"Sun Myung Moon On The Move Again In America"
Wednesday, June 27, 2001
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NHNE Special Article:
Sun Myung Moon On The Move Again In America
Wednesday, June 27, 2001
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The following article was posted to Steven Hassan's "Freedom of
Mind" mailing list today. It concerns Sun Myung Moon's efforts
to capitalize, via a number of dubious front organizations and underhanded
activities, on the conservative/pro-Religious Right atmosphere in Washington.
Along with meticulously tracking many organizations that have cult-like
tendencies, Hassan's Freedom of Mind website has the most extensive
database concerning Sun Myung Moon on the Net:
If time doesn't permit you to read the entire article, be sure and
catch the last few paragraphs which begin with:
"Moon's long-range goal is more ambitious -- and more nefarious.
Unification theology holds that all religions should merge under a theocratic
state headed by Moon himself. Even Moon's critics assert that's not
a likely prospect at his advanced age, but he may hope to pass the mantle
to his youngest son, Hyun Jin Nim..."
Links to many of the articles we have run on Moon over the years also
appear at the end of this article.
--- David Sunfellow
Journal of Church & State
With Help From Congressional Republicans And The Bush 'Faith-Based'
Initiative, Controversial Korean Evangelist Sun Myung Moon Is Trying
To Expand His Religious-Political Empire Moon
At first glance, the invitation many clergy and community leaders around
the country received last April to attend conferences on "Faith-Based
Initiatives For Family and Community Renewal" might have looked
like it came from the Republican congressional leadership and the Bush
administration. The material, decorated with a drawing of the U.S. Capitol,
noted that the events would include a satellite broadcast of a GOP-sponsored
"faith-based summit" for clergy transmitted live from the
Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and said that prominent congressional
leaders and White House staffers would take part.
The flyer promised that the "cutting edge program" would
"provide the latest information on innovative policies and programs
from the Executive and Congressional leadership in Washington; and build
alliances for faith-based services at the state and community level."
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, the House Republican
Conference Chairman, was issuing press releases noting that the GOP's
"faith-based" summit would be viewed by satellite at events
in over 45 cities. But if invitees took the time to read the fine print
on the flyers touting the local gatherings, they would have learned
that the get-togethers were sponsored not directly by the Republican
Party but on its behalf by a group called the American Leadership Conference
Reading further, they would have found out that the ALC is a project
of the American Family Coalition and The Washington Times Foundation
-- both front organizations for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a controversial
Korean evangelist and founder of the Unification Church. The "faith-based
summit" itself was sponsored by Watts (R-Okla.), Sen. Rick Santorum
(R-Pa.) and other top congressional
Republicans, but efforts to promote it at the grassroots level were
turned over to a Moon organization.
Why is the Republican Party working hand in glove with Moon front groups?
The partnership stems largely from Moon's phenomenal ability to make
inroads in GOP and Religious Right circles. Despite his unorthodox theological
Views -- Moon teaches that he is the new Messiah, sent by God to complete
the failed mission of Jesus -- Moon has had little difficulty penetrating
the upper echelons of American conservatism.
While a number of Republican-aligned private organizations have promoted
President George W. Bush's religion funding scheme, only Moon won an
official relationship with the Republican leadership to rally grassroots
forces on behalf of the "faith-based" summit. This enhanced
status enabled him to do grassroots political organizing -- and religious
recruitment -- with the apparent blessing of Bush and his GOP allies
Just a few years ago, Moon announced he was ready to give up on the
United States, but the change of administrations in Washington seems
to have sparked a change of heart in him. Frederick Clarkson, a journalist
who has studied Moon and other far-right movements, notes that Moon
specializes in the creation of "Astroturf organizations" --
groups that appear to have grassroots power but that in reality speak
mostly for Moon. Moon has used these groups to curry favor with Republicans
for more than 30 years, Clarkson said, and is revving them up again
to help the new Bush administration.
"Whenever the conservatives identify an issue as important to
their agenda, Moon creates an Astroturf organization to create the appearance
of grassroots support for these initiatives," Clarkson said.
Moon also has great influence among Capitol Hill Republicans through
his ownership of the ultra-conservative Washington Times newspaper.
Although the paper has never turned a profit, Moon has subsidized its
operations since he founded the publication in 1982. Gradually, it has
become an important outlet for conservatives eager for a vehicle to
spread their views. Through the related Washington Times Foundation,
Moon holds opulent seminars, dinners and other events that attract the
top names in the Religious Right, clergy and political leaders.
Over the years, Moon has played host to Religious Right bigwigs like
Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer and Beverly LaHaye. He has also
paid high fees to ex-presidents Gerald Ford and George Bush to speak
at Moon events.
To preview the Watts "faith-based" summit, Moon did a whirlwind
tour of all 50 states in March and April, called the "We Will Stand
Tour," to discuss family issues and plug the Bush proposal.
Although the speeches were billed as "a celebration of faith and
family," Moon, 81, was frequently off message. In Las Vegas, for
example, the more than 600 people who gathered at a church April 11
to hear the Korean evangelist may have gotten a little more than they
bargained for. Moon's discussion of "faith" turned out to
be a claim that he is the rebirth of Jesus Christ backed by assertions
that only people who have received his blessing can enter Heaven.
From there things took an even more bizarre turn. Moon went off on
an explicit tangent about "love organs," comparing male genitalia
to rattlesnakes and telling the crowd, "If you misuse your love
organ, you destroy your life, your nation, your world." He added
that most divorces can be blamed on women who don't understand that
their love organs belong to their husbands, not themselves.
All of this did not sit too well with some members of the audience.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that several people walked out,
including one woman who screamed, "Liar!" at Moon as she left.
Moon crisscrossed the country under the auspices of his American Clergy
Leadership Conference (ACLC), which has made a special effort to reach
out to African-American clergy. (This was not the first time Moon has
tried to enlist black religious leaders. Last year's "Million Family
March" in Washington was sponsored in part by an unusual alliance
of Moon front groups and the Nation of Islam.)
A Moon speech in Washington last month drew dozens of African-American
pastors, among them the Rev. Walter Fauntroy, D.C.'s former non-voting
delegate to Congress, and the Rev. Donald Robinson, Mayor Anthony Williams'
special assistant for religious affairs.
"Many of the goals of the `We Will Stand' tour are consistent
with the goals the mayor espouses for the city," Robinson told
The Washington Post. "I don't see a conflict. I just see this as
an opportunity for the city to align itself with like-minded people.
We want the renewal and restoration of families, the renewal and revival
of community. We want a sense of racial harmony."
As he traveled around the United States, Moon was often introduced
by Bishop George Augustus Stallings Jr., a black former Catholic priest
who left the church and founded a splinter denomination called Imani
Temple in 1989. In Minneapolis Stallings told the crowd, "I know
there are people saying, `Why in the world are you having that man [Moon]
in your church?' Before tonight is over, you will know that God has
put a prophet in our midst!"
But other black clergy took a different view. The Rev. A. Michael Black
of Washington's Bethesda Baptist Church was invited to attend the April
16 event in the nation's capital but refused. Black told The Post that
orthodox Christians cannot accept Moon's theology.
"How can pastors accept Rev. Moon as the messiah one day after
they preach Jesus being raised from the dead on Easter?" he asked.
Other critics note that Moon's message, while ostensibly about "unity,"
in fact excludes many people. During his remarks in Washington, Moon
attacked gay men, lesbians and "those who go after free sex,"
labeling them "less than animals."
Moon also blasted married couples who don't have children. According
to Moon, failure to reproduce can have dire consequences. "I encourage
all of you, please have more children," he said. "That is
the contribution and service you can do the world and God. If you stay
away from having children, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. You
are bound to go to somewhere else -- you can call it Hell." The
Korean evangelist offered up similar comments in other cities during
his nationwide tour, in each case reading from a prepared text through
an interpreter. In Winston-Salem, N.C., he admonished women to have
lots of children, saying, "Why do you think God gave you such broad,
cushion-like hips -- for your own sake, to sit any place comfortably?
No, for your children."
In spite of these views, Moon operatives managed to win endorsements
from some local clergy in each city, although the going was not always
smooth. Days before the event in Milwaukee, the Rev. Joseph Dallas of
New Creation Bible Church in Milwaukee told the Milwaukee Sentinel,
"Some people in the Baptist organization are quite appalled by
a Baptist church [hosting Moon]. We are going to have an informational
protest. We're going to be passing out information about the Unification
Church to expose their lies. We believe Moon has a hidden agenda to
deceive the churches."
To mollify critics, Moon lieutenants even backed off the claim that
their boss is the Messiah. In several cities, the Rev. Michael Jenkins,
a church official, told reporters that "messiah" simply means
"anointed one." Thus, Jenkins asserted, Moon believes he is
a messiah, not necessarily the messiah. "He believes he is anointed
by Jesus, not that he is The Christ or the Savior," Jenkins told
the Billings (Mont.) Gazette. "Rev. Moon believes pastors are messiahs.
We believe Jesus is working through him."
But scholars who study Moon tell a different story. Dr. Massimo Introvigne,
director of the Center for the Studies of New Religions in Torino, Italy,
who has tracked Moon's activities globally, told Church & State,
"There is no doubt that Moon and his followers believe that he
IS the Lord of the Second Advent, i.e. a Messianic figure complementary
to Jesus Christ."
Moon has made numerous statements over the years implying that he is
something more than a mere mortal. A passage on Moon's official website
(www.unification.net) states the matter plainly: "The Christian
world must confront the fact that the Messiah's second advent took place
at the end of World War II, in an obscure setting," it reads. "As
did Jesus, he met with countless difficulties, including accusation
and rejection. Bearing every cross, he -- the Reverend Sun Myung Moon
-- took responsibility for the failure of this generation of Christians,
and he stands today as the historical victor with a worldwide following."
In a speech delivered on January 10, 1993, Moon outlined his emergence
as the Messiah. During the speech, titled "Proclamation of the
Messiah," Moon compares himself to Jesus and asserts that he was
persecuted in a manner similar to Christ's crucifixion.
Moon is apparently aware that his claim to be the Messiah could harm
his inter-faith efforts. Introvigne noted that a few years ago, Moon
announced the dissolution of the Unification Church and now runs many
of his religious activities through the Family Federation for World
Peace and Unification. The move has actually helped expand Moon's circle
of influence, since members of other faiths can now endorse his endeavors
and claim they are working with a "pro-family" organization,
not the Unification Church. "[The Family Federation] is not a church
but a coalition of people sharing certain spiritual and moral values
-- and certainly a sympathy for Moon," said Introvigne. "It
would have been inconceivable to be a member of the Unification Church
without believing that Moon is a Messianic figure, whereby it is possible
to be a member of the current Federation and at the same time regard
Moon as an inspired religious leader but not the Messiah. It is, however,
also the case that the top leadership of the Federation comes from the
Unification Church and fully accepts Moon's role as Messianic."
Those who study Moon note that he refers to himself as the "physical
third Adam" and that Unification theology breaks sharply with orthodox
Christianity by teaching that Jesus Christ failed in his efforts to
redeem humanity. The Unification website states that Jesus was never
meant to die on the cross.
Because Jesus's death was an error, Moon believes he must pick up where
Christ left off. His book The Divine Principle, the heart of Unification
theology, stresses that people can receive "spiritual salvation"
through Christ but only Moon can give believers "physical salvation"
-- a key component to getting into Heaven.
In another sharp break with orthodox Christianity, Unification theology
holds that Moon and his wife, known as the "True Parents"
in Unification parlance, and their children were born without Original
None of these theological views have stopped Moon from making great
headway in conservative politics and even the Religious Right, a movement
whose fundamentalist Christian viewpoint would seem to be greatly at
odds with Moon. One key to Moon's success is a longtime political operative
named David Caprara. Caprara, a Unification Church member and former
assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development
under Jack Kemp, is well connected in the nation's capital and serves
Moon in various overlapping capacities. Caprara serves as president
of the American Family Coalition, a Moon front group, as well as representing
The Washington Times Foundation. He recently accepted an appointment
to serve on an advisory council that Watts put together in advance of
the GOP "faith-based" summit. The Washington Times Foundation
then arranged to broadcast the event live via satellite to dozens of
Caprara also runs The Empowerment Network, a public policy organization
that promotes "faith-based" and family solutions to societal
problems. Two U.S. senators, Santorum and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.),
serve as caucus chairmen of the organization. Its "Empowerment
Leadership Roundtable" lists two men who have gone to work in Bush's
Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives -- Stanley Carlson-Thies
and Don Eberly.
Through operatives like Caprara, Moon keeps a steady hand in Washington
and thus in national affairs. Moon is able to open other doors through
infusions of cold, hard cash when necessary. For example, many of the
ministers who attended the "We Will Stand" events were given
gold Christian Bernard wristwatches estimated to cost thousands of dollars
The Rev. Phillip Schanker, a Moon spokesman, told The Washington Post,
"The gold watches are a personal expression from Rev. Moon, and
the gold represents his unchanging love."
Moon also pays speakers handsomely. After former President George Bush
spoke at a Moon event in July of 1996, a London newspaper reported that
he received $1 million in British pounds (nearly $1.5 million in U.S.
dollars) for the speech. Kemp, who spoke at a series of Moon events
between January of 1995 and the summer of 1996, walked away with a total
Other prominent politicians and national figures who have addressed
Moon gatherings include former Vice President Dan Quayle and his wife,
Marilyn, Sens. Jesse Helms and Orrin Hatch, ex-United Nations Ambassador
Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former Education Secretary William Bennett, former
Defense Secretary Alexander Haig and the late Robert Casey, former Democratic
governor of Pennsylvania.
Moon has also lured prominent Religious Right leaders to his events.
A conference held in Washington in July of 1996 sponsored by the Family
Federation for World Peace, a Moon front organization, heard remarks
by Ralph Reed, then executive director of the Christian Coalition, Gary
Bauer, then head of the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women
for America's Beverly LaHaye.
Moon also has ties to TV preachers Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
Falwell has accepted money to speak at several Moon events, including
a July 26, 1994, meeting of the Youth Federation for World Peace, yet
another Moon front group. After that gathering, a photo of Falwell standing
alongside Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, appeared in the Unification
News. About a year a half later, Falwell in a Moon-sponsored "Christian
Unity in the Americas" conference in Uruguay.
In 1997, Moon money bailed Falwell out of a tight financial spot. A
Moon-run group, the Women's Federation for World Peace, gave $3.5 million
to the Christian Heritage Foundation with instructions to use it to
buy some of the debt incurred by Falwell's Liberty University, reported
The Washington Post. (The group later forgave the debt.) The paper also
reported that a Moon publishing outfit had lent Falwell $400,000 at
a low interest rate in 1996 for use in propping up Liberty.
In February of 2000, the Washington Times Foundation held an event
on Capitol Hill honoring Moon that included an awards ceremony. Falwell
was a top awardee, receiving a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award
for Freedom, Faith and Family." (Several members of Congress, including
Speaker Dennis Hastert also attended the event, which took place at
the Canon Office Building.) Moon's relationship with Robertson is more
complex. The volatile Virginia televangelist has launched many verbal
broadsides against Moon over the years and has apparently had no direct
dealings with him. However, Robertson's longtime political associate,
Billy McCormack, is close to Moon.
McCormack, a Louisiana preacher who Robertson says first gave him the
idea to form the Christian Coalition, has served on the Coalition's
board of directors for many years. Recently, he has begun popping up
at Moon events in his official Coalition capacity. McCormack was originally
scheduled to appear at an ACLC "unity rally" held at the Supreme
Court last Dec. 1, but dropped out due to a family illness. (Another
Christian Coalition representative, Daniel Perkins, spoke instead.)
But McCormack did show up in person in January for a Moon-sponsored
luncheon during the Bush inaugural, where he joined 1,700 other religious
leaders for an event called "America Come Together." McCormack
and Falwell both spoke at the luncheon, and McCormack later joined Moon
on stage in Little Rock during Moon's multi-state tour; he also served
on the "Invitation Committee" that coordinated the "We
Will Stand" events. (McCormack did not respond to Church &
State's request for an interview.)
Joining McCormack on the Moon committee was the Rev. Wiley Drake of
Buena Park, Calif. Drake, a Southern Baptist minister, has frequently
attacked church-state separation and Americans United. (He once announced
that he would use imprecatory prayers -- prayers designed to bring down
the wrath of God -- against AU and its staff.) In mid April, Drake issued
a public apology for his involvement with the United Federation of Churches,
another Moon group, but as of May was still listed on a Moon website
promoting the We Will Stand events (www.wewillstand.org).
Where does Moon get the money he uses to buy influence among the Religious
Right? That question remains open. Journalist Clarkson, author of the
1997 book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy And Democracy,
noted that possible sources for Moon's millions include foreign government
and intelligence agencies and Moon-controlled businesses around the
Moon served time in prison in the mid 1980s for tax evasion, and investigations
undertaken during the trial indicated that much of his money comes from
Japan. Research conducted since then has not shed much more light on
the subject. As Clarkson noted "where [Moon's fortune] originates
exactly remains a matter of considerable conjecture." One source
may be the door-to-door sale of overpriced religious artifacts to mostly
older residents in large Japanese cities. Former church members in Japan
have claimed that they were forced to engage in high-pressure sales
of assorted religious goods at inflated prices.
Moon could be pulling in money from his far-flung business holdings
as well. Over the years, his investments have included Kahr Arms, a
manufacturer of handguns, and firms that sell ginseng, computers and
seafood. He also has owned a hotel and a bank in Uruguay, where he maintains
a large estate. Observers who monitor Moon's activities say his new
venture into the GOP may represent the Korean evangelist's rekindling
of interest in America. As recently as 1998, Moon seemed to have given
up hope on the United States and was focusing increasing attention on
Three years ago, Moon began construction of a compound he called the
New Hope Ranch in remote southwestern Brazil. Moon groups spent $25
million purchasing more than 200,000 acres of farmland in the area.
According to a report in the St. Petersburg Times, Moon promised to
build a new city in the area, complete with hotels and an airport.
At the time, Moon had become increasingly critical of the United States,
apparently bitter over the fact that his church never really caught
on in America. "America is the kingdom of extreme individualism,
the kingdom of free sex," he said during a May 1, 1998, speech
in New York. "The country that represents Satan's harvest is America.
America doesn't have anywhere to go now."
But Moon's hopes for a new start in South America may have been dashed
when New Hope Ranch got off to a rocky beginning. Moon had hoped to
make the facility self sufficient, but the huge greenhouses he had built
failed to produce many crops. Cattle brought in to establish a breeding
population had to be slaughtered to feed residents. Moon had also hoped
to draw students from all over the world to the compound, but so far
the numbers have been less than encouraging.
With his South American ventures floundering, Moon may believe that
it's time to take another shot at America -- especially since a Religious
Right ally now occupies the White House.
"It's clearly a friendlier environment for the Moon organization,"
says Clarkson. "Going back as far as the Nixon years, you can see
the Moon organization functioning as an early Religious Right group,
kind of like an early Christian Coalition."
Both Introvigne and Clarkson agree that Moon never really intended
to give up on the United States. Introvigne notes that Moon considers
the country crucial" for both theological and geopolitical reasons."
Clarkson asserts that Moon has "always hated America" but
regards it as "a necessary base of operations."
What does Moon want? For the short term, Moon may simply want to ingratiate
himself with the new political leadership in Washington. By promoting
the "faith-based initiative," Moon could win another lucrative
benefit: Moon front groups frequently sponsor "abstinence education"
programs for teenagers. If Bush is able to secure congressional approval
for "faith-based" programs, these and other Moon projects
could qualify for tax assistance.
Moon-watchers note that the Korean evangelist has won special favors
from the U.S. government before. In 1994, Congress passed a measure
creating a new national holiday called "Parents Day," which
falls on the fourth Sunday in July. Moon ally Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.)
spearheaded the drive, insisting the day was only intended to honor
hard-working parents. Critics noted, however, that Moon and his wife
call themselves the "True Parents" of mankind and that a longtime
Moon operative in Washington, Gary Jarmin, did much of the legwork for
Burton to get "Parents Day" enacted into law.
Moon's long-range goal is more ambitious -- and more nefarious. Unification
theology holds that all religions should merge under a theocratic state
headed by Moon himself. Even Moon's critics assert that's not a likely
prospect at his advanced age, but he may hope to pass the mantle to
his youngest son, Hyun Jin Nim. (Moon's oldest son, Hyo Jin, was apparently
deemed unfit to take over after his ex-wife published a book accusing
him of being a cocaine addict, an alcoholic and a frequenter of prostitutes.
Moon's second-eldest son, Phillip Youngjin, committed suicide in 1999.)
Although Moon himself may not live to see the fruition of all of his
goals, observers who track his movement agree that the religio-political
powerhouse he has built is not likely to collapse any time soon. Moon's
ties to the Republican Party and the Religious Right as well as his
outreach to black clergy could mean that his influence will carry beyond
Introvigne and Clarkson both believe that Moon's wife (his third),
who is a good deal younger than Moon, will pick up the reins of leadership
once he dies and may continue grooming Hyun Jin for eventual coronation.
In either case, Moon's death, they say, isn't likely to dampen the far-right
activism of the Moon political machine.
"Once he dies, there will probably be enormous political infighting
inside the Moon organization," Clarkson said. "But the people
who run it have tried to arrange a family succession centered around
a compromise candidate: Mrs. Moon. Mrs. Moon, the 'true co-parent,'
will be either the titular or actual head of the Moon operation for
the foreseeable future."
OTHER SPECIAL REPORTS & ARTICLES ABOUT SUN MYUNG MOON:
MORE ABOUT REVEREND MOON
Friday, December 5, 1997
MOONIES SEEK EDEN IN BRAZILIAN SWAMP
Tuesday, October 26, 1999
FALSE PROPHETS & "SCUM BAG GURUS"
By David Sunfellow
Tuesday, July 27, 1999
NHNE NEWS LIST STORIES:
CONTROVERSIAL RELIGIOUS GROUPS TO TEST BUSH INITIATIVE (2/19/2001):
MILLION MOON MARCH (10/8/2000)
MOON IN CHINA (9/13/2000)
FRANCE AIMS AT BANNING 'DANGEROUS' SECTS (6/23/2000)
MOON'S UNIFICATION CHURCH ACQUIRES UPI (5/17/2000)
MOON'S SON'S DEATH RULED A SUICIDE (2/17/2000)
RECRUITS SOUGHT FOR MOON'S NEXT MASS WEDDING (12/26/1999)
SUSPICION FOLLOWS REV. MOON TO SOUTH AMERICA (12/1/1999) :
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