Love Your Enemy
It has been 19 years since tragedy struck the United States on September 11, 2001. Many of us can remember the very moment we heard about the terrorist attacks that devastated our nation, and the wave of emotions that followed.
Today, we observe that day—a turning point for America—and its fallen heroes.
We are also reminded of the hope that emerges from darkness and pain, and that through unity, peace and love prevail.
“Jesus was on the cross; and now America stands on the cross of the world,” said Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon after prayerfully reflecting on the attacks for three days. “Now is the time to change everything. America and Americans must take the lead in practicing ‘Love your enemy.’”
The late Rev. Moon, co-founder of the Unification movement along with his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, long spoke of unifying humanity through living for the sake of others. He also taught that, as ambassadors of peace, peacemaking begins with each one of us. The 9/11 attacks served as an example prompting the question, ‘How would America respond?’
Unification teachings share that love is the proper response in the face of hatred and anguish. Rev. Moon and many Unificationists gathered in New York City shortly after the attacks to pray and support bereaved families, police, firefighters, and others affected by the harrowing loss.
“Many even went out on the first night,” said Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) Vice President Dr. Michael Mickler in a 2017 report. “As [Rev. Moon] saw it, religious leaders needed to take the lead. They ‘must unite beyond their religion and guide the political leaders of their nations.’”
Another report from 2001 by Universal Peace Federation (UPF) USA President Dr. Michael Jenkins detailed the heartfelt ministering efforts of the Unificationist and broader faith community, who gathered at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building in Harlem after the attacks.
“Our clergy asked that we go there to make a statement to the world that only through religious unity and reconciliation can we bring peace,” said Dr. Jenkins. A special prayer breakfast was held at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom, followed by an interfaith prayer breakfast at Harlem Plaza where 800 ministers convened.
“Without complaint or hesitation, everyone has been so understanding and cooperative,” said Dr. Jenkins. “This is a display of your great faith … Let us manifest a love that will bring all of God’s people together and secure this nation.”
Rev. Moon spoke of a dream common throughout all human history, where people everywhere have yearned and hoped for world peace. Let us remember that peace, originating with each of us, is attainable through loving and serving others, and loving our enemy.