In the winter of 1095, Pope Urban II summoned the First Crusade in which he called for a holy war against Islam. He announced his intention of reclaiming Jerusalem from the hands of the infidel. He referred to them as “an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God.’  Populist response was widespread and immediate. The very word “crusade” entered the vocabulary and generally meant annihilation of the enemy. That word is still abhorred in the Islamic world.
If this sounds appallingly modern, it is! After all, there are those today who similarly imagine a “cultural clash” between East and West, notably between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand and Islam on the other. And there has been a comparable populist response in our time.
Each side insists that the other endangers civilization itself. Of course, a crusader mentality does just that! For civilization is a very fragile thing. It is based upon trust and hope, trust in one’s fellows and some assurance that the future is possible. In a word, civilization means to be “civil!”
From the beginning the University of Philosophical Research has been devoted to a search for wisdom that leads to civility and hope. And if ever there was a time when the guiding principles of UPR were needed it is now!
There is a “cultural clash” in our time but it is not, in my view, between East and West, much less between one religion and another. It is between two very different ways of thinking which are found in both East and West and in every religion.
One way is tribal and the other global. A tribal mentality lives by suspicion and jingoism. Global thought understands all of creation as possessing a sacred quality and to be cherished.
One way is closed and the other open. A closed mentality cannot abide new truths. Open thought does not helter skelter embrace everything new and discard everything old but it does embrace a pilgrimage mentality and is always searching and seeking.
One way is exclusive and the other inclusive. This is more than simply tribalism. It is about human behavior and how we view and deal with one another, with “insiders” and “outsiders.”
One way is literal and the other metaphoric. This applies especially to religious thought. In Biblical terms, there was a notion prevalent that you “cannot see God and live.” That is, you can’t be literal about describing God or holy things. They are indescribable. You can experience the Divine and hint at the experience but if you become literal you lose the Spirit in pretending to be able to “see God.”
Clearly, UPR has moved toward thought and action that is global, open, inclusive, metaphoric. We move beyond a dialogue of the deaf in which one side cannot hear much less appreciate those of diverse views.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, arguably the most eloquent rabbi-philosopher of our time has written,
“The religions of the world are no more self-sufficient, no more independent, no more isolated than individuals and nations. Energies, experiences, and ideas that come to life outside the boundaries of a particular religion or all religions continue to challenge and affect every religion.” 
Patriotism, in our time, is increasingly being defined in literal terms, as devotion to a flag or attachment to a piece of land as though God were something of a celestial real estate broker. It all hearkens back to old Rome and the coliseum mentality. “Bread and Circuses” it was called or, today, consumerism and entertainment.
Well UPR is patriotic too. Our patriotism is to ideals and to wisdom that can be transformed into the common good. Even the Founding Forebears understood this quite clearly and, for all their faults, were never really tribal or closed or exclusive. And least of all, were they religious or philosophic literalists.
Authentic patriotism is of the heart and of Spirit. And that is UPR.
 Armstrong, Karen, HOLY WAR, THE CRUSADES AND THEIR IMPACT ON TODAY’S WORLD, Anchor Books, 1988, P. 3
 Heschel, Abraham Joshua, MORAL GRANDEUR AND SPIRITUAL AUDACITY, Farrar, Strous, Giroux, 1996, P. 237