared history of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths; both the common ground shared by the faiths and the theological, philosophical, cultural, political, and economic bases of and differences between the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths and communities.
- To promote for the benefit of the public, religious harmony between Jews, Christians and Muslims by encouraging among them a greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s distinctive faith, beliefs, and practices and their common ground. And to this end also to promote friendship, goodwill and mutual trust among them.
These are the objectives of The Coexist Foundation, an organization which has typically been despised by conservatives and evangelicals.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are one in the same. That’s according to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque. And New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg agrees.
In a 2003 speech at a memorial service for slain journalist Daniel Pearl, Rauf claimed that based on the “common ground of our faiths,“ he has ”always been” a Jew and a Christian.
“If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul: ‘Shma Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One,’” Rauf said, “not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one.”
Last week, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (who is Jewish) supported the statement. At a dinner he hosted to commemorate Ramadan, Bloomberg added, “In that spirit, let me declare that we in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been.”
But equating Islam with Judaism and Christianity is considered by some Jews and Christians as a gross misinterpretation.
“To claim that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are essentially the same thing ignores the fact that they make competing theological claims about God, humanity, and the relationship between the two,” says Darian Lockett, assistant professor of biblical and theological studies at BIOLA University in Los Angeles. “Though these three monotheistic religions share a connection to Abraham, these three groups make significantly different claims about God.”
Additionally, by claiming to be all three, Lockett argues, Rauf strips each faith of its specific truth claim: “Christianity focuses upon the finished work of Christ as the only path to God, while Judaism focuses on following Torah and Islam demands following the law of Allah as a means to salvation.” Rauf’s statement, he adds, is grossly contradictory.
Although burning Koran didn’t happen, it already caused many backlashes.
Not only it intensified the confrontation between Christians and Moslems, but also caused the One World Religion Movement to arise.
Many leaders of all different religions including many cults came out, got together to use this opportunity, and openly supported the unification movement of all religions.
And as I watched the news today, I was shocked to see that some Christian churches offered their services this Sunday to bless Koran saying “we are serving the same God.”
just a few examples:
East Lansing, Michigan:
East Lansing Quran reading a big success, church officials say
EAST LANSING – Whether it was the rain or for some other reason, the protestors stayed away from All Saints Episcopal Church on Sept. 11.
Upwards of 350 people – parishioners, Muslim visitors and community members – did not.
For two hours, the crowd – which filled the pews, folding chairs at the back of the sanctuary and the choir loft – heard verses from the Quran in both Arabic and English. [...]
“We felt the entire event was an incredible blessing,” Midzalkowski said. “We felt a lot of love shared throughout the community. To me, it looked a lot like what I hope heaven looks like.”
Midzalkowski said word of the event apparently spread quickly throughout the wider Muslim community, including a group who arrived from Ohio about 90 minutes into the reading and spoke to Carlson afterward.
The congregation has committed itself to more interfaith events in the future, Midzalkowski added.
from John McTernan:
It seems that 911 has created another milestone for America. It has opened the doors for apostate Christianity to merge with Islam and other false religions. Many churches throughout the country joined with Muslims. The move toward a one-world religion is now heading into high-gear.
As 18 doves flew into the skies over the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Saturday night, more than 100 diverse Sacramentans blessed copies of the Quran with roses of love.
Again and again they uttered the refrain, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” at the entrance to the downtown church framed by white statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. A musician with a white guitar accompanied them.
Representatives of Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, B’hai, Mormon, Sikh, Vedic Druid and Muslim beliefs read scriptures from the great religious texts – including six verses from the Quran calling for all faiths to live in harmony.
Irfan Haq, speaking on behalf of Sacramento’s Muslims, told the rose bearing crowd outside the cathedral, “On this day September 11 – this day of infamy and darkness – what we are witnessing is a new beginning for Sacramento, for America – this is the America the world needs to see.”
Kentucky: Church Plans 24 Hour Reading of Koran on September 11th…
Louisville religious groups are planning events in opposition to that. Clifton Universalist Unitarian Church will host a continuous reading of the Quran on Sept. 11 from 9:11 a.m. to 9:11 p.m. The same day, Interfaith Paths to Peace plans displays and readings from the sacred texts of various world religions on such topics as peace and cooperation at 11:30 a.m. at Highland Baptist Church.
Raleigh, North Carolina:
Interfaith Alliance Sponsors Quran Reading At Raleigh Church
About 80 people answered a call from the Interfaith Alliance of Wake County for a show of unity at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh Saturday.
Reverend Nancy Petty, the church’s pastor, invited Muslims, Jews, and people of other faiths to a Quran reading to mark the anniversary of 9/11. It was also a response to the pastor in Florida who had threatened to burn the Quran on 9/11 – and then called off the burning.
Churches read from Quran in face of proposed Quran burning
Rev. Larry Reimer’s says there’s a simple message at the core of his faith: people have more in common than they have in conflict.
It’s one reason he chose to have a passage from the Quran read at the United Church of Gainesville, part of the United Church of Christ, on Sunday.
And he wasn’t alone.
More than 20 religious leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds around Gainesville had the same Quran passage read – along with Christian and Hebrew scriptures– at their congregations over the weekend. Local synagogues made it part of their Rosh Hashanah celebrations. [...]
Reimer plans to continue connections with clergy from other faiths. A group of religious leaders will meet in October in Gainesville to try to improve interfaith relations.
“My whole ministry, my whole faith is designed around the sense that we have much to learn from each other that we are a common family and that our division is not among religions but it is among fanatics and extremists on both sides that we have to overcome,” Reimer said.
Church chooses reading the Koran over burning it
An interfaith family has inspired the First Christian Church in Covington to host a “Read the Quran Day.”
The plan for the 10:45 a.m. Sunday worship service is a response to plans of a church in Florida to burn the holy book of Islam on Saturday.
“This is personal for us,” said the Rev. Patricia Hatfield, pastor of the church located at 14 W. Fifth St., Covington.
“Our plan is to keep it simple,” she said. “This is a teaching moment, so it won’t be a big proclamation, just a few readings from the Quran.”
Barre church embraces Islam through Quran reading
Churchgoers in Barre this morning will look to extinguish the cultural flames fanned by a Florida pastor’s threat to burn copies of the Quran.
Instead of burning the Muslim holy book, area pastors will head to the First Church in Barre, Universalist, to read it.
“We felt like it was a wonderful opportunity for people to get together and learn about the Quran rather than making judgments without information about what the teachings really are,” said the Rev. M’Ellen Kennedy, who preaches at Unitarian Universalist churches in Washington and Strafford.
Chaska church to have Koran read during service
But at least one Chaska church has opposite plans – to have a Koran read during its church service.
During Rally Sunday, the first Sunday of the new church program year, the Rev. Gordon Stewart, with Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska, plans to have a guest read from the Koran, the sacred book of Islam. The service begins at 9:30 a.m.
Rolling Hills, California:
Church in Rolling Hills plans to hold ‘Quran reading’ Saturday
Reacting to Saturday’s planned — but now tentatively canceled — Quran burning in Florida, leaders at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in Rolling Hills Estates have decided to hold a ‘Quran reading” event, which will take place whether or not the Florida event takes place.
In Topeka, the Rev. Lisa Schwartz plans to join many church leaders nationwide by including a Qur’an reading during Sunday services. “It’s just to affirm that the Qur’an is a positive source of religious wisdom, like many works of scripture,” said Schwartz, of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
A Nonviolent Protest: Read from the Qur’an this Sunday
So, following a recommendation from The Network for Spiritual Progressives, I plan to read publicly from the Qur’an at my congregation’s Sunday morning worship service this week to honor what others would burn. Hating the Florida pastor only continues the downward spiral toward violence. I hope that reading publicly from the Qur’an will be a small act of love and solidarity toward my Muslim sisters and brothers.
A Florida church plans to burn the Quran on Sept. 11, but an Irvine church will be blessing the Muslim holy book the next day.
The Irvine United Congregational Church, which has hosted both a synagogue and a mosque in its facilities, will invite members and visitors to honor the Quran during regularly scheduled services at 8:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., at 4915 Alton Parkway.
“Muslims are simply walking a different path than us up the same mountain in order to build a right relationship with God,” said the Rev. Paul Tellstrom of the decision. “Our congregation desires to stand with Muslim brothers and sisters who find themselves and their faith assaulted and disparaged.”
“The mosque and community center near Ground Zero should not be enshrined as a battleground of discord, but rather be transformed into an inter-faith center for reconciliation and peace-containing nondenominational houses of worship to be shared by Muslims, Christians and Jews,” Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1, wrote in a commentary Monday in the New York Daily News.
“Its purpose – to bring us closer together, not split us further apart – could be reaffirmed in modified plans.”
Menin, who voted in May to support the development of an Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, acknowledged that the project has become “a symbol of discord and dissidence.”
She expressed her desire to see the $100 million project transformed into an interfaith center for reconciliation and peace as a way of bridging the gap in what has become a national debate.
Here’s an Interfaith U.N. event that Imam Feisal participated in:
Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace
Wednesday, 22 June 2005, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Conference Room 4, UN Headquarters, New York
Enhancing Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation towards Peace in the 21 st Century
This conference is organized by the tripartite convening group composed of Governments: Argentina, Bangladesh, Gambia, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Spain and Tunisia; UN System organizations: UNESCO, UN/DESA and the World Bank; and Civil Society led by the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN, with the Baha’i International Community, Temple of Understanding, United Methodist Church, United Religions Initiative, and World Peace Prayer Society.
AFTERNOON SESSION ( 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p .m. )
“Exploring strategies to enhance interfaith cooperation for sustainable peace”
Dr. Maleeha Lodhi – High Commissioner for Pakistan in London
Mr. Giandomenico Picco – CEO and Chairman, GDP Associates and Former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations
Ambassador Dr. Gunter Mulack – Commissioner for Dialogue with the Islamic World ( Germany )
Dr. Josef Boehle – Coordinator, UNESCO Chair f or Interfaith Studies , University of Birmingham
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf - Chairman, The Cordoba Initiative Founder, American Society for Muslim Advancement
I quote this just to show that he has been involved in some way with the Temple of Understanding:
Imam Feisal draws many other parallels between Islam and a free democratic society, all the while emphasizing that there is little in the way of guidance for Muslims in regard to Western cultural issues. One delightful anecdote he provides as a participant in the Temple of Understanding’s “Religion in a Global Context” lecture series, is the problem of language. Eskimos, he says, have close to sixty words for snow, words that mean new snow and fresh snow, for example. Muslims have only one word for snow: ice. This leads to the more complex issue of the tendency among Westerners to describe “everything Muslims do as Islamic: our art, architecture, religion, and our criminals.” He notes that Westerners don’t refer to their society and culture as the “Christian world.”
Speaking of the Temple of Understanding, Would you like to see the next generation of young World Citizens singing for peace? joyously waving flags from all nations? and reciting an ode to the new ObamaNation where the world is finally post-racial? Well then, by all means, check out this page and watch the video entitled “Season For Non-Violence 2009″
the video description:
The 12th Annual Season for Nonviolence Conference at the United Nations took place on March 19th, 2009.
you’ll also be treated to an example of the UN’s beloved Interfaithism as you watch a young man inexplicably bring Jesus into an explanation about his Jain religion:
Jainism [...] is an ancient religion of India that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called Jina (Conqueror or Victor).
dialogue from video:
“Ahimsa” is restraining yourself from violence. It is impossible to live a life without committing any violence. But we can control the amount of violence that we commit. When we practice ahimsa, everybody is happy. God gave us the wonderful gift of life, so why should we take life away? Or make it more miserable? You might think that it is acceptable to retaliate with violence, against violence. But as Jesus, practicing his own version of ahimsa, once said to turn the other cheek. Forgive the person. Cause an eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind.
Interested in reading a little write-up which combines the Temple of Understanding, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the UN, more Interfaithism, as well as some Earth/Gaia worship? well here it is, straight from the Temple of Understanding website:
In 1975 the Temple of Understanding held its Fifth Spiritual Summit Conference at St. John the Divine, NYC which culminated with a panel and the presentation of a report to the United Nations about the value of interfaith dialogue. Included in this gathering was the first representative of the Native American traditions, Phillip Deere, Elder of the Muskogee-Creek people and a central figure in the American Indian Movement. In his presentation, he talked of the earth as our mother. The perspective of the Native American traditional ways was new to the interfaith movement at that time and it brought with it an awakening of the ecological consciousness that some of the other religions were lacking.
Later in 1984 at the Sixth Spiritual Summit Conference in New York, Phillip Deere and other representatives of these traditions as well as the eco-theologian Father Thomas Berry continued to develop this awareness of the earth as a living being ; just as the trees and plants have a consciousness, so does the earth. Out of these summits a new way of looking at the relationship between faith traditions and ecology began to develop. In 1988 in Oxford, UK, The Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders and the Temple of Understanding convened a conference on ” Human Survival”. Among other issues, environmental degradation was high on the agenda of this gathering of scientists, theologians, religious leaders and politicians. Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation and Thomas Banyacya, Hopi Prophesy Spokesperson addressed the audience with a moving plea for a new era of care for the earth.
Dr. James Lovelock presented his new Gaia Theory scientifically proving that the earth is a living organism, to this same group, some members of which included Mother Teresa, His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, and Father Thomas Berry.
Temple of Understanding Board and staff attended the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio. At that time hopes were high that a new spirit of cooperation between governments, NGO’s and environmental groups would turn the tide of ecological devastation facing our world. Now sixteen years later, it is clear that multinational corporations have not been reigned in and that the continuing plunder of our earth’s resources seems to have no bounds. Those forces trying to stop this destruction have been powerless. The United Nations has made the Environment Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals but the reality is that serious work needs to be done. The real question is who is going to take this on?
The Temple of Understanding is working on a new Partnership of Faiths for the Environment. It is our belief that this is a moral dilemma that includes social justice, equity and ecological sustainability. The only keepers of justice and moral obligations are the religions of the world. Governments have shown their inadequacy in this area without the support of a moral religious conviction. It is our hope that the Partnership of Faiths for the Environment will be effective in leading world governments towards a new vision of equity and sustainability.
Imam Rauf, the UN, and the Aspen Institute:
Cordoba was formed as non-profit in Aspen, Colorado in 2004 and secured its incorporation status as a 501(c)(3) in New York in April 2009, The corporation was established for the purpose of improving Muslim and Western relations. ASMA is acting as a fiscal agent and is developing Cordoba’s ability to function independently. Although Cordoba is a separate corporation, it will continue to work with ASMA as a sister organization sharing the same infrastructure, space, utilities, vendor services and co-sponsorship of programs to remain fiscally lean and keep operational costs low for both
ASMA received $53,664.00 from UNFPA (the U.N. Population Fund)
John S. Bennett – Co-founder and Executive Director of the Cordoba Initiative. He was previously founding Executive Director of the Garrison Institute, whose mission is to apply the wisdom of the world’s great contemplative traditions to issues of civil society. He also serves as vice chair of the board of trustees of Naropa University, America’s premiere institution of contemplative education.
In 2001, Bennett retired from his position as vice president of the Aspen Institute. While in that position, he helped rebuild the relationship between the Institute and the Aspen community and greatly increased the Institute’s activities and programs in its Aspen home. In doing so, Bennett pioneered new ways to bring the Institute’s tradition of enlightened civil dialogue to bear on significant issues facing individual lives. [...]
In 1999, Bennett completed his fourth term as Mayor of Aspen, Colorado. During his four terms in office, he focused on critical issues of building & preserving community – the challenge of maintaining the character, values & livability of a small city under enormous economic pressure to grow and change.
some Cordoba Initiative History with the Aspen Institute:
2003 August: When Cultures Collide: Can We Build Dialogue?
The Cordoba Initiative, in collaboration with the Aspen Institute, presented a program focused on intercultural understanding and multi-faith dialogue in Paepcke Auditorium on the Institute’s Aspen campus. The program – When Cultures Collide: Can We Build Dialogue? – was introduced by John Bennett of the Cordoba Initiative and moderated by Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. Panelists included: Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield, vice president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL); Elaine Pagels, award-winning author and Princeton professor of religion; and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative. [...]
2004 August: When Cultures Collide: Facing Religious Extremism in All Faiths
The Cordoba Initiative, in collaboration with the Aspen Institute, presented the second annual When Cultures Collide program, focused this time on religious extremism, and organized again by John Bennett. Panelists included author Peter J. Gomes, Harvard professor and Minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church; Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield, vice president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL); Princeton religion scholar Elaine Pagels; and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of ASMA and the Cordoba Initiative. Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson moderated. The Institute’s Paepcke Auditorium was filled to capacity and additional audience members had to listen via remote speakers outside the auditorium.
Shashi Tharoor is Under-Secretary-General of United Nations for Communications and Public Information since January 2001. Prior to his current role, Mr. Tharoor served as Director of Communications and Special Projects in the Office of the Secretary-General and as Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General (1997-2001). He was Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations from 1989-1996. Mr. Tharoor’s United Nations career began in 1978 on the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. Mr. Tharoor is also the author of eight books, as well as numerous articles. He is also the recipient of several journalism and literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In January 1998, Mr. Tharoor was named by the World Economic Forum as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow”. Mr. Tharoor was educated in India and the United States, completing a Ph.D in 1978 at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners.
With the furor over his custody at least temporarily subsided, Elian may actually be getting a chance to be a regular kid again. Holed up at the Aspen Institute’s Wye River estate, a 1,100-acre retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Elian is playing with schoolmates from Cuba while getting bombarded by huge lots of toys from well-wishers.
Maurice F. Strong is/was on the Council of Honorary Trustees at the Aspen Institute…
he was in 2004, at least…
the first UN meeting on the environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. This was the world’s first “state of the environment” report.
The Stockholm Conference established the environment as part of an international development agenda. It led to the establishment by the UN General Assembly in December 1972 of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and the election of Strong to head it. UNEP was the first UN agency to be headquartered in the third world.
His role in leading the UN’s famine relief program in Africa was the first in a series of UN advisory assignments, including reform and his appointment as Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Environment and Development—best known as the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992. According to Strong participants at the Rio Conference adapted sound principles but did not make a commitment to action sufficient to prevent global environmental tragedy, committing to spend less than 5% of the $125 billion he felt appropriate for environmental projects in developing nations. He was seconded in that opinion by U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali who stated to the delegates, “The current level of commitment is not comparable to the size and gravity of the problems,”
After the Earth Summit, Strong continued to take a leading role in implementing the results of agreements at the Earth Summit through establishment of the Earth Council, the Earth Charter movement…
The Cordoba Initiative lists one of its three major partners as the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations. The Alliance has its roots in the Iranian-driven “Dialogue Among Civilizations,” thebrainchild of former Iranian President Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami. Khatami is now a member of the High-level Group which “guides the work of the Alliance.” His personal presidential qualifications include the pursuit of nuclear weapons, a major crackdown on Iranian media, and rounding up and imprisoning Jews on trumped-up charges of spying. Alliance reports claim Israel lies at the heart of problems associated with “cross-cultural relations,” since the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories … are primary causes of resentment and anger in the Muslim world toward Western nations.”
Although the small sun-filled penthouse, reached through a well-hidden set of stairs from above the 15th floor of a modest but chic building on Fifth Avenue in New York City; has its own special aura, it is not a Zen palace as one might imagine. The offices of the Temple of Understanding, the oldest global interfaith organization in the United States, may be a far cry from the grand building envisioned by its founder, but the global interfaith movement, which includes spiritual traditions as diverse as Jainism, Christianity and Native American, continues to promote dialogue and understanding among all the religions of the world.
The Temple of Understanding was the brainchild of Juliet Hollister, an American housewife who, while eating a peanut-butter sandwich with a friend one day, happened to wonder what the world would be like if the many different religions began conversing instead of feuding. Ms. Hollister began to form a vision of an organization that would promote understanding among the world’s religions, recognize the oneness of the human family and achieve a “spiritual United Nations“. Through prayer and determination, she attracted such prominent supporters as Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Schweitzer, Jawaharlal Nehru, Pope John XXIII, Anwar el-Sadat and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant. In 1960, the Temple of Understanding came into being.
The Temple knows it still has a long way to go in realizing that vision of an American housewife, but it continues to sustain her hope which informs its mission and work. Sister Joan Kirby, the current Executive Director of the Temple of Understanding, believes that the organization evolved essentially as a mobilizing force, with only a small staff and no actual “temple”, for a reason: its longevity is due in part to the fact that it is not a centralized entity, as spirituality cannot be institutionalized or localized. In fact, since 1968, the Temple has sponsored six “Spiritual Summit” conferences, producing a worldwide network of spiritual leaders, all devoted to the principles of the interfaith movement, whose modem character can be most easily traced back to the first World’s Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, United States, in 1893. It has progressed from the creation of a model of interfaith cooperation to generating understanding and a sense of unity among religious traditions, which nonetheles s retained their individual belief systems and autonomy.
The Temple collaborates in innovative ways with the United Nations, including sponsoring since 1997, together with the Interfaith Center of New York, an interfaith prayer service at the annual opening of the UN General Assembly session. [...]
Interfaith work, including the necessary funding for its implementation, has at times been challenged by conservative religious elements that maintain an absolute allegiance to their own religious truths, precluding respect for other spiritual traditions and further insulating religious groups, the very issue the interfaith movement seeks to address, according to the Temple Programme Director, Bevin Deiters. One way in which the Temple has responded to the problem is through a yearly programme called “Spirituality and Different Religious Traditions”, which allows adult students to experience the spiritual and meditative practices of seven different religious traditions in the New York area.
Why is the work of the Temple of Understanding and the interfaith movement of particular relevance to the United Nations? My feeling is that this has much to do with the concept of the “oneness of the human family“. The United Nations and its partners will increasingly need to rely on the commonalities that link people and communities all over the world.
The need for laying aside differences and embracing the links that bind us is nowhere more urgent than in my own field–the prevention of and planning for the impact of HIV/AIDS. When Noerine Kaleeba started The AIDS Support Organization in Uganda in 1987, in addition to spearheading an important component–grass roots mobilization–of the worldwide response to HIV, she also created a movement that emphasized the fact that we are all living with HIV, whether infected or uninfected. The spiritual element of this reality is essential and undeniable. Loving and assisting other human beings–be they male or female, African or Asian, HIV-positive or negative-is the earthly manifestation of the divine force that links us all together as global citizens.
just can’t ever escape that New Age Oneness concept when you’re talking about the U.N…
The Temple of Understanding website has a couple of videos about their organization… they are called: “Journeys To Peace” and “We Are One“
Lastly, here’s a little snippet from a Pajamas Media article from Walid Shoebat:
Pajamas Media has uncovered extraordinary contradictions between what he says in English and what he says in Arabic that raise serious questions about his true intentions in the construction of the mosque.
On May 25, 2010, Abdul Rauf wrote an article for the New York Daily News insisting:
My colleagues and I are the anti-terrorists. We are the people who want to embolden the vast majority of Muslims who hate terrorism to stand up to the radical rhetoric. Our purpose is to interweave America’s Muslim population into the mainstream society. [emphasis added]
Only two months before, on March 24, 2010, Abdul Rauf is quoted in an article in Arabic for the website Rights4All entitled “The Most Prominent Imam in New York: ‘I Do Not Believe in Religious Dialogue.’”
Yes, you read that correctly and, yes, that is an accurate translation of Abdul Rauf. And Right4All is not an obscure blog, but the website of the media department of Cairo University, the leading educational institution of the Arabic-speaking world.
In the article, the imam said the following of the “religious dialogue” and “interweaving into the mainstream society” that he so solemnly seems to advocate in the Daily News and elsewhere:
This phrase is inaccurate. Religious dialogue as customarily understood is a set of events with discussions in large hotels that result in nothing. Religions do not dialogue and dialogue is not present in the attitudes of the followers, regardless of being Muslim or Christian. The image of Muslims in the West is complex which needs to be remedied.
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 1
UN Climate Change Summit (COP15) Copenhagen, December 2009
Church bells ringing out warning on climate change! pagan “Christian” church service complete with altar full of corn, coral, and rocks… Eco-fraud Rachel Carson and DDT, lots of Interfaithism, New Age, and Paganism
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 2
United Nations World Urban Forum (WUF3) 2006 Vancouver
UN participants wanting to Rezone-Out Churches and Rezone-in Interfaith Community Centers? Thanks, U.N.! David Suzuki calling us maggots, whiny eco-gal Severn Suzuki, fun with paganism, burning a 14 foot demon effigy, the child-eating Rangda leads an army of evil witches!
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 3
The Ground Zero Imam and an Interfaith Explosion
The U.N., Glenn Beck, Temple of Understanding, Aspen Institute, reading the Koran in church, and the Ground Zero Imam… Soooo Interfaithy!!
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 4
Obama/Hillary and Freedom of Religion vs. Freedom of Worship
What’s the deal with Obama’s use of “Freedom of Worship” instead of “Freedom of Religion”?
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 5
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC
The Grand Procession of the Ghouls, Blessing of the bicycles, the creepy Peace Fountain, The Peace Altar, Paul Winter’s Earth Mass and Summer/Winter Solstice concert, Blessing of the Animals, Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, The Temple of Understanding, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, William Irwin Thompson, The Lindisfarne Association, Madeleine L’Engle, Rev. James Parks Morton, United Nations Sunday, and Christa: a crucifix depicting Christ as a woman… and more!
The UN Meddling with Religion, Part 6
UN Climate Change Summit (COP16) Cancun, Nov/Dec 2010
The Invoking of Ixchel, lots of meditating/Circular Dancing/and Sacred Sunrise Ceremonies, Mayan Mania/drama at Chichen Itza/and a whole bunch of fun with Brahma Kumaris… Mother Earth is the lady of the hour and boy do those Indigenous Peoples sure know how to complain…
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 7
1992 Earth Summit in Rio
Invoking Iemanja the “goddess” of the sea, Shirley MacLaine meditating with the Dalai Lama, John Denver crooning, Shamans threatening Bush Sr. with that Shamany thing they do best, drinking hallucinogenic tea, thanking bananas as they are eaten, Maurice Strong and his wife Hanne and her Wisdom Keepers keeping up a constant drumbeat throughout the proceedings, John Kerry (of Vietnam fame) making a love connection!
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 8
Actual Evil Within the United Nations
Lucifer-revering New Age Theosophy/ the UN Meditation Room/ Lucis Publishing Company used to be named the Lucifer Publishing Company? Really??/ Theosophy groups meditating inside the UN Meditation Room according to the changing of the moon/ the Lucis Trust evil prayer The Great Invocation was once published in Reader’s Digest? Really??/ UN’s General Assembly room contains a being called The Avatar of Synthesis? Really??/ UN Catholic chapel and Interfaith chapel.
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 9
Cooperation Circles and the United Religions Initiative
Bishop William Swing and his United Religions Initiative/webs of Interfaith Cooperation Circles/Wiccan Donald Frew and his traditional Wiccan foundation blessing while Bishop William Swing joins in and raises his arms in invocation. Sigh.