Lawmakers Ambushed For "Coronation" Of Unification Church Leader, Wife
Date 2004/6/15 14:33:13 | Topic: News
|Several Lawmakers Ambushed For "Coronation" Of Unification Church Leader, Wife|
Report/Analysis By Lee Penn
The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC)
June 15, 2004
YOU MAY NOT KNOW IT YET, but a pair of Messiahs is among us, and has recently
been crowned as such at a federal building in the nation's capital.
One U.S. Congressman, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Illinois), helped to crown
Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife as "True Parents" of
mankind at a March 23 banquet held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in
Photos from a video of the event produced by Moon's church show Rep. Davis as
one of the two people carrying a crown toward the Rev. Moon and his wife, as
a prelude to their dual coronation.
When interviewed by The Christian Challenge, Davis confirmed his role in the
event. He said, "I was attempting to provide an accolade to the Rev. Moon and
his wife for promoting visions of world peace," as well as for their "visions
of family structure." He added, "From my vantage point, it did not have
anything to do with religion. I am a practicing Baptist, and have been a Protestant
all my life."
Not all participants were so willing, however.
Moon's organization claimed that two U.S. senators and nine U.S.
representatives were involved in, and supportive of, the coronation gathering.
But it is evident that the organization was not totally forthcoming about its
intentions for the event, and has its own view of what happened there. For
starters, the gathering was billed as a function of the Interreligious and
International Peace Council--which, however, is one of Moon's groups..
At this writing, the Challenge had interviewed staff for one senator, and
spoken to seven representatives (or their employees) said to have backed the
event. Only one, Rep. Danny Davis, supports Moon; TCC found that the rest of the
legislators whom the "Moonies" claim as backers want nothing to do with him or
his cult-like church.
A knowledgeable source on Capitol Hill said that some legislators attended
the March 23 banquet without knowing the real sponsorship and intent of the
gathering. "There was a mass exodus from the event as soon as folks realized that
it was a Rev. Moon event, and that he was there," the informant said.
The Moonies claim in a video of the banquet that, in all, "81 U.S. senators
and members of Congress...26 ambassadors to the United States...and some 450
leaders from various fields...came to participate in an Ambassadors for Peace
Awards...and Crown of Peace Ceremony." If this is true, it would account for the
"mass exodus" when assembled legislators realized whose party they were
Moon has been promoting himself and his wife as "the Messiah and True Parents
of all humanity" since August 1992. (His conviction and 13-month imprisonment
in the 1980s for tax evasion in the U.S. evidently was not a disqualification
for this exalted role.) According to a Moon follower, the couple's role is to
finish the mission that Jesus failed to complete.
When Moon and his spouse were "crowned" as "True Parents" on March 23 at the
Dirksen Building, Moon claimed that even infamous deceased figures like Lenin
and Hitler had found strength in his teachings and been reborn.
He told the Dirksen gathering that: "A new era has arrived today. The number
of people around the world who have received my teaching and are standing
resolutely for the sake of building the Kingdom of Peace is growing by leaps and
"But in the context of Heaven's providence, I am God's ambassador, sent to
earth with His full authority. I am sent to accomplish His command to save the
world's six billion people, restoring them to Heaven with the original goodness
in which they were created. The five great saints and many other leaders in
the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin, who
committed all manner of barbarity and murders on earth, and dictators such as
Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and
been reborn as new persons. Emperors, kings and presidents who enjoyed
opulence and power on earth, and even journalists who had worldwide fame, have now
placed themselves at the forefront of the column of the true love revolution.
Together they have sent to earth a resolution expressing their determination in
the light of my teaching of the true family ideal. They have declared to all
Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's
Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent. This resolution has been
announced on every corner of the globe."
Rep. Danny Davis told the Challenge that he heard this speech, but "the
notion of a decreed Messiah is a little bit out of context. I don't believe that
there are earthly Messiahs; the only Messiah that I know is Jesus the Christ."
Davis added that Moon's speech "was similar to a baseball team owner telling
team members that 'we are the greatest team on earth'" just before a game.
Davis' reason for supporting Moon is that "if we try to bring people from
different races, religions, and ethnic groups back together, this becomes good for
the world order...I don't agree with many of the social positions of the
Washington Times," which is owned by Unificationists, "but I don't think that is a
reason to distance myself from them," Davis said. "I have never had one of
Moon's organizers try to convince me of positions contrary to what I would take
According to a document issued by the Unificationists, the six "Congressional
co-chairs" for the "Host Committee" of the March 23 banquet at which Moon was
crowned included Davis, Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-Tennessee), Roscoe Bartlett
(R-Maryland), Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania), Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Sanford
On March 24, the Washington Times coverage of the event listed the same six
Congressmen, as well as Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), as "assisting at" the
When contacted by The Christian Challenge, one senator and three congressmen
acknowledged attending part of the event, but they (or their staff) firmly
denied that they were involved in planning the event, or that they knew in
advance of Moon's planned coronation, or that they attended the coronation ceremony
itself, or that they accepted Moon's messianic claim.
One, Rep. Ford, denied attending the event at all. Only one, Rep. Davis,
acknowledged supporting Moon; he said that he has seen other legislators "at
events of this kind."
At press time, the Challenge had not yet received a reply to its questions
from the office of Rep. Cannon.
Sen. Mark Dayton's press secretary, Chris Lisi, said that the senator
attended part of the banquet because some "very distinguished people from our state
were being honored there." She said that the meeting planners "were not being
up front as to who was sponsoring the event. We would never have been there
if we knew what the event really was."
Michael Conallen, the chief of staff for Rep. Weldon, said Weldon was at the
banquet for "5 or 10 minutes" to speak about his recent trip to Libya; Weldon
neither saw Moon at the event, nor witnessed the coronation, nor heard his
Messianic speech. About Moon's purported Messianic status, Conallen said, "in no
way does Cong. Weldon share that belief."
Rep. Bishop said that he received an "international peace award" at a
banquet, but got there late, "just before it was dismissed." Bishop added, "The
Messiah in my life is Jesus Christ...I am not a Moonie, and I do not believe that
Mr. Moon is a messiah. The Washington Times has never spoken to me; they have
no authorization to say that I am affiliated with this."
Rep. Bartlett's press secretary, Lisa Wright, said that Bartlett received an
"Ambassadors for Peace Award" from the Washington Times Foundation for his
work in Congress, and attended part of the banquet. She added, "this was the sum
total of his participation...His attendance in no way reflects an endorsement
of what the Rev. Moon said or did at that event, or at any other time."
Mark Schuermann, a staffer for Rep. Ford, said that Ford did not attend the
event, and did not participate in planning it. Schuermann also said that if
Rep. Ford was on the Host Committee, "he was not aware that it had any
affiliation with the Unification Church," and that Ford "does not accept Moon's claims
to be messiah."
The Moonies' Interreligious and International Peace Council claimed other
prominent sponsors for the March 23 event, those whom they listed as members of
the "Invitational Committee." These dignitaries included Dr. Stephen Covey, a
well-known motivational speaker who has also made presentations for the State
of the World Forum, Rep. Philip M. Crane (R-Illinois), Rep. Thomas M. Davis III
(R-Virginia), Rep. Eddie B. Johnson (D-Texas), and Sen. Lindsey Graham
As of this writing, the Challenge had interviewed employees of two of the
four federal legislators that the Moonies claimed were on the "Invitational
Committee." Both denied any involvement whatsoever in the Moonie event. John
Townsend, a staffer for Rep. Johnson, said, "They contacted us" but "we didn't even
Tami Stough, a staffer for Rep. Crane, said, "We have checked [Crane's]
schedule, and he was nowhere near the Dirksen Building" at the time of the banquet.
She added, "we can say without equivocation that Rep. Crane was not there,
and had no knowledge" of it, nor was he (as the Moonies claimed) on any
Other Capitol Hill sources say that it is a common practice among special
interest groups in Washington DC to invite VIPs to events, and then to claim -
without further evidence of support - that the invitee endorses the special
interest group's agenda.
The Christian Challenge has not yet been able to confirm or refute
investigative reporter John Gorenfeld's report in mid-April that Rep. Charlie Rangel
(D-New York) wrote a statement hailing Moon.
Reportedly, Rangel wrote that: "I, CHARLES B. RANGEL, Member of Congress,
15th Congressional District, by the power and authority vested in me, this 16th
day of April, 2004, do recognize you as 'True Parents' exemplifying self-giving
service and leadership and of 'King of Peace' in the key areas of
reconciliation and peacemaking over 50 years."
-Left And Right-
WHILE MOON NOW SEEKS followers on the left and right, the Unification Church
until recently had a reputation as a right-wing organization. It was a
staunch, hawkish opponent of Communism during the Cold War. It has endorsed
Republican politicians in the U.S., and military rulers in Bolivia and Honduras, and
the right-wing nationalist Jean-Marie le Pen in France. Unificationists own the
conservative Washington Times, as earlier noted, and Tiempos Del Mundo, a
major Latin American paper based in Buenos Aires. The church and its allies have
created a bewildering array of front groups, each with its own acronym;
several of these organizations promote interfaith dialogue.
One of his groups, the World Alliance of Non-Governmental Organizations
(WANGO), gave an "Interreligious Cooperation Award" to Episcopal Bishop William
Swing of California and his United Religions Initiative (URI), in October 2002.
Members of Moon's church have been active in URI's local chapters since 1997.
The day after his March 24 coronation in the Dirksen Building, Moon told
members of his church, "Yesterday the Crowning Ceremony was a great historical
turning point." His lamentation about moves toward gay marriage, which he called
"Satanic," was apparently the inspiration for his insistence that it was
"time for women to go to the front line"; that "192 nations must become one" and
that "Christianity must rise up and embrace Islam and Judaism."
"God loves Christianity, Judaism and Islam. America must stand up to unite
these three...Yesterday the Senate and House together offered the Crown as Peace
King to True Parents," he said.
Last year, Moon also blamed the Jews for the Holocaust, demanding they follow
his form of "Christianity": "Who are the Jewish members here, raise your
hands! Jewish people, you have to repent. Jesus was the King of Israel. Through
the principle of indemnity Hitler killed 6 million Jews. That is why. God could
not prevent Satan from doing that because Israel killed the True Parents. Even
now, you have to determine that you will repent and follow and become one
with Christianity through Rev. Moon."
Despite Moon's animus toward homosexuality, an ecclesiastical member of the
"Invitational Committee" for the March 23 crowning event was Archbishop G.
Augustus Stallings, who has a colorful past. As Jason Berry, an expert on the
Catholic sex-abuse scandal, reported: "In 1989, The Washington Post began coverage
of the flamboyant George Stallings, who quit the [Catholic] priesthood rather
than follow Cardinal Hickey's request to enter a treatment facility after
abuse accusations by former altar boys. He, too, was never prosecuted. Stallings
launched his own religion, with drums, dancing, and stem-winding sermons that
bestirred a tongue-in-cheek profile by 60 Minutes's Morley Safer." Accusing
the Roman Church of racism, Stallings founded the Afro-centric Imani Temple in
1989 in Washington D.C. He is, among other things, the chairman of the
Executive Committee of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), a
Unificationist organization. Stalling and the group have lately been involved in a
crusade, inspired by Moon, to remove crosses from Christian churches, partly as an
interfaith gesture and because of its alleged negative connotations.
Unificationist spokesmen claimed that 300 Christian congregations had removed
the cross from their churches between April and August 2003.
Moon claims to have had the late North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung among his
supporters. According to the Unification Church, "Risking his life, Reverend
Moon traveled to North Korea in December 1991, and met with President Kim Il
Sung, under whose regime he had been tortured and sent to a labor camp. … The
North Korean ruler, who had suppressed religion for 40 years, completely
welcomed Reverend and Mrs. Moon."
Since then, Moon has strengthened his ties with the Stalinist regime -
including establishing an automobile plant in North Korea. A South Korean newspaper
reported in August 2003 that there is a "strong relationship between the
North Korean government and the Unification Church, or Family Federation for World
Peace and Unification. The church, which owns Pyonghwa and such companies as
the Tongil Group, the Washington Times, and UPI news service, among others,
has had close ties with the North. The church and its business empire have
engaged in not only North Korean business projects, but also many inter-Korean
cultural exchange programs since the early 1990s. They have held inter-Korean art
exhibitions, scholarly exchange programs and sports exchange programs.
Recently, the Moon empire has established a hotel, a park and a church in the North."
Credit is due to John Gorenfeld, a San Francisco-based investigative reporter
who first brought the March 23 event to public attention. He provides
valuable links and documentation about the Moon cult at his web log,
This story is based on an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Lee Penn, False
Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a
One-World Religion, to be published this summer by Sophia Perennis Press.