Ask Not What America Will Do For You

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Cheon Seong Gyeong 2104

The path of God, who has been paving the way of the tradition of love, is one full of suffering. We have to walk this path because we are to inherit the tradition God has been establishing. I don’t enjoy watching you suffer. You should keep in mind that God has been preparing with painful efforts and devotion to bless you unconditionally. Glory comes only when you receive the inheritance in that place. Isn’t this so? Glory comes only when you inherit from your enemy. God dwells there. Since it has been spread through the cross, it must be reaped by going the way of the cross again. You should know this. Since it was spread through suffering, it must be reaped through suffering. (150-209, 1961.2.15)

Cheon Seong Gyeong 989

Offer your first words to Heaven after rising from your bed in the morning. When you step outside your home, you should step with your right foot first, dedicating your first step to Heaven. If you develop such habits, your life will become a life of attendance. From this viewpoint, you should maintain the standard of a principled attitude in daily life. (17-296, 1967.2.15)


Patriotism and Public Service

CITIZENSHIP, PATRIOTISM, PUBLIC SERVICE: these words define the arena of ethical conduct beyond the level of family and friends. Society functions well when its citizens are active participants, volunteering for public duties and taking responsibility to solve problems in their neighborhoods and communities. Particularly in a democracy, which is government “of the people and by the people,” an attitude of public service is the defining characteristic of good citizens.
In times of peril, love of country calls forth sacrifice. Patriots are proud to offer themselves—their lives if necessary—in the service of their country. The biblical Esther pleads for her people at the risk of her life to save them from destruction. The Psalmist poignantly expresses love of the land in his lament “By the waters of Babylon.” We include a medieval Korean poem that pledges absolute loyalty to the sovereign; it is familiar to Unificationists who have adapted it as a hymn of dedication to God’s will. Here we supplement scripture with memorable words by modern patriots who set the example of sacrifice and dedication to their nations’ welfare and who led their people to victory in the face of tyranny. Among the heroes in that pantheon, Father Moon pays particular tribute to Yu Gwansoon, a young Korean girl whose death at the hands of the Japanese police inaugurated the Korean independence movement.
Father Moon teaches that a nation has three aspects: people, land and sovereignty. In a number of scripture passages, the requirement of submission to government authority even includes counsel to patiently endure tyrants, for the sake of the order and public safety their regimes maintain. However, Father Moon links loyalty and respect for the ruler with the prophetic duty to admonish and guide him to rule according to God’s will. Father Moon teaches that love of country is one stage on the ladder of public love that begins with love of family and ends with love of humanity, the universe and God (see below, World Citizenship). He views these loves as in alignment, not in conflict, and tells parents to inculcate patriotism in the young.

1. The Duty of Citizens to Serve Their Country

There is not one of us but has his appointed position, and we are verily ranged in ranks [for service].
    Qur’an 37.164-65

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
    Isaiah 58.12

Among the actions and good deeds for which a believer will continue to receive reward after his death are knowledge which he taught and spread, a good son whom he left behind, or a copy of the Qur’an which he left as a legacy, or a mosque which he built, or a house which he built for the traveler, or a stream which he caused to flow, or a contribution which he gave from his property when he was alive and well, for which he will continue to receive reward after his death.
    Hadith of Ibn Majah (Islam)

Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal in life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind…
The ignorant work for their own profit, Arjuna; the wise work for the welfare of the world, without thought to themselves.
    Bhagavad Gita 3.23-25 (Hinduism)

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.
    Aristotle, Politics (Hellenism)

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
    Eleanor Roosevelt

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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