The Words of the Burton Family

News of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's 90th Birthday Bash Travelled with True Speed

Douglas Burton
February 23, 2010

The 90th birthday celebration of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon was on the wire feed of the Associated Press and published around the world before the Unification Church could inform its own congregations on Feb 19, 2010.

"The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, celebrated his 90th birthday Friday with songs, prayers and 1,000 guests from around the world. His wife, children and guests from Japan, the U.S., Britain and elsewhere sang, prayed and shouted "Hurrah" in a birthday ceremony at the church's sprawling complex in Gapyeong, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Seoul," according to Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press writer. The article was picked up by hundreds of newspapers, websites and blogs around the world within hours.

The AP reported that birthday wishes had been tendered by President Barack Obama, on the one hand, and by Kim Jong Il, the dictator of North Korea on the other. Kim reportedly offered gifts of two Rolex watches, which underscores the extraordinary rapport achieved between the leader of North Korea and Rev. Moon, who nearly lost his life during a two-year sentence in a North Korean concentration camp from 1947 to 1950.

The AP reporter did not fall into the mistake of other wire-service reporters on Oct. 14, 2009 by saying that Rev. Moon was retiring and that this blessing ceremony likely would be his last. On the contrary, this time we read that: "aides say the healthy-looking Moon remains in charge of key church affairs, though he has transferred many responsibilities to his children in recent years." The son designated to be the decision maker in the religious ministry is 30-year-old Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the youngest son. According to the AP story, "He's in good health," the youngest son said. "Our father continues to make the key decisions for the Unification Church movement."

Video Reporter Karen Sloan of the Associated Press included a clip of Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the International president of the Unification Church, telling her that he will not take on the mantle of messiah. "We as Unificationists believe them [his parents] to have a messianic role, which is not repeated, but that is not our role. Our role is more that of the apostles, who serve as the bridge between them and understanding what kind of life True Parents lived," he said. Find it here:

On the whole, the article of the AP was fair and accurate, with the exception of the tedious canard that the church uses some kind of mind control: "He [Rev. Moon] is also famous for matching up strangers from different countries in 'mass weddings' that critics call proof that the church brainwashes its adherents." None of the so-called critics are named, which is a pity, because dozens of social scientists in the United States stand ready to disabuse these critics of notions about brain-washing which the American academic community retired two decades ago. Interestingly, no such claim surfaced in the rather lengthy report on the Unification Church by National Public Radio's Barbara Bradley Hagerty on Feb. 17th. Ms. Hagerty invested more than a month researching the church and interviewed more than two dozen members, former members, academic experts, and the American church's current president and CEO, Rev. In Jin Moon. Those with "eyes to see and ears to hear" these days are listening to NPR. 

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