40 Years in America
CAUSA lecturer, Bill Lay
Every generation is called to take its part in the fight against the forces of darkness that repeatedly assault Godís foundation of goodness until the end. The generation before ours has been called "The Greatest Generation" by one commentator, for their self-sacrifice and sense of duty in fighting against the Axis powers of World War II, and returning home to build the free world. We were then called to participate in the "long twilight struggle" against the next wave of darkness -- communism -- as it was fought on battlefields, real and metaphorical, throughout the world. CAUSA was part of that fight. Although most of us involved in CAUSA were not military combatants, we were nonetheless soldiers who heard the call, understood the importance of the time, responded, and did our best.
CAUSA International was launched in 1980, when Rev. Moon asked Bo Hi Pak to visit political leaders of countries in South America and offer a unique form of assistance in the defense against communism and in bringing about a renaissance of morality and virtue. Dr. Pak and Antonio Betancourt visited a number of countries, particularly the home countries of journalists who had participated in the formation of Noticias del Mundo, the Spanish-language newspaper of the Unification Movement in New York. At nearly the same time, Rev. Moon selected a group of graduates of the Unification Theological Seminary -- including Thomas Ward, William Selig, Beatriz Gonzalez, Juan Sanchis, Jean Jonet and Paul Perry -- to study intensively with Sang Hun Lee in preparation for offering programs patterned after Dr. Leeís Victory over Communism presentations.
Dr. Pak and Mr. Betancourt were very well received, in large part because of their faith and enthusiasm, and also because of the unique circumstances of the countries they visited. In many of those countries, leaders were extremely anxious because, on the one hand, they faced ruthless Marxist-Leninist groups that had been newly invigorated by the collapse of the Somoza government in Nicaragua, and on the other hand, they faced the criticism of the United States for their own human rights abuses. CAUSA promised to help on both fronts: the message we offered dissected communist ideology and showed it to be false, and at the same time, it critiqued the selfish brand of anti-communism that had brought many of these countries into international disrepute. Most importantly, CAUSA offered an experience that was to be found nowhere else. A CAUSA seminar was an encounter with hope, enthusiasm, sincerity, goodness and an exciting new world view. People who came went away uplifted and changed.
I was invited to be a part of CAUSA late in 1980. When Antonio Betancourt came to talk to me one evening at the Unification Church headquarters, I had no idea what a unique and wonderful opportunity lay ahead. Though I joined as the all-purpose utility person, I quickly found a spot as a lecturer in the Spanish language programs, and later in the programs we presented throughout the United States and the world. I also directed the CAUSA Institute in New York. It was my privilege to travel and teach the material myself in 21 different countries, including, for example, a Catholic high school in the "outback" of Paraguay, and a theater in the small Greek city of Ioannina, near the Albanian border (while communists demonstrated outside), as well as scores of large groups throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. If not for Rev. Moon, Dr. Pak and CAUSA, I would have done none of this. I would have missed my chance to fight in the great crusade for God and freedom at the close of the 20th century.
CAUSA began giving seminars in South America; the first was given to young people in a remote village in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. From that seminar a tradition of prayer and spiritual conditions was established, which was reinforced by Rev. Moonís instructions on several occasions. From that first seminar, we developed a program in which people would stay at a conference site for several days and participate together in a series of lectures and other presentations. The results were extraordinary. Most participants had never experienced anything remotely like it. They encountered a group of people who were dedicated, sincere and concerned about the world. They heard a message that was challenging, even alarming, yet hopeful and uplifting. And, most importantly, they felt the spirit of God.
The CAUSA program was innovative and significant in its efforts to combine the new revelation of divine principle, an in-depth discussion of communism, and the best elements of the God-centered American democratic tradition. These were the themes of the program, from Dr. Pakís introductory remarks to the CAUSA Worldview lectures. The culmination of each seminar was the presentation of the film Truth Is My Sword, which introduced Rev. Sun Myung Moon and depicted Dr. Pakís defense of his faith before an errant investigative committee of the U.S. Congress in 1976. Dr. Pak was often there to share personally with the participants, but when he was not, Dr. Ward would ably fill in. Their remarks, central to the conference, conveyed to the participants a sense of how the sanctified atmosphere of the conference and the profound set of lectures they were hearing had come about.
After achieving remarkable results in Latin America, the CAUSA Seminar and teaching were taken to every part of the world, but CAUSA was most active in the United States, where the program took a variety of forms. The lectures were given in every state on the grassroots level, while we continued to hold major seminars for many groups, including clergy, politicians and retired military. Lecturing to retired military officers was particularly meaningful to me, since my father was a career army officer and I grew up in the military environment. (He is a decorated combat veteran of both WWII and the Korean War. He attended a CAUSA conference in Denver.) The World War II veterans are a precious resource which can never be replaced. Through the CAUSA International Military Alliance, we convened the retired military, respectfully served them, and shared with them the worldview that proved the significance of their efforts and sacrifices.
Each CAUSA conference depended on the tireless efforts of a staff of people dedicated to what we called the "D.P." (the Dr. Pak standard). That meant that the audio-visual presentation had to be perfect, as did coordination of transportation and hotel, and everything else. Why? Because every aspect of the program was an expression of love for the people who were participating. For Dr. Pak, every participant was his comrade-in-arms, his brother or sister, his son or daughter. He wanted them to hear everything, to see everything, and to be just as enthusiastic as he was.
Of course, nothing mattered more to Dr. Pak than the lectures themselves. His practice was to sit in the front row and be the tuning fork for every presentation. He believed that if he was inspired, then other participants would be inspired as well. I have never seen Dr. Pak do anything by just going through the motions. Rather, he listened to each lecture as if he were listening to that lecture for the first time in his life. He was often moved to tears, and his response was many times the catalyst for the entire group to reach a new and higher level of understanding.
The decade of CAUSA work involved countless public events, and for those of us who were blessed with the chance to work closely with Dr. Pak, involved a multitude of memorable private moments with him. He led us in prayer. He led us in work. He taught me to love my country, to love my brothers and sisters, to love my wife, to love my children, and to love others. (Later, when I discussed with Dr. Pak the idea of going to law school, he encouraged me to go, to treat it as a sacred mission, and to never forget that I was first of all a lecturer, never just a lawyer.) On many occasions, Mrs. Pak would be with us as well. She is a warm-hearted and generous person. She always brought a special dignity to our proceedings, and her constancy, faith and heart of gold added immeasurably to our efforts.
After every conference, I would assemble the written and oral comments and testimonies of the participants to make a report for Dr. Pak to be able to convey to Rev. Moon the remarkable spirit of that conference. Moments after the last gathering of a seminar, I would often be compiling my notes for that report while around me the audio-visual crew was striking the equipment and loading it up for the next trip. Rev. Moon was particularly gratified to hear that the participants were experiencing a renewal of hope, commitment and faith in God.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rally for True Parents in Moscow, and the breakup of the Soviet Union, the function of CAUSA drew to a close. One of the last CAUSA conferences was a World Leadership Conference that focused on the divine principle for newly elected legislators from each of the former Soviet republics. It was fitting that the journey we had embarked upon in CAUSA would conclude by joining with those democratically elected officials from the fallen stronghold of communism in studying about God.
Praying at a rally at the Berlin Wall
In his opening remarks at each CAUSA conference, Dr. Pak would quote an apt observation: "As absurd as communist ideology may appear, it provides a consistent view of history to adherents and makes even the simplest citizen feel as though his life has meaning. Communism cannot be defeated militarily, nor can its adherents be bribed into giving it up. It can only be defeated in one way -- by being confronted with an idea that is better." As I write these words, the former soviet states are in a desperate struggle to overcome the bitter legacy of decades of crushing exploitation by the communists. The free world -- drunk with its own wine of material prosperity -- is groping to understand the meaning of its blessings, and to save its very soul. Until the new truth of God fills the vacuum of todayís thought, we cannot say our work is finished. But a great chapter is closed. Those who steadfastly opposed communism were good soldiers who heard the call, understood the importance of the time, responded, and did their best. From the faith and sacrifices of many, God fashioned a victory.
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