The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009

"Human Rights, Women's Rights and Religious Freedom"

In Jin Moon
September 19, 2009
Keynote Speech to WFWP, USA's National Assembly

I am happy to be with all of you this morning on this 17th conference of the Women’s Federation for World Peace. I feel truly honored to be asked to give the keynote address this morning, and I’m particularly privileged to have Mrs. Lowery here with us today. Could I ask her to stand? (Applause)

They say that behind every great man there is a great woman. I had the privilege of getting to know Dr. Lowery, with whom I worked with the Coalition for Religious Freedom. I was just a 17-year-old girl. But I realized when I got to meet and work with Dr. Lowery that there must be a great woman behind this man; certainly after meeting Mrs. Lowery, I discovered why Dr. Lowery is truly great.

When I worked as a 17-year-old girl together with the great luminaries of the civil rights movement, such as Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, and so many other Christian leaders and ministers, I realized that these were people who fought and struggled against something, overcoming different obstacles, overcoming the odds. But they came together in the spirit of unity so that by working in cooperation with one another, they could make a difference.

We have seen the fruits of the civil rights movement in the election of President Obama to the White House. For me as a woman who represents a minority in this country, his election was truly a symbol of hope, and it brought me back to when I was a little girl and I heard Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech for the first time. He taught me how to dream. And when I started working with the civil rights leaders here in America like Dr. Joseph Lowery, I learned that not only can I dream, but I can put my dream into practice and make it a reality.

The election of the first black man as the president of the United States to usher in this brand-new millennium is a symbol of hope, and very much a symbol of what we can do if we really come together and stand for something. When I think about the women’s movement and its history until now -- organizations like NOW and different women’s groups who have really fought for the right to vote, for the right to equal representation in government, or in different business organizations and so on -- I look at our sisters here. We’ve been struggling against an unbreakable glass ceiling. But through the diligence and persistence of our sisters over the years, we have made great strides in claiming for ourselves the dignity of being part of humanity, exercising our God-given rights to be a part of the community that we belong to, and exercising our voice in a religious community when many times women had no voice.

But in our fight for liberation and for our rights, sometimes I feel that we’ve become so relativistic that we forget that we are beautiful women. What I would like to see as we go forward and introduce a new vision of women for the next millennium is to bring the wonderful, feminine touch of a woman as a mother.

Historically the women’s movement espoused the importance of freedom, of independence, and of individual fulfillment, meaning the rights of a single woman. But when we are thinking about the Women’s Federation for World Peace being an important organization to bring about world peace, to really affect the world in a profound and meaningful way, then we have to rethink what a woman’s organization really should be.

We have fought for freedom, but as mothers raising children we know that freedom alone does not guarantee happiness in the home. Freedom must always be tempered and must work in conjunction with this wonderful thing called responsibility. So we need to ask our sisters to not only highlight our freedom to do whatever we want but also the responsibility that we can exercise in the context of our homes as mothers, in the context of sibling relationships as sisters, and in the context of loving couples as wives.

Instead of just concentrating on a woman’s right to financial, economic, and physical independence, we need to be thinking about the meaning of unity. Yes, we need to be healthy and independent emotional, spiritual, and physical beings, but we’re not an island unto ourselves, and many of us, when we reach motherhood, have an opportunity to affect the future generation of our world. Education starts with us.

As we come to realize our true worth as daughters of God and everything that comes with that, knowing that we are divine beings and we are put upon this earth to play a major role -- not just in our own lives but in the lives of everybody living together with us -- then we realize that we have a divine mission, which is probably most profoundly felt in the context of the family.

So instead of just highlighting our rights and independence, if we can also highlight the importance of responsibility as a great daughter of God, as a great mother to children, and as a great sister to brothers, then I think we can be instrumental in raising a generation that is truly phenomenal.

Instead of emphasizing the single woman or the importance of the individual, how wonderful it would be if we as sisters and mothers could highlight the importance of the family. The family is truly the cornerstone of every society and every great nation. It starts with us, usually with the mother in the home. I know that I would not be here, for instance, without the wisdom and the encouragement of my mother. She was the one who truly inspired me to continue that dream that was sparked in my imagination by the great leaders and luminaries like Dr. Martin Luther King. She taught me to dream. She empowered me to dream. She encouraged me to apply my dream to my daily life and to really make something of myself so that I could be somebody who could be of service in the world in everything that I have to offer.

So this year we are here to talk about human rights, women’s rights, and religious freedom. For me, when I think about this great country of America, religious freedom is something that is fundamental to the concept of who we are when we think of ourselves as Americans. Our great forefathers and foremothers came to this country with the notion that we should be able to exercise the right to worship in a manner that we see fit. Over the years my father brought our whole family over here, and we saw our American movement grow. But we also saw the backlash that was unleashed against our movement because some people started thinking Reverend Moon or the Unification Church was too powerful.

I saw the injustice that was thrown into our brothers’ and sisters’ faces, into my siblings’ faces, into my parents’ faces, and into my face. So I looked to the great leaders of the civil rights movement, and I saw their tenacity in carrying forth their dream as an inspiration to take as my own.

In my years of self-discovery and of coming to know what I could do in the world, I realized that I have to be true to myself and to my family, but most importantly, to my God, our Heavenly Parent. So when we’re talking about human rights, the right to worship in the manner that we see fit, and the rights of women, we’re really talking about a gift that God has given to us in that he and she, they, our Heavenly Parents, are really encouraging all of us to treat each other with dignity and to treat men and women equally with dignity because in the eyes of God we have equal value as human beings.

Let’s truly start from the point of understanding that no matter where we come from, no matter what culture, no matter what race, no matter what religion we come from, then we ultimately belong to one Heavenly Parent. That is the basis, the platform, or the common denominator on which we can start seeing ourselves as one family under God.

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of welcoming Mr. Goto to our congregation during Sunday worship. He was imprisoned for 12 years and five months because he wanted to follow Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. He was kidnapped, tortured, and confined against his will by his family in conjunction with deprogrammers in Japan. The way he survived was on meager rations of food. Perhaps some of you have had an experience of deprogramming, so you know that these poor brothers and sisters are put under extreme mental duress and fed only meager rations so that they will be easier to break. After day in and day out of negativity, accusation, and persecution, Mr. Goto, who is truly a saint representing unbreakable faith, never wavered in his faith, just like the way Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Lowery, and Dr. Ralph Abernathy never wavered in their dream that one day they would overcome. They did overcome, and the civil rights movement saw the dream come true.

Here as a movement we are smack in the middle of fighting a battle against something as hideous as deprogramming, which denies our brothers and sisters their human dignity, their right to choose, their right to exercise their freedom to determine themselves what and how they would like to worship their Lord, their Heavenly Parent. This great country of America was born with the concept of religious freedom. It is explicitly stated in the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments that were introduced as a series of articles in 1789 and ratified on December 15, 1791. This series of articles guarantees American citizens the right to civil liberties.

The First Amendment in particular guarantees religious freedom. It states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the establishment of religion or the exercise thereof. Basically it’s guaranteeing the right of all people to practice their faith in this great country of America. But in 1984, when my father was cast into prison in Danbury, Connecticut, he was denied his religious freedom. I had the honor of watching a sea of Christian ministers truly come together and voice their opinions on the matter at hand, saying, “This is not right. This is the great country of America. This man is a great man. This man is a man of God, and he should be acknowledged to be the teacher and the True Parent that he is.”

I saw the pictures taken of Mr. Goto when he was thrown out by his captors because they simply gave up after 12 years and five months, not being able to break his faith. They threw him out onto the pavement with a pair of shoes. I always say God works in mysterious ways because even though he had nothing and he was thrown out with a pair of shoes, the second person he came across was actually a sister of our movement. She took him to the headquarters and then to the hospital, where for the next several weeks he went through a process of recovery.

Imagine a man who was bright, intelligent, articulate, and with a promising career -- he was studying to become an architect. But his dream was ripped away, and he was thrown into a dark and difficult time when he had to endure 12 years and five months of fighting for his right to believe in God in the way that he saw fit. He fought for his right to exercise his freedom to be an Unificationist. He fought for his human rights, for his right to make that choice and have the ability to decide for himself how he wants to live his life.

He lived on scraps of food that were thrown away. He told me a story of how he was allowed into the kitchen from time to time, but his captors made sure that nothing was in the refrigerator, that there was nothing available for him to eat. What he ended up doing was rummaging through the garbage compacter and eating the potato skins, carrot skins, or onion skins that were discarded. This the way this man survived. Day in and day out, he fought for his human rights.

When Mr. Goto had the opportunity to come and worship with the American movement, I said to the American brothers and sisters, “Look at this man. Look at this saint with unbreakable faith who fought for his right to worship his Lord in the manner that he saw fit. Should we not honor him? Should we not let him know that his problems in Japan are not simply a Japan problem but it is our problem here in the United States as well?”

We should be the voice of countless brothers and sisters who have been deprogrammed over the years. Since 1966 we have over 4,000 cases of kidnapping and deprogramming in Japan. Should we not speak? Should we not give them a voice when they have none? Should we not highlight what is going on when they are not able to raise awareness themselves? Should we not alarm our society or alarm the American government as to what is happening in Japan?

What is happening in Japan is a great crime -- human rights violations that are denying a person the right to choose or the right to believe. And not only are we talking simply about the rights being denied, we’re talking about physical and sexual abuse. The deprogrammers know very well that we espouse the importance of purity and fidelity in marriage. Some of these women have been raped or otherwise physically abused in order to break their faith. If this is not a human rights violation of the worst kind, I don’t know what is.

As mothers who have the duty to raise the new generation of peace that is going to usher in this new millennium, we cannot just sit still while these violations are taking place. We need to come together, just like the great luminaries of the civil rights movement came together and worked together to make a difference.

I very much see the Women’s Federation for World Peace as an organization that, empowered by a true understanding of who we are as God’s daughters and as incredible mothers to our children, is going to stand up and say, “We must fight against abuse. We must fight against violence. We must fight to empower our sisters giving them the opportunity to have an education and to create a decent home by helping our brothers realize the dignity and worth of a woman so that as wives and mothers we can truly experience what true love is all about.”

We as women truly must be the conscience of America and the world. Just as my mother is the voice of my conscience each and every day, we must be the conscience of our nation, our community, and our family. Instead of looking at our brothers and men as people who have oppressed women over the years, we are going to do it better this time, sisters. We are going to raise them up to be better men, to be better sons, and to be better brothers. We are going to empower them and invite them to be loving husbands and great fathers, so that together in the context of a family we can initiate the revolution that is truly important. That is the revolution of true love.

It is a revolution of true love that is going to nourish, that is going to care for our children, and that is going to empower our future generation to be the kind of men and women that we all need to be when we are talking about world peace. We have to understand that the word peace is not just a word made up of five different letters. It must mean something. But not only should it mean something, we must be practicing peace every day. We must not just dream, but we must apply it because through daily practice and daily application that dream of ours is going to become a reality.

I came across this wonderful thing called a mnemonic device when I was trying to teach my children the importance of certain things. When I talk to my children about the importance of having a true understanding of what the word peace means, I invite them to look at the word as an acronym. We could start out by understanding that God is our eternal Parent. P for parent, eternal parent. And we need to have an understanding of ourselves as Eternal sons and daughters of God. E, eternal.

And if we have an understanding that God is Heavenly Parent and we are eternal sons and daughters, then we realize that we have to live a life of Altruism, A. We have to live for the sake of others, thinking about others before ourselves. This is not simply because we want to receive rewards or eschew punishment, but we want to be good people, and we want to live our lives in service to others, just because. Just because we want to be good people. In doing that, we need to practice what it means and begin to apply what the word compassion means. We need to be men and women of Compassion.

I also like to tell people that when the great Dalai Lama is asked, “What is your religion about?” he gives a very simple answer. He says, “My religion is kindness.” Compassion is kindness. Many people understand compassion to be something weak, something that you can just push over, but actually kindness can be incredibly strong, especially when it is ignited with a spirit of cooperation. Then truly as a community we can and must stand together against violence of any kind. Violence in the home. Violence in our schools. Violence in our communities, and violence in our nation. We must not do this in anger, but we must respond with true love. We must practice that true love through the spirit of cooperation, understanding that our opportunity here as human beings is to exercise this wonderful thing called compassion.

In so doing, we are going to realize that we are well on our way to becoming Excellent men and women of this world, men and women who are worthy of this thing called peace. Not only will we be excellent in our careers, not only will we be excellent in what we do, but we will truly be excellent internally in who we are -- that is, as children of our Heavenly Parent, God. In that way, this is an invitation to a true understanding of the word peace. It is an invitation for every young man and woman to become a loving couple and to create a beautiful family, called an ideal family.

I always like to joke with my congregation. Here we are, a bunch of Unificationists who believe in the importance of building an ideal family. You know what? Dr. Lowery told me that God works in mysterious ways and God always has a way of giving us what we ask for. As many of us who have entered into this new phase of our lives called parenthood and have found ourselves raising teenagers, I’m sure we’ve thrown up our hands and said to ourselves, “Where is God? Why didn’t God give me what I wanted, an ideal family?”

God very much gave us exactly what we wanted. God was inviting us to deal with the everyday struggles, overcome, and establish something that would bring us the greatest satisfaction in life.

Over the years the women’s movement has been about having a voice and fighting for liberation. What I am encouraging the sisters and gentlemen in this room to think about is liberation or freedom as just the first step. It’s just the first step on the road to what I feel is the true goal of a women’s organization, and that is to help women reach fulfillment as a true wife, a true mother, a true daughter, and a true sister.

I hope that as you go through the day and listen to different speakers talking about the themes of human rights, women’s rights, and religious freedom, please think about how we as individual women can become agents of change in our homes who, starting with ourselves, can usher in a revolution of true love, so that for the first time in history we can claim the proper rights of women in the context of family, nation, and world, and therefore play an integral part in raising up and empowering the future generation to name their own generation as a Generation of Peace.

Thank you, brothers and sisters, for this morning. 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library