The Words of the Selle Family
WASHINGTON, June 10 -- A Korean pastor who called the founder of the Little Angels Children's Folk Ballet of Korea a North Korean sympathizer and "the antichrist" was dismissed yesterday as "deranged" by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).
"I don't know anybody who could be so deranged as to make such charges [against the Rev. Sun Myung Moon]," said Rangel, one of the most senior members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the longest-serving congressman from New York state. Moon founded the Little Angels in 1962 out of a desire, according to the group's media materials, to show "gratitude to the UN forces that saved his country and liberated him from a North Korean concentration camp," as well as to share the traditional Korean cultural arts with the rest of the world.
Rangel spoke last night at a performance by the Little Angels, who are beginning a 16-nation tour on this 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War in order to honor and cheer the countries' veterans, express the deep gratitude of the Korean people toward all Americans for preserving their freedom, and celebrate the enduring Korean-American friendship. Last night's Little Angels performance was at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Rangel's remarks were in response to accusations reported in the Washington City Paper by the Rev. Jang Y. Lee of the Virginia Korean Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va. Lee is leading a protest against the Little Angels performances, marked by phone complaints to a local Northern Virginia Korean newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, over its advertisements for and coverage of the dance troupe.
Lee takes issue, according to the City Paper report, with Moon's geopolitics, in which Moon has developed a "peacemaker" relationship between the two Koreas. Although known for decades for his strong anticommunism, Moon in 1991 began a series of overtures to North Korea that were warmly reciprocated. His aim, say officials of his Unification Church, is to stave off conflict between North and South and contribute to their reconciliation.
Rangel, who was one of three men who spoke on stage prior to last night's performance (along with former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Korean Ambassador and former Prime Minister Duk-soon Han), also said the thrust of the Little Angels 16-nation tour belies Moon's alleged role as a North Korean fifth columnist.
"South Korea is our friend," he said. "And Rev. Moon is supporting this effort [by the Little Angels] to develop the friendship between the U.S. and South Korea," making it clear that he's no North Korea cheerleader.
The Little Angels performances continue tonight and tomorrow night (June 11 and 12) at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and then move on to New York City, where the troupe will perform at the Manhattan Center, 311 West 34th St., on Tuesday, June 15 and Wednesday, June 16 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. both days.
For an in-depth Media Backgrounder, a Fact Sheet, a list of the group's Media Events in the U.S., a list of Suggested Story Ideas to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War's start, and video and still photos of the Little Angels, please contact Bob Selle.