- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 28, 2002

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday told an international gathering of civic and religious leaders here that Americans must become more global-minded and understand the religious values at the root of all societies.
"The United States of America has in many ways rediscovered the world after the events of September 11," said Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican.
"Our ignorance of this [global situation] is inexcusable as well as dangerous," he told a group of 400 civic and religious leaders from the United States and dozens of other countries.
The senator's remarks, a keynote for the three-day event at the Sheraton Washington Hotel in Arlington, matched the theme of several panel discussions that America should not become isolationist or pit religions against each another.
The conference, organized by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, recognized the accomplishments of its founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, after 33 years of activity in the United States.
In remarks before his formal speech, Rev. Moon, 82, said he would begin to spend more time in his native South Korea as the base for his international work promoting peace. He described the past year as a time of "great transition," saying that "the United Nations and the nations of the world must unite and cooperate with each other."
While not citing the growing debate over whether Christianity and Islam are moving toward a "clash of civilizations," he suggested that every religion has faults it should correct.
"It is a time to overcome the hypocritical faith in God's name that lacks true love, and abandon all selfish works that violate original human rights and result in injustice," said Rev. Moon, who has spent much of his career fighting for human rights especially in communist countries. "It is most important that the various religions achieve harmony with each other and provide a model for the world."
Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat, spoke of his interest in the Bush administration's faith-based initiative, which allows religious groups to bid for federal welfare grants, and offered a caution that religious faith should be put into action. "God gets a great deal of lip service in this world," Mr. Davis said. "God has prescribed laws of behavior, and the central of these are love and justice."
The senator, in his remarks, said that in prosecuting the war on terrorism within the borders of the United States the nation should strike a balance between security and civil liberties.
"In our zeal to find the terrorists, we have to make sure we do not trample on the rights of people and on freedom of religion. These are fateful times, but we are optimists in this room. We will make headway."
At the opening session yesterday, leaders from Africa, Latin America and Russia discussed strategies for peace by reducing the gap between rich and poor and promoting family morality as the basis to fight disease and teach civic responsibility.
A White House official suggested that Democrats and Republicans would work together in the new Congress to pass charitable choice legislation championed by the Bush administration.
"In a country of so much abundance, we still see pockets of despair," said James Towey, director of the White House Office on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
He said the president's faith-based agenda remains "the centerpiece of the president's domestic policy," that the "near relentless effort to sanitize the public square of all religious influences" should be opposed.
President Bush, working with a Republican-controlled Congress, "will promote his faith-based initiative, hopefully with better results next year," Mr. Towey said.

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