Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 17 - Twentieth-Century Crucifixion: Maneuvered Into Prison [Part 4/6]
The Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights Holds a Public Hearing
The date is June 26, 1984. It is about three weeks before July 20, the day Reverend Moon has been instructed to report to the prison. Reverend Moon had come to a Senate hearing room at the invitation of Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights.
Senator Hatch was an extremely righteous politician who, in opposition to the unjust verdict of the Moon trial, had worked to exert his influence in the struggle for justice. As a Mormon, he was sensitive about oppression of religion by the powers that be, since the Mormon Church had itself walked a painful path of persecution. For example, the most horrendous case of religious persecution in U.S. history occurred when the governor of Missouri mobilized troops to ruthlessly slaughter multitudes of innocent Mormon believers. The founder of the Mormons, Joseph Smith (1805-1844), suffered martyrdom at the hands of a violent mob. Nevertheless, today the Mormons are one of the most trusted and fastest growing churches in America.
Reverend Moon testified in a public meeting at the invitation of Sen. Orrin Hatch. Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, June 26, 1984.
Senator Hatch cordially greeted Reverend and Mrs. Moon when they arrived and then sincerely apologized for the unfair and improper way in which the government had dealt with the case. Finally, he gave a frank expression of his conviction that Reverend Moon was a prophet sent by God to awaken America at a time when Christianity was steadily becoming more and more secularized and communism and secular humanism were strongly on the rise.
Senator Hatch then guided Reverend and Mrs. Moon to the hall where the hearing was to he held. It was a spacious auditorium, but the seats were packed with religious leaders, constitutional scholars, and observers from around the United States. Senator Hatch and others on the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights took their seats on the dais.
In his opening statement, committee chairman Hatch explained why this public meeting on "The State of Religious Liberty in America Today" was being held. He noted that while America was conceived on the foundation of religious freedom, a situation had developed that was quite worrisome in a number of ways. America had even come to the point of delivering a guilty verdict against "a foreign national who came to our country to spread the word of God in the form of the Unification Church." Expressing his personal pain at the situation, Senator Hatch confessed, "Here we are putting men of the cloth, as it were, behind bars right here in the 20th century. It is more than disturbing to me. It is alarming. This is not the Soviet Union. This is not Poland. This is not Afghanistan. This is the United States of America."
The senator continued:
The concept of religious freedom has been central in the political philosophy of the leaders of our Nation since the Pilgrims first landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. It was significant in the 18th century debates of state legislatures and the Continental Congress, where it had the indefatigable support of men such as Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and, of course, James Madison.
These debates culminated in 1789 in the passage by the First Congress of the first amendment in the Bill of Rights. That amendment contains these few but well chosen words:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
These words, clear as they may seem, have been the subject of significant, and sometimes heated, debate since their enactment almost two centuries ago. These debates have often led to lawsuits, and from time to time the U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in to give guidance and interpret those simple words. In 1947 the Court told us in Everson v. Board of Education that the establishment of religion clause means at least that: "Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another."
With respect to the free exercise clause, the Supreme Court stated in Wisconsin v. Yoder that: "Only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can over-balance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion."
In other decisions, the Court held in 1962 that a prayer composed by New York State school officials for voluntary recital in the public schools constituted an unconstitutional establishment of religion; in 1961 that Maryland's Sunday closing laws did not constitute such an establishment of religion; in 1981 that a State university in Missouri could not, without violating the establishment clause, allow equal access to a student religious group to school facilities used by other groups; and finally, in this year, 1984, and I am only hitting a smattering of the cases, that a Christian nativity scene paid for out of public funds and sponsored by a municipality does not represent an unconstitutional establishment violation.
With respect to the free exercise clause, the Court has told us that the State of Wisconsin cannot require children of the Amish faith to abide by a State law requiring attendance in a formal high school until age 16.
Where these judicial interpretations have left us in law and practice in 1984 is subject to legitimate differences of opinion. Much has been and is being written on the subject of religious liberty in America. On the one hand, there are those who suggest that for all our efforts the first amendment, in both its establishment and free exercise clauses, has been misinterpreted and misapplied. On the other hand, there are people who feel that the religious freedoms contemplated by the Founding Fathers are, for the most part, being fully protected.
Perhaps it is best for us to look upon this extended dialogue over the precise meaning of the first amendment as evidence of a healthy and enduring Constitution. This subcommittee hopes it means at least that. But this subcommittee is also aware that in the minds of some, the present climate for religious liberty in America is not all it should be.
By any standard of measurement, there has been an alarming acceleration of disputes between American citizens and Government officials over the proper role of the Government in the affairs of churches. Just to mention a few of these disputes, we have recently seen a minister and others sent to jail in Nebraska for refusing to obey a court order which they feel, rightly or wrongly, is against their religious beliefs; we have seen a private religious university lose its tax exempt status, rightly or wrongly, because of the school's racially discriminatory admission standards; and we have seen a private religious university lose its tax exempt status, rightly or wrongly, because of the school's racially discriminatory admission standards; and we have seen a foreign national, who came to our country to spread the word of God in the form of the Unification Church, investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and accused and convicted of criminal tax evasion stemming from allegations that he was in possession of money and property which he contended was not his own but rather the property of his church.
We have also seen disputes over whether municipalities may, constitutionally, sponsor nativity scenes at Christmas; whether Orthodox Jews may wear unobtrusive religious headgear in military service; and, of course, we have recently had extensive debate on the Senate floor over school prayer and whether religious institutions are entitled to use public buildings in a manner equal to other community groups.
These issues and others will be discussed at today's hearing. Hopefully, we will leave here with a better awareness of the relative well-being of our fundamental religious rights and will reach some helpful conclusions. A debate that is still going on and presently exists as an amendment to the math and science bill. The jailing of ministers are especially disturbing to me...
I am concerned because this is the greatest country in the world, it is the greatest country providing the greatest measure of religious freedom in the world today, and I am concerned about putting ministers in jail because of their religious beliefs and tenets, or if they are not religious beliefs and tenets, because of courts that will not allow religion to be considered as part of its instructions to the jury.
Now, something has got to be wrong. To be sure, we have come a long way since the early days of this country when priests were jailed, ministers were shot, and witches were burned at the stake. But some are worrying that perhaps we may be slipping back. I happen to belong to the only church in the history of this country that had an extermination order put out against its members by a State Governor. That happened over a century ago, and I for one would like to think that it will never happen again, not in this country.
... measurements may be doing a better job of educating children than the public schools, is sentenced to jail for refusing to compromise his religious beliefs to satisfy what appear to be unnecessary State reporting regulations?
And what are we to think when a leader of an unpopular church who is generally hated and despised by large groups of people may be thrown in prison after a court refuses to recognize what some believe to be his and his church's constitutional rights in a criminal trial in our very own Federal courts? I believe we just become more skilled in hiding religious persecution behind the veil of an investigation by even that most irreligious of institutions, the Internal Revenue Service? I hope not.
But it is surely time we started finding out, and that is why we are here today. These are not easy questions, these are not easy matters, they are tough. And this has been a very difficult hearing to set up, and I have been very concerned about it.
In arranging for this oversight hearing, the subcommittee has made every effort to include a wide variety of viewpoints from a representative sampling of all religious groups active in today's America. We may need to hold follow-up hearings to get an even wider variety of viewpoints.
As a result, we will be hearing today from Presbyterians, Fundamentalists, Baptists, Unificationists, and Lutherans, among others. And we have received written statements from many other religions, such as the Seventh Day Adventists, the Hare Krishnas, and the Scientologists, which will he made a part of the written record of these proceedings. And we will be happy to receive responses from other religious institutions throughout America as well.
Now, all of today's witnesses have been requested to provide the subcommittee with their observations on the current state of religious liberty and to recommend legislation if they so choose which to them may appear necessary and appropriate to correct any deficiencies in practice or current law.
Our purpose here today is not to retry or unnecessarily reargue the facts of any previous lawsuits. We are interested in past church / state litigation only to the extent it helps us understand the current state of affairs.
We feel we have an outstanding group of witnesses to help us in the task at hand. Of course, central to that task is a constitutional inquiry. We are not here to necessarily adjudge what is fair or necessary or desirable but rather what is constitutional.
As applause erupted, observers became aware of the presence of Reverend Moon, who was facing imminent incarceration, and sent him their support by clapping.
The hearing included uplifting testimony by Laurence Tribe, who had represented Reverend Moon in some of the post-trial legal proceedings. Dr. Tribe explained just how preposterously unconstitutional the case against Reverend Moon had been.
In the form of this hearing, Senator Hatch actually presented Reverend Moon with a public and formal opportunity to say everything he had wanted to say, but couldn't. It was a beautiful and thoughtful act. You could say that the reason all the observers of the hearing had gathered there was to hear what Reverend Moon had to say.
Finally the real show began. Reverend Moon read out a statement that he had prepared in English.
In the process of fulfilling this mission, I have become controversial, and in some quarters, unpopular. And I have been persecuted. However, I am by no means the first religious leader to have experienced persecution. Many of the major religious figures in the Judeo-Christian tradition have walked this path of suffering through persecution. Today, I am honored to follow the same tradition.
I believe that God's hope is for freedom on the earth, and the greatest threat to freedom today is totalitarianism, particularly in the form of communism, which systematically opposes freedom of religion. Communism has killed more than 150 million people. Many of these were religious people. I myself suffered nearly to the point of death in a communist prison camp. Communism is the worst inhumanity in the world today.
Freedom has been retreating for the past decade. In 1975, freedom retreated from Southeast Asia. Millions of people perished. Nation after nation in Africa and Latin America has been communized. One-and-a-half billion people have fallen under communist tyranny. Now Central America, the backyard of the United States, is the frontline of battle. I know that the enemies of freedom will not stop until they achieve their final goal: the conquest of this very nation, the United States of America.
I supported Ronald Reagan for president because I hoped that he would do God's Will to stop the spread of communism and truly bring this nation back to God and to her founding spirit. It is disappointing that under this man, who was elected with the tremendous support of the religious community, the state is encroaching more than ever on the affairs of the church. For the first time, ministers are being jailed. "Truly, religious freedom is being dealt a devastating blow.
Twelve Years in America
In the last 12 years, I have done everything I could for America. I have had just one goal in mind: to strengthen the moral fiber of America and enlarge her capacity to fulfill God's Will.
Through projects such as the International Religious Foundation, the New Ecumenical Research Association and the Conference on God, I have sought to bring theologians of all faiths together to better understand God and one another.
I have worked to bring God's Will into the academic world. The International Cultural Foundation sponsors annual conferences on science and absolute values, and brings scholars together in organizations such as the Professors World Peace Academy, Paragon House Publishers and the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy.
In the area of cultural expression, I have endeavored to reinforce the theme of reverence toward God. In the movie "Inchon," for example, I have tried to portray the historical importance of General Douglas MacArthur, a great American devoted to God and humanity. It is vital for American young people to have such a hero figure.
Because religious ideals must be expressed in service to humanity, I initiated the National Council for the Church and Social Action, the International Relief Friendship Foundation and Project Volunteer.
To work toward the liberation of all people from totalitarian ideologies, I established the International Federation for Victory over Communism, the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, and CAUSA International.
To set a standard of responsibility in the communications media, we founded the World Media Association and News World Communications, which publishes several newspapers. One of these, the Washington Times, was created to present an alternative view to the nation's capital. This project alone cost our movement over $100 million.
These projects have required a vast amount of financial resources, as well as the hard work and loving sacrifices of fellow church members. Several hundred million dollars have been poured into America, because this nation will decide the destiny of the world. These contributions are primarily coming from overseas. In my movement, the United States has been a recipient, not a source of funds. I have acted from the firm belief that if America is lost, everything is lost. There is no other county that God can turn to.
When you understand the scope of my work, can you really believe that I came to America to defraud the United States government of an estimated $7,300 in taxes?
Governmental Abuse of Authority
From the very beginning this was not a tax case. It has been an invasion by the government into the internal affairs of religion. They chose the Unification Church because they thought that no one would come to our defense. However, this is where they miscalculated. The religious community of America knows that unless everyone is safe, no one is safe. When one is threatened, all are threatened.
When the government abuses its authority, the consequences are fearsome. It was the Roman state which crucified Jesus Christ. In this country, it was the state which burned "witches," persecuted Roman Catholics, shunned Jews and prolonged black slavery. It was the state which allowed Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to be killed by a mob in prison. It is the state which is coming after me, and in the process, violating the religious freedom of everyone. We must stop this trend now. If we do not, then who is next?
In the providence of God, the case of Reverend Moon has become a rallying point for religious freedom in the United States. I stand convicted for no other reason than my religious beliefs and practices. I am to be punished for being who I am. This has shocked and awakened the conscience of America. Many religious leaders and believers of all faiths have stood up in outrage. They are registering their protests. Most important of all, they are united. Their unity will ensure the survival of America.
The Greatest Confrontation
The greatest confrontation in the world today is not the United States vs. the Soviet Union, capitalism vs. socialism, or even democracy vs. communism. It is faith in God vs. the denial of God.
The communist world, based on atheism, has failed to fulfill the human dream. The free world, on the other hand, has become materialistic and forgotten God, and is helpless in the face of the grave world crisis. The world is dark with confusion. A new vision must emerge -- a new worldview centered on God. I am teaching that worldview, based on God's heart of love. I call it "Godism." I proclaim that this ideal will pro-vide a new solution to the world.
Godism can unite all religious people as well as all people of conscience. This worldview will bring unity among enemies and enemy nations. This will bring true freedom of the human spirit. This ideal will usher in the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth.
This worldview, a system of thought of high dimension, has led many people to personal experience with God. The effect has been so phenomenal that in some quarters it was blamed on "brainwashing." This is the reason that I have been misunderstood in some established circles and by the media. The communists, who regard me as their archenemy, have exploited this misunderstanding in their attempt to destroy me.
In spite of these difficulties, I am honored to dedicate myself today to the preservation of religious freedom in this country. If I can raise up a beacon warning Americans of the danger which lies ahead, then my sacrifice will serve a great purpose.
The issue today is the very survival of America and the free world. To assure this survival, I am willing to suffer any indignity, to go any distance, to do any labor, and to bear any cross. I am even willing to give my life, if that will ensure that the nation and world survive and do God's Will.
God Bless America
Today, I carry no animosity toward anyone. Jesus Christ showed the tradition of forgiveness when he prayed on the cross for those who crucified him. I am upholding that tradition. I long ago forgave my accusers. I have no hostility toward the United States government.
Instead, I pray for this country. I thank God that He is using me as His instrument to lead the fight for religious freedom and to ignite the spiritual awakening of America in this most crucial hour of human history.
Mr. Chairman, once again, thank you for this opportunity. I would like to conclude by saying, God bless America. Thank you.
Now, this was truly oration. I guess you could better call it the stuff of emotion itself, the raw power to move hearts. Only a true saint who knows God's heart and mind, and who loves humanity intensely, could say this.
This testimony is recorded in the historical records of Congress and will remain there forever. Just as Lincoln's Gettysburg Address appears in American high-school textbooks as part of the heritage of the nation, it is only a matter of time until the testimony of Reverend Moon to the Senate hearing will also be printed in high-school books.