An American wins World Peace Prize

All world religions preach compassion, the cornerstone of their faith. For the face and heart of God is indeed compassion and love. In order to promote peace and compassion throughout the globe, the MIT World Peace University in Pune instituted the Philosopher-saint Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prize in 2009. The award consists of a golden replica of philosopher-saint Dnyaneshwara of 13th century, a gold medal, a certificate and cash prize of Rs 5.25 lakh.

Recently, American Elder D Todd Christofferson, one of the bishops of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, USA, and member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, the second-highest governing body in the Church (the First Presidency being the highest), was given this award. As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Christofferson is regarded by his church as a prophet, seer and revelator.

Earlier, he clerked for Judge John J Sirica during the famous Watergate scandal trials involving president Richard Nixon. Together, they were the first outside the White House to hear the Nixon White House tapes. “Judge Sirica and I were shocked as we heard Nixon calmly ask how much money it would take to keep the Watergate burglars quiet,” Christofferson said in a June 2017 address to faculty and students at Christ Church College in Oxford, England. “The judge and I could not believe, did not want to believe what we were hearing ... He passed me a note suggesting we rewind the tape and listen again. Up to this point we both still hoped that the president was not really involved, but this was indisputable,” he said.

The citation said the award was given to Christofferson in appreciation and recognition of his great yeomen service for championing the noble cause of human welfare, communal harmony and universal brotherhood through his unique mission to promote the culture of peace in the world. A humbled Christofferson said that studies have shown that people with religious faith are more likely to volunteer for services of humanitarian cause and charity because of the compassion that it teaches us. So policy makers must be mindful of the good that religious freedom and religion does. Hailing India in this regard, he said India has demonstrated tolerance and is an example to the world.

Michael Gonsalves