Peter Morales is president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. He is the first Latino reverend to hold the position.
Peter Morales on
What I see is a historic mixing of people, caused by the explosion of communications and travel, which requires us now morally to deal with a diversity that we've never had to deal with before. It makes a lot of people fearful. The upside is, I think it's becoming increasingly clear that humanity shares a common destiny, that we're in this together.
We actually, for the first time, live in an era when everyone can have a decent and good life. We can pull that off. We have the know-how to do that. But we have not produced the kind of moral understanding that leads to the kinds of political systems and public sphere that allow that to happen.
I think it's emerging in our time. It's based on that sense and awareness of a common destiny. If you take that seriously, the implications go on and on. They go to environmental justice, to a sense of creating life that is sustainable, to a realization—as so many great moral leaders, from Dr. King to Gandhi, have taught us—that when people are marginalized and oppressed in one place, it affects us all.
It's possible. I think we've seen indications of how it could come about. For all its problems, look at Western Europe today compared to Western Europe 50, 100, 200, 400 years ago. Look at other large areas that way. It's possible by continuing to develop interdependence and collaborative structures.
The real challenge for me and anyone in a position of moral leadership isn't what we say; it's what we do and our willingness to be out there and to speak truth to power and to try to hold people, whether they're in politics or in industry, to account to the moral positions that they actually espouse themselves.
I want to see a moral and spiritual awakening, and I think it absolutely has to be interfaith. Islam is not going to triumph over Christianity and over all other traditions, nor is Christianity, nor is Buddhism or Hinduism. But we need, based on that realization that we come from a common source and we share a common destiny, to both appreciate who we are and where we've been, our roots, but to learn to appreciate and acknowledge the value of our different traditions and have something emerge which spans those traditions in a real, appreciative, deep way.