The world is moving on. Its events are unfolding ominously and with
bewildering rapidity. The whirlwind of its passions is swift and alarmingly
violent. The New World is insensibly drawn into its vortex. . . . Dangers,
undreamt of and unpredictable, threaten it both from within and from
without. Its governments and peoples are being gradually enmeshed in the
coils of the world’s recurrent crises and fierce controversies. . . . The
world is contracting into a neighborhood. America, willingly or unwillingly,
must face and grapple with this new situation. For purposes of national
security, let alone any humanitarian motive, she must assume the obligations
imposed by this newly created neighborhood. Paradoxical as it may seem, her
only hope of extricating herself from the perils gathering around her is to
become entangled in that very web of international association which the
Hand of an inscrutable Providence is weaving.
The American nation, Bahá’ís believe, will evolve through tests and
trials to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion
of justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and a powerful servant
of the cause of everlasting peace. This is the peace promised by God in the
sacred texts of the world’s religions.
Establishing peace is not simply a matter of signing treaties and
protocols; it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to
resolving issues not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace.
Universal acceptance of the spiritual principle of the oneness of
humankind is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace.
Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier
The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality of the sexes,
is one of the most important, though less acknowledged, prerequisites of
The inordinate disparity between rich and poor keeps the world in a state
of instability, preventing the achievement of peace.
Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate
patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a
Religious strife, the cause of innumerable wars and conflicts throughout
history, is a major obstacle to progress. The challenge facing the world’s
religious leaders is to contemplate, with hearts filled with compassion and
the desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether
they cannot, in humility before their God, submerge their theological
differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to
work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace.
Bahá’ís pray, “May this American Democracy be the first nation to
establish the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first
nation to proclaim the unity of mankind. May it be the first to unfurl the
standard of the Most Great Peace.”
During this hour of crisis, we affirm our abiding faith in the destiny of
America. We know that the road to its destiny is long, thorny and tortuous,
but we are confident that America will emerge from her trials undivided and
—National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, December