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The Reverend Sun Myung Moon: The "King of Peace" or the "King of Hustlers"?

By David McNair
September 03, 2004

In March 2004, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife were crowned the "King and Queen of Peace" in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. At least a dozen members of Congress, religious leaders from all major denominations, U.S. ambassadors and other distinguished guests gathered to honor Rev. Moon for his efforts at unifying all the world’s religions and trying to establish a new United Nations dedicated to peace. In addition, several members of Congress received "Ambassadors for Peace" awards, including Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Democratic Reps. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Harold E. Ford, Jr. of Tennessee and Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. of Georgia, as well as Republican Reps. Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland, Christopher B. Cannon of Utah and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania.

Rev. Moon, the ex-felon billionaire leader of the Unification Church, is also the owner of the Washington Times, United Press International (UPI), Insight Magazine and hundreds of other business and front organizations around the world. Ever since he was a VIP guest at Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, Moon and his Unification Church have been permanent fixtures in Washington. Over the years, he has sought to buy influence and prestige for his church by supporting conservative causes, handing out large sums of money to both Democrats and Republicans through his various front organizations and subtly promoting his views in publications such as the Washington Times and UPI.

In an early prelude to Moon’s "coronation" in March and further evidence of his influence in Washington, the religious leader’s Washington Times Foundation sponsored an Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Luncheon for President Bush in January 2001. The three-hour prayer event, called "America Come Together," was a Who’s Who of religious leaders and lawmakers. Sen. John Ashcroft, going through his confirmation hearings for Attorney General at the time, apparently brought down the house with a story about passing a street musician playing "Amazing Grace" on his trumpet. "He stopped in mid-note," Ashcroft told the audience of 1,700, "and put out his hand with a cry, ‘Senator Ashcroft, I’m for you, man.’"

One of the organizers of the event, Doug Wead, who had been Religion Liaison in the Bush Administration from 1989 to 1993, introduced what he called "seven of the top 10 television evangelists in America today." They included Paul Crouch, founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Rev. Jerry Falwell, Rev. Kenneth Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries and "Hour of Power" host Rev. Robert Schuller.

"I believe God Almighty will lead George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and all of their team into the nation’s finest hour," declared Copeland. Meanwhile, Falwell called for prayers for the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had just acknowledged fathering a son out of wedlock, and accused Democratic Senators of religious profiling for refusing to confirm John Ashcroft as Attorney General.

"Many of you had reason not to accept this invitation because of, ‘Who else will be there?’" Schuller remarked when he took the podium. "And yet there is an overriding unity. And the only way I can explain it in my theology is the Holy Spirit [and that] Jesus Christ has really diversified His investment portfolio."

Many other religious denominations were represented as well. Imam Hassan Qazwini, director of the Islamic Center of America, urged the audience to pray for the children in Iraq who were suffering due to the economic sanctions. Rabbi David Ben-Ami, chairman of the American Forum for Jewish-Christian Cooperation, spoke about the common themes in Jewish and Christian heritage. And Rev. Jack Hayford, who gave the benediction at Bush’s Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, said the event marked a new era of interreligious and interracial cooperation.

In between prayers and praise for the Bush Administration, special tributes were paid to the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., evangelist Billy Graham, who did not attend because of health reasons, and, of course, Rev. Moon, who received an award for his work in support of traditional family values.

While introducing Rev. Moon, Wesley Pruden, editor-in-chief of the Washington Times, praised Moon for his fight against Communism. ( In 1948, Moon was arrested by North Korean Communist authorities and sentenced to five years hard labor. In 1950, he was freed when UN and American forces liberated Seoul in a counter-offensive following the North Korean invasion of the South.) Pruden also praised Moon for his "vision" in founding the Washington Times as a secular newspaper. "Armed with editorial independence and that vision," Pruden said, as quoted in his own paper, "we will always be faithful to the values that bind God’s children together."

In a promotional video of the March 2004 "Ambassadors for Peace" ceremony produced by Moon, Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, a close advisor to Moon and chairman of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (the Moon organization that sponsored the event and seeks to promote the same kind of interfaith dialogue espoused at the 2001 Inaugural Prayer Luncheon), stands at the podium and announces that Mr. and Mrs. Moon, whom he refers to as True Father and True Mother, "are sure the champions of peace ... the King and the Queen of Peace!" During the twenty-minute ceremony, several religious leaders openly embrace religious unification. "Jews, Christians and Muslims come together for peace!" cries out one Rabbi before blowing into a traditional ram’s horn. After Kwak’s declaration, people move into position to "coronate" Moon and his wife, presenting them with bejeweled crowns on velvet cushions. Then Moon, in subtitled Korean, addresses the distinguished crowd. "I am God’s ambassador," Moon declares, "…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." Moon goes on to say that many leaders in the spirit world, including Marx, Lenin, Hitler and Stalin, had found strength in his teachings and mended their ways.

Wait a minute … this was the man honored during the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush?

Understandably, many people were disturbed by news of the "crowning" ceremony in the Dirksen Office Building. In fact, many of those in attendance immediately tried to disassociate themselves from Moon. For example, Rep. Curt Weldon’s office at first claimed that he hadn’t spoken at the event. However, when photographs and video of Weldon giving a speech at the ceremony proved otherwise, his office modified the claim by saying that Weldon had merely "dropped by" as a courtesy. Likewise, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s (R-Md.) office initially told reporters that the Congressman played no part in the Moon crowning ceremony, which was later discredited by video footage of Bartlett at the event. Even Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) found himself running for cover. Almost four months after the fact, Warner’s office had to admit that it booked the Dirksen Building for Moon’s coronation (see Warner Helped the Rev. Moon ). Although Warner didn’t attend the event, a spokesperson for his office quickly tried to distance the Senator from Moon, saying they had been "misled" about the event. Apparently, an organization called Christian Voice of Alexandria called Warner’s office and requested the use of the Senate room. However, when invitations were sent out for the event, they said the main sponsor would be the "Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), founded by Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon." As it turns out, Christian Voice, which was not mentioned in the invitations, has had a long association with the Unification Church.

What is the Unification Church?

The official doctrine of the Unification Church, founded by Moon in his native Korea in 1954 and established in the United States in 1959, is unconventional, to say the least. According to the core statement of Moon’s theology, referred to as the Divine Principle, Moon beheld a vision of Jesus as a teenager and was instructed to fight evil on earth and correct Jesus’ mistakes. Jesus’ greatest error, Moon has said, was his failure to marry. In the early years of the church, Moon personally selected mates for his followers and performed mass wedding ceremonies, a practice that continues today. In 1997, Moon and his wife, dressed again in crowns and royal-looking robes, performed a mass wedding and marriage rededication ceremony for 40,000 people at RFK Stadium, including 2,500 Unification Church members whose marriages had been arranged by Moon. Moon also claims that the "fall" of humanity in the Garden of Eden was not the result of simple disobedience to God’s commands, but the result of an illicit sexual union between Eve and Lucifer. Consequently, Moon has stated, all of Eve’s children were born with defective natures, something which God has attempted to rectify by sending religious leaders (manifested most recently by Moon himself) to humanity.



Despite his recent messages of peace and love, Moon and his Unification Church have had a long history of shady business dealings (in the mid-‘80s, Moon served 18 months in a federal prison for income tax fraud), violent behavior (some church followers who later disavowed Moon and criticized the Unification Church were attacked and beaten) and often bizarre public statements. In addition to calling for the removal of crosses from churches, he has lobbied to scrap the U.S. Constitution in favor of "Godism," calling the church-state separation the work of Satan.

In 2003, Moon claimed that the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust was retribution for the Jews’ crucifixion of Jesus. Moon has also developed a very specific and bizarre ritual that he claims is necessary in order for husbands and wives to have a sexual relationship. It includes placing a picture of the "True Parents" (Moon and his wife) nearby so they can oversee the event and using a UC-sanctioned "Holy Handkerchief" to wipe clean one’s genitalia afterwards. From the beginning, a core tenet of the church was that believers avoid thinking about sex at all. In fact, a Moon-sponsored organization called Free Teens received a $475,000 grant in 2003 as part of the Bush Administration’s Faith-based Initiative. Free Teens, which preaches abstinence-only sex education, was founded by a former director of a Moon lobbying group.

Does Moon want to "Moonize" America and the world?

While running one of Washington’s most influential newspapers and playing host to America’s most powerful lawmakers, Moon has confounded many supporters by openly calling America and Christianity his enemies. Consider this 1993 speech to his faithful:

My enemies are America and Christianity. How am I going to win over those enemies? God’s way is to get hit and win. Everybody opposed Father but I do not hate those who opposed me. It is natural for the world to go against me.

Just think of it, I came to take over and discard the old evil ways. People do not like that. But no matter how many people oppose Rev. Moon, God is on His side. Father is in the USA not for revenge but to serve.

Father loved the USA, Russia and even North Korea. Father has truly loved His enemies to the ultimate degree. Satan has to bow down to Father because he can no longer complain about not being loved. Father truly is the model of how to love the enemy.

Father established a lot of projects like the ACC and USA (United to Save America) to save this nation. You Americans must love and sacrifice more for this nation than Father did. But many came only to the movement to exploit it. Now Father is stepping back to let Americans take over.

Bush received much from Father, but Bush did not respond. Look at where he is now, he is done. Republicans’ only hope is to unite with Father. Father spent much of His resources here in America, for whom? There are only a few white people in the world but 3.2 billion of the yellow races.

And about Christianity:

Father invested much money here in the USA and the seminary. This is a true example of loving the enemy. Now that Christianity has failed, we have established a "New Christianity" under the Unification Church. We must pull the Christians out of their churches and bring them to the New Christianity.

Europe, Russia, China and Korea are all under Father. If the USA does not respond, Father will go to those countries.

All this talk about a global Moon-centered theocracy might be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that Moon seems to own half the globe. It is estimated that the leader of the Unification Church, which according to The Encyclopedia of American Religions had a membership of 50,000 in the United States and 3 million worldwide in 1995, has assets of nearly $10 billion. There are literally hundreds of Moon organizations, businesses, recruiting fronts, religious fronts, media fronts and social and cultural fronts across the globe. (Click here for a complete listing). In the United States alone, the Moon organization owns well over 600 businesses. In Japan, where the Moon organization got its financial start, a list of Moon-owned businesses is so numerous that they must be listed in alphabetical order.

Although the workings of Moon’s financial empire are shrouded in secrecy, it is known that early followers were required to proselytize and peddle merchandise on the street. A study on followers of Moon, conducted in 1979 with the blessing of the UC, revealed that street peddling for the church was the principal job of more than half the followers studied and that they spent an average of 67 hours a week raising money for the church. According to Yoshikazu Soejima, one of the first high-level church officials to break with Moon in the mid-‘80’s, the Unification Church was taking in about $100 million a year and transferring the bulk of that cash to its headquarters in New York. According to a Washington Post story published in 1997, a Moon company headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia called One Up, which serves as a "primary conduit for overseas cash coming into Unificationism’s U.S. operations," had estimated "sales of $232.3 million and 2,000 employees in its subsidiaries, according to Dun & Bradstreet."

Soejima also said that Moon considered the Washington Times a crucial element of the four ingredients necessary for world consolidation: ideology, economy, science/ technology and journalism.

"With journalism, we have now reached success by establishing The Washington Times," Moon told Soejima in the early ‘80s. "We now have a direct influence on Reagan through The Washington Times."

So what is the Unification Church really up to?

In a July 13, 2004 column on WorldNet Daily, Editor Joseph Farah boasted that his syndicated radio talk show broke the news of Moon’s crowning in the Dirksen Building (Farah also rightly credits journalist John Gorenfeld for informing him about the event. In fact, this OldSpeak article is highly indebted to Gorenfeld’s reporting and research on Moon, which you can find at Farah also tells the story of how he, too, was "duped" into attending a Moon function in South Korea a decade ago when he was a young editor. "Imagine my shock," said Farah, "as I read along in the translation (of the speech Moon was about to give) to learn that Moon was saying that night that indeed he was the messiah. I was embarrassed to find myself sitting behind this man, perhaps, even in some small way, lending credibility to his preposterous claims. It was a lesson to me at the time on just how easy it is to be compromised."

Obviously, Farah isn’t the only one to have found himself compromised by Moon; to have found himself at once the beneficiary and victim of Moon’s ambitions. One of the UC’s most effective strategies in gaining credibility as a religion has been to "compromise" as many people, organizations and institutions as possible by handing out enormous amounts of cash and straddling ideological fences. Over the years, hundreds of distinguished scholars, politicians, journalists and world leaders have found themselves supporting some idealistic cause sponsored by one of the many political, religious, cultural and social front organizations funded by Moon’s UC, only to find out later that their attendance at these events was being used in UC promotional materials to show that they endorsed the philosophy of the church.

One of the more striking examples of the way Moon compromises people is expressed by writer Andrew Sullivan, an openly gay activist who has a regular column that runs in the Washington Times (whose owner has referred to homosexuals as "dung-eating dogs" and seeks to "purge the world" of their existence). Responding to this, Sullivan said, "Moon’s views are horrifying, but ... I champion gay rights and equality in a paper where they are usually unmentionable. When you’re a tiny minority, purism isn’t an option."

A War of Ideas … and Money

In a 1984 article on Moon by then-Washington Post reporter Michael Isikoff, Neal B. Blair, president of Free the Eagle, a Washington-based conservative lobbying group, said that the "Unification Church is trying to buy its way into the conservative movement. Moon says he’s the son of God and the savior of the world…. It’s frightening. Seldom have we had a group come into this country before and have this much money to spend."

Indeed, as Isikoff reports, the church has spent more than $800 million in the United States, investing more than $150 million alone in his conservative-leaning Washington Times, a publication that only grossed about $3 million a year at the time. (Today, the Times posts a loss of about $20 million annually.) In addition, Isikoff reports that nearly 5,000 scholars and two dozen Nobel laureates had accepted all-expense-paid trips to conferences around the world held by such Moon-funded organizations as the International Conference of the Unity of Sciences (ICUS), the Professors World Peace Academy and the International Cultural Foundation (ICF). One Harvard sociology professor called these conferences "one of the great brilliant marketing strategies in the history of religion." And one of Moon’s chief political strategists confessed that the Unification Church wanted to "awaken the world … to turn the tide so that this totalitarian, godless system must go…. It is a total war. Basically a war of ideas. War of minds. The battlefield of the human mind. This is where the battle is fought. So in this war, the entire thing will be mobilized: political means, social means, economical means and propagandistic means…. The media organization that we are setting up wants to be utilized as an instrument, an instrument of our cause, instrument of our purpose … the instrument to be used by God."

Two decades later, the "war" is still on, although the UC’s promoters seem to have abandoned the battlefield analogy of the ‘80’s, when they were heavily courting conservatives, and have now adopted the message of "world peace" and "unity," usually promoted by those on the far left.

In the video of Moon’s March 23 crowning ceremony in the Dirksen Building, the announcer declares:

He (Moon) has invested 33 years of his life in America and has risen from the position of servant of servants to become the King of Peace. Like the Roman Empire, 2,000 years ago, America, a Christian nation, stood with the mission of realizing God’s ideal. And spreading this ideal to the world…. Now is the time for global governance centered on God. Rev. and Mrs. Moon, together with world leaders, WILL take the lead in creating a world without boundaries. Filled with true and lasting love.

In his June 18 column Tension of the Times, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius says the Unification Church’s new emphasis on world peace and interfaith understanding, an emphasis distinctly at odds with neo-conservative philosophy and the Bush Administration’s foreign policy of preemptive war, is causing tension at the Washington Times and creating a "new front" in the "battle for the soul of conservatism." Ignatius’ sources at the Times say that Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, the close advisor to Moon previously mentioned in this article who organized the coronation ceremony of Moon in the Dirksen Building, is now overseeing all Unification Church publications. Although Ignatius can’t point to anything definitive that the UC has done to influence Times coverage, he does uncover a growing tension, enough that Times editor Wesley Pruden felt compelled to respond. "What you're saying confirms that we operate independently," he said. "They’ve never told me to put anything in the paper or keep anything out." He then added: "I would resist any effort to change the fundamental vision under which the paper was founded." And it’s not the first time a Times editor has had to deal with this particular tension. In 1984, former Times editor James Whelan resigned, saying he had "blood on his hands" for helping to give credibility to the church.

If that "fundamental vision" begins to change, as the statements made at Moon’s March crowning ceremony suggest, Ignatius suggests that Pruden and other powerful conservatives may find themselves battling their own benefactors for the soul of a newspaper that has for years been a voice for conservatives in Washington, D.C.

Trading a Cross for a Crown

In addition to creating tension in the political realm, this fundamental shift in Unification Church philosophy may also be creating tension in the religious community. For example, in his July 18 column, Joseph Farah also reported on Moon’s strange "cross for a crown" campaign that preceded the March 23 coronation ceremony. Apparently, Moon’s pastors across the country have been trying to convince preachers to tear down the crosses on their church walls and replace them with the symbol of a crown. After one preacher in Massachusetts placed his church’s cross in the dumpster, he voiced Moon’s strange logic on the subject:

The fact that the Cross is a symbol of division, shame, suffering and bloodshed proves that it is not of God but Satan. On this 18th day of April 2003, we are beginning a new history. Pastors, please, help me to bring the cross down, because it is not of God but the devil.

Amazing as it seems, Moon’s "from the cross to the crown" campaign appears to be an effort to discredit the Christian symbol of the cross and replace it with the Moon symbol of the crown.

As Kwak wrote in a memo posted on Moon’s Unification Church website, "… in effect, the (Dirksen Building) crowning means America is saying to Father ‘please become my King.’ …the ‘outside view’ of the Capitol Hill event was that Father received a crown, an award for his years of dedication to reconciliation and peacemaking. The ‘inside view’ of the event was that America surrendered to True Parents…" In a 1997 speech, Moon coined the phrase (or at least his translator did) "Moonize" when he said:

It is said that whoever comes to America becomes assimilated within five years. The famous term "melting pot" is always used to describe America. However, Reverend Moon came to America over twenty five years ago but he has not become Americanized at all. Rather he has caused America to become Moonized.

Understandably, many Christians are angered by Moon’s effort to discredit the cross, his claim to be the Messiah and his continuing influence in Washington. In a recent e-mail to The Rutherford Institute, Janet Upshaw of Taylors, South Carolina wondered where the outrage is at Moon’s coronation:

So far, the Conservative Media has reported this as a hatchet job to discredit the Washington Times by Liberal Media and the Liberal Media reports it as Moon’s ownership of the Washington Times and UPI. No one has reported it as the outrage it was…. First Moon is not the Messiah and second it is against Section 9 paragraph 8 of the Constitution.... Moon has vowed to destroy this country that he deems as sinful. He is a convicted felon. He vows to take over the UN and create a world government…. This has been passed over completely by the media. Somehow a sick old woman in SC could see what the rest of the nation failed to see. Even the ACLU who is erasing Christianity from this nation failed to see the problem with a coronation in a Senate Office Building.

Where is the outrage?

What is one to make of the bizarre, outrageous and often contradictory things that Rev. Moon has said over the years? It’s almost too easy to find a collection of Moon statements and UC activities and paint a picture of a billionaire religious cult leader bent on corrupting lawmakers, journalists and religious leaders and taking over the world. But are these merely the benign rants of an eccentric old man with a large pocketbook? Do the heavy hitters in Washington merely suffer Moon’s claims to be the Messiah because he’s willing to run the Washington Times at a $20 million loss every year and contribute heavily to political campaigns? Or does he have any real power to influence government and change society?

In 1998, Moon formed the American Freedom Coalition to bring conservatives together to work on common goals, such as the sanctity of life, anti-communism and traditional family values—for which he was honored at the 2001 Inaugural Prayer Luncheon. Over the years, many conservative evangelicals have spoken at Moon-sponsored events, including Ralph Reed, Beverly LaHaye, Gary Bauer, Robert H. Schuller and Tim LaHaye. According to a 1998 Christianity Today article: "Conservatives find Moon attractive because they share many of his moral and political values," said James Beverley, theology and ethics professor at Ontario Theological Seminary. "Those similarities are significant enough that questions of theological differences are put on hold." Beverley, who has studied Moon for two decades, also notes that speakers at such events often have their trips to exotic locales fully financed, in addition to receiving generous honorariums.

Not all conservative evangelicals, however, are blind to the oddities of Moon’s tactics or unwilling to express their outrage at his ideas. In the mid-‘80s, conservative commentator Cal Thomas, who was then Communications Vice President for Moral Majority, attended one of Moon’s CAUSA seminars and was shocked by what he heard. At the end of the seminar, which had put forth the idea that Moon was the Messiah, Thomas stood up and shocked the audience by 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."

And after the Inaugural Prayer Luncheon in 2001, Southern Baptist Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman said in an interview. "I was shocked to see that Sun Myung Moon was on the program and, in essence, the host. I was even more surprised on the way out of the banquet hall to be given a propaganda book on the Unification Church. [The experience] will serve to remind evangelical Christians that the world increasingly is filled with wolves in sheep’s clothing."

Rich, eccentric old man or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

It all depends on who you talk to.

According to Steven Alan Hassan, a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in de-programming people who have been involved in destructive cults and who operates a website with resources about such cults, Moon is anything but benign. "Moon says he wants to take over the world, where all religions will be abolished except Unificationism, all languages will be abolished except Korean, all governments will be abolished except his one-world theocracy," Hassan says. "Yet, he’s wined and dined very powerful people and convinced them that he’s benign."

However, there are others who say the UC is in "steep decline" as a religion and that what remains is simply a large business interest. Religion experts also point out the fact that the Unification Church is not nearly as large or influential as the Mormon or Catholic Churches.

"Their time ran out in the United States," said Frederick Sontag, a professor of religion at Pomona College in California who has studied Unificationism since the 1970s. "Moon's is a religion based on power, and the fact is they're not going to dominate the world. In the '60s and '70s, kids in this country were looking for something different. Now they're not."

Sontag concluded that many Unificationists have stopped believing in the Divine Principle, which, as was previously mentioned, states that Moon is the Messiah sent to correct Jesus’ mistakes.

But many Church members maintain that Moon's every word cannot be taken literally and that, like many visionaries, he often speaks in a symbolic language. In addition, Moon at times has said that all human beings can attain the spiritual status of a messiah.

What about the good things the Unification Church has done?

Indeed, it’s worth mentioning that not everything Moon does deserves the conspiratorial approach that so many journalists adopt when filing reports about Moon and the Unification Church. While it’s worth recognizing the man and the influence behind The Washington Times and UPI, is it really any different than recognizing the influence of media giants like Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, and Roger Ailes on their publications and television networks? Hasn’t the Washington Times proved itself to be a completely respectable conservative newspaper? In addition, the Unification Church continues to provide large amounts of humanitarian aid to the needy. The church-financed International Relief Friendship Foundation, founded in 1975, has provided literally tons of food, clothing, and medical supplies to crisis stricken and developing countries around the world, and conducted thousands of humanitarian relief projects through its global network of chapters and representatives.

In many ways, the growth of Moon’s global spiritual conglomerate over the past twenty-five years seems to embody the idea of bringing humanity together into some kind of harmonious whole. The Unification Church has launched countless civic organizations around the world to promote women’s rights, world peace, and traditional family values. The World's Federation for World Peace, the Family Federation for World Peace, the International Cultural Foundation, the Professors World Peace Academy, the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy, the Summit Council for World Peace, the American Constitution Committee, and dozens of other organizations present themselves as nonpartisan, nondenominational groups.

Clearly, Moon’s special emphasis on God and His place in our lives, on the concept of the Family and the oneness of the world's peoples, on the unity of all religions, and on the role of the prophet in bringing about change are ideas that have greatly impacted our society and the world over the last twenty-five years. In addition, his ideas about the literal ‘unification’ of the world’s religions might well be seen as a major contribution to humankind’s long-standing goal of moving from a world in tribal conflict to a world of universal understanding.

Some Unificationists wonder what will happen to the church when Moon dies as none of Moon's children seem likely to take over the reins. But as the recent crowning ceremony shows, Moon has elevated the status of his wife, 53-year-old Hak Ja Han Moon, in church theology by referring to her as "True Mother." But will she be able to manage this largely secretive global spiritual conglomerate? Couldn’t Moon’s empire finally fade away like so many religious movements?

Not according to Moon. When asked by Prof. Sontag about the fate of his church when he dies, Moon responded by saying, "I will continue to lead the church from the spirit world."



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