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.