Re-imagining Social Justice from a Headwing Perspective

By David Eaton

Since the tragic death of George Floyd, the United States has experienced societal convulsions not seen since the social unrest of the 1960s. Protests, violent and non-violent, have caused great distress in many American cities and communities.

This crisis has highlighted several significant socio-political issues including racial inequality, police brutality, poverty, family breakdown, and gender equality. Consequently, the role of political and spiritual leaders in ameliorating many of these injustices is now of great concern.

Needless to say, there have been a plethora of opinions offered to explain the conditions that have resulted in various injustices that have plagued the socio-cultural circumstances in the United States since its founding. The question as to what might be the best solutions to these problems can only be answered when the proper diagnosis of the root cause is identified.

In his advocacy of non-violent solutions for peace and justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often invoked the narrative of “the moral arc of the universe bending towards justice.” Because we all have our portions of responsibility in matters of citizenship, family relations and with our extended communities, we can’t expect that the “moral arc of the universe” will bend toward justice without godly virtues and values being practiced in a forthright manner.

In Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is, Michael Novak and Paul Adams explore the origins of the term “social justice” and examine how the concept and its implementation evolved. “Social justice” was coined in the 19th century by Italian Catholic priest Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio, who asserted it was important to make a distinction between legal justice as implemented by the state and social justice — remedying relational conflicts without state intrusion. As such, the idea of social justice has long been part of the social creed of the Roman Catholic Church and several popes have weighed in on the issue via papal encyclicals.

For Father Taparelli, the intermediary institutions that have existed as buffers between the state and individuals — families, churches, etc. — needed to be free from state control or political coercion. Msgr. Taparelli’s distinction is important. Keeping “the state” at bay was essential to protect the autonomy and spiritual authority of the Church. Taparelli was highly suspect of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s views regarding the state as the primary arbiter of justice, thus his concept of “social justice” was in essence a mitigating factor in protecting the various societal organizations within the larger public sphere, especially religious entities.

Herbert Croly, considered to be the father of modern liberalism, and Richard Ely, who with Croly founded The New Republic, were both of the mindset that “rugged individualism” and the 19th century notion of “the American Dream” were outdated and a new social paradigm was needed. Their new American vision was rooted in what became known as “Christian Socialism,” whereby government could act as the great equalizer as well as being the cure for the “sinful and cruel” aspects of laissez-faire economics. As Ely explained: “God works though the State in carrying out His purposes more universally than any other institution…it is religious in essence…a mighty force in furthering God’s kingdom and establishing righteous relations.”

Unfortunately, Croly’s and Ely’s brand of liberalism has morphed into a decidedly illiberal mode of activism that now threatens religious liberty, free speech and freedom of peaceful assembly in ways that were hardly imaginable just a few decades ago. Civil liberties and possessing the right to choose is being encroached upon with increasing regularity by those who view the resources of government as the best option in remedying various injustices.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and F.A. Hayek both warned of creeping authoritarianism by way of “extreme legal frames” being implemented by the state in the name of egalitarian concerns and social justice. Divine Principle asserts that a form of socialism will be part of the ideal world, however for “heavenly socialism” to exist (not to mention heavenly journalism, heavenly art, heavenly commerce, or heavenly education) will require individuals to be aligned with the tenets of Divine Principle and Unification Thought.

As Yuval Levin notes in his recent book, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism, there exists an alternative to “the perilous mix of governmental centralization and hyper-individualism,” and it begins “in loving family attachments.” Levin posits that this modality can provide a basis for a national identity, “that among its foremost attributes is dedicated to the principle of the equality of the entire human race.” This family-based mode of relating can then “spread outward to interpersonal relationships, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, religious communities,” and inform the activities of local governments, businesses and professional affiliations.

If we take the view that we are all God’s children we ought to relate to each other as if that were so. This mindset can and should be inculcated within families. In the Rally for Hope held in Korea on August 9, 2020 in which True Mother was the keynote speaker, several speakers echoed Levin’s sentiments regarding God-centered families as the necessary foundation for overcoming the malevolence within the human condition, whether it be racism, greed, immorality or family breakdown. They firmly endorsed the values, virtues and vision of which True Parents have been among the most serious social activists.

A prevalent idea in Divine Principle is that we are meant to be co-creators with God in creating a culture of peace. We accomplish this by making choices based on the teachings of scripture which acts as the proverbial “moral compass” in guiding us in the process of becoming moral and ethical people. Our choices have consequences and as St. Augustine reminds us, people (and nations) fail because they often choose to love the wrong things.

Monsignor Luigi Taparelli, SJ (1793-1862).

By advocating the idea of “loving family attachments” as the way to foster better relations in various social circumstances, we are then in accord with True Parents’ concept of ideal families being the basis for a culture of peace — the hope of all ages. In Book 10 of Cheon Seong Gyeong (pp. 1060-72) we find an explanation of Headwing Thought. It’s interesting to note that in the pages preceding this explanation (pp. 1042-59), there is a detailed exegesis on the Three Blessings as described in Divine Principle.

It is clear that in order for the premises of Headwing to be fully realized, individuals ought to have been successful in fulfilling the first two blessings. Without substantially accomplishing individual God-centeredness, and then creating families that engender godly values, the realization of a principled society cannot be substantiated in a meaningful fashion. Without accomplishing this, all human endeavors will fall short of Heavenly Parent’s ideal.

Cheon Seong Gyeong (p. 1065) states that Headwing can guide us to Godism and the “ism” in Godism means “way of living.” When applied to human endeavors this can provide a basis for a moral society. Lamentably, the idea that Godism should be in our socio-cultural equation is now at odds with many social justice activists who have rejected religion and who in turn have embraced secular humanist and politically-correct perspectives in their pursuit of justice.

In fact, during the post-World War II era, there has been a calculated evisceration of religious belief and the dissolution of the family structure. Because various iterations of social justice are now aligned with postmodernist and neo-Marxist rationales it may be necessary to develop a CAUSA-like initiative to educate the general public as to the “fatal conceits” of these particular worldviews and provide a God-centered alternative. Politics cannot solve problems that are spiritual by nature.

According to True Father, Headwing is beyond globalism and is a “cosmic level ideology,” (CSG, p. 1069). Unificationists understand “cosmic” to mean the reality of the corporeal and incorporeal realms. Having an awareness of the spiritual realm and its effects on our being (Family Pledge No. 5), is no small matter in dealing with human proclivities. By acknowledging the reality of the spiritual realm, especially with regard to sin — original, inherited, collective, individual — and understanding the ways by which we can eradicate sin and its manifestations, we can begin to arrive at effective solutions. No matter how well-intentioned social justice activists, politicians, law-enforcement agencies, or the general public may be, without acknowledging that the spiritual dimension actually exists we cannot expect improved socio-cultural betterment.

Whatever the concerns of social justice activists may be, there needs to be an educational mode by which we, as disciples of True Parents, can edify the public about the necessity of Godism being in the socio-cultural equation. Though justice is important, True Parents always emphasized love rather than justice as the path to peace. If, in fact, “peace starts with me,” then as members of Heavenly Parents’ Holy Community we must walk the walk with True Mother and become those who both teach and practice the tenets of Headwing and Godism, for in so doing we can become filial sons and daughters and the injustices that have befallen so many of our brothers and sisters can finally be resolved.

When that happens on a grand scale — one third of the world’s population according to True Mother’s recent injunction — we will finally achieve the justice and equity that we desire for all of Heavenly Parent’s children.♦

David Eaton has been Music Director of the New York City Symphony since 1985. In addition to his conducting career, he has been an active composer, arranger and producer with 64 original compositions and over 800 arrangements and transcriptions to his credit. One of his recent compositions, “70 and Counting!” was performed at the United Nations as part of its 70th Anniversary concert in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by UTS.

3 thoughts on “Re-imagining Social Justice from a Headwing Perspective

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  1. Thank you, David Eaton, for this analysis. It is well-documented and rich in useful references.

    You mention the origins of the social doctrine of the Catholic church. We observe that Catholics are now strongly represented in the Supreme Court of the United States. Even if the United States were founded by Puritans and are mostly a Protestant nation, we may wonder how and where the Catholic doctrines might help in the moral and societal compass of the country.

    I have some questions regarding your article, which starts with the violent death of George Floyd and the social unrest that followed.

    1) Do you consider that, in the USA, the culture of violence is stronger than the culture of peace? Or would you say that this is not the issue?

    2) Have you heard about the Global Peace Index, published every year? What do you think of its methodoloy? Can it be relevant to analyze some issues in the USA? Or would you say that these rankings are biased?

    3) In the Global Peace Index 2019, Canada ranks 6 among the most peaceful countries of the world. For the past decade, the ranking of Canada is very stable. Do you think that this is fair and justified?

    4) In the same ranking, the USA appears to be number 128. It seems that it had a better ranking a few years ago. How would you react to this ranking? Do you feel that it is biased and may reflect some sort of anti-American feeling?

    Personally, I do have questions about these rankings. Yet, I would say that we would do well to analyze them objectively. They may be useful in the debate about how to establish a more peaceful society. Even if the USA is far more complex than Canada and has a huge burden of responsibilities that no other nation in the world has, I believe that Americans of good will, whether conservative or progressive, may learn from your Canadian neighbor. I also ask that our members in Canada bring their own input into the discussion. Do you feel that you live in a peaceful country? And how do you explain it?

  2. Laurent,

    I was not aware of the Global Peace Index. Thank you for the reference.

    In her speech on November 15m True Mother referenced the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth 400 years ago and how the Christian foundation in America was necessary to usher in the realm of True Parents.

    In that context one hypothetical I might offer regarding the violence quotient in the USA is that the nation is literally on the front line — the ultimate battlefield — in the providential struggle between God and Satan where the stakes are quite high. As the Elder Son nation, America has a responsibility to protect the Father and Mother nations (Korea and Japan) and the forces of evil in the spirit world know this. If America is taken down by the increased polarization and violence we have been witnessing in recent months, how might Korea and Japan (and Taiwan) survive the growing threat of China in that region? The struggle is real and very intense.

    Implicit in Headwing Thought and “putting God at the center” is the idea that acknowledging the reality of the incorporeal world, the origin of sin and how we might eradicate it, is a significant factor. We often claim that “love is the answer,” but without a precise understanding of the root causes of sin and finding principled remedies it’s obvious that our better angels won’t always win the day.

  3. Thank you, David.

    You are right to suggest that, “regarding the violence quotient in the USA (…) the nation is literally on the front line — the ultimate battlefield — in the providential struggle between God and Satan where the stakes are quite high. As the Elder Son nation, America has a responsibility to protect the Father and Mother nations.”

    In a way, I plainly agree with that. And yet … and yet … When Father was asked who was the greatest American in the 20th century, he did not hesitate to say, “Martin Luther King”, whom you mention in your essay.

    MLK brought a new type of revolution in the USA, not a political, economic and cultural revolution. He was preparing all Americans for a non-violent revolution, which included God. He was not siding with the “peace and love” guys, but he tried to make America truly great ethically (though he had some personal problems). I believe that the greatest contribution of America to the welfare of the world is through soft power: the American generosity is unprecedented in the history of humanity. It has saved and redeemed Japan and Germany. We all love the USA for its vibrant culture, entertainment, ideas, its excellent universities, many brilliant intellectuals, and also service, people-to-people diplomacy. No other nation has this excellence in soft power.

    President Dwight Eisenhower, who coined the term “people-to-people diplomacy”, also warned America against the danger of the military-industrial complex (January 17, 1961). He said,

    “A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence— economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development.

    Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.”

    This “yet” is what matters. When there is no more yet, we need to worry. I don’t worry too much, however, because the USA remains the nation of yes to many things, and yet to certain things at the same time. As long as America keeps the balance between yes and yet, God can work.

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