One Tree of Humanity
One Tree of Humanity
Source: The Promulgation of Universal Peace
Talk given 14 July 1912 at All Souls Unitarian Church
Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York
While ‘Abdu’l-Baha was touring North America in 1912, when one of the issues permeating the social consciousness was the women’s suffrage movement, a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. A few years earlier, the first suffrage march in the United States was held in Oakland, California on August 27. By August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women with all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
‘Abdu’l-Baha spoke: … I wish to speak to you upon the subject of the oneness of humanity, for in this great century the most important accomplishment is the unity of mankind…the foundation upon which human solidarity rests–namely, that all are the progeny of Adam, the creatures and servants of one God; that God is the Protector and Provider; that all are submerged in the sea of divine mercy and grace and God is loving toward all.
The teachings specialized in Baha’u’llah are addressed to humanity. He says, “Ye are all the leaves of one tree.” He does not say, “Ye are the leaves of two trees: one divine, the other satanic.” He has declared that each individual member of the human family is a leaf or branch upon the Adamic tree; that all are sheltered beneath the protecting mercy and providence of God; that all are the children of God, fruit upon the one tree of His love. God is equally compassionate and kind to all the leaves, branches and fruit of this tree. Therefore, there is no satanic tree whatever– Satan being a product of human minds and of instinctive human tendencies toward error. God alone is Creator, and all are creatures of His might. Therefore, we must love mankind as His creatures, realizing that all are growing upon the tree of His mercy, servants of His omnipotent will and manifestations of His good pleasure.
Human rights must stem from a knowledge of the dignity and worth of every individual human being — a knowledge which is enshrined in the scriptures of most religions. `Abdu’l-Baha says that all human beings should have the opportunity to grow and develop their potential:
There are souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity. We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has created them and not Satan.