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Jimmy Carter: World Conference on Religion and Peace Remarks at a White House Reception for Conference Participants.
Jimmy
Jimmy Carter
World Conference on Religion and Peace Remarks at a White House Reception for Conference Participants.
September 6, 1979
Public Papers of the Presidents
Jimmy Carter<br>1979: Book II
Jimmy Carter
1979: Book II
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Let me say, first of all, that it's a great honor for me and my wife to have the representatives from many nations here to visit us in the White House. Is there anyone here from Japan? [Laughter] Raise your hand if you're from Japan. Good. Very good.

Anyone here from India? Very fine. Canada? The Federal Republic of Germany? People's Republic of China? China. Very good. The Soviet Union? And 40 other nations, I understand.

Your organization and the purpose of it, the fact that you are meeting in the United States, warms my heart. Our Nation's motto is "In God We Trust." And we believe in separation of church and state. We don't permit our Government to dominate nor to interfere in the right of each individual person to worship as he or she chooses.

The Bible says, "Let me hear what God will speak, for He will speak peace to His people." And I would guess that each holy book or thesis or statement of ethical principles would encompass the same philosophy.

Our religion is based on peace. And the Bible also says, "Depart from evil, do good, seek peace, pursue it—pursue it actively, search for peace." This has not been a characteristic of all those who profess faith or all those who are related to or committed to a religion.

Many wars have been caused by and fought under the banners of religious beliefs. Suffering, divisions have occurred; sometimes with no noble purpose, often because people of slightly different religious beliefs were jealous of one another and struggled for dominance because they could not communicate, they did not understand each other, they were not filled with a desire for peace, there was no sense of love.

Even in our present time many nations are divided within themselves and against one another because of irreconcilable religious beliefs and a lack of a desire to understand one another. Terrorism is the professed motivation for many with deep religious beliefs. Our country now sees throughout the world large numbers of refugees as a result of religious wars.

It's encouraging indeed to have people assembled here from 45 or so nations, worshiping God in many different ways, working together for peace, for the survival of human beings with noble purposes, one of which is to educate leaders-religious leaders, also government leaders. And I am grateful for it.

The control of nuclear weapons, the control of conventional weapons, the opening up of avenues of communication and understanding, the alleviation of hunger, suffering, poverty, disease, are all common purposes regardless of our particular religious commitment. And I believe that this conference—I believe your third; the first in Japan, the second in Belgium, you've honored us with your third—can have increasingly far-reaching beneficial effect throughout the world.

I know that in your own deliberations at Princeton you've reached a new level of humility, a realization that none of us knows all the answers, that we benefit from listening to one another, and that there is a place for us to become brothers and sisters without regard to national boundaries and without regard to religious differences. And this doesn't mean that we have to abandon or weaken our own deep faith or our own patriotism or our own love and affection for our own kind. We can be individuals, we can be proud of our country, we can be fervent believers in our own religion and still work for peace and harmony, good will, love, a sense of brotherhood throughout the world. And because of these noble aspirations that you have, I am very proud as the President of a great country, a country where many different faiths are represented-all of your faiths are represented among Americans—to welcome you here.

God bless you. I hope that in your own way that you will remember me and other world leaders, who are responsible for many of the world's ills and perhaps the future alleviation of those ills, that you will remember us in your prayers.
Thank you very much.


Note: The President spoke at 4:06 p.m. in the East Room at the White House.
Citation: Jimmy Carter: "World Conference on Religion and Peace Remarks at a White House Reception for Conference Participants. ," September 6, 1979. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=32828.
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