Unification Church political activities

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Politics are an integral part of the Unification Church's concerns and activities, although the church itself largely remains aloof from politics. The degree of involvement of the movement, as well as some of its specific stances, have also been part of the reason for the movement's controversial status over the years. The belief in the establishment of a literal Kingdom of God on earth and church founder Sun Myung Moon's teaching that religion alone is not enough to bring this about provides a motivation for political involvement.[1]

In the 1940s Moon cooperated with Communist Party members in the Korean independence movement against Imperial Japan. However after the Korean War (1950–1953) he became an outspoken anti-communist.[2]

In 1964 Moon founded the Korean Culture and Freedom Foundation, a public diplomacy agency which promoted the interests of South Korea and sponsored Radio Free Asia. Former U.S. Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon were honorary presidents or directors at various times.[3]

In 1974, Moon asked church members in the United States to support President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal when Nixon was being pressured to resign his office. Church members prayed and fasted in support of Nixon for three days in front of the United States Capitol, under the motto: "Forgive, Love and Unite." On February 1, 1974 Nixon publicly thanked them for their support and officially received Moon. This brought the church into widespread public and media attention.[4]

In 1976 church president Neil Albert Salonen met with Senator Bob Dole to defend the Unification Church against charges made by its critics, including parents of some members.[5]

In 1976 Moon established News World Communications, an international news media conglomerate which publishes The Washington Times newspaper in Washington D.C. and newspapers in South Korea, Japan, and South America partly in order to promote political conservatism. According to the Washington Post: "...the Times was established by Moon to combat communism and be a conservative alternative to what he perceived as the liberal bias of The Washington Post."[6] Bo Hi Pak, called Moon's "right-hand man", was the founding president and the founding chairman of the board.[7] Moon asked Richard L. Rubenstein, a controversial rabbi and college professor who had written on the Holocaust, to join its board of directors.[8] The Washington Times has often been noted for its generally pro-Israel editorial policies.[9] In 2002, during the 20th anniversary party for the Times, Moon said, "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world."[10]

In 1977 the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on International Relations, of the United States House of Representatives, found that the South Korean intelligence agency, the KCIA, had used the Unification Church to gain political influence within the United States and that some Unification Church members had worked as volunteers in Congressional offices. Together they founded the Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization which acted as a public diplomacy campaign for the Republic of Korea.[11] The committee also investigated possible KCIA influence on the Unification Church's campaign in support of Nixon.[12]

In 1980 church members founded CAUSA International, an anti-communist educational organization based in New York City.[13] In the 1980s it was active in 21 countries. In the United States it sponsored educational conferences for evangelical and fundamentalist Christian leaders [14] as well as seminars and conferences for Senate staffers, Hispanic Americans and conservative activists.[15] In 1986 it produced the anti-Communist documentary film Nicaragua Was Our Home.[16]

In 1980 church members in Washington, D.C. disrupted a protest rally against the United States military draft.[17] In 1981 the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court ruled that the Unification Church was not entitled to property tax exemptions on its New York City properties since its primary purpose was political, not religious.[18] In 1982 this ruling was overturned by the New York State Supreme Court itself, which ruled that the church should be considered a religious organization for tax purposes.[19]

In 1983 some American church members joined a public protest against the Soviet Union over its shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight 007.[20] In 1984 the church founded the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy, a Washington D.C. think tank that underwrites conservative-oriented research and seminars at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and other institutions.[21] In the same year, church member Dan Fefferman founded the International Coalition for Religious Freedom in Virginia, which is active in protesting what it considers to be threats to religious freedom by governmental agencies.[22]

In August 1985, seven years before the fall of Soviet Union, the Professors World Peace Academy, an organization founded by Moon, sponsored a conference in Geneva to debate the theme "The situation in the world after the fall of the communist empire."[23] In 1986 CAUSA International, a church supported anti-communist organization, sponsored the documentary film Nicaragua Was Our Home about the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua and their persecution at the hands of the Nicaraguan government. It was filmed and produced by church member Lee Shapiro, who later died while filming with anti-Soviet forces during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.[24][25][26][27]

In April 1990, Moon visited the Soviet Union and met with President Mikhail Gorbachev. Moon expressed support for the political and economic transformations under way in the Soviet Union. At the same time the Unification Church was expanding into formerly communist nations.[28] In 1991, he met with Kim Il Sung, the North Korean President, to discuss ways to achieve peace on the Korean peninsula, as well as on international relations, tourism, etc.[29] In 1994, Moon was officially invited to the funeral of Kim Il Sung, in spite of the absence of diplomatic relations between North Korea and South Korea.[30]

In 1994 the New York Times, in a review of a PBS Frontline documentary on the Unification Church, said that, "outside investigators and onetime insiders … give a picture of a theocratic powerhouse that is pouring foreign fortunes into conservative causes in the United States."[31] In 1998 the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram criticized Moon's "ultra-right leanings" and suggested a personal relationship with conservative Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[32]

In 1995, the former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, spoke at a Unification Church event in the sold-out 50,000-seat Tokyo Dome. Tickets ranged from $80 to $120.[33] "If as president I could have done one thing to have helped the country more," Mr. Bush told the gathering, "it would have been to do a better job in finding a way, either through speaking out or through raising a moral standard, to strengthen the American family."[34] Hak Ja Han, the main speaker, credited her husband with bringing about Communism's fall and declared that he must save America from "the destruction of the family and moral decay."[35]

In 2000 Moon founded the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), which describes itself as "a global organization whose mission is to serve its member organizations, strengthen and encourage the non-governmental sector as a whole, increase public understanding of the non-governmental community, and provide the mechanism and support needed for NGOs to connect, partner, and multiply their contributions to solve humanity's basic problems." However it has been criticized for promoting conservatism in contrast to some of the ideals of the United Nations.[36][37][38]

In 2003, Korean Unification Church members started a political party in South Korea. It was named "The Party for God, Peace, Unification, and Home." In an inauguration declaration, the new party said it would focus on preparing for the reunification of the South and North Korea by educating the public about God and peace. A church official said that similar political parties would be started in Japan and the United States.[39]

Moon was a member of the Honorary Committee of the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea.[40] The church member Jae-jung Lee had been once a unification minister of the Republic of Korea.[41] Another, Ek Nath Dhakal, is a member of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly,[42] and a first Minister for Co-operatives and Poverty Alleviation Ministry of the Government of Nepal.[43]

In 2012, December 19, the candidate Park Geun-hye, with the support of the Unification Church, became the first female President of South Korea.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tingle, D. and Fordyce, R. 1979, Phases and Faces of the Moon: A Critical Examination of the Unification Church and its Principles, Hicksville, NY: Exposition Press ISBN 0-682-49264-7 p86-87
  2. ^ Moon, Sun Myung (2009). As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen. Gimm-Young Publishers. ISBN 0-7166-0299-7. 
  3. ^ "Korean denies influence peddling". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Introvigne, Massimo, 2000, The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7, excerpt page 16
  5. ^ Dole meeting with Moon aide called cordial, Lawrence Journal-World, February 24, 1976
  6. ^ Ahrens, Frank (May 23, 2002). "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  7. ^ Pak was founding president of the Washington Times Corporation (1982-1992), and founding chairman of the board. Bo Hi Pak, Appendix B: Brief Chronology of the Life of Dr. Bo Hi Pak, in Messiah: My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Vol I by Bo Hi Pak (2000), Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  8. ^ "Rabbi Joins the Board of Moonie Newspaper", The Palm Beach Post, May 21, 1978
  9. ^ As U.S. Media Ownership Shrinks, Who Covers Islam?, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1997
  10. ^ Ahrens, Frank (May 23, 2002). "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  11. ^ Spiritual warfare: the politics of the Christian right, Sara Diamond, 1989, Pluto Press, Page 58
  12. ^ Ex-aide of Moon Faces Citation for Contempt, Associated Press, Eugene Register-Guard, August 5, 1977
  13. ^ "Moon's 'Cause' Takes Aim At Communism in Americas." The Washington Post. August 28, 1983
  14. ^ Sun Myung Moon's Followers Recruit Christians to Assist in Battle Against Communism Christianity Today June 15, 1985
  15. ^ Church Spends Millions On Its Image, Washington Post, 1984-09-17. "Another church political arm, Causa International, which preaches a philosophy it calls "God-ism," has been spending millions of dollars on expense-paid seminars and conferences for Senate staffers, Hispanic Americans and conservative activists. It also has contributed $500,000 to finance an anticommunist lobbying campaign headed by John T. (Terry) Dolan, chairman of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC)."
  16. ^ Public TV Tilts Toward Conservatives, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting "While conservatives dismiss Bill Moyers' world-class documentaries on our constitutional checks and balances as "propaganda," they never mention PBS's airing of unabashed right-wing agitprop films such as Nicaragua Was Our Home (the pro-contra film produced by Rev. Sun Myung Moon's CAUSA, which funded the contras after Congress' ban)..."
  17. ^ 30,000 participate in anti-draft rally in Washington, Daily Collegian, March 24, 1980
  18. ^ MOON'S SECT IS TAXABLE, COURT RULES, New York Times, May 7, 1981
  19. ^ N.Y. Upholds Tax Exemption for 'Moonies', Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1982
  20. ^ [1] San Francisco Chronicle September 3, 1983 "For a second day, the Soviet Consulate in Pacific Heights was the scene of emotional protests against the shooting down of a Korean Air Lines jumbo jet. About 300 people held demonstration yesterday morning. Among them were members of the Unification Church, or "Moonies," whose founder is the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial South Korean who has melded a fierce anti-communism into his ideology. Eldridge Cleaver, the onetime black radical who recently has had ties with the Moonies, spoke at the rally. Many pickets carried signs accusing the Soviet Union of murdering the 269 passengers and crew aboard the airliner. In another development, San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli filed a $109 billion lawsuit against the Soviet Union on behalf of the 269 victims."
  21. ^ Church Spends Millions On Its Image, Washington Post, 1984-09-17.
  22. ^ Ribadeneira, Diego (August 21, 1999). "Ire at school Star of David ruling unites ACLU, Pat Robertson". The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). p. B2. 
  23. ^ Projections about a post-Soviet world-twenty-five years later. // Goliath Business News
  24. ^ New York Times review.
  25. ^ How to Read the Reagan Administration: The Miskito Case
  26. ^ Public TV Tilts Toward Conservatives, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
  27. ^ 2 Americans Reported Killed In an Ambush in Afghanistan New York Times 1987-10-28
  28. ^ EVOLUTION IN EUROPE; New Flock for Moon Church: The Changing Soviet Student from The New York Times
  29. ^ At Time of Change for Rev. Moon Church, a Return to Tradition // The New York Times, 14 October 2009
  30. ^ "mk 뉴스 — 金장례식에 日여자마술사 초청한 까닭". News.mk.co.kr. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  31. ^ GOODMAN, WALTER (January 21, 1992). "Review/Television; Sun Myung Moon Changes Robes". New York Times. 
  32. ^ The same old game, Al-Ahram, November 12–18, 1998, "The Washington Times is a mouthpiece for the ultra conservative Republican right, unquestioning supporters of Israel's Likud government. The newspaper is owned by Sun Myung Moon, originally a native of North Korea and head of the Unification Church, whose ultra-right leanings make him a ready ally for Netanyahu. Whether or not Netanyahu is personally acquainted with Moon is unclear, though there is no doubt that he has established close friendships with several staff members on The Washington Times, whose editorial policy is rabidly anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel."
  33. ^ Pollack, Andrew (September 15, 1995). "Bushes Speak at Tokyo Rally of Group Linked to Moon Church". The New York Times. 
  34. ^ Brozan, Nadine (July 15, 1995). "CHRONICLE". The New York Times. 
  35. ^ Sanger, David E. (September 17, 1995). "SEPT. 10–16; Mr. Bush's Asian Tour". The New York Times. 
  36. ^ Rev. Moon and the United Nations: A Challenge for the NGO Community, Harold Paine and Birgit Gratzer, Global Policy Forum
  37. ^ WANGO
  38. ^ In Ban's UN, Sun Myung Moon's Paper is Praised, While Gambari Raises Him Funds, WFP Demurs Inner City Press, June 5, 2007
  39. ^ 'Moonies' launch political party in S Korea,The Independent (South Africa), March 10, 2003
  40. ^ "자유게시판". Unikorea.go.kr. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  41. ^ "mk ´ş˝ş ĹëŔĎąłŔ°˝ÉŔÇŔ§ °łĂÖ..łťłâ ĹëŔĎąłŔ° šćÇâ źłÁ¤". News.mk.co.kr. 2006-12-28. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  42. ^ Nepalese Constituent Assembly
  43. ^ "News in Nepal: Fast, Full & Factual". Myrepublica.Com. 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  44. ^ 박근혜! 이제 과거를 말합시다!> 제3편: 이제 정치권은 통일교와의 커넥션을 말하라 / <Park Geun-hye! Let's talk about the past!> PART 3: Now the political groups of ROK should talk about the connection with the Unification Church

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