Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 22, 2021 - Pages 21-44
Cheonju Pyeonghwa Tongil Guk (the Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity), abbreviated as Cheon il Guk (CIG), is the Unification equivalent of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Rev. Sun Myung Moon proclaimed CIG in 2001 and designated the following twelve years the time period during which its foundation was to be established. During this period the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), which he led, went about the business of birthing the CIG nation. It registered citizens; conducted coronation ceremonies; constructed an “Original Palace” at its Cheongpyeong Lake, Korea international training center; designated a CIG flag, national anthem, national flower, and national bird; organized “Peace Kingdom Police”; and instituted a new Heavenly Calendar. In short, FFWPU began the process of establishing a reality that evoked and embodied its vision of ultimate order.
Prior to and during this period, Rev. Moon referenced “heavenly law” and referred to articles of the “heavenly constitution.” However, no constitution was produced during his lifetime. After his 2012 passing, Hak Ja Han Moon, his widow, spearheaded an effort to codify the CIG constitution. The Cheon Il Guk Constitution, subtitled “Religious law to actualize God’s peaceful ideal world,” was adopted in February 2014, amended later that year, again in 2016, and is currently undergoing amendment. The constitution, as it stands, reflects the governance philosophy and practice of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU). However, it aspires to be more, i.e., a platform that “transcends the barriers of religion, national borders, race, gender, and culture and aims for unanimity to foster the harmony of humankind.” (Preamble)
The challenge is to develop a conceptual and practical framework within which these aspirations can be pursued. The CIG Constitution states that “True Parents fulfilled the ideal of all religions.” (Preamble) It does not state that they fulfilled the ideal of all governmental systems and constitutions. This article is intended to contribute to that task. It explores the relationship between the CIG Constitution, national constitutions, constitutions of other religions, and constitutional theory. The article consists of eight sections as follows:
- Historical Background
- Composition, Length and Life-span of Constitutions
- Specific Features of Constitutions
- Governance Theories
- Peace Constitutions
- Theocratic Constitutions
The first seven sections survey content relevant to each topic, followed by application of the material to the CIG Constitution. The concluding section discusses ten recommendations for implementing amendments to the CIG Constitution.
1. Historical Background
Constitutions have their origin in legal codes, some of the earliest being the code of Hammurabi the Hittite code, the Assyrian code and Mosaic law in the ancient Near East. The Greeks codified their laws in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE and the Romans in 450 BCE. The Edicts of Ashoka established legal principles in the Indian subcontinent during the 3rd century BCE. The initial imperial Chinese legal code was crafted under the aegis of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE). Korea and Japan followed Chinese codes and European systems of law followed Roman and Greek models. In general, legal codes offered protections against arbitrary, tyrannical rule and set standards of conduct, thereby fostering social stability.
Legal codes evolved into constitutions when particular states formed or when a major change had taken place at the national level. These are referred to as “constitutional moments.” The United States drafted a constitution in 1787 following independence from Britain. Italy drew up a new constitution in 1948 and Germany did the same in 1949 following their defeat in World War II and the destruction of previous regimes. Constitutions of South and North Korea were promulgated in 1948 following liberation from Japan and their establishment as independent nations. India drafted a constitution in 1950 after independence from Britain.
Application to the CIG Constitution
As noted, Rev. Moon frequently referenced “Heavenly Law” in his speeches and also referred to the “heavenly constitution.” On numerous occasions, he emphasized “immutable” laws based on preserving blood lineage, not infringing upon human rights and not misusing public money. He referred to these as “articles” of the constitution of the Kingdom of Heaven. He subsequently identified “Family Pledge,” Cheon Seong Gyeong and Pyeong Hwa Shin Gyeong (Peace Messages) as sources of Heaven’s constitution. In Chambumo Gyeong, he references a draft constitution being prepared for the United Nations. However, no constitution was published during his lifetime. In reality, there had not yet occurred a “constitutional moment.”
The constitutional moment occurred on Foundation Day (January 13th of the Heavenly Calendar, February 22, 2013 by the Gregorian calendar). Foundation Day was the end point of the twelve-year period during which the foundation of Cheon Il Guk was to be established, as designated by Rev. Moon in 2001. The CIG Constitution defines 2013 as the “founding year” and “beginning of the substantial Cheon Il Guk.” (Preamble) Afterwards, Mrs. Moon gave direction for the CIG Constitution to be quickly established. A True Peace Magazine article introducing the constitution stated, “because of the internal troubles that have plagued our church in recent years, it seems the time has come for us to adopt canonical law by way of the Cheon Il Guk Constitution as a means of protecting True Parents’ legitimate authority.” Thus, the beginning of the substantial CIG nation and the necessity of protecting Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s foundation constituted the constitutional moment for promulgation of the CIG constitution.
2. Composition, Length and Life-span of Constitutions
In any given year, some 4 or 5 constitutions will be replaced, 10 to 15 will be amended, and another 20 or so proposals for revision will be under consideration. Processes utilized in creating constitutions vary widely but generally include phases of drafting, consultation, deliberation, adoption, and ratification. Timelines for drafting constitutions vary. Myanmar’s 2008 constitution took 17 years. In the case of Japan’s 1946 constitution, U.S. bureaucrats working for Occupation drafted the document in no more than a week. The average drafting time is 16 months. Constitutions vary greatly in terms of length. The Constitution of India is the longest written constitution of any country in the world with 146,385 words. The Constitution of Monaco is the shortest written constitution with 3,814 words. The constitution of the United States is the oldest and shortest written constitution still in force with 4,543 words and seven articles.
Only half of all sovereign state constitutions around the world have functioned continuously for more than 19 years, which is the average life-expectancy of national constitutions. A great number of constitutions do not exceed more than 10 years and around 10 percent do not last more than 1 year. Latin America has been particularly unstable. According to one count, “The Dominican Republic has gone through 39 constitutions since its independence in 1844. Three other countries have also had 20 or more constitutions throughout their history, all of them in Latin America: Venezuela (26), Haiti (24) and Ecuador (20).”
Application to the CIG Constitution
The CIG Constitution went through the normative phases of constitution making. The document was drafted over at least a year’s time, or longer given earlier drafts. Although poorly documented, there were consultations and at least one “Public Hearing on the Cheon Il Guk Constitution” held on July 23-24, 2013 at the Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology in Korea. There may have been additional hearings but the public record is sparse in English. The constitution was adopted on Foundation Day 2014. The ratification process consisted in obtaining Mrs. Moon’s approval. Representatives of the CIG government introduced the constitution to members and a video circulated, but this followed adoption and was for providing information and gaining support rather than for ratification or adoption purposes. The original CIG Constitution was 6,396 words and consisted of 11 chapters with 87 articles. The CIG Constitution has been in force for seven years, though its provisions have only been partially implemented. A major CIG governance body, the Supreme Council, is no longer in operation, and Mrs. Moon has provided guidelines for substantive constitutional amendments, even a reorganization to be completed by 2023.
3. Specific Features of Constitutions
Constitutions typically include preambles, articles on citizen rights and powers of government, amendment processes and in some cases conditions under which rights and guarantees may be suspended. Preambles sets forth state goals and motivations in preparing the constitution. Some constitutions include preservation of a national language and culture. Governance provisions include separation of powers among branches of government. The standard model, as described by Montesquieu, includes executive, legislative and judicial branches.
Some constitutions include additional branches. The Five-Power Constitution system proposed by the Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen in 1906 advanced the three standard branches or yuan and two additional branches, an examination yuan to administer the selection of candidates for the bureaucracy and the censorate, or control yüan, to check on the honesty and efficiency of government, both traditional Chinese administrative components. Five-yuan constitutions were implemented in China (1935), Tibet (1938), Thailand (1943), Taiwan (1945), and Korea (1948). The Republic of Korea’s five branch system includes a Board of Audit and Inspection, in charge of inspecting and examining the revenues and expenditures and a Civil Service Board is in charge of validating the qualification of civil servants.
Constitutional amendments are sometimes interwoven into the text and sometimes appended as a supplement as in the U.S. constitution. Many constitutions allow the declaration under exceptional circumstances of some form of state of emergency during which some rights and guarantees are suspended. This can be subject to abuse as in the Republic of Korea’s Yushin Constitution (1972-81).
Application to the CIG Constitution
The CIG Constitution contains all of these features. A Preamble sets forth goals of the CIG nation, i.e., “a peaceful world through ideal families… that transcends the barriers of religion, national borders, race, gender, and culture and aims for unanimity to foster the harmony of humankind.” The CIG Constitution also communicates fundamental values through the “Family Pledge” which follows the Preamble. This is unusual. The most conspicuous pledge-type affirmation included in a current constitution, and which its citizens are required to memorize, is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) “Ten Principles for the Establishment of a Monolithic Ideological System.” Unlike the DPRK which pledges honor and loyalty to the Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung, the CIG Constitution refers to loyalty and obedience, or attendance due to “God and the True Parents.” (Article 23) The section on theocratic constitutions in this paper covers the CIG Constitution’s religiously-based arrangements.
The CIG Constitution includes sections on citizen rights and duties, (Articles 20-21) and as presently written, divides governance between a “Supreme Council” and five “wons.” (Articles 28 through 73) The five wons appear to derive from the Chinese five-yuan model but with variations. While the CIG wons are consistent with the yuan system in providing for executive (Cheon Jeong Won), legislative (Cheon Eui Won), and judiciary (Cheon Beob Won) functions, CIG governance departs from the Yuan model in setting up a treasury branch (Cheon Jae Won) and a media authority (Cheon Gong Won).
The CIG constitution contains provisions for amendments. (Articles 85-88) Rather than being appended to the constitution, these are interwoven within the text as edits. To this point, there have been two rounds of constitutional amendments submitted by the CIG Supreme Council and approved by Mrs. Moon, on September 5, 2014 and June 29, 2016. There are no explicitly stated emergency articles under which provisions of the constitution can be suspended. However, “True Parents hold the final decision-making authority regarding the administration of Cheon Il Guk,” (Article 6) and “True Mother’s [i.e., Mrs. Moon’s] Guideline” for the third round of substantive constitutional amendments states, “The Cheon Il Guk Supreme Council is not in operation.” In addition, the CIG judiciary (Cheon Beob Won) has assumed an activist role through the “Legislative Research Committee of Cheon Beob.” This committee has taken the lead in the current amendment process. The judiciary taking on legislative responsibilities would appear to be inconsistent with the separation of powers principle among the CIG wons.
Scholars classify constitutions under multiple rubrics. One distinction is between codified and uncodified constitutions. Codified constitutions contain an aggregate of rules and principles that define the nature and extent of government in a single document. Uncodified constitutions consist of several different sources, written and unwritten such as common law and traditions or conventions. Most secular states have codified constitutions. Only two sovereign states, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, have wholly uncodified constitutions. The Basic Laws of Israel are intended as the basis of a constitution which has not yet been written. Some countries such as Canada have largely but not wholly codified constitutions.
Flexible-inflexible constitutions and political-legal constitutions are related to codified-uncodified classifications. Flexible constitutions, such as the British uncodified system, can be amended with ease. Inflexible constitutions, such as the U.S. constitution, are entrenched and difficult to change. Political constitutions vest power in parliamentary assemblies. Legal constitutions, such as in the U.S., empower courts to establish the limits of government power.
Other distinctions are between monarchical-republican and presidential-parliamentary constitutions. Monarchical constitutions preserve the power and/or privileges of a royal class whereas republican constitutions vest authority in citizens. Presidential constitutions vest executive power in the president while parliamentary constitutions make executive power a subset of parliamentary assemblies.
Another distinction is between unitary and federal constitutions. Unitary constitutions vest sovereignty in the state with regions subordinate to it. Federal constitutions divide sovereignty between the state and several regions (called states, provinces, etc.) which may have their own constitutions.
Application to the CIG Constitution
The CIG Constitution is a codified constitution, contained in a single document. However, there are suggestions of traditions and laws outside the constitution that hold sway. Many CIG Constitution articles are open-ended, utilizing the phrases “as prescribed by law” (22 times) or “in accordance with law” (26 times). This suggests a legal framework of equivalent weight or at least of supplemental significance outside the CIG Constitution. Since these laws are unspecified, it indicates that the CIG Constitution falls within the flexible-political spectrum of constitutions, as constitutional provisions will vary in their implementation depending upon the passage of laws.
The CIG Constitution appears to be a monarchical rather than a strictly republican constitution. Rev. and Mrs. Moon are referred to as “the eternal King and Queen of Peace of Cheon Il Guk.” (Preamble and Article 5) In addition, the CIG Constitution draws a distinction between True Parents’ family (their direct descendants and spouses; Article 24) and blessed families (constituent members of Cheon Il Guk; Article 26). The CIG Constitution specifies that the Chairperson of the Cheon Il Guk Supreme Council “shall be appointed by the True Parents from among the True Parents’ family, and may concurrently hold the position of the International President of the Cheon Jeong Won,” (the Cheon Il Guk executive branch). (Article 30) The Supreme Council is not presently in operation. However, if re-activated under these terms, it would institutionalize a putative royal line.
The CIG Constitution is not particularly weighted in favor of presidential or parliamentary authority. It may be that the President of the Cheon Jeong Won (executive branch) has the greater dignity if appointed from the Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s family and the president serves a seven-year term (Article 41), while the chairperson (not prime minister) of the Cheon Eui Won (legislative assembly) serves four years. On the other hand, the Cheon Eui Won holds the power of the purse. (Article 55)
The CIG Constitution devotes an entire chapter (Articles 74-82) to the “Self-Governance of Regional and National Units.” This suggests a federative-style organization. In reality, the organization is unitary with sovereignty residing in the international governance structure. True Parents appoint and dismiss Regional Presidents who report to the Cheon Jeong Won (CIG’s executive administration; Articles 74, 76). They likewise appoint “National Messiahs” as advisors to National Leaders (Article 78) who, in turn, are “appointed or dismissed… in consultation with the Regional President, the International President and the Cheon Il Guk Supreme Council, and with the final approval of the True Parents.” (Article 79)
5. Governance Theories
The Greek philosopher Aristotle was the first to undertake a systematic study of constitutions. He studied 158 constitutions of the ancient world and classified them into rule by one (monarchy), rule by few (aristocracy) and rule by many (republics). These are classified as “right” or “ideal” if they function for the common good and “wrong” or “perverted” if they operate to serve self-interest. In his classification, perverted forms of monarchy, aristocracy and republicanism are tyranny, oligarchy and democracy (tyranny of the majority). For Aristotle, even good kings are subject to emotion and cannot handle all necessary matters at once. Therefore, they should not have absolute power. He viewed a mixed form of governance, combining “good” elements of all three types to be optimal.
Monarchies have often claimed legitimacy from a higher power, as in early European claims to the divine right of kings or in China to the Mandate of Heaven. By the 19th century divine right was regarded as an obsolete theory by most countries in the Western world. It was replaced by notions of the monarch as the embodiment of the nation, a symbol of national unity, or in some cases by “Enlightened Absolutism” (“everything for the people, nothing by the people”). However, the dominant trend has been in the direction of constitutional monarchy under which monarchs exercise their authority within an established legal framework. In some states, the role of constitutional monarchs is largely ceremonial. There are currently 43 monarchies worldwide, 16 of which are constitutional monarchies within the British Commonwealth. There are a handful of countries in which the monarch is the ruler. The majority of these are oil-producing Arab Islamic monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
Monarchism has substantially diminished as a political force internationally. However, there have been no shortage of autocratic or oligarchic regimes, whether communist, fascist, militarist or personalist/familial. Juche philosophy, which undergirds the constitution of North Korea, is an example of the personalist/familial type of oligarchy. It is based on the belief that KimIlsungism has introduced a new era in human history. As such, it includes provisions for use of a Juche-era calendar. Gregorian calendar dates are used for years before 1912 while years from 1912 (the year of Kim Il-sung's birth) are described as Juche years. When used, Juche years are often accompanied by the Gregorian equivalent, i.e. “Juche 110, 2021” or “Juche 110 (2021).” Kimilsungism also includes the consolidation of blood relations between the Great Leader as Father and the Party as Mother of the masses. North Koreans are expected to cherish and adore the ruling Kim family with more devotion than exemplified in Confucian filial piety. This extends to care for their portraits which are required in every household. The Preamble to the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK praises the Kim’s as “saviors of the nation” and enshrine them as North Korea’s “eternal leaders.” Apart from state organization, chapters of the constitution include provisions for the national language, fundamental rights and duties of citizens, and designations of the national flag, anthem and capital.
Autocratic regimes are inherently fragile due to limited political pluralism, overreliance on coercion, over-centralization of decision making, and the predominance of personal power over institutional norms. Few manage orderly, peaceful, timely, and stable successions. On the other hand, republican forms of government which include the rule of law, separation of powers, free and competitive elections, civil liberties such as freedom of the press and religion, and toleration of meaningful opposition have been shown to have fewer wars (rarely, if ever, with one another), fewer state murders, less corruption and more prosperity. Some claim that no functioning liberal democracy has ever suffered a large-scale famine.
Since the end of WW II, the share of authoritarian states in the international political system increased until the mid-1970s (driven by multiple Third World dictatorships), but declined from then until the year 2000. Since 2000, there has been an increase in authoritarianism (including theocratic or religious dictatorships). Freedom House reported that from 2006 to 2018, 113 countries around the world showed a net decline in “political rights and civil liberties,” while 62 experienced a net improvement. By 2020, countries identified as “not free” by Freedom House had developed practices of transnational authoritarianism, seeking to police and control dissent beyond state borders.
Application to the CIG Constitution
Rev. and Mrs. Moon frequently expressed their identity and roles in monarchical terms. In 2003, they were coronated as King and Queen of Unification Blessed Families. On that occasion, they wore royal Korean clothing and dynastic crowns and were proceeded by attendants bearing a royal scepter and seal. There were bows of members representing the world’s nations and religions. Still, this was ambiguous, as Unification texts also extoll democracy, the separation of powers and “the will of the people.” In subsequent public coronations of Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the King and Queen of Peace, including a ceremony in a U.S. Senate office building, Unification leaders denied that they sought temporal power. Nevertheless, royal imagery persisted and Foundation Day 2013, intended to mark the beginning of substantial Cheon Il Guk, was conducted with full pomp and ceremony. Dressed in royal regalia, Mrs. Moon was presented with the Seal of the True Empress of Holiness and Virtue, the royal seal of Heavenly Parent (God) and heavenly royal scepter.
The CIG Constitution, adopted one year after Foundation Day, also includes monarchical language. The Preamble affirms that True Parents achieved “the position of the eternal King and Queen of Peace of Cheon Il Guk” and Article 5 describes them as “the eternal King and Queen of Peace of Cheon Il Guk.” These are not symbolic or honorific designations. Under the CIG constitution, True Parents possess near absolute authority.
- They “hold the final decision-making authority regarding the administration of Cheon Il Guk” (Article 6);
- Their words, along with the love of God, are the source of Cheon Il Guk laws (Article 13);
- They may appoint or dismiss a public official for the sake of a special providence (Article 22);
- They appoint and have the power to dismiss the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and members of the CIG Supreme Council (Articles 30-31);
- They approve all decisions of the Supreme Council before they can be enforced (Article 35);
- They appoint and have the power to dismiss the International President, International Vice-President and heads of “providential organizations” comprising CIG’s executive branch (Articles 41-42, 45);
- They appoint and have the power to dismiss the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of CIG’s legislative branch (Article 49);
- They have the authority to convene special legislative sessions (Article 52);
- They approve all legislative and budget proposals before they can be enacted (Articles 54-55);
- They appoint and have the power to dismiss the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and members of CIG’s judiciary (Article 61);
- They appoint and have the power to dismiss the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and members of CIG’s fiscal and management branch (Article 66);
- They appoint and have the power to dismiss the Chairperson, Vice-Chairpersons and members of the CIG Office of Media and Communications (Article 71)
- They appoint and have the power to dismiss Regional Presidents and National Messiahs (Articles 74, 78) and have final approval over the appointment and dismissal of National Leaders (Article 79).
- They have final approval over amendments to the CIG Constitution (Article 87) and there are “Amendments According to the True Parents’ Will.” (Article 88)
It would be difficult to find a more centralized monarchical administration.
Some of the founding principles in the Cheon Il Guk Constitution resemble features of Juche philosophy and Kimilsungism. The constitution is clearly intended to have introduced a new era in human history. Cheon Il Guk is understood to be the “ideal world… where freedom, peace, unity and happiness, have been realized” (Article 8) and is being declared “before the cosmos and all humankind.” (Preamble)
Reflective of this, the constitution references a Cheon Il Guk-era or “Heavenly Calendar” which, like the Juche-era calendar, includes Cheon Il Guk dates accompanied by solar calendar equivalents, as in the constitution’s opening line, “Some parts of this Constitution were amended on August 12th by the Heavenly Calendar in the 2nd year of Cheon Il Guk (2014/9/5 by the Solar Calendar).”
Whereas Kimilsungism regards the Great Leader and communist party as the father and mother of the masses, the CIG Constitution describes the “revered couple of Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han” as humankind’s “True Parents.” They have endured “unfathomable sacrificial indemnity and devotion” and achieved “the position of eternal King and Queen of Peace of Cheon Il Guk.” (Preamble) They are “the ancestors of humankind as the perfected embodiments.” They “have cosmic value and stature that are absolute, unique, unchanging and eternal.” (Article 4) In addition, “An act of denying … the True Parents” will result in the limitation of a portion or all of one’s rights as a citizen of Cheon Il Guk.” (Article 23)
Finally, like the DPRK constitution, articles of the CIG constitution include Korea-centric provisions for CIG’s official language, national flag, anthem and capital. (Articles 16-18)
These elements are balanced by elements in the CIG Constitution that are compatible with republican forms of governance. The constitution lists rights of citizens (Article 20) and the authority of True Parents, in multiple instances, and that of Cheon Il Guk leaders and organizations are subject to limitations as prescribed by law. However, the most conspicuous element in the constitution favoring republicanism is the procedure outlined for conducting elections.
Elections are the normal mechanism utilized by modern representative democracies for filling offices in the legislature and sometimes the executive and judiciary as well as for regional and local government. Free and fair elections, characterized by openness and accountability with individual protections such as the secret ballot, are considered cornerstones of democratic systems. The CIG Constitution in Article 83 states, “All Cheon Il Guk elections shall be based on the principles of selection by lot among recommended candidates who have been chosen through popular, equal, direct and secret elections.” Ancient Athens, considered to be a cradle of democracy, conducted elections by lot. Athenians regarded it as a means to avoid corruption and essential to the democratic process.
However, while the CIG Constitution affirms democratic elections in principle, it is relatively weak in application. The vast majority of Cheon Il Guk governance positions are by appointment. The one branch or won to which elections apply is the legislative assembly (Cheon Eui Won). Even there, the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are appointed. Further, the Cheon Eui Won has been downsized from “not more than” 210 members in the original constitution to 120 in the 2016 amended version. Currently, the size appears to have been reduced to the eight Cheon Eui Won Chairs, all appointed.
6. Peace Constitutions
Most states, including constitutional republics such as the United States, include war powers in their constitutions, i.e., the power to declare war, raise and support Armies, provide and maintain Navies, and to call for Militias to suppress insurrections and repel invasions. However, smaller states, particularly those surrounded by much larger nations and whose existence depends on the good will of those neighbors, have longstanding traditions of neutrality. Some have incorporated non-militarist, peace clauses into their constitutions. On the other hand, some powerful nations have reacted against their militarist past. For example, Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes and states that armed forces with war potential will not be maintained. Still, Japan maintains de facto armed forces, referred to as the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Switzerland’s constitution lists peace promotion as a core objective and it refrains from participating in systems of collective security such as NATO and the European Union (EU). Norway, which identifies itself as a “peace nation,” is likewise not a member of the EU, and Denmark, though a member, opted to remain outside of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). Article 12 of the Constitution of Costa Rica abolished Costa Rica's army as a permanent institution, and the date of abolition is celebrated as a national holiday.
Application to the CIG Constitution
The CIG Constitution likewise emphasizes peace and lacks any institutional warrant for war. Rev. Moon spoke at various times of a Peace Kingdom Corps and Peace Kingdom Police. However, he defined these in educational rather than militarist terms and indicated they would be comprised of women “who love peace.”
The Unification movement as a whole has an ambivalent relationship to guns and violence. On the one hand, Rev. Moon identified himself as a “Peace-Loving Global Citizen,” stated he had tried everything except being a soldier because he never wanted to kill anyone, and dedicated his ministry to the reconciliation of former enemies. On the other hand, at the height of the Cold War, he warned that if “North Korea provokes a war against the South Korean people,” his followers would organize a “Unification Crusade Army” and “take part in the war as a supporting force to defend both Korea and the free world.” The Unification movement owned factories in Korea that manufactured M-16 rifles and the Vulcan Cannon. It supported intermediate-range missiles in Europe, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the Nicaraguan Resistance. Nevertheless, the CIG Constitution has no mention of war, armies, or police whatsoever. It is uncompromising in its conception of Cheon Il Guk as “The Unified Nation of Cosmic Peace.” (Preamble)
7. Theocratic Constitutions
The word “theocracy” means “rule of God.” It refers to a form of government in which God or a deity “is recognized as the supreme ruling authority, giving divine guidance to human intermediaries that manage the day-to-day affairs of the government.” The term was coined by the Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus in the first century of the Common Era (C.E.) to describe Jewish governance. Josephus followed Aristotle in arguing that most forms of human governance could be organized under the categories of monarchy, oligarchy or democracy. But he viewed the Jews as being a unique case and used theocracy to describe a type of government in which God is sovereign and his word is law. (Against Apion, Book II, Chapter 16) The term has since been widely accepted, though subject to positive and negative connotations.
In fact, theocracies largely conform to Aristotle’s three governance designations. Pure theocracies correspond to Aristotle’s category of monarchy (rule by one). This does not refer to monarchs or emperors who rule by Divine Right or the Mandate of Heaven but whose religious role is largely ceremonial. Pure theocracies are led by those who are both divinely chosen and instruments of divine revelation or the divine will. Historical examples include Moses, Muhammad, Dalai Lamas of Tibet, Savonarola’s Florence; the Anabaptist kingdom in the city of Munster, Germany; and Latter-Day Saint communities in Illinois and Utah.
The best modern example is the Supreme Pontiff, or Pope, who rules the sovereign Vatican City State. According to its Fundamental Law, and consistent with canon law, the Pope possesses “the fullness of legislative, executive and judicial powers” in his person. (Article 1) He names the Pontifical Commission, or legislative body and approves laws; names the President of the Commission who serves in an executive capacity; approves budgets; and authorizes judicial actions but reserves the power to defer or pronounce a decision without any further recourse. The Pope also has the authority to establish or revise the Fundamental Law of the state.
Ecclesiocracy, also known as priestly theocracy, is a form of theocracy that corresponds to Aristotle’s category of aristocracy or rule by the few. It refers to civic rule by religious leaders, whether they be clerics, jurists, religious councils, ministers, or elders. They do not generally claim to be instruments of divine revelation but serve in a custodial capacity over the state, seeking to have civil government conform to the law of God. Historical examples include the Jewish Sanhedrin; papal administrations in Medieval Europe; Calvin’s Geneva; Puritan New England; and the still-existing Monastic Republic of Mount Athos, Greece.
The best contemporary example is the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which the Assembly of Experts (Islamic scholars competent in interpreting Sharia), a Guardian Council, an Expediency Discernment Council, and a Supreme Leader oversee executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The Guardian Council and Supreme Leader, or Guardian Jurist, approve all candidates for the presidency of Iran and the Iranian parliament. The Supreme Leader appoints the top judiciary, holds supreme command over the armed forces, signs the certificate of appointment of the president, and in the national interest can dismiss the president, can veto laws passed by parliament, and appoints the director of the national radio and television network. Despite broad powers, the Supreme Leader and entire government rule only provisionally until the return of the Imam of the Age.
Constitutional theocracy corresponds to Aristotle’s category of republic, or rule by many. It refers to states in which a single religion or a single religion’s laws have a central authoritative role but which are ruled by elected lay political figures subject to a constitution rather than by religious leadership. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a hybrid theocracy, in that it includes popular elections, though only with vetted candidates. Four states identify themselves as Islamic republics: Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania and Pakistan. Others have Islam as the state religion and legal codes with at least some Islamic (Sharia) laws but not the “Islamic Republic” name; these include Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Algeria, Maldives and Bangladesh. Israel defines itself as a “Jewish state” or as a “Jewish and democratic state.” It has no official religion, but its laws protect the identity and values of the majority Jewish population. There are a number of countries that identify themselves as Christian states or have one or another Christian denomination as a state church that is supported by the government. However, all of them have long since abandoned any notion of being theocracies or of being ruled by biblical law and have instituted separations of church and state in terms of civil authority.
Since no theocracy has ever been universal, all of them, whether pure, priestly or constitutional, have had to deal with religious “others” and minority populations both domestically and internationally. Under Muhammad, the Constitution of Medina established the basis for a multi-religious state which included eight Jewish tribes. This continued in various trans-national Islamic caliphates in which non-Muslims were ensured freedom of religious beliefs and practices and religious separation from Muslims. The Vatican has foreign relations with 183 sovereign states, maintains an overseas diplomatic corps directed by a Secretariat of State, concludes treaties or concordats, and has 89 accredited embassies in Rome.
In recent years, Islamic states have subjected non-Muslims to disabilities, even persecution. These include prohibitions against public worship, the use of Bibles, conversion, intermarriage, and blasphemy (defiling Muhammad, his family or his associates’ names); restrictions of education or employment, confiscations of property and in more extreme incidents, destruction of religious statuary, kidnapping, and bombings of churches.
Application to the CIG Constitution
The CIG Constitution clearly envisions the world, indeed the cosmos, under God (Article 11) and a form of government in which God rules through human intermediaries. Its provisions include elements characteristic of pure, priestly and constitutional theocracies. The constitution elevates of True Parents as “the Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and the True Parents of humankind” who have recovered and communicated God’s word. (Preamble) It further describes them as “perfected embodiments who have achieved oneness… with God,” (Article 4) and designates them as “the eternal King and Queen of Peace” with “final decision-making authority regarding the administration of Cheon Il Guk.” (Articles 5-6) As noted, True Parents have power over the appointment and dismissal of top executive, legislative and judicial leaders as well as top leadership of Cheon Il Guk fiscal and media branches. They also appoint and have the authority to dismiss regional and national leaders. They must approval all legislative and budget enactments. They have final authority over amendments to the CIG Constitution and can enact “Amendments According to the True Parents’ Will.” (Article 88). The constitution’s designation of True Parents as divine instruments, even embodiments, and their corresponding authority identify Cheon Il Guk as a “pure” theocracy.
At the same time, the constitution identifies the 13-member Supreme Council (currently not operating) as “the supreme decision-making agency.” (Article 28). It also states, “In case of relinquishment of authority of the True Parents or incapacity of the True Parents,” the Council “shall vicariously execute the authority of the True Parents.” (Article 36) The CIG Constitution has no mechanism of succession following the passing of True Parents and, in fact, the “constitutional moment” that led to its initial adoption followed the passing of Rev. Moon. This points toward a possible future of Cheon Il Guk as a priestly or clerical theocracy, i.e., centered on religious leadership, following the passing of Mrs. Moon. The current constitution requires that the Chairperson of the Supreme Council “shall be appointed by the True Parents from among the True Parents’ family.” (Article 30) This introduces a hereditary, dynastic element which could perpetuate Cheon Il Guk as a pure theocracy. However, because the constitution is entirely True-Parents-centric and because their stature is “absolute, unique, unchanging and eternal” (Article 4), it is unlikely that hereditary charisma will demand the same or stronger dedication from Cheon Il Guk citizenry.
The constitution states, “True Parents’ family shall possess value based upon their relationship of absolute faith, absolute love and absolute obedience towards the True Parents” and “to the Words of the True Parents.” (Articles 24-25) This indicates that they, or one of their representatives, would head a religio-political hierarchy. If the Supreme Council is eliminated, the hierarchy will likely center on a “two-won system”: the executive branch (Cheon Jeong Won) led by an appointed member of the True Family as International President, at least initially, and a group of eight recently appointed regional Cheon Eui Won Chairs who appear to have displaced the 120-member, originally 210-member Cheon Il Guk Assembly or legislative branch.
It is conceivable the Cheon Il Guk could organize itself as a constitutional theocracy or Cheon Il Guk republic under the rule of law. The constitution lists rights of citizens such as equality before the law, the right “not be discriminated against based on considerations of gender, age, social status, disability, race, religion or nationality,” the right “to vote and to run for election,” the right to petition, and the right to trial in accordance with the law. (Article 20) Even True Parents authority, in multiple instances, is bound by law. For example, they have the power to appoint or dismiss public officials only “as prescribed by” or “in accordance with the law” (Articles 30-31, 41-42, 45, 49, 61, 66, 71, 74, 78-79). The constitution likewise requires that government administration, management, elections, investigations, disciplinary actions and impeachments, and legal proceedings be “prescribed by law.” (Articles 34-36, 38-39, 44, 50, 56-58, 63). The omnipresence of law in the CIG Constitution, its checks against the exercise of arbitrary authority, and its role in protecting citizen rights suggest that it could have a central authoritative role in Cheon Il Guk’s future, particularly when Rev. and Mrs. Moon are not immediately present.
A more radical approach would limit the Cheon Il Guk Constitution to administration of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU). The current constitution states it was “enacted as the normative framework for the sake of achieving a universal and substantial daily life system, family system, national system, and world system of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. (Preamble) While there is the aspiration or vision of establishing world governance, i.e., “the settlement and completion of Cheon Il Guk,” the constitution would function as an incremental instrument protecting Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s authority and providing for continuity in managing FFWPU and the recently inaugurated Heavenly Parent Holy Community. It also would allow the freedom and time to construct a civil constitution or constitutions based on a more solid legal tradition. For example, despite the many references to being “prescribed by” or “in accordance with law” in the Cheon Il Guk Constitution, no laws or legal codes exist. Alternatively, Cheon Il Guk officials may cede this task and even civil governance itself to lay leaders and citizens apart from the religious hierarchy.
The CIG Constitution defines the “territory of Cheon Il Guk” as “the cosmos, including both the physical world and the spirit world.” (Article 11). As noted, it communicates universal aspirations. However, for the foreseeable future and likely far into the future, Cheon Il Guk will need to relate with non-Cheon Il Guk populations and even citizens who express dissent. In its present form, the CIG Constitution has no provision for relations with other states. As noted, it has no mention of war or national defense. Likewise, there is no mention of diplomatic relations or anything like a department of state. The closest the constitution comes to this is the Cheon Il Guk Office of Media and Communications (Cheon Gong Won) which oversees “the collection of public opinion, news reports, and public relations.” (Article 69) Yet this appears more oriented toward internal Cheon Il Guk affairs than external relations. In terms of domestic governance, the constitution upholds religious freedom (Article 20) but identifies “An act of denying God and the True Parents” or “An act of denying the identity and ideals of Cheon Il Guk” as grounds for limitation of some or all citizenship rights. (Article 23). In these instances, there are no procedures nor safeguards prescribed by law.
Based on this survey, the following are recommendations for implementing amendments to the CIG Constitution:
(1) Documentation. To this point, processes involved in the CIG Constitution’s initial formulation and promulgations of amendments (2014, 2016) have been inadequately documented. There is no adequate record of public hearings or consultations, no publicly accessible meeting minutes, and no single overview or testimony of the work. This is in contrast to published testimonies on the creation process of the CIG Holy Scriptures. Mrs. Moon’s direction and guidelines for substantive amendment of the constitution as well as her launch of Regional Cheon Eui Wons have created a new “constitutional moment” which needs to be adequately documented for current and future Cheon Il Guk citizens. Documentation of the present “constitutional moment” should be set in the context of past work. A thorough overview supported by testimonies in a widely circulated publication such as True Peace Magazine would be a minimal expectation.
(2) Participation. As with documentation, broad-based participation in the creation, adoption or revision of the CIG Constitution has been lacking. According to a “Purpose and Guidance” document addressed to leaders by the Legislative Research Committee of Cheon Beob Won (11.4 by the Heavenly Calendar in the 8th Year of CIG, 2020.12.18), Mrs. Moon intends the constitution to “embody more concretely the firm establishment of Cheon Il Guk.” She wishes to do so by encouraging more broad-based participation. According to the document, “True Parents are hoping to see Regional Cheon Eui Wons… collect the hopes and visions of members and reflect them in the Cheon Il Guk constitutional amendments.” It further states, “Their desire is to see… all the members of the world having a sense of ownership of Cheon Il Guk, participating in the amendments of the Constitution and also abiding by the Constitution with a heart of Hyojeong (filial piety).” The Legislative Research Committee of Cheon Beob Won, which has been assigned responsibility for this project, needs to carefully design a process and mechanisms for broadened participation.
(3) Consolidation. An official memo from International Headquarters communicating “TM’s Guidelines for the 3rd Amendment of Cheon Il Guk Constitution (Sept. 2020 – Nov. 2020),” states, “The Cheon Il Guk Supreme Council is not in operation” and the CIG Governing System will be centered “on constitutional institutions: Cheon Jeong Won and Cheon Eui Won,” i.e., the executive and legislative branches. It states that the current Cheon Beob Won, Cheon Jae Won, and Cheon Gong Won, i.e., the judicial, financial and media branches, are to be included in the Cheon Jeong Won (executive branch). This would be a consolidation of the current 5-won system to a 2-won system.
It was a good step to eliminate the Supreme Council as an unnecessary intermediary between True Parents and Cheon Il Guk’s governance system. It had functioned as provisional, de facto constitutional committee with additional responsibilities duplicating those of the Cheon Jeong Won executive. In fact, the current constitution specifies that the Chair of the Supreme Council “may concurrently hold the position of the International President of the Cheon Jeong Won.” (Article 30)
(4) Separation of Powers. Separation of powers is a well-established principle of constitutional governance. Exposition of the Divine Principle (1996) states, “the separation of powers into three branches of government… was to be characteristic of the political structure of the ideal society God has been working to realize.” It asserts that legislative, judicial and executive branches are “patterned after the structure of a perfect human being,” being analogous to the lungs, heart and stomach. It also refers to them as “the three branches of government in the ideal world.” In this respect, absorption of the judicial branch (Cheon Beob Won) by the executive will compromise claims that Cheon Il Guk has an unbiased, independent judiciary. Conversely, the establishment of a “Legislative Research Committee of Cheon Beob” blurs the distinction between judicial and legislative branches. It would be preferable to establish a constitutional committee or assembly made up of representatives from the three branches for the purpose of taking the lead in the current amendment process.
Absorption of the financial affairs (Cheon Jae Won) and media (Cheon Gong Won) into the executive (Cheon Jeong Won) branch is less problematic. Executive branches commonly propose budgets. However, proposed budgets generally require approval of the legislative branch (Cheon Eui Won) as part of a check and balance system. Executive branches also commonly include media and communication functions, i.e., press secretaries, press briefings and press conferences. Beyond that, modern states value independent media separate from government, the so-called Fourth Estate, no less than an independent judiciary. Freedom of the press is often enshrined as a right in modern constitutions. The CIG Constitution doesn’t explicitly mention this. However, Article 20 on “Rights” states, “The fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens of Cheon Il Guk shall not be neglected on the grounds that they are not enumerated in the Constitution.” Budget oversight and freedom of the press as well as the need for an independent judiciary as a separate branch of government should all be points of discussion in the current amendment process.
(5) Rule of Law. The Cheon Il Guk constitution, both in its original and revised versions, gives great weight to law. In fact, the original version is subtitled “Religious law to actualize God’s peaceful ideal world.” An article published in True Peace Magazine shortly after the constitution’s adoption states, “it seems the time has come for us to adopt canonical law by way of the Cheon Il Guk Constitution as a means of protecting True Parents’ legitimate authority.” The same article notes that it took centuries for Christianity to develop canon law, much less organize diverse rules and procedures into “a comprehensive body of written law.” The 88 articles of the CIG Constitution contain 48 references to the law, listing procedures or authority being “prescribed by” or “in accordance with the law.” However, these references appear to be place-holders or even hollow because, as noted, no laws or legal codes exist. States are ruled by legal precedent and constitutional principles. Until such time that Cheon Il Guk possesses a more solid legal tradition, it is best to drop these references. Even when Cheon Il Guk possesses laws or legal codes, there is no need for these references in the constitution. Laws should conform to the constitution, not vice-versa.
(6) Self-Governance. Chapter 9 of the CIG Constitution is titled, “Self Governance of Regional and National Units.” This suggests autonomy and relative independence characteristic of federal systems. However, this is a misnomer, as authority is strongly centralized and hierarchical with sovereignty residing in the international governance structure. Regional and national leaders are appointed at the international level and may be dismissed prior to completing their terms of office. Additionally, regional leaders must report to the international executive “on matters regarding the overall work of the region.” National leaders serve under regional presidents, and according to the constitution, “[H]eadquarters of a national unit shall be responsible for all work of that national unit.” (Article 81) The entire system is vertically integrated in a manner resembling a corporation. It would be advisable for the constitution either to designate regional and national rights, just as it enumerates citizen rights or to remove the word “Self” before “Governance,” and simply title the chapter, “Governance of Regional and National Units.”
(7) External relations. The CIG Constitution envisions a “world where the ideal of one family under God has been realized in which all human beings… live attending God as their Parent.” (Preamble) Nevertheless, it recognizes that such a world does not yet exist. The Preamble states, “This Constitution pursues [emphasis added] a peaceful world through ideal families who attend God and True Parents.” Other sections refer to the task of “establishing” Cheon Il Guk. In addition, the constitution includes addenda or supplements, which list “interim measures” to be followed prior to the constitution’s full implementation. However, these measures focus entirely on internal governance. None of the addenda articles address relations with external states, religious bodies or organizations. The executive branch (Cheon Jeong Won) includes “providential organizations” which it manages for the sake of the “substantial settlement and completion of Cheon Il Guk.” (Article 44)
Even thoroughly theocratic constitutions, such as the Vatican or Muhammad’s constitution of Medina, contain provisions for external relations. The Vatican maintains a full diplomatic corps and exchanges ambassadors with many nations. The same is true of peace constitutions. Even the few which have abandoned armed forces still maintain diplomatic relations with other countries. It would seem in the interim, prior to the completion of Cheon Il Guk, that the executive branch should include a department of state, or an equivalent, with responsibility for foreign relations. At one point in his ministry, Rev. Moon established “peace embassies,” an initiative that would be consistent with maintaining relations with external entities.
(8) Succession. Article 36 of the CIG Constitution, “Vicarious Execution of Authority,” states, “In case of relinquishment of authority of the True Parents or incapacity of the True Parents,” the Council “shall vicariously execute the authority of the True Parents.” However, the criteria of “relinquishment of authority” or “incapacity” do not apply to the passing of True Parents, and the constitution possesses no mechanism for succession. In addition, the Supreme Council is not in operation and seemingly will not be in operation, as Mrs. Moon’s guideline for the third round of constitutional amendments states that the governing system of Cheon Il Guk will be centered on a “2-won system of Cheon Jeong Won – Cheon Eui Won” which are referred to as “constitutional institutions.” Her guideline also states, “The Chairperson of Cheon Jeong Won will be appointed depending on his/her capability,” leaving ambiguous whether the Chairperson “shall be appointed by the True Parents from among the True Parents’ family,” as is the case for the currently non-operational Supreme Council. There also is no provision for how True Parents’ powers and authority will be bequeathed once they have passed. It is conceivable that Cheon Il Guk governance could go in monarchical, hierarchical or republican directions, that is, it could adopt a hereditary-dynastic pattern, a system of rule under religious leaders, a structure under democratically-elected leadership, or a mixed form combining good elements of all three as Aristotle recommended. In any of these arrangements, it is crucial for the “firm establishment” of Cheon Il Guk that its constitution specify mechanisms for the transfer of power.
(9) Church or State. As noted, the CIG constitution states it was “enacted as the normative framework for the sake of achieving a universal and substantial daily life system, family system, national system, and world system of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification [emphasis added].” (Preamble) On the other hand, the constitution states that Cheon Il Guk “shall consist of sovereignty, citizens and territory” and that its territory “shall be the cosmos, including both the physical world and the spirit world.” (Article 11) As a consequence, there is ambiguity between the constitution’s sacred and civil character. The question is whether the constitution is better suited for a universal church or a universal state. In the absence of territorial sovereignty, it may be better for the constitution to function as church bylaws protecting Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s authority and providing for continuity in managing FFWPU and the recently inaugurated Heavenly Parent Holy Community (HPHC). This would provide True Parent’s representatives or religious leadership with the authority they already possess under the CIG Constitution without the burdens of civil administration. Over time, with the expansion of HPHC and the acquisition of territorial sovereignty, religious leaders should cede the task of civil governance to lay leaders and citizens well nurtured in the ideals of Cheon Il Guk.
(10) Dissent. The CIG Constitution states that citizens “shall not be discriminated against” based on numerous considerations, including “religion and nationality.” (Article 20) This suggests Cheon Il Guk will encompasses multiple religions and nationalities, making it an overarching empire-like structure like the Roman Empire, Muslim caliphates, the Holy Roman Empire or other super-states. In this respect, Cheon Il Guk may be viewed as the political expression of what has recently emerged as Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community. Modern secular equivalents would be the United Nations or European Union, both of which function under charters that communicate principles, establish governance and enumerate rights. If Cheon Il Guk is to be viewed as a super-state encompassing diverse nationalities and minority religions, the current constitution limits those who deny God or True Parents to a second-class citizenship or no citizenship at all. (Article 23) This is coercive, as it enforces legal penalties based on different beliefs or non-belief. It bears mentioning that while the CIG Constitution states that citizens shall not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, it does not affirm liberty of conscience. This runs against foundational documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, or Roman Catholicism’s Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis humanae), adopted in 1965. Dissent is always challenging. However, stifling dissent is characteristic of authoritarian or totalitarian states. It is advisable that the CIG Constitution uphold liberty of conscience as a fundamental right.
 “Establishment of the Cheon Il Guk Constitution,” Chambumo Gyeong (Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, 2015), 1514-15.
 “Video Produced on the Cheon Il Guk Constitution,” True Peace Magazine, April 2014, 27. http://www.tparents.org/Library/Unification/Publications/TruePeace/TruePeace-14/ TruePeace-140401.pdf (accessed March 1, 2021)
 Tom Ginsburg, Zachary Elkins and Justin Blount, “Does the Process of Constitution-Making Matter,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science (2009), 202.
 Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg and James Melton, The Endurance of National Constitutions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
 Jose Luis Cordeiro, “Constitutions around the World: A View from Latin America.” Institute of Developing Economies. IDE Discussion Paper: 164 (2007), 11-13.
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 “TM’s Guidelines for the 3rd Amendment of Cheon Il Guk Constitution [Sep 2020 – Nov 2020]”
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