The Words of the Rubenstein Family

Rev. Moon is a Good Man

Richard Rubenstein
May 1984
Distinguished Professor of Religion at Florida State University

I am not going to begin my comments by telling you that "although I do not agree with the theology of Reverend Moon, I am horrified at what has happened to him." I want to begin by saying that I have known Reverend Moon since 1976, and before these TV cameras, I want to declare that Reverend Moon is a great and good man.

I further want to declare -- and this I do as a historian of religion, trained for my task at Harvard University -- that Reverend Moon is one of the most important religious figures of the twentieth century. Let me give you some evidence of why I say this.

Reverend Moon is a man who was incarcerated by the Communists in North Korea, smitten almost to death by the Communists. Nevertheless, true to his inspiration -- for at an early age, he was convinced that God had especially charged him with a mission in the world -- he came out of that hideous situation and began preaching to one or two people -- at first, from a hut! Within a few short years, people all over the world had become not only his admirers, but his disciples. I regard that as extraordinary! How many people starting out as store-front preachers become world-wide religious leaders? One has to have the Spirit in order to do this. I happen to know that Reverend Moon sometimes only sleeps for an hour or two. That, when others are sleeping, he is praying.

I read in my hotel room, a scurrilous comment from a scurrilous Washington magazine which is devoted mostly to social events at the Embassies, that Reverend Moon is a convicted felon. As a historian of religion, I am aware of the fact that Reverend Moon is not the only convicted felon in the history of religion! We all know who the greatest convicted felon in history is! But may I remind you that the New Testament contains a letter written by Paul of Tarsus to Philemon from prison. There's more to the story -- far more than that -- but I couldn't begin to tell you all of it.

I would, however, like to just describe one or two evidences of the work of the Reverend Moon. Washington, D.C. for many years was a single newspaper town. Only one voice was heard -- that of the Washington Post.

Now whether you're a liberal or a conservative, any large community -- certainly the capital of the greatest nation on earth -- needs more than one newspaper. The fact of the matter is that the Washington Post is owned by the same people who own Newsweek, and there was a second newspaper in Washington, The Washington Star, which was owned by the people who own Time Inc. Now, you would think that the people who own Time Inc. would have wanted to maintain the Washington Star, if for nothing else than corporate pride. They weren't able to do it. I heard a very famous correspondent, John Lofton, say that after the Washington Star folded, he heard from some of his conservative friends it's about time they put their money where their mouth is, and use their money to start a newspaper in Washington.

Now, one man started a newspaper in Washington. He did so, not to make a profit because although the local Washington Times will someday make a profit, that day will not come for several years. If Time Inc. and some of the richest big-shots in the world who wanted an alternative voice in Washington couldn't do it, why did Reverend Moon do it? He did it because he was not motivated by economic considerations. He is a man of God, who was motivated by his vision of what is right for America and right for the world, and -- unlike so many other people -- he was willing to put the effort, the energy, the love and the resources of his people, where his mouth was, and where their mouths were.

Last December, the Reverend Moon went back to his native land of Korea. The Russians had brutally shot down a Korean airliner, with the loss of lives that you know about. You don't know that the North Koreans had been landing high-tech people from mini-submarines to do sabotage throughout South Korea. There was the Rangoon incident, where half the cabinet of Korea was murdered. And the Reverend Moon wanted to come back, and he wanted to bring a message of consolation to his people, and he invited professors from 72 countries of the world to come with him. And let me tell you, they were not lowly professors -- one of them was a former Prime Minister of his nation. And at five days' notice, professors from 72 countries of the world came and felt it a privilege to be with this man. I have sat at the table with this man when there were five Nobel Laureates at that table. Now, the man that I know is not the man that one reads about in the press!

My final comment is this. I am a resident of the state of Florida. Friends, the state of Florida is awash with billions and billions of dollars of illegal drug money. And I have heard it told, (I have no evidence) that some very highly-placed Floridians -- even some banks! -- are the beneficiaries of this. If the government wants to go hunting for tax money, tax them! 

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