One World Religion |

TBC Staff Wires Monday, July 14, 2003

ASAN CITY, South Korea – At the next meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines is to present a formal proposal for the establishment of an Inter-religious Council at the world body. It would be an institutional part of the United Nations, with status like that of the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council or the Trusteeship Council. 

At her meeting with President Bush at the White House in May, Arroyo suggested the United States might want to co-sponsor the proposal. Bush, a practicing Christian with a keen sense of the power of religion, expressed deep interest and asked his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to study the matter. 

In fact, Rice already knew of the plan. Two of her aides, Karen Brooks and James Moriarty, had already been briefed on the plan by the speaker of the Philippines House of Representatives, Jose de Venecia, who has waged a campaign for such a religious infusion into the work of the United Nations. 

"We in the Philippines feel that President Bush should try and avert the confrontation with the Muslim world that seems to threaten," de Venecia then wrote to Rice, in a letter of which United Press International now has a copy. "And while the really grievous need is for a global Christian-Muslim dialog, the effort must also encompass Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians and Jews, heads of churches, temples, synagogues and mosques, political leaders as well as representatives of global civil society."