Earth has one surface.

God has not divided this surface by boundaries and barriers to separate races and peoples. Man has set up and established these imaginary lines, giving to each restricted area a name and the limitation of a native land or nationhood.

By this division and separation into groups and branches of humankind, prejudice is engendered, and that becomes a fruitful source of war and strife. Impelled by this prejudice, races and nations declare war against each other; the blood of the innocent is poured out and the earth torn by violence. …

Let there be no mistake. The principle of the oneness of humankind – the pivot around which all of the teachings of the Baha’i Faith revolve – is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or expression of vague and pious hope.

Its appeal is not to be merely identified with reawakening of the spirit of brotherhood and good-will among men, nor does it aim solely at the fostering of harmonious cooperation among individual peoples and nations. Its implications are deeper, its claims greater than any which the prophets of old were allowed to advance.

Its message is applicable not only to the individual, but it concerns itself primarily with the nature of those essential relationships that must bind all states and nations as members of one human family.

It does not constitute merely the enunciation of an ideal but stands inseparably associated with an institution adequate to embody its truth, demonstrate its validity and perpetuate its influence.

It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced.

It constitutes a challenge, at once bold and universal, to outworn shibboleths (customs) of national creeds – creeds that have had their day and must, in the ordinary course of events as shaped and controlled by Providence, give way to a new gospel, fundamentally different from and infinitely superior to what the world has already conceived.

It calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world – a world organically unified in all of the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units.

It represents the consummation of human evolution – an evolution that has had its earliest beginnings in the birth of family life, its subsequent development in the achievement of tribal solidarity, leading in turn to the constitution of the city-state, and expanding later into the institution of independent and sovereign nations.

The principle of the oneness of humankind, as proclaimed by Baha’u’llah (prophet/ founder of the Baha’i Faith) carries with it no more and no less than a solemn assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution is not only necessary but inevitable, that its realization is fast approaching and that nothing short of a power that is born of God can succeed in establishing it.

( Excerpts from compilation “The Power of Unity – Overcoming Racial Divisions, Rebuilding America”. )

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Annette Reynolds has served in many capacities as a member of the Bahá’í Faith. She is the author of “Trudy and the Bahá’ís Spiritual Path in S.C.” and “Survivors Thrive: A view of the Battered Women’s Movement.” She is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact her and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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