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
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
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 Washington D.C.
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 unwittingly attending.
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
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
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 Bishop (D-Georgia).
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 banquet.
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
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 (R-South Carolina).
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 go."
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 invitational committee.
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
-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
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, http://www.gorenfeld.net/blog/
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.