The New World
Order Religious System of the Antichrist
The Global Ethic
It was signed on by the 150 largest religious groups in the world. The bottom line of the whole thing is that if you say that your God is the Only True God, you are fit for nothing but destruction. All the largest religious groupings in the world signed on to this New World, Global, Religious System of the antichrist. The obvious target will be the Jews. The less obvious target is all Bible believing Christians. Christians need to get to know the meaning of Israel, and especially what an oblation is.
While there are several places where you may get a copy of the Global Ethic this one has the people who actually signed it at the Sept. 2-4,1993, Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. You will find many interesting people on this initial list of signers. To name a few that you will find; His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Hon. Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. You will also find 43 other "Christian" leaders along with Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrains, Jains, Jewish, Theosophists, Neo-Pagans, Baha'i, Brahamas, Interfaiths, Taoists, Sikhs, and Unitarians. This is just those signing at the introduction. Supposedly the leadership signers now number over 800 religious leaders.
This Global Ethic often uses the curious grouping of terms "not authentically human." The real bottom line of this document of tolerance (really who will not be tolerated) is: anyone who says their God is the only true God is "not authentically human." It would not be murder to kill someone who is "not authentically human." Make no mistake about it - This is the New World Order Religious System of the Antichrist. To those who have chosen to worship the creature rather than the Creator, they will think that they are doing God service by removing the pollution of "not authentically humans." The Global Ethic was brought forth and signed less than 2 weeks before the 7 year Peace and Safety agreement was signed by Rabin and Arafat on 9/13/93. The file to download is:
Declaration Toward a Global Ethic
by Hans Kung
The Principle of a Global Ethic
I. No Better Global Order Without a Global Ethic
II. A Fundamental Demand: Every Human Being Must Be Treated Humanely
III. Four Irrevocable Directives
IV. A Transformation of Consciousness
The Principle of a Global Ethic
Our world is experiencing a fundamental crisis: a crisis in global economy, global ecology, and global politics. The lack of a grand vision, the tangle of unresolved problems, political paralysis, mediocre political leadership with little insight or foresight, and in general too little sense for the commonweal are seen everywhere. Too many old answers to new challenges.
Hundreds of millions of human beings on our planet increasingly suffer from unemployment, poverty, hunger, and the destruction of their families. Hope for a lasting peace among nations slips away from us. There are tensions between the sexes and generations. Children die, kill, and are killed. More and more countries are shaken by corruption in politics and business. It is increasingly difficult to live together peacefully in our cities because of social, racial, and ethnic conflicts, the abuse of drugs, organized crime, and even anarchy. Even neighbors often live in fear of one another. Out planet continues to be ruthlessly plundered. A collapse of the ecosystem threatens us.
Time and again we see leaders and members of religions incite aggression, fanaticism, hate, and xenophobia - even inspire and legitimate violent and bloody conflicts. Religion often is misused for purely power-political goals, including war. We are filled with disgust.
We condemn these blights and declare that they need not be. An ethic already exists within the religious teachings of the world which can counter the global distress. Of course this ethic provides no direct solution for all the immense problems of the world, but it does supply the moral foundation for a better individual and global order: a vision which can lead women and men away from despair, and society away from chaos.
We are persons who have committed ourselves to the precepts and practices of the world's religions.
We confirm that there is already a consensus among the religions which can be the basis for a global ethic - a minimal fundamental consensus concerning binding values irrevocable standards, and fundamental moral attitudes.
I. No Better Global Order Without a Global Ethic
We men and women of various religions and regions of this earth address here all people, religious and non-religious, for we share the following convictions:
that we all have a responsibility for a better global order;
that involvement for the sake of human rights, freedom, justice, peace and the preservation of the earth is reasonable and necessary;
that our different religious and cultural traditions must not prevent our common involvement in opposing all forms of inhumanity and working for greater humaneness;
that the principles expressed in this Declaration can be affirmed by all humans with ethical convictions, religiously grounded or not.
that we as religious women and men who base our lives on an Ultimate Reality and draw spiritual power and hope therefrom in trust, in prayer or meditation, in word or silence have, however, a very special responsibility for the welfare of all humanity.
After two world wars, the collapse of fascism, Nazism, communism and colonialism and the end of the cold war, humanity has entered a new phase of its history. Humanity today possesses sufficient economic, cultural and spiritual resources to introduce a better global order. But new ethnic, national, social and religious tensions threaten the peaceful building of a better world. Our time has experienced greater technological progress than ever existed before, and yet we are faced with the fact that world-wide poverty, hunger, death of children, unemployment, misery and the destruction of nature have not abated but rather to some extent increased. Many peoples are threatened with economic ruin, social disarray, political marginalization and national collapse.
In such a critical situation humanity needs not only political programs and actions, but also a vision of a peaceful living together of peoples, ethnic and ethical groupings, and religions; it needs hopes, goals, ideals, standards. But these have slipped from the hands of people all over the world. Do not the religions, however, despite their frequent historical failures, bear a responsibility precisely to demonstrate that such hopes, ideals and standards can be grounded, guarded and lived? This is especially true in the modern state: Precisely because it guarantees freedom of conscience and religion it needs binding values, convictions and norms which are valid for all humans regardless of their social origin, skin color, language or religion.
We are convinced of the fundamental unity of the human family. Therefore, we recall to mind the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. What it formally proclaimed on the level of rights we wish to confirm and deepen here from the perspective of an ethic: The full realization of the intrinsic dignity of the human person, of inalienable freedom, of the equality in principle of all humans, and the necessary solidarity of all humans with each other.
On the basis of personal life experiences and the burdensome history of our planet we have learned that a better global order cannot be created or, indeed, enforced with laws, prescriptions and conventions alone;
that the realization of justice in our societies depends on the insight and readiness to act justly;
that action in favor of rights presumes a consciousness of duty, and that therefore both the head and heart of women and men must be addressed;
that rights without morality cannot long endure, and that there will be no better global order without a global ethic.
By a global ethic we do not mean a single unified religion beyond all existing religions, and certainly not the domination of one religion over all others. By global ethic we mean a fundamental consensus on binding values, unconditional standards and personal attitudes. Without such a basic consensus in ethic, every community sooner or later will be threatened by chaos or dictatorship.
II. A Fundamental Demand: Every Human Being Must Be Treated Humanely
However, because we all are fallible men and women with limitations and defects, and because we are aware of the reality of evil, we feel compelled, for the sake of human welfare, to express in this Declaration our convictions about what the fundamental elements of a global ethic should be - for individuals as well as for communities and organizations, for states as well as for religions themselves.
For we trust that our often millennia-old religious and ethical traditions contain sufficient elements of an ethic which are convincing to and practicable for all women and men of good will, religious and non-religious, and which can thus form a common moral foundation for a humane life together on our earth.
At the same time we are aware that our various religions and ethical traditions often offer very different bases for what is helpful and what is unhelpful for men and women, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil. We do not wish to gloss over or ignore the serious differences among the individual religions. However, they should not hinder us from proclaiming publicly those things which we already hold in common now, to which we jointly feel obliged, each on the basis of our own religious or ethical grounds.
We are conscious that religions cannot solve the economic, political and social problems of this earth. However, they can indeed provide what obviously cannot be attained by economic plans, political programs or legal regulations alone: They can effect a change in the inner orientation, the whole mentality, the "hearts," of people and move them to a "conversion" from a false path to a new orientation for life. Religions, however, are able to provide people a horizon of meaning for their lives, ultimate standards and a spiritual home. Of course religions can act credibly only when they eliminate those conflicts which spring from the religions themselves and dismantle mutual hostile images and prejudices, fear and mistrust.
We all know that now as before all over the world women and men are treated inhumanely: They are robbed of their freedom and their opportunities; their human rights are trampled under foot; their human dignity is disregarded. But might does not make right! In the face of all inhumanity our religions and ethical convictions demand that every human being must be treated humanely!
That means that every human being - without distinction of sex, age, race, skin color, language, religion, political view, or national or social origin - possesses an inalienable and untouchable dignity. And everyone, individuals as well as the state, is therefore obliged to honor this dignity and guarantee its effective protection. Humans must always be the subjects of rights, must be ends, never mere means, never objects of commercialization and industrialization in economics, politics and media, in research institutes and industrial undertakings. Also in our age no human being, no social class, no influential interest group, no power cartel and likewise no state stands "beyond good and evil." No, all men and women, as beings with reason and conscience, are obliged to behave in a genuinely human, not inhuman, fashion, to do good and avoid evil!
To clarify what this means concretely is the intention of our Declaration. We wish to recall that ethical norms should be not bonds and chains but helps and supports for humans so that they may always find and realize anew their life's direction, values, orientation and meaning.
For an authentically human attitude we especially call to mind that Golden Rule which is found and has been maintained in many religions and ethical traditions for thousands of years: What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others. Or positively: What you wish done to yourself, do to others! This should be the irrevocable, unconditional norm for all areas of life, for family and communities, for races, nations and religions. Self-determination and self-realization are thoroughly legitimate - so long as they are not separated from human self-responsibility and global-responsibility, from responsibility for fellow humans and nature. Every form of egoism, however, every self-seeking, whether individual or collective, whether in the form of class thinking, racism, nationalism or sexism, is to be rejected. For these prevent humans from being authentically human.
The Golden Rule implies very concrete standards to which we humans should and wish to hold firm when they concern the welfare of either individuals or humanity as a whole. There are above all four ancient guidelines for human behavior which are found in most of the religions of this world. They should be called to mind with a view to a better world order.
III. Four Irrevocable Directives
1. Toward a Culture of Non-violence and Respect for Life Numberless women and men of all regions and religions strive to lead a life that is not determined by egoism but by commitment to their fellow humans and the world around them.
And yet there exists in today's world endless hatred, envy, jealousy and violence not only between individuals but also between social and ethnic groups, between classes, races, nations and religions. The tendency toward the use of violence and organized crime, equipped with new technical possibilities, has reached global proportions. Many places are still ruled by terror, and large as well as small dictators oppress their own people. Even in some democracies prisoners are tortured, men and women are mutilated, hostages killed.
But in the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the teaching: You shall not kill! Or in positive terms: Have respect for life! Concretely that means that no one has the right to torture, injure, and certainly not to kill, any other human being. And no people, no race, no religion has the right to hate, to discriminate, and certainly not to exile or to liquidate a "foreign" minority which is different in behavior, different in belief.
Therefore young people should learn already at home and in school that violence may not be a means of settling differences with others. Only thus can a culture of non-violence be created. All people have a right to life, bodily integrity and the development of personality insofar as they do not injure the rights of others. Of course wherever there are humans there will be conflicts. Such conflicts, however, are to be resolved without violence. This is true for states as well as for individuals, for political power-holders should always commit themselves first of all to non-violent solutions within the framework of an international order of peace - which itself has need of protection and defense against perpetrators of violence. Armament is a mistaken path; disarmament is a commandment of the hour. There is no survival for humanity without peace!
A human person is infinitely precious and must be unconditionally protected. But likewise the lives of animals and plants which inhabit this planet with us deserve protection, preservation and care. As human beings we also have responsibility for the air, water and soil precisely with a view to future generations. The dominance of humanity over nature and the cosmos is not to be propagated, but rather living in harmony with nature and the cosmos is to be cultivated. We speak for a respect for life, for all life.
To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religions and ethical traditions means that in public as well as private life we must not be ruthless and brutal but rather concerned for others and ready to help. Every people, every race, every religion must show tolerance, respect, indeed, high appreciation for every other. Minorities - whether they be racial, ethnic or religious - need our protection and our support.
2. Toward a Culture of Solidarity and a Just Economic Order
Numberless humans in all regions and religions strive even today to live a life in solidarity with one another and a life in work and authentic fulfillment of their vocation. Nevertheless there is in today's world endless hunger, deficiency and need for which not only individuals but even more unjust structures bear responsibility. Millions of men and women are without work, millions are exploited, are forced to the edge of society with possibilities for the future destroyed by poorly paid work. In many lands the gap between the poor and the rich, between the powerful and the powerless is monstrous. In a world in which state socialism as well as profit capitalism have hollowed out many ethical and spiritual values through a purely economic-political view of things, a greed for unlimited profit and a grasping for plunder without end could spread, as well as a materialistic mentality of claims which steadily demands more of the state without obliging oneself to contribute more. The cancerous social evil of corruption has grown in the developing as well as the developed countries.
However, in the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the teaching: You shall not steal! Or in positive terms: Deal honestly! And, in fact, no humans have the right to rob or dispossess - in any manner - other humans or the commonweal.
Conversely, no humans have the right to use their possessions without concern for the needs of society. Where extreme poverty reigns, theft will time and again occur for the sake of survival, if indeed complete helplessness and overwhelming despair have not set in. And where power and wealth is accumulated ruthlessly, feelings of envy, resentment, and yes, deadly hate inevitably will well up in the disadvantaged. This leads all too easily to a diabolic circle of violence and counter-violence. There is no global peace without a global order in justice!
Therefore young people should learn already at home and in school that property, be it ever so small, carries with it an obligation and that its use should at the same time serve the commonweal. Only thus can a just economic order be built up. But if the plight of the poorest billions of humans, particularly women and children, is to be improved, the structures of the world economy must be fundamentally altered. Individual good deeds and assistance projects, indispensable as they are, are not sufficient. The participation of all states and the authority of international organizations are needed to arrive at a just arrangement.
Certainly conflicts of interest are unavoidable, and even the developing nations have need of a national searching of conscience. Yet a solution for the debt crisis and the poverty of the second and third worlds which can be supported by all sides must be sought. In any case, in the developed countries a distinction must be made between a justified and an unjustified consumerism, between a socially beneficial and a non-beneficial use of property, between a reasonable and an unreasonable use of natural resources, between a profit-only and a socially beneficial and ecologically oriented market economy. It is universally valid: Wherever those ruling threaten to repress those ruled, institutions threaten persons, might oppresses right, resistance - whenever possible, non-violent - is in place.
To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religions and ethical traditions in today's world means the following:
Instead of misusing economic and political power in ruthless battles for domination, we must utilize them for service to humanity: In a spirit of compassion with those who suffer and with special care for the poor, handicapped, aged, refugees, the lonely.
Instead of thinking only of power and unlimited power-politics in the unavoidable competitive struggles, a mutual respect, a reasonable balance of interests, an attempt at mediation and consideration should prevail.
Instead of an unquenchable greed for money, prestige and consumption, once again a sense of moderation and modesty should reign! For in greed humans lose their "soul," their inner freedom, and thus that which makes them human.
3. Toward a Culture of Tolerance and a Life in Truthfulness
Numberless humans of all regions and religions strive even in our day to live a life of honesty and truthfulness. And yet there exist in the world today endless lies and deceit, swindling and hypocrisy, ideology and demagoguery:
Politicians and business people who use lies as a way to success; mass media which spread ideological propaganda instead of accurate reporting, disinformation instead of information; scientists and researchers who give themselves over to morally questionable ideological or political programs or to economic interest groups, and who attempt to justify research and experiments which violate fundamental ethical values; representatives of religions who dismiss members of other religions as of little value and who preach fanaticism and intolerance instead of respect, understanding and tolerance.
However, in the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the teaching: You shall not lie! Or in positive terms: Speak the truth! In fact, no woman or man, no institution, no state or church or religious community has the right to speak untruth to other humans. This is especially true for the mass media, to whom the right of freedom of the press and freedom of reporting for the sake of truth is assured and to whom the office of guardian is thus granted: They do not stand above morality, but remain duty bound to human dignity, human rights and fundamental values; they are duty bound to objectivity, fairness and the preservation of personal dignity and have no right to intrude into the private human sphere, to manipulate public opinion, or distort reality.
Artists and scientists, to whom artistic and academic freedom is assured: They are not dispensed from general ethical standards and must serve the truth in sincerity. Politicians who, if they lie in the faces of their people, have frittered away their credibility and do not deserve to be reelected. Finally, representatives of religion: When they stir up prejudice, hatred and enmity towards those of different belief they deserve no adherents.
Therefore young people should learn already at home and in school to think, speak and act in truthfulness. All humans have a right to the truth. They have a right to necessary information and education in order to be able to make decisions that will be formative for their lives. Without an ethical fundamental orientation they will hardly be able to distinguish the important from the unimportant in the daily flood of information today. Ethical standards will help them to discern when facts are twisted, interests are veiled, tendencies are played up and opinions absolutized.
To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religions and ethical traditions in today's world means the following:
Instead of dishonesty, dissembling and opportunistic adaptation to life, cultivate the spirit of truthfulness also in the daily relationships between fellow humans;
instead of spreading ideological or partisan half- truths, seek the truth ever anew in incorruptible sincerity;
instead of confusing freedom with arbitrariness and pluralism with indifference, hold truth high;
instead of chasing after opportunism, serve in trustworthiness and constancy the truth once found.
4. Toward a Culture of Equal Rights and Partnership Between Men and Women
Numberless humans of all regions and religions strive to live their lives in the spirit of partnership between man and woman, of responsible action in the area of love, sexuality and family. Nevertheless, all over the world there are condemnable forms of patriarchy, of domination of one sex over the other, of exploitation of women, of sexual misuse of children as well as forced prostitution. The social differences on this earth not infrequently lead to the taking up of prostitution as a means of survival, particularly by women of less developed countries.
However, in the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the teaching: You shall not commit sexual immorality! Or in positive terms: Respect and love one another! Concretely that means: No one has the right to degrade others to mere sex objects, to lead them to or hold them in sexual dependency. Sexual exploitation is to be condemned as one of the worst forms of human degradation. Wherever - even in the name of a religious conviction - the domination of one sex over the other is preached and sexual exploitation is tolerated, wherever prostitution is fostered or children are misused, there resistance is commanded.
Therefore young women and men should learn already at home and in school that sexuality is fundamentally not a negative-destructive or exploitative but a creative force. Its function as a life-affirming shaper of community can be brought to bear all the more as it is lived out with responsibility for one's own happiness and that of one's partner. The relationship between men and women does indeed have a sexual dimension, but human fulfillment is not identical with sexual happiness. Sexuality should be an expression and reinforcement of a love relationship lived as partners. Conversely, however, some religious traditions know the ideal of a voluntary renunciation of the full use of sexuality; this renunciation can also be an expression of identity and meaningful fulfillment.
The socially institutionalized form of marriage, which despite all its cultural and religious variety is characterized by love, loyalty and permanence, aims at, and should guarantee, security and mutual support to the husband, wife and children, and secure their rights. It is in marriage that the relationship between a woman and a man should be characterized not by a patronizing behavior or exploitation, but by love, partnership and trustworthiness. All lands and cultures should develop economic and social relationships which will make possible marriage and family worthy of human beings, especially for older people. Parents should not exploit children, nor children parents; rather their relationship should reflect mutual respect, appreciation and concern.
To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious and ethical traditions in today's world means the following:
Instead of patriarchal domination or degradation, which are the expression of violence and engender counter-violence, mutual respect, partnership, understanding and tolerance;
instead of any form of sexual possessive lust or sexual misuse, mutual concern, tolerance, readiness for reconciliation, love. Only what has already been lived on the level of personal and familial relationships can be practiced on the level of nations and religions.
IV. A Transformation of Consciousness
All historical experience demonstrates the following: Our earth cannot be changed unless in the not too distant future an alteration in the consciousness of individuals is achieved. This has already been seen in areas such as war and peace or economy and ecology. And it is precisely for this alteration in inner orientation, in the entire mentality, in the "heart," that the religions bear responsibility in a special way. Here we remain aware, however, that a universal consensus on many disputed individual ethical questions (from bio- and sexual ethics through mass media and scientific ethics to economic and political ethics) will be difficult to attain.
Nevertheless, even for many questions still disputed, differentiated solutions should be attainable in the spirit of the fundamental principles jointly developed here.
In many areas of life a new consciousness of ethical responsibility has already arisen. Therefore, we would be especially pleased it if as many as possible national or international professional organizations, such as those for physicians, scientists, business people, journalists, and politicians, would compose up to date codes of ethics.
Above all, we would welcome it if individual religions also would formulate their very specific ethic: What they on the basis of their faith tradition have to say, for example, about the meaning of life and death, the enduring of suffering and the forgiveness of guilt, about selfless sacrifice and the necessity of renunciation, compassion and joy. All these will be compatible with a Global Ethic, indeed can deepen it, make it more specific and concrete.
We are convinced that the new global order will be a better one only in a socially-beneficial and pluralist, partner-sharing and peace-fostering, nature-friendly and ecumenical globe.
Therefore on the basis of our religious convictions we commit ourselves to a common Global Ethic and call upon all women and men of good will to make this Declaration their own.
Translated by Dr. Leonard Swidler, Temple University
ORIGIN Global Ethic Project
The 1993 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago produced a consensus document, Declaration
Towards a Global Ethic, written collaboratively over a two-year period by a team of scholars and
theologians led by Hans Kung and Leonard Swidler, and signed at the Parliament by respected
world religious leaders.
This seminal document is seen by most participants as only a first step. This web-site, and the
G-ETHIC listserv discussion, are tools to further the advancement of this project through online
Return to Great Joy in Great Tribulation
The Case Against the United Religions Initiative
The United Religions Initiative (URI), founded in 1995 by Episcopal Bishop William Swing, intends to create a spiritual equivalent of the United Nations, encompassing all "religions, spiritual expressions, and indigenous traditions." The URI Charter says that the organization's purpose is "to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation" and to "end religiously motivated violence;" they also plan to "create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings."
The URI has support among some leaders of Asian religions (including the Dalai Lama), some liberal Protestants, and Reform Jews, dissident Catholics, and leaders of the state-run churches in China. URI activities have occurred in 58 countries on all continents, and in 33 states in the U.S. The URI claims that 1 million people participated in its 3-day global "religious cease-fire" from 31 December 1999 through 2 January 2000. The Vatican, the Eastern Orthodox, and Evangelical Protestants oppose the URI.
The URI has friends and funding sources in high places-including George Soros, the billionaire currency speculator, and Richard Blum, the wealthy husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). URI allies include Mikhail Gorbachev's star-studded State of the World Forum, and the Earth Council-headed by Maurice Strong, a wealthy Canadian advocate of world government. The URI also enjoys tacit support or active cooperation from most other interfaith organizations, including the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, the World Conference on Religion and Peace, the Temple of Understanding, and the North American Interfaith Network.
Despite the seemingly-benign goals of the URI, Christians should firmly oppose this movement.
URI leaders and their allies repeatedly equate evangelism to manipulative "proselytizing" and violence. If the URI vision prevails, Christian evangelism based on the unique, saving identity and acts of Christ would be ruled out. As Bishop Swing says, "there will have to be a godly cease-fire, a temporary truce where the absolute exclusive claims of each [religion] will be honored but an agreed upon neutrality will be exercised in terms of proselytizing, condemning, murdering or dominating. These will not be tolerated in the United Religions zone-the whole world. URI leaders say "proselytizing" is the work of "fundamentalists," and URI board member Paul Chafee says, "We can't afford fundamentalists in a world this small."
Despite the URI's insistent denial that it intends to mix the world's religions or start a New Religion, URI worship ceremonies and the writings of URI leaders point in that direction. At the 1995 interfaith service that launched the URI, "holy water from the Ganges, the Amazon, the Red Sea, the River Jordan, and other sacred streams" was mixed in a single "bowl of unity" on the altar of Grace Cathedral. Bishop Swing made the meaning of the ritual clear: "As these sacred waters find confluence here may the city that chartered the nations of the world bring together the religions of the world." In June 2000, the URI Charter was signed in Pittsburgh at a gathering of 275 interfaith activists from around the world. Rowan Fairgrove-an avowed Wiccan long active in the URI-reported that this chant started in the URI conclave: "Gathered in here in the mystery of the hour/Gathered here in one strong body/Gathered here in our unity and power/Spirit draw near." At this meeting, Bishop Swing said, "This is the spirit's property, no one owns it." Fifty years from now, people from all over the world will flock to Pittsburgh in tribute of this signing." The "spirit" thus invoked was left un-named.
In The Coming United Religions, Bishop Swing has written, "The time comes, though, when common language and a common purpose for all religions and spiritual movements must be discerned and agreed upon. Merely respecting and understanding other religions is not enough." Since the purpose of religion is the service of God, Bishop Swing's call for "all religions and spiritual movements" to have a common purpose" is, in effect, a call for all to worship a common god.
The URI's desire to "manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community" does not extend to the lives of the unborn. Although URI documents denounce many of the world's evils, they say nothing against abortion or artificial contraception. Bishop Swing has likened "the insane expansion of population" to exponential growth of algae in a lake. Two high-level URI executives-Canon Charles Gibbs, URI executive director, and the Rev. William Rankin, the URI vice president-have signed a manifesto issued in early 2000 by the Sexual Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS). This "Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing" opposes "unsustainable population growth" and favors "blessing of same-sex unions," ordination of women, artificial contraception, abortion, and "lifelong, age appropriate sexuality education in schools, seminaries, and community settings."
The URI supports efforts by Hans Kung and others to create a new Global Ethic, and supports the push by Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev, founders of Green Cross International, for an Earth Charter. Gorbachev views the Earth Charter as "a kind of Ten Commandments, a 'Sermon on the Mount,' that provides a guide for human behavior toward the environment in the next century and beyond." The Green Cross Earth Charter Philosophy" makes clear the philosophy of these proposed codes: "The protection of the Biosphere, as the Common Interest of Humanity, must not be subservient to the rules of state sovereignty, demands of the free market or individual rights."
The URI promotes religious relativism, the notion that all religions are equally true and are equally paths to God. In The Coming United Religions, Bishop Swing illustrates this belief. Six lines represent the major faiths-Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and the indigenous religions; like multiple paths up a mountain, these lines converge from below on a single point, a divine "unity which transcends the world." At the top of the mountain are the esoteric believers from each faith, who "intuit that they were ultimately in unity with people of other religions because all come together at the apex, in the Divine. Everyone below the line would be identified as exoteric. These people in all religions would wed the form of faith to the content or final truth of their own faith. Thus, the forms of one's faith become absolutized because these forms, alone, are held to carry the truth." Christ, the Incarnate Word and the only Savior, is thus demoted to one of the many "forms of one's faith."
Bishop Swing has said, "The United Religions will not be a rejection of ancient religion but will be found buried in the depths of these religions." If United Religions were "buried in the depths" of Christianity, countless martyrs could have avoided death by burning incense before the statue of the Roman Emperor, and today's martyrs in Sudan and China could apostatize with a clear conscience. Maybe martyrs are passť, anyhow; URI Vice President Rankin says, "The United Religions Initiative exists to bring people together from all the religions of the world, to create a world where no one has to die because of God, or for God, any more."
Bishop Swing told the 1997 URI summit conference: "If you have come here because of a spirit of colossal energy is being born in the loins of earth, then come here and be a midwife. Assist, in awe, at the birth of new hope." The Catholic Church speaks for all orthodox Christians in rejecting such utopian fantasies: "The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the 'intrinsically perverse' political form of a secular messianism."
Organizations should be know by the company they keep. Enthusiastic URI supporters include New Age authors Robert Muller (former assistant secretary-general of the UN), Neale Donald Walsch (author of the best-selling Conversations With God books), and Barbara Marx Hubbard. They draw inspiration from Theosophy, an occult movement started in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatasky [whose work The Secret Doctrine was found by Hitler's beside table at his death-JS]. Theosophy has had significant influence on the New Age movement worldwide. Its teachings include praising Lucifer as the bringer of light to humanity, denouncing orthodox Christianity and Judaism as "separative" and "obsolete," and forecasting a coming age of enlightened, spiritual collectivism-after the cleansing of earth to remove those who do not accept progress.
The URI proclaims its openness to all "spiritual expressions," and its logo-15 miniature religious symbols in a circle around the letters "URI"-includes a Wiccan pentagram, as well as an empty circle to represent "the people of all beliefs yet to come." A motley crew has responded to the URI's invitation. Participants in URI events have included the "New Cult Awareness Network," the World Federalist Association, followers of "Supreme Master Ching Hai," the Pagan Sanctuary Network, Druids, the Temple of Isis, the Covenant of the Goddess, the Coven of the Stone and the Mirror, and the Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources (an interfaith seminary whose core courses include such topics as "crystal and ethnic healing.").
The appeal of the URI and its New Age allies is based on some truths. Killing in the name of God is an abomination. Badly managed economic growth has harmed the natural environment. Many people and societies appear to have placed love of money and comfort above love of God and neighbor. Churches and temples in all faiths are tainted by hypocrisy and bigotry among their adherents. These elements of truth in the URI's critique of current society may draw a wide audience for the rest of the message of the URI and its allies. This would fit with the usual pattern of temptation; a mixture of lies and truth is likely to draw more people away from God than a message that has no prima facie appeal or plausibility. So it has been from the beginning; it was not a rotten, worm-eaten fruit that the serpent offered to Eve. Instead, "when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate." (Gen. 3:6)
As of mid-1999, it is uncertain whether the United Religions Initiative will become a significant worldwide religious movement, or whether it will fade into oblivion, one more of mankind's proud attempts to create spiritual unity on mankind's own terms. Even if the URI itself fails, the wealthy and influential people associated with the New Age and globalist movements are likely to try again to achieve the same utopian goals within the next few years. These people are devoted and persistent, and will not be easily deterred by the failure of one initiative.
By exposing the URI, I also hope to bring to light the social, political, and spiritual agenda of the movements that are associated with the URI now - and the movements that may later follow the trail blazed by the URI. I have paid the URI the compliment of taking its documents, its leaders, and its allies seriously. Those who, like the URI and its allies, have "a mouth speaking great things" (Dan. 7: 8, 20) deserve such scrutiny and exposure.
The URI has utopian goals, unorthodox theology, and an expectation of imminent social and spiritual transformation for the world. In addition, like its globalist and New Age allies, the URI plans to use the millennial fervor associated with the year 2000 to assist in building the movement. Therefore, the URI deserves to be known as a millennial cult - a respectable, well-connected, politically correct millennial cult, but a cult nevertheless. Cultists who set dates for the Second Coming, max out their credit cards, and head for the hills to meet Jesus in the air - the Rapture - do harm primarily to themselves and their families, and are the occasion for some press coverage ridiculing the Church. The cult of United Religions will, if it succeeds, do more damage than any number of Rapture cults could do. A successful United Religions would lead to the spread of irrational New Age beliefs and practices, and would repopulate the "naked public square" of the West with a pantheon of idols. The collectivist "global ethic" fostered by the United Religions and its allies would provide a fig leaf of respectability for further expansion of national and international government power at the expense of individuals, families, and the Church.
Let's give Bishop Swing the last word. On September 11, 1996, he extolled the URI to a meeting of 200 San Francisco Episcopal lay leaders, and said: "We're talking about salvation history here. If I'm wrong, I'm dead wrong."(30) The Bishop has spoken; the case is closed.
NOTE: Internet document citations are based on research done between September 1997 and August 1999. Web citations are accurate as of the time the Web page was printed, but some documents may have been moved to a different Web site since then, or they may have been removed entirely from the Web.
1 Bishop William Swing, "The United Religions Initiative," document issued in April 1996 by the URI; p. 1
2 Bishop William Swing, The Coming United Religions, United Religions Initiative and CoNexus Press, 1998, ISBN 0-9637897-5-9; p. 31
3 Transcribed by Lee Penn from URI-provided tape of URI forum at Grace Cathedral, held on 2/2/97
4 Don Lattin, "Religions of World Celebrated With Prayers to Dozen Deities," San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 1995, p. A1, front page section
5 Richard Scheinin, "Interfaith ceremony promotes world peace," San Jose Mercury News, June 26, 1995; Internet document, p. 2
6 Don Lattin, "Religions of World Celebrated With Prayers to Dozen Deities," San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 1995, pp. A1 and A11, front page section
7 United Religions Initiative, "Benchmark Draft Charter," Internet document, http://www.united-religions.org/charter/index.shtml, Draft Agenda for Action, III. Ecological Imperatives, Rationale, p. 10
8 United Religions Initiative, "Benchmark Draft Charter," Internet document, http://www.united-religions.org/charter/index.shtml, Draft Agenda for Action, III. Ecological Imperatives, Project Ideas, Project 7, p. 11
9 Bishop William Swing, The Coming United Religions, United Religions Initiative and CoNexus Press, 1998, ISBN 0-9637897-5-9; p. 63
10 Fred Matser, "Nature Is My God," an interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, Resurgence 184, Internet document, http://www.gn.apc.org/resurgence/184/gorbachev.htm, p. 3
11 Green Cross International, "Interview," Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1997, Internet document, http://www4.gve.ch/gci/GreenCrossFamily/gorby/newspeeches/interviews/laTimes.html, p. 4
12 The Earth Charter Campaign, "The Earth Charter: The Green Cross Philosophy," Internet document, http://www.earthcharter.org/report/special/greencross.htm, p. 5
13 Don Lattin, interview with Bishop William Swing - "Bishop's Idea for a Leap of Faiths," San Francisco Chronicle, June 22, 1997, p. 3/Z1
14 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the End of the Millennium - An Interview with Peter Seewald, translated by Adrian Walker, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1997, ISBN 0-89870-640-8; p. 165
15 Carol Barnwell, " 'United Religions' is Bishop Swing's goal," The Lambeth Daily, Issue 4, 22 July 1998; Internet document, http://anglican.org/online/Lambeth-Daily/22/UR.html, p. 1
16 Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations, "Annual Report 1997," Internet document, http://www.aco.org/united-nations/annual97.htm, p. 2
17 Baxter and Sax, (first names not stated), "Exclusive Interview: Bishop William Swing, Head of the United Religions Organization," Endtime, July/August 1998, Internet document, http://www.endtime.com/bishop.htm, p. 11
18 The Center for Progressive Christianity, "President's Report, February 1999," section on the United Religions Initiative by William Rankin, Internet document, http://www.tcpc.org/newsFeb99.html, p. 6
19 Bishop William Swing, The Coming United Religions, United Religions Initiative and CoNexus Press, 1998, ISBN 0-9637897-5-9; p. 64
20 The Center for Progressive Christianity, "President's Report, February 1999," section on the United Religions Initiative by William Rankin, Internet document, http://www.tcpc.org/newsFeb99.html, p. 8
21 Bishop William Swing, "Invitation Letter," Journal of the United Religions Initiative, issue 3, Summer 1997, p. 3
22 Bishop William Swing, "Opening Address" to the 1997 URI summit conference; Internet document, http://www.united-religions.org/youth/welcome/swingspeech.htm, p. 2
23 Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Image Books/Doubleday edition, 1995, ISBN 0-385-47967-0, sections 675-676, pp. 193-194
24 Dennis Delman, "For the Sake of the Children, We've Got to Talk," Bishop Swing Tells Commonwealth Club Gathering," Pacific Church News, August/September 1999, p. 25
25 Dennis Delman, "For the Sake of the Children, We've Got to Talk," Bishop Swing Tells Commonwealth Club Gathering," Pacific Church News, August/September 1999, p. 25
26 Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, Harper San Francisco, 1988, ISBN 0-06-062915-0, p. xi
27 Donor list, Grace Cathedral Magazine, Spring 1995, p. 9; covers donations made to the Cathedral capital campaign as of March 1, 1995; Rockefeller donated at least $10,000, according to this listing.
28 Gerald O. Barney, Global 2000 Revisited: Changing Course, Internet document, http://www.cgv.org/millennium/g2000r/course.html, pp. 2-3
29 Millennium Institute, "Threshold 21 Update," December 1997, Vol. 1, no. 1, Internet document, http://www.igc.apc.org/millennium/news/t21upd01.html, p. 8
30 From notes taken by Lee Penn of the speech given by Bishop Swing at the 9/11/96 meeting of the San Francisco Deanery for the Episcopal Diocese of California
United Religions Initiative
The URI's Charter has been spoken into being by a myriad of voices from around the world. Its essential spirit, values and vision are expressed in the Preamble, Purpose and Principles. Taken together, they inspire, ground and guide all URI activity. The Charter includes:
Preamble - the call that inspires us to create the URI now and continue to create it everyday;
Purpose - the statement that draws us together in common cause;
Principles - the fundamental beliefs that guide our structure, decisions and content;
Organization design - the way we organize to enhance cooperation and magnify spirit;
Guidelines for Action - an action agenda to inspire and guide our worldwide URI community.
The global URI organization will be born in June 2000. You are warmly invited to participate in the birth and the growth of the URI and become part of this extraordinary force for good in the world. This Charter is your invitation to participate in its on-going creation. Welcome!
THE PREAMBLE, PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLES
We, people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions throughout the world, hereby establish the United Religions Initiative to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
We respect the uniqueness of each tradition, and differences of practice or belief.
We value voices that respect others, and believe that sharing our values and wisdom can lead us to act for the good of all.
We believe that our religious, spiritual lives, rather than dividing us, guide us to build community and respect for one another.
Therefore, as interdependent people rooted in our traditions, we now unite for the benefit of our Earth community.
We unite to build cultures of peace and justice.
We unite to heal and protect the Earth.
We unite to build safe places for conflict resolution, healing and reconciliation.
We unite to support freedom of religion and spiritual expression, and the rights of all individuals and peoples as set forth in international law.
We unite in responsible cooperative action to bring the wisdom and values of our religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions to bear on the economic, environmental, political and social challenges facing our Earth community.
We unite to provide a global opportunity for participation by all people, especially by those whose voices are not often heard.
We unite to celebrate the joy of blessings and the light of wisdom in both movement and stillness.
We unite to use our combined resources only for nonviolent, compassionate action, to awaken to our deepest truths, and to manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community.
The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
1. The URI is a bridge-building organization, not a religion.
2. We respect the sacred wisdom of each religion, spiritual expression and indigenous tradition.
3. We respect the differences among religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions.
4. We encourage our members to deepen their roots in their own tradition.
5. We listen and speak with respect to deepen mutual understanding and trust.
6. We give and receive hospitality.
7. We seek and welcome the gift of diversity and model practices that do not discriminate.
8. We practice equitable participation of women and men in all aspects of the URI.
9. We practice healing and reconciliation to resolve conflict without resorting to violence.
10. We act from sound ecological practices to protect and preserve the Earth for both present and future generations.
11. We seek and offer cooperation with other interfaith efforts.
12. We welcome as members all individuals, organizations and associations who subscribe to the Preamble, Purpose and Principles.
13. We have the authority to make decisions at the most local level that includes all the relevant and affected parties.
14. We have the right to organize in any manner, at any scale, in any area, and around any issue or activity which is relevant to and consistent with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles.
15. Our deliberations and decisions shall be made at every level by bodies and methods that fairly represent the diversity of affected interests and are not dominated by any.
16. We (each part of the URI) shall relinquish only such autonomy and resources as are essential to the pursuit of the Preamble, Purpose and Principles.
17. We have the responsibility to develop financial and other resources to meet the needs of our part, and to share financial and other resources to help meet the needs of other parts.
18. We maintain the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct, prudent use of resources, and fair and accurate disclosure of information.
19. We are committed to organizational learning and adaptation.
20. We honor the richness and diversity of all languages and the right and responsibility of participants to translate and interpret the Charter, Articles, Bylaws and related documents in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles, and the spirit of the United Religions Initiative.
21. Members of the
URI shall not be coerced to participate in any ritual or be
The URI is an organization where people act from their deepest values and claim their right and responsibility to do extraordinary things to serve interfaith cooperation on a local and a global level. The URI is made up of groups of people all over the world who take many different kinds of actions to serve a common purpose.
Individuals, associations or organizations seeking membership in the URI shall create a Cooperation Circle (CC) or join an existing Cooperation Circle. Groups are called Cooperation Circles because they are created by people who come together to initiate acts of interfaith cooperation. Every URI Circle determines its own unique purpose, membership, and ways of making decisions that are relevant and consistent with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles. If a Cooperation Circle chooses to coordinate its efforts with other Cooperation Circles, it may decide to form a Multiple Cooperation Circle (MCC). If two or more Multiple Cooperation Circles wish to coordinate efforts they may form a Multi-Multiple Cooperation Circle (MMCC). See diagram on page 8.
To provide initial stability and interfaith diversity, Cooperation Circles must have at least seven (7) members who represent at least three (3) different religions, spiritual expressions or indigenous traditions.
Rights of Members
Each URI Cooperation Circle has the right:
to organize in any
manner and around any issue or activity which is relevant to and
consistent with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles;
to determine its own process of governance and decision-making that is in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles;
to choose to combine with or join any other URI Circles;
to participate in the selection of Trustees to serve on the Global Council;
to use the name "United Religions Initiative" and its related names, abbreviations, logos, and images so long as they are used in furtherance of and in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles of the URI;
to review and accept, on behalf of the URI, applications for membership from individuals, organizations and associations seeking to join in pursuit of the Purpose.
Responsibilities of Members
Each URI Cooperation Circle accepts responsibility:
to act in
accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles;
to determine its own process of governance and decision-making that is in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles;
to take actions to encourage and ensure that its own members act in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles;
to actively use its best efforts to achieve the Purpose in accordance with the Principles;
to adhere to the by-laws and operating procedures as they evolve in the life of the URI;
to communicate best practices and stories and highlights of activities with other parts of the URI;
to develop financial resources to meet its own needs;
to share financial and other resources to help meet the needs of other Circles;
to pay any dues and/or offer such appropriate contribution as the Global Council may establish;
to keep accurate and current records of its members, financial transactions and activities;
to indemnify and hold the Trustees, the United Religions Initiative, its employees and representatives, harmless from any liabilities arising out of or in any way caused by a URI Circle's breach of any provision of the Articles, by-laws or operating procedures.
Application for Membership
Individuals, associations, and organizations may form their own Cooperation Circle and may apply for membership directly to the Global Council or to an existing MCC or MMCC.
Individuals, associations and organizations who value and support the URI Preamble, Purpose and Principles may become Affiliates. Affiliates desire to be informed of and to participate in the work of the URI but do not desire to have the rights and responsibilities of membership. Affiliates may be asked to pay a fee and/or offer such appropriate contribution as the Global Council may establish in order to participate in URI activities and the communication network. Affiliates may apply to the Global Council or to URI Cooperation Circles.
The Global Council
The purpose of the Global Council (GC) is to support the Membership in making real the vision and values of the Preamble, Purpose and Principles. The Global Council's central spirit is not one of control, but rather one of service informed by deep listening to the hopes and aspirations of the whole URI community. The Global Council will inspire and support the URI worldwide community in cooperative global action. It is envisioned that their deliberations will be tempered with tenderness for one another and for the Earth community. It is envisioned that their actions will reflect a yearning to help people of the URI fulfill their aspirations to be a positive force for peace, justice, and healing in the world.
The Global Council is responsible to develop financial and other resources to meet the needs of the URI, Inc. The Global Council will accept eligible applicants for membership to the URI and manage the affairs of the URI, Inc.
Global Council Trustees
The term Trustee signifies that trustees carry the trust for the URI world membership. The Trustees of the URI will be exemplars who manifest the vision and values of the Preamble, Purpose and Principles, and who will model leadership and service by their actions. They will have a deep commitment to serve the whole of the URI community.
Composition of the Global Council
A maximum of
twenty four (24) trustees elected by the world membership through
elections in eight (8) regions.
A maximum of twelve (12) trustees selected at-large by the GC to meet the need for greater diversity or a particular expertise.
A maximum of three (3) trustees designated from among the members of a Transition Advisory Committee composed of members of the current URI Board of Directors. The Transition Advisory Committee will remain in place until June 2005.
One (1) Trustee shall be the Founding Trustee to honor the unique role of the URI founder.
One (1) Trustee shall be the Executive Trustee to ensure that the URI staff is represented.
Selection Process for Trustees
To ensure that there are people from diverse geographic perspectives on the Global Council, 24 seats will be filled through an election process. URI Circles within a geographic region can select up to three (3) trustees from among the eight (8) regions listed below. The regions are: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, North America, and the Pacific. The eighth (8) region is a non-geographic region that includes URI Circles that are multi-regional in composition.
To ensure optimum diversity and to meet the need for particular expertise at the GC, twelve (12) seats will be filled by appointment by the GC.
Trustees are chosen every two years to serve on the GC.
Models of reflection, meditation and prayer which deepen understanding of the qualities of leadership which embody service and spiritual wisdom are encouraged as part of every governance selection process.
A Global Assembly of all the Members of the URI is planned to take place every two years at a place designated by the Global Council. The Global Assembly will be a vibrant gathering where people deepen their experience of living into the Preamble, Purpose, and Principles as a global community. The Global Assembly will magnify everyone's capacity to carry forward their dreams and initiatives, address visions of collective actions for service in the world, and give voice to collective hopes and aspirations. The Global Assembly will align strengths and call forth unprecedented cooperation. The Global Assembly will celebrate the totality of the URI and offer opportunities to give and receive hospitality, to share work, and to offer help to each other.
GUIDELINES FOR ACTION
In light of the essentially self-organizing nature of the URI which gives members freedom to choose what they want to do, the following Agenda for Action is offered as guidance for URI activities. Inspired by a Javanese phrase, Memayu Hayuning Bawano, which when translated means "to work for the safety, happiness and welfare of all life," the URI seeks to serve as a moral voice and a source of action grounded in contemplation in each of the following areas:
Sharing the Wisdom and Cultures of Faith Traditions - actions to promote dialogue, education and kinship among the diverse religions and spiritual traditions of the world.
Nurturing Cultures of Healing and Peace - actions to develop cultures in which all people can live without fear of violence.
Rights and Responsibilities - actions to uphold human rights.
Ecological Imperatives - actions to uphold the welfare and healing of the entire Earth community.
Sustainable Just Economics - actions to bring a spiritual perspective to the tremendous gap between rich and poor.
Supporting the Overall URI - local, regional and global actions to support all URI activities.
Return to Great Joy in Great Tribulation