Updated: Thoughts on a Cheon Il Guk Constitution
Note: This post originally appeared on our blog on August 19, 2013. The author has written a Post-UK Symposium on the CIG Constitution Update after the article’s conclusion.
The passing last September of Rev. Sun Myung Moon marked the end of an era for the Unification Movement, not unlike the passing of Moses or Jesus. The followers left behind have to fashion a society that embodies the teaching and spirit of the founder. Under the charismatic leadership of Rev. Moon, governance was on the level of a community or tribal society. Now, a new center of new legitimate authority must be established for this community. In addition, the vision for Cheon Il Guk (CIG) also aspires to national and global aspects that transcend the community-level society members have known. The membership now has to define and routinize the authority of the movement after the founder’s passing.
The role of a constitution is to establish the purpose, nature of authority, and distribution of power in a society. Regardless of how the CIG Constitution is developed, it will be an important document related to the rise or decline of the Unification society, because people will voluntarily join or leave it. To expand and solidify a society that embodies the founder’s values, the benefits of membership, on the whole, should outweigh the costs; otherwise people will not join or remain members.
Levels of Governance
Societies contain several levels of social organization, with the main levels being: family, community, state, and world. A community consists of several families, a state of several communities, and a world of several states.
Each of these levels has different characteristics: the family is intimate and personal, the community is interpersonal, and the state and world are transpersonal and impersonal. Different types of authority and different forms of rules and administrations are appropriate for each level.
At the family level, direct responsibility is taken by the parents for their dependent children, whose initial several years of learning is based on mimicking behavior and habit formation. Young children do not choose their parents or understand the logic of laws, and a good community establishes norms for parenting and supports parents in their task of raising children.
Family and community levels of society embody concepts of “justice” that aim at what is best for a particular person, given their particular circumstances. Families normally belong to communities that promote a desirable set of collective values. Some communities formally organize and establish rules that provide structure to their values.
States are large, impersonal, and treat people with “equal justice” based on concepts of reason and human rights. They do not provide personal care, but rationally administer the law and, if they are not corrupt, treat all citizens equally rather than according to personal needs. World society governs the relationship between states and does not efficiently deal directly with individuals or communities; its members are states and nations, not individuals.
A serious problem exists because of the confusion of levels of governance, and the assignment of social responsibilities to inappropriate levels of government. This occurs, for example, when irresponsible people defer their responsibilities to the state, or when power-hungry rulers seek to use the people to further their own personal goals. These two “fallen natures” tend to reinforce one another, causing the saying “a people get the government they deserve.”
The Fundamental Characteristics of a Good State Constitution
We normally think of a Constitution as the foundation for a state-level society. And, there is much confusion between the concepts of “nation” and “state.” A nation is a cultural unit, composed of many communities that share general values. A state is a territorial unit that provides security and infrastructure to a defined area of land. It is unwise to ask a state to impose the particular values of a community, or a nation, upon all the people in its territory. This is the reason for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly, religion, speech, and the press. The attempt to impose the cultural values of a particular group, rather than universal human values, at the state level, leads to ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, classism, or even “partyism” and other forms of discrimination.
A good state constitution will:
- Create a mechanism for individuals, communities, and nations to freely pursue their ends so long as that pursuit does not interfere with the rights of others to do the same. In accomplishing this goal, it needs to set forth the rights of people and groups, and mechanisms for the prevention and prosecution of those who violate these rights.
- Create a mechanism for the protection of the state as a whole, based on a form of taxation that least oppresses the freedoms to pursue human goals in point number 1.
- Create a mechanism that inhibits the takeover of the mechanisms of government to serve the interest of individuals or groups, at the expense of the whole, creating a ruling class with advantages and legal rights common citizens do not have.
It is important to note that conflating the roles of nation and state is a fundamental flaw in modern societies and social consciousness that leads to great social dysfunction, genocide, and oppression. It is easy recognizing the evil of such conflation when one looks at the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and the horrific effects that resulted when one national group, the radical Hutus, controlled the state, and promoted genocide against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus. However, it is less easy to see the evil in a so-called “democratic” state, like the United States, when certain political parties use their factional power of government to organize protections or financial distributions to certain special interest groups.
Legitimate functionality in a modern state is most possible when all people are treated as equals before the law. This means that “nations,” like the CIG, should not be in control of states, but should be accorded the freedom to live and associate according to their particular values, so long as they do not oppress other nations, particularly by co-opting the power of the state.
The Proposed Draft CIG “Constitution”
Last month [July 2013], I was invited to participate in a conference at Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology in Korea to discuss a draft Constitution of CIG. This document was rooted in theological statements and articulated basic structures of church authority, centered on the authority of “True Parents” and a Supreme Council.
A video report by Dr. Michael Balcomb, President, FFWPU-USA, who attended the “International Symposium on the Cheon Il Guk Constitution,” held July 23-24, 2013 at the Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology in Korea.
Despite problems related to definitions and succession, the purpose of the document was appropriate to the role of “nation” as defined above regarding the separation of “nations” from “states.” A nation, like CIG, can be global and transcend the territorial span of a state, but it should not exercise power over territorial resources like water that all people equally need to live. The draft CIG Constitution set forth values related to God, morality, and family life and proposed an organizational structure to support these goals. This “Constitution” was organized more like the articles of a non-profit corporation with bylaws more like those of a church, and was designed to function within “states,” rather than as an instrument of state power. It is organized in a way that need not threaten the authority of any state with a good constitution that separates culture and state in the way the U.S. founders originally designed the U.S. to function.
A Proposal for a Future CIG Constitution
The proposed draft CIG Constitution I read was developed by individuals close to True Mother, who are concerned to see the continuation of her authority in her remaining years on earth. However, I did not see an adequate relationship between this document and the concepts of an ideal society and fallen human nature outlined in the Divine Principle, the foundational teaching of the movement:
Chapter 1 is on the Ideal. I recommend a CIG Constitution that best supports the creation of such an ideal society, with an explanation of how it does so. Key points of Divine Principle, particularly in the “Principle of Creation,” would be analogous to the “self-evident truths” in the U.S. Declaration of Independence that serve as the values behind the U.S. Constitution. This way, people learning the Divine Principle in workshops would be able to connect the ideals they are learning with the rules of the society they are being asked to join. First generation members experienced a disconnection between the ideal society as they were taught and the life they experienced in the movement’s “wilderness” phase.
Chapter 2 is on Fallen Nature. An understanding of the human fall and fallen nature can establish the basis for the checks and balances on power in the CIG Constitution. For example, efforts should be made to prevent “reversal of dominion,” in which an unqualified person would be in a position of power over the citizens of CIG.
The principle of restoration is a history of social expansion. It describes the process of expansion from individual to family, tribe, nation, state, and world. A world-level CIG Constitution should be based on an understanding of the types of administrations and laws appropriate for (1) different levels of governance, and (2) the three social spheres: political, economic and cultural. The CIG Constitution is the foundation of a cultural sphere in an ideal society. It should also have, at its core, an understanding of why the cultural sphere should not attempt to acquire political or economic power, and why these other two social spheres are based on different governing principles.
The creation of a CIG Constitution is an appropriate development related to the passing of Reverend Moon and as a framework for a cultural organization based on the teachings of True Parents. The Divine Principle can describe the values that the expanding Unification community believes to be universal, but these values should be promoted in ways that allow others to voluntarily grasp and accept them. The constitutions of good political states should protect the security of those seeking to pursue an ideal society like CIG, and allow members to promote their ideal and generate resources that would enable the actual pursuit of their vision of the ideal society, so long as this pursuit does not cause harm to others.
Space restricts me from describing detailed articles of a constitution related to checks and balances, methods of election, appointment, and succession. However, answers to all of these issues will be enhanced by ensuring that the articles of the CIG Constitution are compatible with the ideals of society taught in the Divine Principle.♦
My article above was an attempt to provide some knowledge from historical lessons about political governance to the ideal of society set forth in the Divine Principle. In Chapter 1, there is an ideal for individuals and society that includes principles of growth, interrelationships, the purpose of life, and the relationship of the physical and spiritual worlds. If the idea of a CIG society is to create the ideal world described in DP, then the social system should be based on principles that support such a society.
These principles are largely known, but few want to implement them because of fallen nature. In my book Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, I try to give some indication of how we could move the next step beyond the U.S. system of democracy designed by the founders, which the Divine Principle states is an “Abel-type” democracy that distributes power to the people and prepares the way for the Second Advent. As we know from the principle, things grow and develop, so it seems this would be the starting point of the next stage of society. I have discussed more radical changes, like the way elections could be held, in the Journal of Unification Studies.
As I look at the CIG Constitution that was prepared in Korea it appeared more like the rules for the perpetuation of a wilderness course, which was organized top-down like a military organization, rather than rules for an actual society. I think this is one reason members have a hard time accepting it. This particular document was drafted by close followers of True Parents who never knew any life other than as generals in a military-like system. This type of organization worked fine to serve True Parents’ campaigns, and it might work for the management of property like the Cheongpyeong Peace Palace and Training Center, where some clear line of control is in order.
However, the type of governance needed for an actual society after crossing the Jordan River, where individual families are responsible for their own homes and financial affairs, and where they are responsible citizens making political and economic decisions in their communities, is very different. Government, in such a society, does not tell people what to do, but restrains them from doing evil to one another and serves the people’s pursuit of happiness by coordinating infrastructure projects.
A belief system and what people think and pursue comes from the people’s connection to God, not from their connection to government. In the ideal world, it is the voluntary inspiration and sacrifice provided to people by parents, churches, schools, and other areas of learning that provide meaning, purpose, and skills to people. Government does not do this; it begins in the family — the social institution where parents control the thought, economy, and rules of their household. And, when the children are adults, they leave the authoritarian rule of their parents. This hierarchical form applies to raising children, running a business, or a military campaign, but when people try to extend that system to government the result is a totalitarian dictatorship.◊
© Gordon L. Anderson. Dr. Anderson (UTS Class of 1978) is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on World Peace and President, Paragon House Publishers. He is author of many articles and books, including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0.