Game of Gods:

The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-Enchantment


By Carl Teichrib

* The following is an excerpt from the first pages of chapter twelve.


Chapter 12

Spiritual Politics

After intra-Protestant and intra-Christian ecumenism we have irrevocably reached the third ecumenical dimension, ecumenism of the world’s religions! – Hans Küng.[1]

The new intercourse will fructify in more inclusive, universal faiths, perhaps even a new world faith as a basis for the coming world civilization. – Paul Clasper.[2] 

   Foundry United Methodist is an historic church in the heart of Washington DC. Located between the Logan and Dupont circles at the corner of 16th and P streets, less than 1,500 yards due north of the White House, this congregation is bound to the rich heritage of the nation’s capital. Abraham Lincoln graced its pews, as did Andrew Jackson, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the 1990s President Bill Clinton and his family attended, with the president even preaching from its pulpit.

   I went to Foundry in November 1999, not to hear a Sunday morning sermon but to attend a meeting of internationalists and faith leaders. The millennium was upon us, and in the search for world peace and justice, what could religions do? Would it be possible for politics and diverse faiths to join in achieving common goals? A lead-up letter from the host said this: “Recognizing the need to work together to strengthening the United Nations, religious groups are creating a powerful voice of unity – a core principle of world federalism.”[3]

   Organized by the Chesapeake branch of the World Federalist Association (WFA), this event[4] pulled together representatives from Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, the Bahá’í and Sikh communities, and Soka Gakkai. A Catholic perspective was given by long-time World Federalist and UN reformer, John Logue. It was his talk that alerted me to Pope Pius XII’s earlier endorsement of world government.[5] Protestant views came from the Foundry’s own senior minister, Dr. J. Philip Wogaman, with input from the Reverend James T. Christie of Southminster United Church.[6] Christie was then council chair of the World Federalist Movement.

   A Draft Summary Statement was distributed, calling for “religious and political leaders to develop a shared vision of global unity and governance for the new millennium.” Noting that the United Nations had met with religious personalities the month before to focus on the “oneness of humankind and for the growth of planetary consciousness,” the Statement implored a new partnership and purpose, connecting the dots between global governance and spirituality,

Government can have spiritual as well as practical value… The gap in democratic governing institutions beyond national boundaries is a spiritual gap in an interdependent world… We call for a widening circles of dialogue and efforts, involving world religions working together constructively with trends toward the ideals of world governance, so that the unity of humankind can be brought to a new level of world reality in the millennium to come.[7]

   I attended this event to better understand how spiritual politics was envisioned. After interacting with World Federalists, listening to speeches and panel discussions, it was evident that the prevailing motif was this: We must redeem ourselves. How? By creating an orderly and just society, celebrating our diversity within a great federation of humanity – for this is our only hope to free the world of violence.

   A new organization – a movement, really – I was particularly interested in had a special place at the conference. The Vice President of the United Religions Initiative (URI), William W. Rankin, was invited to deliver a keynote address and participate in a panel discussion. During lunch hour I discovered that a major reason for his involvement was to court a relationship with the WFA. Could the URI find an ally in the World Federalist community? Yes. Would the WFA uphold the URI in its development? Of course!

   After all, the goal of the initiative was the creation of a United Religions. 

Game of Gods is available on Amazon. 

[1] Hans Küng, Preface, The Meaning of Other Faiths, by Willard G. Oxtoby (The Westminster Press, 1983), p.10.

[2] Paul Clasper, Eastern Paths and the Christian Way (Orbis Books, 1980), p.108.

[3] Letter from Aaron M. Knight, Director of Development, World Federalist Association (Washington D.C.), no date, copy on file.

[4] The event was titled The Search for World Peace and Justice: What Can World Religions Do? It took place on Saturday, November 13, 1999. Approximately twenty groups endorsed the assembly, including the Bahá’í Community of Washington, the Interfaith Alliance, Council for a Liveable World, the Interfaith Coalition of the Environment, United Religions Initiative, and the National Capital office of the United Nations Association.

[5] See chapter 11, p.355.

[6] Southminster United Church is located in Ottawa, Ontario.

[7] Draft Summary Statement, The Search for World Peace and Justice: What Can World Religions Do? November 13, 1999. Document on file.

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