A new religious movement, the United Religions Initiative (URI), is rising worldwide. This interfaith movement's stated aims are peace among religions and creation of "cultures of peace, justice and healing" for all. In the midst of a global "War on Terror" that may become an all-out war between the Islamic and Western world, such a movement has undeniable appeal.
The URI has attracted a disparate group of activists, and seems to be remarkably skillful in defusing tensions among them. Its proponents have included the Dalai Lama and churchmen from the state-approved churches in the People's Republic of China, pro-gay Episcopalians and anti-gay followers of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, radical Muslims and radical feminists, as well as rich capitalist foundations and those who announce the spiritual bankruptcy of capitalism. Both George Soros and President George Bush have, in different ways, supported the URI. The movement's founder, Episcopal Bishop William Swing, is an avowed Republican, and voted for George W. Bush in 2000; that same year, at the end of a URI global conference, he raised his arms to join a Wiccan's invocation of Hekate and Hermes. Such is the URI's "unity in diversity." If it could create such a microcosm of unity among its followers since 1996, how might the URI unify the world in future years?
The Argument, in Brief
I am writing to warn the public worldwide against the activities of the United Religions Initiative, against its supporters within the New Age movement, and against the URI's globalist, utopian allies within the State of the World Forum, the World Economic Forum, and the Earth Charter movement.
The URI, which Bishop Swing of the Episcopal Church's Diocese of California launched in 1995, describes itself as "a growing global community dedicated to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, ending religiously motivated violence and creating cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings."1 The introduction to the URI Charter sets out the movement's planetary ambitions: "Working on all continents and across continents, people from different religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions are creating unprecedented levels of enduring global cooperation. ... The URI, in time, aspires to have the visibility and stature of the United Nations."2
Unfortunately, the URI has a grandiose agenda that goes far beyond its principal, publicly stated aim of promoting peace, tolerance, and non-violence among all religions and spiritual movements. As shown by the repeated, public speeches and writings of URI leaders and activists since the movement began in 1995, the URI and its allies propose the following:
• Squelching Christian evangelism, in the name of promoting inter-religious peace.
• Marginalizing orthodox Christians as "intolerant" and "fundamentalist."
• Preparing the way for a new, global spirituality that can accommodate domesticated forms of all current religions and spiritual movements.
• Promoting a new, collectivist "global ethic."
• The idea that the main goal of religion is social reform, rather than service to God.
• The idea that all religions and spiritual movements are equally true, and equally efficacious as ways to attain communion with God.
• Population control - especially in Third World countries.
• Providing a global podium and respectability for cultism, occultism, witchcraft, Theosophy, and other spiritually harmful religious movements.
This agenda isn't written directly into the Charter of the URI. However, it is plainly evident in the public statements and actions of URI leaders and their allies.
The URI arose out of, and is the culmination of, the interfaith movement that began with the 1893 Parliament of World Religions. Beginning with that conclave, the interfaith movement has facilitated the spread of non-Christian religions in the West, and has undermined Christian evangelization efforts in the rest of the world. The interfaith movement was, until the 1990s, primarily the province of religious reformers and political liberals. Since then, some Western government and corporate interests (such as those that participate in the State of the World Forum and the World Economic Forum) have been promoting the interfaith movement. Traditional religion, it seems to them, is bad for prosperity and stability.
The URI is not yet widely known; it is nevertheless important for these reasons:
• The URI's vision and mission are broader in scope than those of other interfaith organizations, and the URI collaborates with most of these groups.
• The URI has grown from a California-based movement of 55 people in the mid-1990s to a global movement of over 26,000 activists3 in 56 countries,4 with backing from prominent foundations and from Federal officials.
• The URI has gained significant support in the Third World - unlike other interfaith movements, whose support has been concentrated among liberal reformers in Europe and North America. (The appeal of the URI in the Third World appears to be its call for peace among religions; it is unlikely that members there are aware of the New Age, globalist, and utopian baggage that the URI carries.)
• The URI is building an ever-closer relationship with the UN and its agencies.
• In its documents, by the writings and speeches of its activists and leaders, and by the alliances it builds, the URI makes manifest the agenda of liberal globalists. Understanding the URI therefore sheds light on a social and political movement that is far more influential than the URI alone. The URI is a case study in a global pathology that may soon affect us all.
Associated with the URI are various organizations and movements that propose construction of a New World Order, in which global governance and globalized economics will supersede the national regimes and traditional societies that we have hitherto known. There are left-wing and right-wing factions among the globalists, but they agree that the Old World Order - including the sovereign nation-state and traditional religions - must go. To that end, some left-wing globalists (George Soros, among others) and some right-wing globalists (President George W. Bush, the U.S. State Department, and the Rev. Moon's Unification Church, among others) have supported the URI.
To a significant extent, New Age spirituality informs the leftist supporters of the New World Order. Prominent supporters of the URI and of globalism include Robert Muller, a former UN assistant secretary-general, best-selling metaphysical author Neale Donald Walsch, and futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard. These New Age writers have drawn inspiration from Theosophy, an occult spiritual movement that took its current form in 1875 with the founding of the Theosophical Society in New York City by Helena Blavatsky. The Lucis Trust (disciples of Alice A. Bailey, a Theosophist writer of the mid-20th century) and other Theosophists and occultists are on the record as supporters of the URI.
The writings of Blavatsky, Bailey, Muller, Marx Hubbard, and Walsch are a comprehensive anti-Gospel, setting forth a vision of spiritualized totalitarianism, moral chaos, and a politically correct form of Social Darwinism. These authors' teachings, repeated within their lengthy, sleep-inducing books, include the following:
• Praise for Lucifer, the light-bearer and giver of "Wisdom," because he awoke mankind in the Garden of Eden from its primal unconsciousness. For these New Age theorists, the Fall was really mankind's Ascent into knowledge and freedom.
• Proclaiming that we humans are gods, and that death is not real.
• Advocacy for population control - especially for the poor in the West and for the underdeveloped countries. This advocacy goes back to the late 1800s, when world population was a fraction of its current level.
• Support for eugenics and euthanasia.
• Contempt for traditional religions - with concentrated scorn directed at Judaism, evangelical Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism.
• Support for a new world order, a spiritualized form of Communism in which everyone will "share" everything.
• Apologetics for various and sundry dictators and authoritarian movements, of the extreme Right as well as the extreme Left.
• Acceptance of war and atomic weapons as instruments of human evolution.
• Forecasting a pending (and for them, desirable) "selection" of mankind, in which the progressives enter the New Age and the reactionaries face extinction. For the New Age apostles of "progressive" Social Darwinism, these casualties are a necessary price to pay for human evolution.
Many New Age and liberal Catholic supporters of the URI claim Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a dissident 20th century Catholic priest and paleontologist, as a source of their own beliefs. Teilhard promoted some of the aberrant ideas listed above, and upheld "the right of the earth to organise itself by reducing, even by force, the reactionary and backwards elements."5
It should be noted that many New Age believers are unaware of the negative aspects of their mentors' teachings. Many people never study these writings at all; others pay attention only to what they agree with, ignoring their teachers' "hard sayings."
My own perspective is that of an orthodox Christian; I was Episcopalian until 1995, and have since made my spiritual home among Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. In this book, I discuss the problems with the URI, the New Age movement, and the globalists, issues that may be of interest to orthodox Christians of all confessions and denominations.
In 1907, Pope St. Pius X issued an encyclical letter, On the Doctrines of the Modernists, denouncing a theological movement within the Catholic Church that sought to accommodate the Spirit of the Age. The Pope said,
"But since the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connexion between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil."6
Regarding the beliefs of the URI, the globalists, and their New Age supporters, my intent is the same: to show their teachings in an organized fashion, and to show how their disparate views form a consistent - and grossly misguided - whole.
Apologia: Replies to a Skeptic's Questions
Given this standpoint, some readers who are not Christian or "traditional" in any sense may wonder whether this book should be of interest to them. Here is how I would answer such skeptics:
Skeptic: I am not an orthodox Christian; why should I care about, or oppose, a movement that is against orthodox Christianity?
Author: For these reasons:
• You may be a liberal Christian, and believe that ancient understandings of scripture and tradition should be revised to meet the knowledge and requirements of the present day. Nevertheless, spiritual freedom is indivisible; the denial of liberty to one endangers the liberty of all. (That's why civil liberties groups often defend extremists and crazies.) The laws and precedents that are used now to suppress the people you fear and loathe can be used later to suppress you when power changes hands (which it always does, sooner or later).
• You may be a follower of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or of one of the indigenous religious movements. As I am not a practitioner or a scholar of these faiths, I cannot step inside your shoes to understand what concerns the world-view and agenda of the URI and the globalists may raise for you. However, it may be that some of the concerns of orthodox Christians are those that traditional believers in your own faith will share.
• In addition, all believers in all religions should note that the URI and its globalist and New Age allies propose radical social and spiritual change that would affect everyone on the planet. If orthodox Christianity is taken out of the picture - as some of the New Age authors propose - who will the reformers take on next? Will the traditions that you cherish, the memories of which may grace your childhood, survive? Will your children be free to believe and live as you and your ancestors, of blessed memory, have done?
• In the name of pluralism and diversity, URI activists and their New Age allies mix and match beliefs and practices from a wide range of religions and spiritual movements. As a rule, these reformers take attractive items out of context, redefine them, and put them to use in a way that no traditional believer in other religions ever would. (My editor Charles Upton - a Sufi Muslim scholar and an expert on comparative religion - has identified some of these distortions; read the footnotes as well as the main text.) To put it crudely: the syncretists are spiritual magpies. These scavengers steal what they want, put it to selfish use, and befoul what they touch. Will you trust such people to shape a new spirituality for the new millennium?
Skeptic: So what are you, some kind of fundamentalist?
Author: I believe what is set forth in the Creed of the ancient and undivided Church:
"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-Begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; The third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the Resurrection of the dead and the Life of the world to come. Amen."7
I am a Christian, baptized and chrismated to serve Christ, who is my Lord and Savior. I am obliged to share the Faith with those who might be receptive to it - recognizing that my deeds provide a witness (for good or for ill) that is louder than any words that I utter.
All mankind was created by God, and all are held in existence by Him. Just as all the creation that there is, is by and through Christ, so also all salvation is by and through Christ. Nevertheless, I do not, and dare not, judge the salvation or spiritual state of non-Christians. God is loving, merciful, and just, and will do all things possible to bring all to Him. As Christ said, "And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd." (John 10:16). Christ continues, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." (John 12:32). God is in charge of evangelization, and does not need televangelists or door-to-door salesmen to complete the job.
The Apostle Paul testifies likewise: "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." (Rom. 2:14-16)
In this spirit, the Catholic Church teaches,
"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation. Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is considered by the Church to be a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."8
I can affirm where I have found grace; it is not my job to state where grace is not.
Furthermore, I accept - fully - what the Catholic Church declared at Vatican II:
"The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that all men should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power so that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his convictions nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in associations with others. The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself." 9
You, dear skeptic, get to decide: is this fundamentalism? Are those who believe as I do a threat to peace?
Skeptic: Are you in favor of religious division, then?
Author: There are two very different movements for religious unity, and many people confuse them. I believe orthodox Christians should respond differently to these movements.
The movement for unity among Christians is the ecumenical movement. I believe that Christ wills that Christians should be united. At the Last Supper, He prayed for unity among the Apostles, and for unity among those who would follow them, through the centuries: "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:20-21) Division among Christians is a scandal: a stumbling-block for those who seek truth, and a witness against the Gospel. This book does not criticize, or pertain to, the ecumenical movement. I desire to see the day that all Christians can receive the Eucharist at any Christian altar, but do not venture any suggestions (aside from prayer and love) on how this might be brought about.
The interfaith movement, the quest for unity among all religions and spiritual expressions, is a different matter altogether. As the movement has taken shape since 1893, it is inextricably tied to the quest for a New Spirituality that would unify the planet in a New World Order. The URI is the fullest expression of this movement now. This movement is a foe of traditional Christianity; it seeks to domesticate the other ancient religions, as well, subordinating all faiths to seek a "Kingdom" of this world. Followers of traditional religions who embrace the present-day interfaith movement will find themselves in the position of sheep who negotiate with wolves about the dinner menu.
That said, there are some forms of interfaith cooperation that would be desirable:
• Collaboration on corporal works of mercy: negotiating an end to wars, feeding the hungry, care for the sick, housing the homeless, and the like.
• Collaboration on behalf of human rights and justice, building on the Natural Law, the morality that is built into the conscience of all men. (C. S. Lewis illustrated this shared tradition, the Tao, in his appendix to The Abolition of Man, using instances from sacred texts worldwide.)10 Obviously, people of different faiths should cooperate to oppose abortion, human cloning and human trafficking, sweatshops, torture, and aggressive war; likewise, all should support religious freedom.
• Education is beneficial - not in order to "prove" that all religions really are the same, but to dispel false or inadequate information that people may have about other faiths and their adherents.
None of these activities require or promote the utopian, syncretic beliefs that are integral to the URI and other present-day interfaith organizations.
In any case, no interfaith umbrella group is needed for religious leaders and teachers to tell their own followers to be peaceful and charitable toward members of other faiths. Nor is an interfaith movement needed for religious leaders to exercise their authority to ensure that this is done.
Note also that this book is, in its own way, an interfaith effort in support of Tradition,11 the Tao that C. S. Lewis illustrated. I am Byzantine Catholic; my editor is Sufi Muslim; I have received essential insights and aid from Jews and from Christians in all the major confessions: Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Reformed Protestant alike.
Skeptic: Do you believe in use of force, bribery, or "holy deception" to advance the Christian cause?
Author: No, not at all. Opposition to force, fraud, enticement, and manipulation in the name of religion is the one thing that the URI is right about. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "One may not do evil so that good may result from it."12
Christ himself firmly rebuked his disciples for considering use of force against those who rejected him:
"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?' But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, 'Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.' And they went to another village." (Luke 9:51-56, KJV)
Skeptic: Do you believe that the adherents of the URI are all misguided? Do you think that the movement is entirely evil?
Author: No, to both questions.
Many people who turn to the URI seek peace among religions, and are distressed - rightly - by the epidemic spread of religious hatred and violence. These seekers mean well and have a good goal. However, some people within the URI and its globalist, utopian allies have a far wider, and far worse, agenda in mind.
As for the URI itself: despite the movement's many errors, some of its chapters are doing valuable works of mercy - caring for the sick and the poor, and negotiating cease-fires in civil wars. The movement's leaders and activists are a mixed bag; peacemakers work side-by-side with globalists, utopians, cultists, and occultists. Bishop Swing, the founder of the URI, himself sometimes speaks a sober, vital message of peace - while at other times raising his hands with the Wiccans13 and hailing "a spirit of colossal energy" being "born in the loins of the earth."14
Skeptic: You're against global governance. But humanity's problems are worldwide, and need a global solution. What, other than a global government, can deal with global corporations, global warming, and emerging plagues?
Author: This is part of mankind's predicament. Our problems are indeed worldwide. However, those who seek to govern and re-make the world are, by reason of that dark lust for power, unfit to do so. Nation-states are not a perfect way to run the world; far from it. My task is to remind everyone that no matter how hot this particular frying pan is, leaping into the fire is no solution.
Skeptic: You're against the Earth Charter and other plans to equitably redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. How can any spiritual person be for capitalism?
Author: An individualist, capitalist, market economy does indeed rely on mankind's greed to work; from the Christian perspective, it's a bad system. The others are worse. Socialism and collectivism have been tried, in many forms around the world. National Socialism, Communism, Peronism, Fascism, Francoism, and other authoritarian social experiments have claimed tens of millions of victims - the dead, the imprisoned, the tortured, the exiled, the dispossessed - since 1914. Nor is European-style social democracy the answer, even though it is far more benign than the aforementioned dictatorial systems. The key question is this: if European social democracy is so good materially and spiritually, why aren't Europeans having enough children to replace (let alone increase) their population? In economics as with international relations, I see no humanly attainable solutions that bring us to Utopia, or anywhere near it.
Skeptic: Why do you see the patterns that you do? The participants in these movements deny that they intend what you claim. You're a conspiracy theorist!
Author: Often, those who are committed to a movement - whether it be the interfaith movement, the movement for globalism, or a religious sect - are totally committed to their party's presuppositions and goals. Theirs is the viewpoint of a lover, not that of an analyst, a scholar, or a critic. An outsider can often readily see what the committed activists cannot. (In similar fashion, neighbors and relatives might immediately perceive the neuroses of a dysfunctional family - maladies that the members themselves might not see until they have experienced a crisis and received intensive counseling.)
As for the conspiracy question: I do identify common beliefs and goals among the "progressive" religious and secular globalists; their shared world-view and mutual sympathies are obvious. I am not attempting to identify some central organization that governs these movements; I do not believe that such a conspiracy exists. Neither the Federal Reserve Bank nor the Council on Foreign Relations, two common targets of conspiracy theorists, appear in this book.
Skeptic: All of this sounds like the Republican Party line. Is this a public relations effort for them?
Author: No, not at all. I am not active in any political party. By contrast, Bishop Swing, the founder of the URI, said in the summer of 2004 that "I'm a Republican. I voted for George W. Bush."15 In turn, President Bush has congratulated Swing for his interfaith work, and praised the URI.16 Opposition to the URI, and to globalism and other utopian ideologies, does not fit into present-day "left/right" categories.
Skeptic: If you're not a Republican, you must be a fascist. You certainly talk like a reactionary!
Author: Here's what I believe about government and human rights, directly out of the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."17
As for the purpose of politics, C. S. Lewis sums it up in Mere Christianity better that I could:
"The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden - that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."18
I altogether reject Utopianism, of the Left or of the Right. It is a lethal political and spiritual disease, an error which the Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns as "secular messianism" and "intrinsically perverse."19
Such acceptance of human limitations leaves plenty of room for any of us to undertake the corporal and spiritual works of mercy that God asks of us. C. S. Lewis puts this into perspective in his essay "The World's Last Night." In bidding us to remember that Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead (and that the Second Coming could happen at any time), Lewis says,
"Frantic administration of panaceas to the world is certainly discouraged by the reflection that 'this present' might be 'the world's last night'; sober work for the future, within the limits of ordinary morality and prudence, is not. For what comes is Judgment: happy are those whom it finds laboring in their vocations, whether they were merely going out to feed the pigs or laying good plans to deliver humanity a hundred years hence from some great evil. The curtain has indeed now fallen. Those pigs will never be fed, the great campaign against White Slavery or Governmental Tyranny will never in fact proceed to victory. No matter; you were at your post when the Inspection came."20
I have used this dialogue with a skeptic to make clear the principles and beliefs that led me to write this book, and have guided its composition.
In addition, there was motivation from a Biblical admonition against silence in the face of evil. The LORD had said to Ezekiel: "If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you will have saved your life." (Ezek. 3:18-19)
A Road Map for Readers
This foreword is impressionistic, without an attempt to prove my case in detail.
Those who venture into the main text will find an abundance of documentation for the argument that I make against the URI, its globalist allies, and the pro-URI "gurus" in the New Age movement. These movements' own literature makes the case against them, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. I have paid the URI and its associates the compliment of taking them seriously; those who have "a mouth speaking great things" (Dan. 7: 8) deserve such scrutiny and exposure.
At the end of the book is a postscript, speculating on the aftermath of the movements now in train for economic, political, and religious globalization. The postscript, like this foreword, is impressionistic. I offer it not as a prophecy, but as a way to get readers to consider some of the unexpected side effects and complications that the current drive for a New World Order may pose for mankind. Evil may come at us from the Right as well as from the Left - or from both directions simultaneously. Those who fail to scan the entire horizon for political and spiritual peril may find themselves unexpectedly overwhelmed.
Anyone who has not examined the interfaith, New Age, and globalist movements previously might find the participants and their activities to be confusing, and may need orientation. My answers to the following questions are brief. For the details, complexities, nuances, and "hot parts" (of which there are many), proceed to the body of this book.
• Is this book fiction or non-fiction? Real-life or satire?
Alas, it is all non-fiction. I would rather that the bizarre activities and beliefs that I have uncovered were confined to the pages of light thrillers and inane, preachy end-times novels. The reality is otherwise. And nothing herein is satire - although some of the words and deeds of the New Age enthusiasts make it appear that they are parodying themselves.
• What organizations are involved, and how are they associated?
The following organizations form a loose network of associates with a shared world-view. Mutual sympathy and common belief, not a chain of command or a shared directorate, bring them together. (As you look over this list of movements, consider the scope of their ambition. Isn't it reassuring to know that so many well-connected bien-pensants want to create a "new civilization" for us all? In any case, we won't need to worry about voting on these reformers' ideas; it will all be done for us, and for our own good.)
The United Religions Initiative (URI)
The United Religions Initiative (URI) is a fast-growing interfaith movement launched in 1995 by William E. Swing, one of the Episcopal Church's prominent liberal bishops. The movement describes itself as "a growing global community dedicated to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, ending religiously motivated violence and creating cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings."21 The URI Charter says, "The URI, in time, aspires to have the visibility and stature of the United Nations."22 The URI grew out of the post-1893 interfaith movement, and exemplifies that broader movement's utopian, anti-traditional world-view.
In mid-2004, Bishop Swing glowed with optimism about the prospects for the URI: "Our cooperation circles [URI local chapters] have gone from none at charter signing, to having 100, to having 200; now we're almost having 300, and we'll soon have 1,000. We're in 50 countries in the world; we have people from 80 different religions; we have offices on five continents - and we get more than 1 million hits a month on our website."23
The Lucis Trust
The Lucis Trust is a Theosophical organization with offices on Wall Street in New York, in London, and in Geneva. It was founded by Alice and Foster Bailey in 1922. (Its publishing house was initially the Lucifer Publishing Company,24 until it was renamed Lucis Publishing Company). In 1923, the Baileys established the Arcane School, "a correspondence school presenting the principles of the Ageless Wisdom through esoteric meditation, study and service as a way of life" for those who wish to pursue the path of "new age discipleship."25 More than 80 years later, the Trust keeps the Arcane School in operation, and ensures that Alice Bailey's 24 long-winded books remain in print.
The Lucis Trust supports the URI, the Temple of Understanding, and other spiritual and political movements for a "New World Order."
The Gorbachev Foundation and Green Cross International
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last premier of the Soviet Union, founded the Gorbachev Foundation in January 1992, within a month of the December 1991 dissolution of the USSR. The Foundation's stated goal is "to help assert democratic values and moral, humanistic principles in the life of society. In a globalizing world, the search for guidelines in building a new, more equitable international order is increasingly important. The overall motto of the Gorbachev Foundation is Toward a New Civilization."26
Gorbachev also founded Green Cross International, a global environmentalist movement. Green Cross, established in 1993, "promotes legal, ethical and behavioral norms that ensure basic changes in the values, actions and attitudes of government, the private sector and civil society, necessary to build a sustainable global community."27 As part of their quest for "basic changes" worldwide, Green Cross supports the Earth Charter Initiative, a drive for UN adoption of a far-reaching environmental ethical code. Gorbachev has said, "My hope is that this charter will be a kind of Ten Commandments, a 'Sermon on the Mount,' that provides a guide for human behavior toward the environment in the next century and beyond."28
There are no direct ties between either of Gorbachev's organizations and the URI, but the URI supports the Earth Charter. All of these movements share the goal of building a "new civilization," as envisioned by affluent Western liberals and by ex-Communist leftists.
The State of the World Forum
The State of the World Forum (SWF) is a spin-off from the Gorbachev Foundation.29 It was intended by Mikhail Gorbachev to establish "a kind of global brain trust to focus on the present and future of our civilization."30 Since its founding in 1995, the SWF has drawn crowds of current and has-been political leaders, corporate CEOs, social change activists, and New Age "gurus" to its luxurious meetings. There, they discuss creation of "an ever more inclusive and holistic approach to global governance."31 At SWF conclaves, shamanism and tantra are "in," and traditional monotheism is definitely "out."
The SWF co-sponsored the URI's first global summit meeting in 1996. Since then, there have been no formal links between the two organizations. However, they do have donors and activists in common. By this means, these organizations promote what URI Global Council member Donald Frew describes as "the Western liberal social agenda. It covers many groups, and those who are in one group are likely to be in another. It is a world-view, not a conspiracy."32
The Earth Charter Initiative
The URI is one of many liberal organizations that has lined up to support the Earth Charter, a revolutionary set of ecological principles put forward in 1994 by Mikhail Gorbachev, Maurice Strong, Steven Rockefeller, and others. (Rockefeller had told ecological activists in 1998 that "One can think of the Earth Charter with its tripartite structure as a Tree of Life."33)
Among the many supporters of the Earth Charter are the US Conference of Mayors, the Sierra Club, the Rosicrucians, the School of Ageless Wisdom, the Florida Cannabis Action Network, and about 100 Catholic religious orders. The Earth Charter Initiative seeks UN passage of the Earth Charter, and hopes that its principles will be written into binding international treaties. The killer idea - literally - in the Charter's "green" rhetoric is the call to "Ensure universal access to health care that fosters reproductive health and responsible reproduction."34 In UN circles, "reproductive health" includes artificial contraception, abortion, and sterilization.
The World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum (WEF), founded in 1971, considers itself to be critical in setting each year's global agenda:
"It has become the premier gathering of international leaders from business, government, academia, media, non-governmental and other civil organizations. From its origins as a small business conference in the Swiss Alps, the Annual Meeting has grown to become the event where the leading issues confronting humanity are discussed and debated at the start of each calendar year. ... The Forum believes that progress can best be achieved when governments and business can freely and productively discuss challenges and work together to mold solutions. The unique atmosphere of the Annual Meeting creates opportunities for the formation of global partnerships and alliances."35
Forbes reported that the 2004 annual meeting had "2,280 participants from 94 countries, including some 800 chairmen and chief executives, billionaires like Michael Dell and Bill Gates, 203 ambassadors and 31 heads of state and government."36 WEF leaders - who include Earth Charter activist Maurice Strong - have made it clear that they support "global governance."37
There are no direct ties between the URI and the WEF. However, to the extent that the WEF meetings address religion, they support New Age rather than traditional beliefs.
• Who are the leaders of these movements, and how are they related to each other?
Bishop William E. Swing, founder of the URI
William E. Swing (1936 - ) has been the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California since 1979; he plans to retire in 2006 to give full time to the URI.38 His jurisdiction, fittingly, includes San Francisco, Marin County, Berkeley, and most of the remainder of the San Francisco Bay Area. Swing's avocation is golf, and he made the championship cut for the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament. (In this respect, he followed in his father's footsteps. In 2004, Swing said, "My father was a professional golfer, and we lived at a country club."39) Swing conceived the idea of the URI in 1993, and has vowed "to commit the rest of my life to an initiative that would create a United Religions."40 He has been married since 1961, and has two children.
Bishop Swing had long been a low-key liberal within the Episcopal Church, the U. S. branch of the Anglican Communion. Until the mid-1990s, he had avoided the public controversies associated with James Pike, Jack Spong, and other flamboyant, gadfly Episcopal bishops. In 1990, he ran for election in the Diocese of Washington DC, but was not chosen.41 In 1996, Swing turned down nomination to run for Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
With Swing's acceptance of Matthew Fox as a priest in 1994, and with his launch of the URI in 1995, he has taken a higher profile on the left wing of the Anglican Communion. In 1997, he boasted to a San Francisco-based gay activist that "I've probably ordained more gays and lesbians than the rest of the Anglican church put together."42 And in early 2003, he told the Patriarch of Constantinople that "I have ordained more women than any other bishop in the history of the Church and would be glad to talk about my experience;" the Patriarch replied, "I don't want to know your experience."43
Swing nevertheless continues to present himself as conservative. During the mid-2004 celebration of his 25th anniversary as Bishop of California, Swing said,
"I'm a conservative person. I'm a Republican. I voted for George W. Bush. Yet I am seen as a raving liberal throughout the church. I'm very conservative about marriage. I'm very conservative about hard work. I'm very conservative that you celebrate the sacraments; if you're going to preach, you say your prayers, and you read the Bible and you do your homework. Inside myself, I have an awful lot of conservative tendencies, and I serve a constituency that is primarily liberal, and we get along just fine. And so, I'm really glad I'm not a raving liberal in San Francisco, because I think we'd all go off the deep end."44
The intellectual precursors of today's New Age movement
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), was born in Ukraine. She had two brief marriages. The first, in July 1849 to General Nikifor Blavatsky, a Russian governor of Armenia, lasted until her flight that September, and was never consummated. After Helena abandoned her husband, she began a quarter-century of travel through Europe, Asia, and North America. While in the US, she undertook a bigamous second marriage in 1875 to a follower, Michael Betanelly. (Mr. Blavatsky was still alive at the time in Russia.) The new marriage too was abortive; within several months Blavatsky abandoned him, and Betanelly obtained a divorce in 1878.
Helena Blavatsky was profoundly influenced from her childhood onward by Freemasonry and occultism. At her grandparents' home, she studied the occult library of her maternal great-grandfather, Prince Pavel Dolgorukii, "a prominent Rosicrucian Freemason in the years before Catherine II closed the lodges. In her adolescence, she admired Prince Aleksandr Golitsyn, a magician and Freemason who encouraged her growing interest in esotericism."45
Blavatsky visited Paris in the early 1850s, and "astonished the Freemasons there with her knowledge" of the secrets of Scottish Rite and Egyptian Rite Masonry.46 In her travels through Europe, America, and Asia, "everywhere she was involved with Freemasonry, Oriental secret societies, occult fraternities, and with the spiritualists who constituted, as it were, the exoteric 'church' from which doors opened to the more esoteric circles."47 Blavatsky said in Isis Unveiled that she hoped for Masonry to return to its ancient, occult roots,48 and averred that the Masonic quest for knowledge and understanding would remain "empty words" for "as long as they neglect their mother Magic, and turn their backs upon its twin sister, Spiritualism."49 She also praised Grand Orient Masonry for allowing atheists to join their Lodges.50
Blavatsky "smoked her first hashish, which she used for many years, in 1850 in Cairo."51 She told an associate, "Hasheesh multiplies one's life a thousand fold. My experiences are as real as if they were ordinary events of actual life. Ah! I have the explanation. It is a recollection of my former existences, my pervious incarnations. It is a wonderful drug, and clears up a profound mystery."52
Blavatsky was wounded in battle at Mentana in 1867; she was fighting against the Pope, and on the side of Garibaldi, for the unification of Italy.53 Another biographer says that during the 1850s, Blavatsky was probably a member of Mazzini's Jeune Europe, a revolutionary Carbonari secret society.54 "In 1871, while in Cairo, Egypt, she founded a spiritualist group which disbanded because of its inept, fraudulent attempts to create psychic phenomena."55
Blavatsky's next stop was the United States. While in New York City, Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. In 1878, she moved to India, where she remained until scandal forced her to leave the country in 1885. In 1884, the Society for Psychical Research, which had been friendly to Theosophy, investigated her claims to paranormal abilities and to receiving mystical messages from ascended spirit masters. In 1885, their report deemed her a charlatan. "Other close associates of Blavatsky would confirm the report in later years."56 Blavatsky spent the remainder of her life in Europe.
Blavatsky died in 1891 in London, having written Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888), two massive, soporific texts still revered by her present-day followers. She claimed that these books were channeled from the Mahatmas, her spirit guides, but "large sections of her books which purport to be her own words are in fact duplications of passage in other, earlier books to which she had access. From the very first appearance of Isis, charges of plagiarism have swirled around HPB's writing."57
According to the New Age Almanac, "she will be remembered as the person most influential in creating the modern occult movement in the West."58 Worldwide, the Theosophical Society has about 35,000 members in 37 countries.59
Alice A. Bailey and Foster Bailey
Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949) was born in England. During her youth, she was an Evangelical Christian missionary working with the British Army in India - or, as she later described herself in her autobiography, a "rabid, orthodox Christian worker."60 She married Walter Evans in 1907; they moved to the US, where he became an Episcopal priest. The family had three daughters, but the marriage was destroyed by Evans' bad temper. Alice separated from him in 1915 and obtained a divorce in 1919. With the end of her first marriage, she began her journey into occultism.
Bailey became a member of Annie Besant's Theosophical Society (the movement that Helena Blavatsky had founded); she broke off from them to found her own school of Theosophy after she began receiving "messages" from "Tibetan Master" Djwhal Khul in 1919. Alice met Foster Bailey, who had been the national secretary of the Theosophical Society, around this time. They married in 1921.
The Baileys founded Lucifer Publishing Company in 1922 (later renaming it Lucis Publishing Company). They also established the Arcane School in 1923, and World Goodwill in 1932. As of 1978, the Arcane School claimed that it had had 200,000 students over its lifetime.61 A scholarly study of the New Age movement says, "Bailey's influence on the New Age movement, especially in its early phase, is pervasive."62
By the time she died, Alice Bailey had produced 24 volumes of Theosophical musings; she claimed that most of these were dictated to her by her Tibetan spirit guide. Two historians specializing in the New Age movement said that the books "are extremely dense. Bailey's husband, Foster, once admitted that in the first edition of A Treatise on White Magic, the printers had inadvertently typeset twenty pages twice and included them in the published volume. It was two years before anyone noticed, including the Baileys themselves."63
Foster Bailey (1888-1977), a 32nd degree Mason,64 continued the work of the Lucis Trust after Alice Bailey died. He said that Masonry "is all that remains to us of the first world religion which flourished in an antiquity so old that it is impossible to affix a date. It was the first unified world religion. Then came the era of separation of many religions, and of sectarianism. Today we are working again towards a world universal religion. Again then, Masonry will come into its own, in some form or another."65 His book, The Spirit of Masonry, is still available from New Age and Masonic book sellers.
Alice Bailey's present-day followers at the Lucis Trust are avowed supporters of the URI.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a French Jesuit priest, paleontologist, and theologian. He was ordained as a priest in 1911, and served as a stretcher-bearer during World War I; he received the Legion of Honor and other awards for valorous performance. During the early 1920s, his evolutionary theological writings gained unfavorable notice at the Vatican; Teilhard was forbidden to publish these and later works during his lifetime. He obeyed, but circulated his writings privately. After his death, Teilhard's friends saw to their publication between 1955 and 1970. From 1923 to 1945, Teilhard spent much of his time doing paleontological research in China; he participated in the 1929 discovery of Peking Man. Teilhard's final years were in France and the United States.
Teilhard's theology anticipated themes common among present-day New Age writers, although he disavowed Theosophy and what he deemed to be world-denying Asian religious philosophies. URI supporters Robert Muller, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Matthew Fox acknowledge Teilhard as one of their mentors.
Present-day New Age supporters of the United Religions Initiative
Robert Muller (1923 - ) was born in Belgium, and was raised in Alsace-Lorraine. During World War II he was a refugee, and participated in the French Resistance movement. Muller obtained a Doctorate of Law from the University of Strasbourg, and began his career with the United Nations in 1948. By his retirement in 1986, he had risen through the ranks to be an Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, and his World Core Curriculum earned a UNESCO prize in 1989. He later served as Chancellor of the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica. He met his first wife, Margarita Gallo, at the UN in the late 1940s; after her death in the 1990s, he remarried.
Muller has been a public supporter of the URI since its inception. He also has cooperated with Theosophists for decades, and the World Core Curriculum - now being used in 43 private "Robert Muller Schools" - acknowledges the work of Alice A. Bailey as one of its sources. In turn, Dale McKechnie, a vice president of the Lucis Trust, said in 1998, "Robert Muller apparently has been influenced by Alice Bailey's works. ... He did speak at some of our conferences. ... We have been a great supporter of his work. We've tried to support him and the United Nations and his current work at the Peace University in Costa Rica."66
Barbara Marx Hubbard
Barbara Marx Hubbard (1929 - ) is a New Age futurist. One of her supporters says, "She has spent the last thirty years identifying options and people contributing to a creative, sustainable future. In the 1970s and 1980s, she worked on designing and producing major synergistic conferences, bringing together opposing factions to seek cooperative solutions, such as the Soviet-American Citizen Summits to develop joint-nation projects. In 1984, her name was placed in nomination for the Vice Presidency of the United States with her 'campaign for a positive future.'"67 Marx Hubbard is a board member of the World Future Society and the Society for the Universal Human, and is co-founder of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. She collaborates with Neale Donald Walsch, saying, "I see that we have different functions toward the same goal. Our function has been to provide an evolutionary context and a developmental path toward the next stage of evolution that includes the best of the teachers and thinkers now transforming our world."68
Barbara Marx Hubbard was heir to the Marx family toy fortune, and was raised without religious affiliation.69 Her teenage spiritual search took her through the Episcopal Church, but she found the priest to be uninspiring, "affable, pallid, correct, traditional."70 She was already convinced that God's "behavior toward His children was unacceptable."71 Barbara married an artist, Earl Hubbard, in 1951; she had five children, and divorced after her consciousness expanded. In 1980, she visited an Episcopal monastery in Santa Barbara, Mount Calvary, for a spiritual retreat. At this time, she began receiving channeled messages from "the Christ voice,"72 an entity that told her that the "brave congregation of souls attracted to the future of the world are my avant-garde - the New Order of the Future."73 These communications have continued since then. The New Age Almanac says, "During the last two decades, Hubbard has become one of the major spokespersons of the New Age Movement and of the goals of planetary consciousness."74
Barbara Marx Hubbard assisted in the drafting of the URI Charter, and still supports this movement. She also has attended meetings of Gorbachev's State of the World Forum. Barbara Marx Hubbard closed a section of her 1998 book Conscious Evolution with part of the "Great Invocation," a Theosophical prayer from the Lucis Trust: "When asked what I choose to be the outcome of the book, my answer is that it serve the fulfillment of the plan. 'May Light and Love and Power restore the plan on Earth.' That is my prayer."75 The prayer comes directly from the works of Alice A. Bailey.
Neale Donald Walsch
Neale Donald Walsch (1943 - ) is the best-selling author of the Conversations With God books, a series of channeled dialogues with "God." His career path has been diverse: managing editor of a newspaper, program director for a radio station, public information officer for a large public school system, founder of an advertising and marketing firm, and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. All of this - including jobs with New Age luminaries Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Terry Cole Whitaker - preceded a time of disaster for Walsch.
In the midst of a crisis, in February 1992, Walsch says that he wrote an angry letter to God, asking why his life was such a struggle. "God" responded, and the result - three years later - was the first book of the Conversations With God series. Since then, Walsch claims to have reached a readership of more than 25 million people with his message that we are one with God. Walsch now spends all his time pursuing "his vision of a world in which people no longer live in fear of God, or of each other."76
Walsch was raised Roman Catholic, but left the Catholic Church at age 20. (Walsch's oft-repeated recollections of his childhood religious training read like a real-life version of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You.) He then passed through various Protestant denominations, but now has his own religion, a feel-good faith in which "Hitler went to heaven."77 Walsch's spirit guide explained, "There is no hell, so there is no place else for him to go."78 Walsch has been married five times,79 and so was ready to hear "God's" admonition to us all that "Your marriage vows, as you presently construct them, have you making a very un-Godly statement."80
Walsch was active in the URI in the late 1990s, and remains a public supporter of the movement. He and Barbara Marx Hubbard praise each other's work, and they seek the same goals.
Globalist politicians and businessmen
Mikhail S. Gorbachev (1931 - ) was the last ruler of the Soviet Union, from 1985 to 1991. He joined the Communist Party in 1952, became First Secretary for Agriculture in 1970, and joined the Politburo in 1979. Gorbachev had the patronage of Yuri Andropov, the KGB boss who ruled the USSR from 1982 to 1984. After his 1985 election as General Secretary of the Communist Party, Gorbachev attempted to reform the Soviet system; his slogans were glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). He was married to Raisa Gorbachev from 1953 until her death in 1999.
Soon after assuming power, Gorbachev signed
"a five-year plan, for 1985 to 1990, that brought the Soviet Union to its high point of developing an arsenal of deadly pathogens, including plague, brucellosis, tularemia, anthrax, and smallpox. ... At the same time U.S. scientists were collaborating with Russian counterparts to eradicate any trace of smallpox from the world (from which some 300 million people died during the twentieth century), the Soviet Union was secretly hoarding twenty tons of the germ for military use. New strains were being created. All this during glasnost."81
In 1988, Gorbachev announced that the USSR would abandon the "Brezhnev doctrine" that had decreed that no country would be allowed to leave the Soviet orbit. The next year, revolutions swept across Eastern Europe, and Soviet rule collapsed. Gorbachev did not respond with invasion, as the USSR had done in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968. The collapse of the Warsaw Pact ended the Cold War in Europe; Gorbachev received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for this. The Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991, after the secession of member republics, and after a comic-opera coup by hard-line Communists in August 1991, in which Gorbachev had been held under house arrest for three days.
Gorbachev is a friend of President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993), and remains politically active worldwide, via the Gorbachev Foundation, Green Cross International, the Club of Rome, and other globalist movements. He is unpopular in Russia, having received one-half of 1% of the votes cast in the June 1996 presidential election there. Many Russians blame Gorbachev for the chaos and privation that followed the fall of the USSR.
Gorbachev is not affiliated with the URI, but his theology is compatible with it. He told a Gorbachev Foundation/Netherlands interviewer, "nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred. Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals."82 He still avows, "The socialist idea has not lost its significance or its historical relevance."83 Therefore, "I am convinced that a new civilization will inevitably take on certain features that are characteristic of, or inherent in, the socialist ideal."84
Maurice Strong (1929 - ), a divorced and remarried Canadian businessman, made a multimillion-dollar fortune in the oil and utility industries. For decades, Strong has been a zealous environmentalist and a supporter of "global governance." In recent years, he has been Senior Advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Senior Advisor to the President of the World Bank, President of the UN's University for Peace in Costa Rica, Co-Chairman of the Council of the World Economic Forum, and a member of Toyota's International Advisory Board. Since 2003, Strong has been sent to North Korea by Kofi Annan to mediate the ongoing nuclear crisis.
Strong became friends with George H. W. Bush while the elder Bush was US Ambassador to the UN; as a result, in 1992, President Bush did not oppose Strong's appointment as the Secretary-General of the 1992 UN environmental summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro. Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev then began the Earth Charter movement to rectify what they saw as the excessively "anthropocentric emphasis" of the Declaration on the Environment produced at this UN conference.85 Strong says, "The real goal of the Earth Charter is that it will in fact become like the Ten Commandments, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It will become a symbol of the aspirations and the commitments of people everywhere."86 He has urged that it be implemented quickly, saying at the 1995 State of the World Forum that "We shouldn't wait until political democracy paves the way. We must act now."87
Strong has described himself as "a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology."88 He also says, "We are gods now, gods in charge of our own destiny, and gods can't be capricious."89 As for his own spirituality, Strong says, "Universalist expressions of religious belief have always attracted me ... I have found the development of my inner spiritual resources one of my most constant challenges, and my connection with the cosmic forces that shape all existence has become central to me."90
George Soros (1930 - ) is a billionaire investor and currency speculator. He is divorced and remarried, with 5 children.91 Soros gave $15.5 million to the 2004 campaign against the re-election of President George W. Bush,92 saying "It would be too immodest for a private person to set himself up against the president, ... But it is, in fact ... the Soros Doctrine."93 With similar grandiosity, in 1997 he had said, "It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out."94
Soros' resources to be "creator of everything" have increased; according to the annual billionaire list issued by Forbes magazine, his wealth increased from $3.5 billion in 1997 to $7.2 billion in 2004. Soros has been an investor in the Carlyle Group, a privately held firm with a major stake in the US defense industry; other participants in the group have included former President George H. W. Bush, James Baker (secretary of state for the elder Bush), Frank Carlucci (Secretary of Defense under Reagan), and - until the aftermath of the 9/11 attack - the bin Laden family from Saudi Arabia.95 In 1992, Soros made $1 billion by betting against the British pound, forcing it out of the European exchange system. Soros' speculation has been blamed for starting the Asian financial crisis of 1997, but he lost $2 billion in the 1998 Russian financial panic. Soros was convicted of insider trading in France in December 2002; if the resulting €2.2 million fine is upheld on appeal, he would disgorge his gains from speculating on a 1988 French bank merger.96
Soros gave money to the URI in 1997,97 and has been an active participant in the World Economic Forum and the State of the World Forum. He is an ardent supporter of "reproductive rights" and other liberal causes. In eastern Europe, according to Forbes, he has "spent freely to help return ex-communists to power."98
Ted Turner (1938 - ), a media billionaire from Atlanta, Georgia, has been divorced 3 times and has 5 children.99 His most recent wife was actress Jane Fonda; they divorced in 2001. According to a BBC report in 2001, "Turner, who once described Christianity as 'a religion for losers' says, in an interview with New Yorker magazine, 'She just came home and said: 'I've become a Christian.' That's a pretty big change for your wife of many years to tell you. That's a shock.'"100
Turner founded the Cable News Network (CNN), and pledged in 1997 to donate $1 billion to the UN. His wealth rose during the 1990s boom, reaching $5 billion in 1998. With reverses in his media empire since 2000, "America's largest private landowner" has $1.9 billion left.101 In 1999, Turner nevertheless described himself as "a socialist at heart."102
Turner has not associated himself with the URI, but he is one of the 21 co-chairs of Gorbachev's State of the World Forum. He sponsored an interfaith meeting at the UN in 2000, and has said that "Christianity is an eco-unfriendly religion."103 He added, "You've got to be hopeful because I think that we're smarter than the opposition, because we are thinking long term. We're better educated and I put my money on the smart minority rather than the dumb majority. Wouldn't you?"104
One of Turner's solutions for the world's problems is a "voluntary" global one-child policy for the next century, since "the world's population should be about two billion, and we've got about six billion right now. ... Personally, I think the population should be closer to when we had indigenous populations, back before the advent of farming. Fifteen thousand years ago, there was somewhere between 40 and 100 million people. But Paul and Anne Ehrlich have convinced me that if we're going to have a modern infrastructure, with commercial airlines and interstate highways around the world, we're going to need about two billion people to support it."105 Turner did not specify how his plan would be implemented.
• Are the "players" described in this book the only ones seeking a New World Order?
No. There are other contenders for global power, and other wanna-be "Messiahs," in addition to those mentioned in this book. I have investigated the URI and its allies; movements and spiritual leaders not tied to the URI (for example, Sai Baba and Share International's camera-shy "Maitreya") get little attention here. This area of research remains wide open for those who wish to pursue it.
• Where are the URI and its globalist, New Age allies headed from here?
As of 2004, it might have seemed that these movements are merely weird California-style side-shows. The reality is otherwise. The URI - and more ominously, the associated globalist movements - are well-connected to the UN, to some major foundations and corporations, and to sympathizers in schools, the Western media, and much of the middle management of mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. These movements are ambitious, and growing, and may be able to put themselves forward as "saviors" if the current world order becomes unstable.
Most unfortunately, "unstable" is an optimistic description of the present political and economic outlook. As I discuss in detail in the last two chapters of the book ("The Ascendancy of the 'Anti-Tradition'" and the "Speculative Postscript"), I believe that we are in the early years of a global Time of Troubles, at least equal in severity to that of 1914-1945. In this environment, radical movements - Utopians of the extreme Left and the extreme Right alike - can win mass support and political power with little warning. Who would have said in 1904 that Russia would have a Communist revolution in 13 years; who in 1913 predicted anything like the Third Reich? We need to be alert, and not ignore those who have written the present era's equivalents to Hitler's Mein Kampf and Lenin's What Is To Be Done? (Do you rebel at my use of these analogies for some aspects of the present day New Age and globalist movements? Go to Part II and Part III of this book, and examine the details.)
• What can we do about this?
I am not a political strategist, nor a seasoned organizer, nor a financier. I do not, therefore, have a political or social or economic program to propose that might delay, mitigate, or forestall the present global trends toward war and new forms of "spiritual" tyranny. Among the readers of this book, there may be those who have such ideas; let them come forward and do their best. Everyone's vocations, abilities, and circumstances are different; the appropriate response to the warnings in this book will vary accordingly.
There is one answer that I propose, something that anyone who believes in God (or desires to have such faith) can do. Let us all seek God's aid to examine our consciences, and renounce any wrongful acts, attitudes, or negligence that we discover thereby. Then, pray for God to have mercy upon and to bless our foes, whoever they may be; ask that He grant them the gifts of amendment of life and of sanctity, that they may be saved. Just as everyone has different gifts, everyone will perceive a different set of enemies. Pray for them all, especially those most in need of God's mercy. These prayers can be brief and to the point: for example, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy upon [name of enemy]."
This might seem to be an impractical and pious response to a real, and dire, worldly predicament. However, I believe that the root of our present crisis is spiritual; the start of the solution must be spiritual, as well.
I have written previously about the URI, globalism, and the New Age movement for various magazines and Internet sites, especially between 1998 and 2000. The research and analysis in this book supersedes my prior work on the URI, the New Age movement, and the globalists. Much has changed in the last four years, and this book reflects those changes.
I close this foreword with an exhortation: Be alert! When reformers of the Left or the Right propose a political or spiritual New Order that will lead us all to a brighter tomorrow, question them closely. If what is proposed involves breaking the laws that are written on our hearts in order to build an earthly New Jerusalem, then show the would-be "saviors" swiftly to the door.
1. United Religions Initiative, "The United Religions Initiative Charter," http://www.uri.org/resources/publications/Charter%20PC%20format.doc, p. 1; downloaded 07/07/04 (cited below as URI, "Charter").
3. Charles Gibbs and Sally Mahé, United Religions Initiative, Birth of a Global Community: Appreciative Inquiry in Action, Lakeshore Publishers, 2004, p. 289 (Cited below as Gibbs/Mahé, Birth of a Global Community).
4. Statistics are from an analysis by Lee Penn of two URI documents from September 2004; see United Religions Initiative, "Cooperation Circles of the URI," http://www.uri.org/regionalnews/cclisting.asp, printed 09/23/04, and United Religions Initiative, "Affiliates," http://www.uri.org/regionalnews/affiliates/index.asp, printed 09/23/04. There are Cooperation Circles or Affiliates in 56 different countries as of September 2004, based on these two lists.
5. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Letters to Léontine Zanta, intro. by Robert Garric and Henri de Lubac, tr. by Richard Wall, Harper and Row, 1969, p. 116, letter of January 26, 1936.
6. Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrines of the Modernists), http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_x/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_19070908_pascendi-dominici-gregis_en.html, Paragraph 4.
7. The Nicene Creed, as printed in the Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, pp. 755-756.
8. Vatican II; Lumen Gentium, section 16, in Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents, 1992 rev. ed., Costello Publishing Company, Northpoint, New York, pp 367-368.
9. Vatican II; Dignitatis Humanae, 7 December 1965, section 2, in ibid., p. 800.
10. C. S. Lewis, "Illustrations of the Tao," in The Abolition of Man, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1947, paperback ed. 1955, pp. 95-121.
11. For further discussion of this Tradition, see the Editor's Foreword.
12. Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Second Edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997, section 1756, p. 435 (cited below as Catechism).
13. Donald Frew, Covenant of the Goddess, "1999-2000 Interfaith Report," http://www.cog.org/interfaith/cogdf00.html, printed 2/8/03.
14. Bishop William Swing, "Opening Address," United Religions Initiative, Stanford University, June 23-27, 1997, http://www.united-religions.org/youth/welcome/swingspeech.htm, printed 1997; no longer on the Net at this address. This passage is also cited in Gibbs/Mahé, Birth of a Global Community, p. 107. Swing's speech may, as of 2004, be found on-line with the "Wayback Machine," a web archive research tool, at http://web.archive.org/web/19991023022803/http://www.united-religions.org/youth/welcome/swingspeech.htm, printed 08/02/04.
15. Bob Williams, "Swing marks 25th year as Bay Area bishop (Daybook)," Episcopal News Service interview of Bishop Swing, August 9, 2004, http://ecusa.anglican.org/3577_48087_ENG_HTM.htm, printed 08/10/04 (cited below as Williams, "Swing marks 25th year," ENS, 08/09/04).
16. International Diplomacy Council, letter from President Bush, November 6, 2001, http://www.diplomacy.org/idc11140101.html, printed 08/16/04.
17. The National Archives, "Declaration of Independence," http://www.archives.gov/national_archives_experience/declaration_transcript.html, viewed 02/27/04.
18. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, MacMillan Publishing Co., 1960, Ch. 8, p. 169.
19. Catechism, section 676, p. 177.
20. C. S. Lewis, "The World's Last Night," ch. 7 of The World's Last Night And Other Essays, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973, pp. 111-112.
21. URI, "Charter," p. 1.
23. Williams, "Swing marks 25th year," ENS, 08/09/04.
24. See, for example, the title page of Alice A. Bailey, Initiation, Human and Solar, First Edition, Lucifer Publishing Co., 135 Broadway, New York City, 1922.
25. Arcane School, "Frequently asked questions about the Arcane School," http://www.lucistrust.org/arcane/faq.php, printed 08/09/04.
26. The Gorbachev Foundation, "About Us," http://www.gorby.ru/en/rubrs.asp?rubr_id=302, printed 08/09/04.
27. Green Cross International, "Mission," http://www.greencrossinternational.net/greencrossFamily/index.html, printed 08/09/04.
28. Green Cross International, "Interview - Environment: 'Act Globally, not Nationally'," Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1997, http://www.greencrossinternational.net/GreenCrossFamily/gorby/newspeeches/interviews/laTimes.html, printed 05/09/03. In recent years, Gorbachev has said the same, in less picturesque fashion: "The Earth Charter opens a new phase not only in ecological movement, but also in the world's public life. We must do everything we can, so that this Charter is accepted exactly as it was designed: a set of vitally important rules." (Mikhail Gorbachev, as quoted in The Earth Charter Initiative, Biannual Report 2002-2003, Earth Charter International Secretariat, http://www.earthcharter.org/files/resources/Biannual%20Report.pdf, p. 10, printed 06/22/04.)
29. The Gorbachev Foundation/USA convened the first SWF in San Francisco in 1995; the SWF has since become a separate non-profit organization. (State of the World Forum, "Gorbachev Foundation USA 10th Anniversary Celebration," http://www.worldforum.org/home/fmsd_2.htm, printed 2/6/03).
30. State of the World Forum, "The World's Religions and The Emerging Global Civilization: An Interfaith Summit Conference June 24-28, 1996 San Francisco," Pacific Church News, April/May 1996, p. 33. A note at the end of the article says, "All quotes are from material distributed by the State of the World Forum."
31. State of the World Forum - Commission on Globalisation, "Commission Overview: Strategic Context - The Challenge of Globalisation," http://www.commissiononglobalization.org/overview/main.htm, printed 05/23/03.
32. Interview of Donald Frew by Lee Penn, 3/28/03.
33. Steven Rockefeller, "Update on Earth Charter Drafting Process," October 14, 1998; this is on the web page "International Environment Forum," 6-8 November 1998, http://www.bcca.org/ief/dchar98c.htm, printed 07/02/04. The same sentence is in the Earth Charter discussion, and is stated as "Adapted from Earth Council documents," in Gerald O. Barney et al., Threshold 2000: Critical Issues and Spiritual Values for a Global Age, Millennium Institute and CoNexus Press, 1998, p. 146.
34. The Earth Charter Initiative, "The Earth Charter," "II. Ecological Integrity" - Article 7, http://www.earthcharter.org/files/charter/charter.pdf, printed 03/24/04.
35. World Economic Forum, "About the Annual Meeting," http://www.weforum.org/site/homepublic.nsf/Content/Annual+Meeting+2003%5CAbout+the+Annual+Meeting, printed 01/03/03.
36. Michael Freedman, "World Economic Forum: Sunny Days in Snowy Davos," Forbes.com, January 21, 2004, http://www.forbes.com/2004/01/21/cz_mf_0121econdavos.html, printed 01/23/04.
37. World Economic Forum, "Global Governance: What Needs to Change?," http://www.weforum.org/site/knowledgenavigator.nsf/Content/Global%20Governance:%20What%20Needs%20to%20Change%3F, printed 03/15/03.
38. Episcopal News Service, "Bishop Swing of California announces retirement," October 26, 2004, http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_53388_ENG_HTM.htm, printed 11/05/04.
39. Williams, "Swing marks 25th year," ENS, 08/09/04.
40. Bishop William E. Swing, August 10, 1996 speech before the North American Interfaith Network Conference, p. 1.
41. Bishop William E. Swing, "The Swing Shift: 25 Years of the 155 Years of the Diocese of California," ENS, August 9, 2004, http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_48075_ENG_HTM.htm, printed 08/10/04 (cited below as Swing, "The Swing Shift," ENS, 08/09/04).
42. Christian de la Huerta, Coming Out Spiritually: The Next Step, Tarcher/Putnam, 1999, p. 4.
43. Bishop William E. Swing, "2003 Ecumenical Pilgrimage to London, Canterbury, Rome, Istanbul: Day 9, Thursday April 10 - Constantinople/Haiki," http://diocal.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=EasyContent&file=index&menu=122101&page_id=110, printed 08/09/04. Swing repeated both boasts in his celebratory article on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his consecration: "The Bishop of California has not only ordained more women than any bishop in Church history, but he also has ordained more openly gay and lesbian priests and deacons than any bishop in Church history." (Swing, "The Swing Shift," ENS, 08/09/04).
44. Williams, "Swing marks 25th year," ENS, 08/09/04.
45. K. Paul Johnson, Initiates of Theosophical Masters, State University of New York Press, 1995, p. 1 (cited below as Johnson, Initiates of Theosophical Masters).
46. Joscelyn Goodwin, The Theosophical Enlightenment, State University of New York Press, 1994, pp. 280, 281.
47. Ibid., p. 281.
48. H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: Vol. II, Theology, Theosophical University Press, 1988 reprint of 1877 ed., pp. 376-377 (cited below as Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: Vol. II).
49. H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: Vol. I, Science, Theosophical University Press, 1988 reprint of 1877 ed., p. 30.
50. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: Vol. II, p. 377, and a letter from Charles Sotheran that she cites with approval, ibid., p. 390.
51. J. Gordon Melton, Jerome Clark, and Aidan A. Kelly, New Age Almanac, Visible Ink Press, 1991, p. 16 (cited below as Melton, New Age Almanac).
52. Tim Maroney, The Book of Dzyan, Miskatonic University Archives, 2000, p. 15. Original source: A. L. Rawson, "Mme. Blavatsky: A Theosophical Occult Apology," Frank Leslie's American Magazine 33 (February 1892), reprinted in Theosophical History, vol. 2, no. 6 (April 1988), p. 211.
53. Sylvia Cranston, HPB: The Extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Putnam, 1994, pp. 78-79; K. Paul Johnson, The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge, State University of New York Press, 1994, pp. 39-40.
54. Johnson, Initiates of Theosophical Masters, p. 4.
55. Melton, New Age Almanac, p. 16.
56. Ibid., p. 17.
57. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality, Spence Publishing Co., 1998, p. 220.
58. Melton, New Age Almanac, p. 18.
59. Anthony Aveni, Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science, and the Occult from Antiquity Through the New Age, 2002, rev. ed., University Press of Colorado, p. 171.
60. Alice A. Bailey, The Unfinished Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Publishing Company, 1951, p. 1.
61. Bruce F. Campbell, Ancient Wisdom Revived: A History of the Theosophical Movement, University of California Press, 1980, p. 152.
62. Wouter J. Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, State University of New York Press, 1998, p. 95.
63. Richard Smoley and Jay Kinney, Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions, Penguin/Arkana, 1999, p. 291.
64. Foster Bailey, The Spirit of Masonry, Lucis Publishing Company, 1957, p. 135.
65. Ibid., p. 29.
66. Telephone interview, April 24, 1998, by Lee Penn of Dale McKechnie, Vice-President of the Lucis Trust.
67. Infinite Health, "Barbara Marx Hubbard," http://www.infinitehealth.net/speakers-organizations/barbara-marx-hubbard.aspx, printed 08/10/04.
68. Miriam Knight, "Agent of Evolution: Interview with Barbara Marx Hubbard," New Connexion, September 2003, http://www.newconnexion.net/article/09-03/hubbard.html, printed 08/10/04.
69. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation: Our Crisis Is A Birth, Foundation for Conscious Evolution, Sonoma CA, 1993, p. 21 (cited below as Marx Hubbard, Revelation/Crisis).
70. Ibid., p. 24.
71. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Hunger of Eve, Stackpole Books, 1976, p. 13.
72. Marx Hubbard, Revelation/Crisis, p. 61.
73. Ibid., p. 64.
74. Melton, New Age Almanac, p. 410.
75. Barbara Marx Hubbard, Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential, New World Library, Novato, California, 1998, p. 216.
76. Evolve, "Neale Donald Walsch - Biography," http://www.evolve.org/pub/doc/walsch_bio.html, printed 08/11/04.
77. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 2, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1997, p. 35 (cited below as Walsch, Conversations/Book 2); also, Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1995, p. 61.
78. Walsch, Conversations/Book 2, p. 42.
79. Neale Donald Walsch and Dr. Brad Blanton, Honest to God: A Change of Heart That Can Change the World, Sparrowhawk Publications, 2002, p. 79.
80. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 3, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1998, p. 223.
81. Derek Leebaert, The Fifty-year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Shapes Our World, Little, Brown, and Co., 2002, p. 516.
82. Fred Matser, "Nature Is My God," an interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, Resurgence 184, http://resurgence.gn.apc.org/184/gorbachev.htm, printed 05/20/03 and 08/11/04.
83. Mikhail Gorbachev, On My Country And The World, Columbia University Press, 2000, p. 67; the emphasis was as given in the original text.
84. Ibid., p. 74.
85. The Earth Charter Initiative, "About Us: The Earth Charter Project, 1945-1992," http://www.earthcharter.org/aboutus/overview1945_1992.htm, printed 05/13/03.
86. The Earth Council, "Papers and Speeches: Interview - Maurice Strong on a 'People's Earth Charter," March 5, 1998, http://www.ecouncil.ac.cr/about/speech/strong/mstrong.htm, printed 05/09/03.
87. Anita Coolidge, "Ecology - the ultimate democracy: A report from the State of the World Forum," San Diego Earth Times, November 1995, http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et1195/et1195s3.html, printed 05/08/03.
88. William Baue, "Rio + 10 Series: A Brief History of the Earth Summits - From Stockholm to Rio," SocialFunds.com, June 7, 2002, http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/article858.html, printed 06/18/04.
89. Maurice Strong, Where on Earth Are We Going, Vintage Canada, 2001, p. 29.
90. Ibid., pp. 181-182.
91. "Forbes 400" listing, Forbes Magazine, October 6, 2003, p. 174.
92. Forbes Magazine, "The Forbes 400," "Big Wheels," listing for George Soros, October 11, 2004, p. 142.
93. Laura Blumenfeld, "Billionaire Soros takes on Bush," MSNBC News, November 11, 2003, http://www.msnbc.com/news/991865.asp?cp1=1, printed 06/17/04.
94. Peter Newcomb et al., "The Forbes 400," article on George Soros, Forbes, October 13, 1997, p. 181 (cited below as Newcomb, "The Forbes 400," 10/13/97).
95. Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger, "The ex-president's club," The Guardian, October 31, 2001, http://www.guardian.co.uk/wtccrash/story/0,1300,583869,00.html, printed 08/16/04.
96. John Tagliabue, "French court convicts Soros," International Herald Tribune, December 21, 2002, http://www.iht.com/articles/81091.html, printed 12/31/02.
97. Dennis Delman, "Second United Religions Summit Conference," Pacific Church News, June/July 1997, p. 28, and United Religions Initiative, "Foundation Grants Enable URI Youth Leadership on Worldwide Net," URI News Update, March 1997, no. 2, p. 1.
98. Newcomb, "The Forbes 400," 10/13/97, p. 181.
99. "Forbes 400" listing, Forbes Magazine, October 6, 2003, p. 161.
100. Andrew Walker, "Jane Fonda: Not so plain," British Broadcasting Company, April 20, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1287787.stm, printed 08/11/04.
101. Forbes Magazine, "The Forbes 400," "Spotlights," listing for Ted Turner, October 11, 2004, p. 130.
102. Drudge Report, "Ted Turner: I Am A Socialist At Heart," September 29, 1999, http://www.drudgereport.com/matt2.html, printed in 1999; no longer on the Net. The same information is still accessible at John Howard, "Ted Turner's A Socialist?," Scoop Headlines, The New Zealand Edge, October 1, 1999, http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL9910/S00001.htm, printed 05/21/03.
103. Tracey C. Rembert, "Ted Turner: Billionaire, Media Mogul ... And Environmentalist" (Interview), E Magazine, January/February 1999, Volume X, number 1, p. 10.
104. Ibid., p. 12.
105. Ibid., pp. 10-11.