Moonstruck: Unification Church in America
By Bob Waldrep
One of the primary means of gaining credibility employed by Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church is the many conferences and programs presented through its front organizations. These are usually presented as if unconnected to the Church. Yet Moon or his wife, or both, will frequently play a prominent role at the function. Typically they will bring the keynote address, in which they will present Unification theology.
Claims that such front organizations are not affiliated with the Unification Church are empty when viewed in the light of the publisher's statement in the church's publication, The Unification News, which reads in part:
"Many of the activities, projects and organizations described in the Unification News as affiliated with or part of the 'Unification Church' are in fact entities which are organizationally and/or financially independent of HSA-UWC [the Unification Church], but are commonly considered to be 'Unification Church' activities because they are fully or partially funded, inspired, or staffed by HSA-UWC, its members and other adherents of the Unification faith." (June 1996, p. 23)
In this one statement the Church both denies and admits the association of these groups with the Church. These groups are "organizationally and/or financially independent" of the Church, yet "fully or partially funded, inspired, or staffed" by the Church and its members! Using such doublespeak, the Unification Church sponsors or conducts various seminars and conferences throughout the world while denying it is the presenting organization. Because of such claims, many are drawn to these programs not realizing that they are attending an event sponsored by the Unification Church or one of its "affiliated" organizations.
In order to ensure that these programs are well attended, the organization will go to great expense to hire high-profile celebrities, from various fields, to participate in the program. This also draws non-members who otherwise would not attend. Besides boosting attendance, this enables Moon to associate himself in the public mind with prominent business, entertainment, and political personalities, thus lending credibility to the event, to himself, and to his church.
Current evidence of the degree to which Moon involves himself with such personalities can be seen by the roll of speakers at recent events sponsored by Moon's organizations. Some of these highly visible persons are:
Maureen Reagan (daughter of former President Reagan); former President Gerald Ford; George and Barbara Bush; comedian Bill Cosby; Marilyn Quayle (wife of former vice-president Dan Quayle); Republican vice-presidential candidate, Jack Kemp. Even knowing the Moon connection, Kemp continues to speak at Unification sponsored functions. (Washington Post, October 14, 1996 p. C3)
Other participants include Olympic gold medalist and speed skater, Dan Jansen; wife of the late Martin Luther King, Correta Scott King; ABC News anchorwoman, Barbara Walters; film actor, Christopher Reed; astronaut, Sally Ride; and former British Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath.
Also speaking were highly visible religious and Christian leaders such as Robert Schuller, Senior Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral; Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition; Beverly LaHaye, president of Concerned Women of America; and singers Pat Boone and Family. (The Washington Post, July 30, 1996, p. E1 and August 1, 1996, p. C2)
In the aforementioned lists of names, Barbara Walters and Bill Cosby publicly expressed concern when they learned the event was hosted by Moon. Walters has stated she will never again speak at an event sponsored by Moon. Cosby tried to back out of his commitment when he learned of Moon's involvement. He ended up performing after being threatened with litigation for failing to honor his contract, but gave only a brief performance and refused to be photographed with Moon. (Ibid., p. E10) Ralph Reed and Beverly LaHaye have privately stated that they did not know it was a Moon related event. Reed states he has since donated his fee to a charitable cause. (Ralph Reed letter to Frederick Miller at True Light Ministry, August 28, 1996; Watchman telephone interview with Carmen Pate, Vice President, national office of Concerned Women of America, January 5, 1996)
Many of the participants listed simply refuse to take responsibility for their involvement - unable or unwilling to see that, at the least, their participation is helping Moon gain credibility and recruits. A case in point is former President and Mrs. Bush. The Canadian magazine, Maclean's, maintains Bush is the most outspoken defender of involvement with these front organizations. (October 23, 1995 p. 49)
According to Bush spokesman Jim McGarth, "the former President and his wife are aware of the Federation's [Women's Federation for World Peace] origins and complaints by anti-cult groups and relatives of Moon's followers, but do not intend to change their speaking plans. They are aware that the group has some ties to Sun Myung Moon, but the purpose of the group is not that of the Unification Church." (Houston Chronicle, July 26, 1995, p. 12A)
Despite the requests of many concerned Christians, former Moon followers, and anti-cult organizations, that he stop lending himself to Moon's causes, the former President has continued to speak at Moon/Unification sponsored events. However, it appears the public outcry against this may be having some effect. McGrath promised that Bush's fee for a recent Moon sponsored event in Washington would be donated to charity. His fees reportedly run $80,000 per speech. (The Washington Post, July 30, 1996, p. E1)
This is certainly generous of the former President. However, he continues to speak at Moon's conferences, and has made much more than the estimated $80,000 he pledged to give to charity. His and Mrs. Bush's past speaking engagements at functions sponsored by Moon's Women's Federation for World Peace were quite lucrative.
Neither Bush's representatives nor Moon's group would reveal how much was paid for their appearances. However, estimates have run as high as one million dollars for his six appearances. In 1995 more than 50,000 people paid from $105 to $196 each to attend a Bush speech at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, in an event sponsored by Moon's organization. (The Washington Post, August 4, 1996, p. A30)
How important these celebrities are to Moon is evidenced by a full page ad placed by the Moon owned paper, The Washington Times, on its own pages. The ad responded to stories run by its rival The Washington Post, concerning Moon's recent conference in Washington. It alleged, "The Post attempted to ridicule the conference, and by falsely implying that the conference was connected to The Times, attempted to ridicule The Times." The ad continues, "This conference attracted a wide diversity of speakers and participants, including two former presidents of the United States, a former prime minister of Great Britain and 36 one time heads of state or governments, university presidents, the president of the Family Research Council, the executive director of the Christian Coalition, the widow of Martin Luther King, and other scholars, clergymen of all faiths, and prominent political figures of all parties and ideologies. The sponsoring Family Federation was founded by the Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon." (The Washington Times, August 9, 1996, p. A5)
The inference is clear: with a roster of such distinguished participants, this was an important and significant meeting. Thus it seems strange for the Times to go to such great lengths to prove it is not associated with a conference that it obviously believes to be of great import and credibility. One might ask, "Is the real purpose of the ad to disprove any claims that The Washington Times was connected to the conference, or is it to defend the conference, and put Moon in printed text alongside these other respected participants, thus allowing him to benefit further from this association?
When those who speak or perform at such functions are confronted or questioned about their participation at these events, the responses vary. Many claim they had no knowledge of the connection to Moon or the Unification Church; others admit they knew and didn't care. Some who did not know say that even if they had known it would not have made any difference. Still others simply refuse to acknowledge the connection to Moon or his agenda, despite the evidence to the contrary. This is especially ludicrous in light of Moon's personal involvement at these programs and his rush to be photographed and filmed with other speakers.
Many of the prominent figures Moon hires justify their participation in his events by stating it is for a good and worthwhile cause, such as world peace and the advancement of women, etc. However, this is very naive thinking. Ex-members commonly attest to the fact that Moon uses these celebrities and political figures to recruit new members and to help him effectively mainstream into American life, by gaining credibility and acceptance for the Unification Church and its causes.
It is troubling enough to see prominent people of the world who should know better being used by Moon. It is especially disappointing to see Christian leaders like Ralph Reed and Beverly LaHaye, who have done so much good in so many other ways, share any platform with a man like Moon, who claims Jesus failed in his mission, and that he, Moon, will complete that in which Jesus failed. But in Washington D.C., July 31 and August 1, 1996, at Moon's World Convention of the Family Federation for World Peace, Dr. Robert Schuller, Pat Boone, Ralph Reed, Beverly LaHaye, Jack Kemp and others shared the platform with both Mr. and Mrs. Moon.
This was particularly deplorable since, during her speech, Mrs. Moon taught that Jesus was, not the virgin-born son of Mary, but rather the illegitimate son of Mary and her cousin's husband, Zecharias. (tape on file) Mrs. Moon was giving no new teaching, but standard Unification Church theology. In his February 7, 1995 address in Washington D.C., Moon stated, "Who was the father of Jesus? Zachariah." He continued, "The result of the relationship between Zachariah and Mary was the birth of Jesus Christ." (Today's World, April 1995, p. 12) There should be no question that the Jesus of the Unification Church is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Some of those who represent Christian causes but continue to associate themselves with Moon's organization explain their participation as a means of presenting the gospel. However good these intentions might be, Scripture calls upon believers, not only to present the gospel, but also to "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3) - meaning, obviously, against error, such as is taught by Moon. If Christians are serious about making a Christian witness at such events, they would do well to follow the example of Cal Thomas. Present at a CAUSA (a Unification front group) seminar in San Francisco, he was asked to comment from the floor. "Reacting to the unchristian theories put forth, he shocked participants by standing and saying, 'I am a follower of Jesus, who said he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father except by him.'" (Christianity Today, June 14, 1985, p. 58)
Participants in Moon/Unification sponsored programs must face the significant consequences of their involvement. Cynthia Lilley (founder of MOMS, Mothers Opposed to Moon) expresses the view of many whose children have been recruited into the Unification Church:
"All these people should know better. My daughter would tell me over and over how in their recruiting films, they would show Moon with Bush to impress young people. They use the films of Moon and Bush and other celebrities to reassure parents that it is okay that their children are on the streets selling flowers 18 hours a day." (The Washington Post, July 30, 1996, p. E10)
This is not an issue than can continue to be dismissed. It is time for others to take a public stand for what is right, as have Mr. Cosby and Ms. Walters. It is particularly incumbent on those who claim Christ as Savior to come forward and take a stand against Moon, as Paul did against the false teachers of his day. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)
It is not sufficient to make such statements or denunciations in private correspondence when their involvement in the event received widespread public notice. Christians who have participated in Moon/Unification sponsored events should issue clear and public statements denouncing the non-Christian teachings of the Unification Church and publicly refusing any further participation in any future events sponsored by Moon, the Unification Church or any of its front organizations.
Christians are exhorted to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:11) Likewise, Christians are told to have no association with those who claim to be Christian brothers but who live in flagrant disregard of the apostles' teaching. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14) The Scriptures warn that one of the dangers of such associations is, the Christian's presence may be exploited for purposes other than he intends. (2 Peter 2:3)
For Moon, Jesus' death was failure. For Paul, it was the central point of the Gospel, the purchase of salvation, the guarantee of liberty from both sin and the Law... "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?...the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils." "...who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" (1 Corinthians 10:16-21; Galatians 3:1; emphasis added) To all Christian leaders who may have been "Moonstruck" - Be swayed no longer!
Rev. Bob Waldrep, MRE, serves as State Director—Alabama at Watchman Fellowship’s Birmingham, AL office. Bob is also an ordained Southern Baptist Minister and serves as Lay Pastor for the Church at Brook Hills. You can email Bob by clicking here.