Baha'i Mary Bratz contributes article on world peace
Baha'i look out for the promise of world peace At this time of world turmoil, the Baha'i communities of Portage County and Stevens Point would From the ; Pulpit per- spec- MarvBratz tive on the des- tiny of America as the promoter of world peace. More than a 100 years ago, Baha'u'llah, Prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith, addressed heads of state, proclaiming that the age of maturity for the entire human race had come. The world had seen unity of the family, tribe, city, state and nation. The unity of humankind was now to be established as the foundation of the great peace that would mark the highest stage in humanity's spiritual and social evolution. Revolutionary and world-shaking changes were therefore inevitable. The American 'nation, Baha'is believe, will evolve through tests and trials to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion of justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and a powerful servant of the cause of everlasting peace. This is the peace promised by God in the sacred texts of the world's religions. Establishing peace is not simply a matter of signing treaties and protocols; it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to resolving issues not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace. Universal acceptance of the spiritual principle of the oneness of humankind is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace. Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace. The emancipation of woman, the achievement of full equality of the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged, prerequisites of peace. The inordinate disparity between rich and poor keeps the world in a state of instability, preventing the achievement of peace. Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a whole. Religious strife, the cause of innumerable wars and conflicts throughout history, is a major obstacle to progress. The challenge facing the world's religious leaders, as stated by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, is to contemplate, with hearts filled with compassion and the desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether they cannot, in humility before their God, submerge their theological differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace. During this hour of crises, we affirm our abiding faith in the destiny of America. We know that the road to its destiny is long, thorny, and tortuous, but we are confident that America will emerge from her trials undivided and unbeatable. Our prayers and love embolden our nation and its people to meet this challenge with faith, courage and unity. Mary Bratz is secretary of the Baha'i communities of Portage County.