The Promulgation of Universal Peace
11 May 1912
Talk at 227 Riverside Drive, New York
Notes by John G. Grundy
It is only three weeks that we have been away from the New York
friends, yet so great has been the longing to see you that it seems
like three months. We have had no rest by day or night since we left
you--either traveling, moving about or speaking--yet it was all
so pleasantly done, and we have been most happy. Praise be to
God! Everywhere and all the time it has been harakat, harakat,
harakat ("motion, motion, motion").
The friends in America are very good. All the people we have
met here are kind and pleasant. They are polite and not antagonistic,
although somewhat inquisitive. A small minority of them seem
prejudiced, yet even these have their good points. The American
people have a real love for advancement. They are not content to
stand still. They are most energetic and progressive. When you
see a tree growing and developing, be hopeful of its outcome. It
will blossom and bear fruit eventually. If you see dry wood or old
trees, there is no hope whatever of fruitage.
The questions asked us have been opportune and to the point.
Our answers have not been utilized for controversy and argument.
We met savants and learned men and satisfied them with our explanations.
Important people expressed their satisfaction and pleasure
at our replies to their inquiries. In brief, it would be difficult to
find in the aggregate of people we met anyone who was dissatisfied.
Some scholastic minds aimed only at fruitless discussion.
In Chicago we met two clergymen--delivering an address at the
church of one and having dinner with the other. Both manifested
great love. Likewise, among all the people we met, not a single
soul arose in opposition or went away disappointed.
Yesterday in Washington we met a group of important people.
One prominent in political circles came with a justice of the Supreme
Court. There were many ladies of the diplomatic circle present.
After we had spoken, the politician referred to raised the
point that the foundation of all religions from time immemorial had
been peace, love and accord--principles conducive to fellowship
and unification--yet Jesus, he declared, had been "the cause of
discord and strife and not a factor in the realization of unity."
"Therefore," he said, "I cannot accept your statements and
explanations that religion has been the source of human betterment."
After we explained further he said, "What you have stated
may cause me to change my views and agree with you." During
this time the justice remained silent. Fearing he might have some
feeling of dissatisfaction, we asked if anything presented had been
objectionable to his opinion. He replied, "Not at all! Not at all! It's
all right! It's all right!" This is the characteristic expression of the
Occident--"All right! All right!"
There were also present at this meeting several cabinet officers,
United States senators, many from the foreign diplomatic service,
army and navy officials and other dignitaries. The servant of God,
our hostess, experienced much trouble in preparation and entertainment
but was always active and energetic in service, inviting
important and influential people to the gatherings. We spoke to all
from their own standpoints with most satisfactory results; we were
working day and night so there was very little time for individual
and private interviews.
In Washington, too, we called a meeting of the blacks and
whites. The attendance was very large, the blacks predominating.
At our second gathering this was reversed, but at the third meeting
we were unable to say which color predominated. These meetings
were a great practical lesson upon the unity of colors and races in
the Bahá'í teaching.
We said in part: The black man must ever be grateful to the
white man, for he has manifested great courage and self-sacrifice
in behalf of the black race. Four years he fought their cause, enduring
severe hardships, sacrificing life, family, treasure, all for
his black brother until the great war ended in the proclamation of
freedom. By this effort and accomplishment the black race
throughout the world was influenced and benefited. Had this not
been accomplished, the black man in Africa would still be bound
by the chains of slavery. Therefore, his race should everywhere be
grateful, for no greater evidence of humanism and courageous devotion
could be shown than the white man has displayed. If the
blacks of the United States forget this sacrifice, zeal and manhood
on the part of the whites, no ingratitude could be greater or more
censurable. If they could see the wretched conditions and surroundings
of the black people of Africa today, the contrast would
be apparent and the fact clearly evident that the black race in
America enjoys incomparable advantages. The comfort and civilization
under which they live here are due to the white man's effort
and sacrifice. Had this sacrifice not been made, they would still be
in the bonds and chains of slavery, scarcely lifted out of an aboriginal
condition. Therefore, always show forth your gratitude to the
white man. Eventually all differences will disappear, and you will
completely win his friendship.
God maketh no distinction between the white and the black. If
the hearts are pure both are acceptable unto Him. God is no respecter
of persons on account of either color or race. All colors are
acceptable to Him, be they white, black, or yellow. Inasmuch as all
were created in the image of God, we must bring ourselves to
realize that all embody divine possibilities. If you go into a garden
and find all the flowers alike in form, species and color, the effect is
wearisome to the eye. The garden is more beautiful when the
flowers are many-colored and different; the variety lends charm
and adornment. In a flock of doves some are white, some black,
red, blue; yet they make no distinction among themselves. All are
doves no matter what the color.
This variety in forms and colorings which is manifest in all the
kingdoms is according to creative wisdom and has a divine purpose.
Nevertheless, whether the creatures be all alike or all different
should not be the cause of strife and quarreling among them.
Especially why should man find cause for discord in the color or
race of his fellow creature? No educated or illumined mind will
allow that this differentiation and discord should exist or that there
is any ground for it. Therefore, the whites should be just and kind
to the blacks, who in turn should reflect an equal measure of appreciation
and gratitude. Then will the world become as one great
garden of flowering humanity, variegated and multicolored, rivaling
each other only in the virtues and graces which are spiritual.