The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009

Human Rights, Women's Rights, and Religious Freedom

In Jin Moon
October 23, 2009
Keynote Address
17th anniversary of the Women's Federation For World Peace
Las Vegas, NV

Good evening, everybody.

The best thing about giving the keynote address this evening is receiving a hug from Sheri Rueter. It really puts me in a loving embrace. Also, to have the Lovin’ Life Ministries Band here giving out their hearts so we can fully experience this incredible thing called the universal language, the language of music and love. Almost all of you have already been on the dance floor, even though the dancing is supposed to take place afterwards, because you just could not help but celebrate the sisterhood in each other. Now that we are being a bit more progressive, we are letting brothers into our conference as well.

As we march forward into the next millennium with this vision of creating this world of peace that my parents and especially my mother has been dreaming about her whole life, I hope that we can go in the spirit of truly supporting, empowering, and caring for our brothers. Instead of giving our brothers, fathers, and uncles our voice of anger and frustration as if we’ve been repressed all these years, as other women’s organizations have done in the past, this is really a time women are imbued with the heart of true love, gratitude, and of this incredible opportunity that we have before us to do something truly profound and revolutionary. By working together in one heart and in one spirit, understanding that we come from the same Heavenly Parent, our God Almighty up in heaven, there is nothing that we cannot do in this spirit of true love, in the spirit of compassion, and in the spirit of wanting to really serve everyone around us, as well as those who have gone before and those who will come after.

This is really an occasion, a providential time when we as women can proudly stand as daughters of our Heavenly Parent. We don’t have to be voiceless, we don’t have to be faceless, we don’t have to be powerless. We can be embraced, honored, and respected as the true daughters of God that our Heavenly Parent wants to see in all of us.

I feel that it is an honor and a privilege for me to come and attend this Tenth International Workshop being conducted here in Las Vegas, as well as celebrating the 17th anniversary of the Women’s Federation for World Peace. Just about a month ago we had the American Women’s Federation for World Peace conference in the Manhattan Center, and I was delighted to meet a lot of you sitting in the audience today. I see a lot of new faces that I’m looking forward to meeting.

Every time I come together in a room with such an illustrious gathering of women leaders from all around the world, I cannot help but be moved. I realize that I’m a part of something beautiful here. I’m a part of something that I like to call a beautiful tapestry that God would like for us to experience and to really enjoy in our lifetime.

It doesn’t matter where we come from, nor does our race, culture, or religion. The foundation or the core of who we are is our understanding that God is our Heavenly Parent, that we are his eternal sons or daughters, and that we have a responsibility to live lives of altruism. In a nutshell, the philosophy of my parents is the philosophy of living for the sake of others “just because.”

I like to add this “just because” at the end because we’ve seen throughout history great men and women giving up their lives and their livelihoods for the pursuit of something great, for the pursuit of serving humankind with a revolutionary spirit, with a spirit of service, with a spirit of attendance. And we’ve seen countless great men and women come and go.

This is truly a phenomenal time in that our True Parents are saying, “Don’t be a good person because you are seeking the rewards of heaven or eschewing the punishment thereafter.” They’re challenging us to be good people, to live lives of service, “just because.” Not because we’re going to be given candy at the end of a job well done, but “just because” we want to be good people and we know that we belong to God, our Heavenly Parent, as his sons or daughters.

So when we practice this philosophy of living for the sake of others “just because,” we realize that inadvertently we become people who practice compassion. When the holy Dalai Lama came to the Manhattan Center, he spoke about how he can encapsulate his religion in one sentence. He said, “I define my religion as kindness. Kindness is my religion.”

In an age when I work in the entertainment sector and in the business sector, as well as the religious sector, I come across quite a few doctors, lawyers, and corporate financiers. I’ve noticed that many times the world is quite cold. It’s lacking the motherly, feminine warmth that gives flesh to the bones that we are carrying.

This age is a time when our True Parents are asking us to be men and women of compassion, to truly practice being kind to each other. We have to be kind, we have to be loving, we have to serve each other. I’ve extracted simple reminders from the word PEACE, when you look at it as an acronym. The last letter, E, is always a reminder for me to be an excellent person, not just internally but also externally as well, and to really give back to the world, give back to our families, and give back to the community.

It doesn’t matter what else we do in our lives, but as women, probably the single most important thing that we can do in our lives is to raise great kids. I feel that God has entrusted in our hands this incredible blessing, responsibility, and opportunity to exercise our womanhood, our feminine touch, and the wisdom that we have garnered over the years through our grandmothers and through our mothers and through our aunts, and through wonderful friends that have touched us in different moments of our lives. We need to inherit this understanding of true love and how we as human beings need to feel love.

Just this last Sunday I gave a talk to my congregation at Lovin’ Life Ministries about how all I ever wanted in life, ever since I was a little girl, was to love and to be loved. Our Heavenly Parent sent us our True Parents, and for the first time in history a man and a woman can stand as a model of what a true couple can be, and therefore, have the opportunity of creating this wonderful thing called an ideal family that Jesus Christ was supposed to have substantiated 2,000 years ago. But because he was put on the cross, the only remnant of the feminine spirit in Christianity has been in the form of the Holy Spirit, and thus in Christianity we have the Trinity. We have God, we have Jesus Christ, and we have the Holy Spirit.

The incredible thing about having a man and a woman representing a true son and a true daughter of God is that for the first time that Holy Spirit is taking a physical form in the form of our True Mother. Thus, for the first time in history, women have the right to have a voice, women had the right to have a face, and women have the right and privilege to exercise feminine beauty to illuminate this world with compassion and with love that only a woman’s touch can bring.

What my mother has done in my life is that she has inspired me to not just be externally excellent and not just internally excellent. She has always reminded her children to give something back to the world. When my Heavenly Parent, God up in heaven, asked me to be the CEO of Manhattan Center and then giving me an opportunity to put a feminine touch to the Unification Church in America, it is an extreme honor and privilege for me that I cannot take lightly.

As the representative or the voice of my church and our community, one of the things that I really want to do here in Las Vegas is to highlight some of the issues that we are dealing with worldwide. As you know, many great women have touched our lives and have made revolutionary strides in terms of creating a better world. For instance, the handiwork of Catherine Booth, one of the founders of the Salvation Army, has touched millions of people to this day. And the work that Harriet Tubman did through the Underground Railway system, teaching the slaves to be inspired by this concept of freedom, is so fundamental to us as Americans here. I, being a proud American citizen, do not take it lightly that in this country I can exercise my freedom to worship in the manner that I see fit.

In fact, the Founding Fathers came to America for the sake of religious freedom. It has truly been my honor to work with the greats of the civil rights movement, like Dr. Lowery and Dr. Abernathy, who taught me to dream when I was a 17-year-old girl. I heard their stories of overcoming difficulties and obstacles to change the impossibility of a black man becoming president to the possibility of President Obama being elected as the first black president of the United States. President Obama is there in the White House because he is the fruit of the suffering that our civil rights leaders had to endure all these years.

When I look at the life work of my parents, I truly see them as peacemakers and as our True Parents. For the first time in providential history we have the chance of directly inheriting the true love of God. In Jesus Christ we have understood the meaning of true love. And many found new life in the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. But without the female counterpart we could not experience and appreciate true lineage. Through our True Parents, who represent the true olive branch, humanity for the first time has a chance to experience what true love, true life, and true lineage is all about in our lifetime.

As somebody who watched my parents lead this congregation, from a very, very little church in Chung-pa-dong in Korea to the worldwide movement that it has become, I have come to learn many things from my parents. One of the things that I learned was the importance of being proud of who we are, of being proud to call our God our Heavenly Parent. When I was growing up in America, our movement was going through the backlash against our own success. We were such a phenomenally successful movement in the 1970s that we were given keys to every state in the United States. My father was heralded as an important religious leader and inspirational speaker, a profound teacher for the next millennium.

But then many people realized that my father had such an effect on the young people that there was a lot of misunderstanding, and words such as Moonies and brainwashed zombies were painful to hear in my own ears. For a great chunk of my teenage years, we were out there on the front line being ridiculed as Moonies, as brainwashed zombies, as something less than human.

But, you know, our American movement has struggled on and continues to grow. It continues to make headway into mainstream society, contributing the goodness and the goodwill that we want to share with the rest of the world.

But one of the things that I would like to share with you this evening is the horrific nature of the deprogramming problems that are taking place in Japan right now. From 1966 to today, over 4,000 of our brothers and sisters have been abducted and kidnapped. Many of them have been imprisoned, and some have been beaten and sexually abused, so that their faith could be broken. But as a woman standing in this position, I feel that it’s incumbent upon me to let these people have a voice. These are our brothers and sisters who do not have a voice in Japan.

Japan is supposed to be a superpower of the world, and it has a constitutional government that was implemented by Gen. Douglas MacArthur after World War II, so it has a clause in there about religious freedom, similar to what we have in the Bill of Rights in the United States. The first right that pertains to the freedom of religion here states that Congress shall make no laws establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

As Americans, each and every one of us in this room has lived under the protection of this clause. So even when my father was unjustly incarcerated at Danbury, Connecticut, even when the legal system was unjust in the final verdict of my father’s situation, at least we could rely on the due process of law, and we put up a great fight.

Unfortunately in Japan, government authorities are working in conjunction with deprogrammers, and many of the established religions of Japan are also. When I read the cases of these brothers and sisters, I realized that their families are almost helpless victims. These deprogramming organizations are demanding that families pay $10,000 to $50,000 per family, per deprogramming, so that they can break the faith of these peoples’ sons and daughters.

When I first heard about one case in particular, I couldn’t help shaking and breaking down in tears. It was the story of a man named Mr. Goto, studying architecture at one of Japan’s finest universities. Because his parents thought he was a brainwashed zombie, that he had somehow been inducted into a cultish environment that was not good for his life, his parents paid an inordinate sum of money for him to be taken captive and to be “broken” of his faith.

This man truly represents sainthood to me. In many cases, brothers and sisters were kept anywhere from several days to several years, but this man was held against his will for 12 years and five months. When deprogrammers finally realized after all that time that they were not going to be able to break his faith, they threw him out on the pavement, along with a pair of shoes, with only the clothes he had on. He could barely walk. He weighed 160 pounds going in, but when he came out, he was emaciated, looking like somebody who walked out of Auschwitz.

He had wounds on his hands that looked like stigmata to me. When I saw pictures of this, not only did I see Jesus Christ, but I saw my father when he came of the five different prisons and, in particular, the notorious Hungnam prison in North Korea. I saw my father in this man. No matter how difficult this man’s captivity might have been, I saw not only something horrific in his captivity but also something that was incredibly beautiful. That something beautiful is the beauty of the human spirit. As long as the spirit lives on, as long as we know who our True Parents and Heavenly Parent are, nobody can take away that spirit.

I see that spirit alive and well in Mr. Goto, just the way I saw that spirit alive and well in the eyes of Dr. Lowery and Dr. Abernathy when I worked with them many years ago. Those eyes had the fire that gave life to the civil rights movement. Mr. Goto’s face has the conviction that he should have the right and enjoy the privilege to exercise any religion that he chooses to. It’s something that’s fundamental to all of us here in America. It’s something worth fighting for. We as a women’s movement, as mothers and sisters of the world, need to raise the awareness about the injustices that are taking place in Japan. Even as I speak at this podium, there are members who are still believed to have been abducted, with whereabouts unknown.

One of my best friends is one of the most highly respected producers in New York City. When I first told him about Mr. Goto’s story, how he was confined against his will for 12 years and five months in Tokyo, my friend said, “This cannot be. Japan is a democratic nation. It’s operating under a constitution. It has a clause about freedom of religion.” At first he had a hard time believing this.

Then I sent him the picture of Mr. Goto and told the stories of other people, including stories of the silent sisters who were raped for the purpose of breaking their faith. These sisters, because they come from an Eastern culture, were so overcome with feelings of shame and guilt that they would not dare speak about their predicament to anybody else. They still carry wounds to this day. Some of our sisters never made it through; they were so torn at the fact that they were raped during the deprogramming sessions that they decided to take their own lives. One sister in particular immolated herself, burned herself alive, to the horror of her family and the deprogrammers.

Being fully aware of their Eastern background, the deprogrammers knew that these women would not say a word. So as their sister, and as a woman, I cannot stand in my position as the head of the North American movement without addressing the problems that are taking place in Japan, without raising the awareness of what’s going on.

We are also horrified when we hear stories about girls in Afghanistan who only want an education and the opportunity for a better life; and we hear about a band of teenage boys storming girls’ schools in Afghanistan, throwing acid in the faces of these beautiful Afghan girls just because they want to better themselves through education. These boys want to disfigure these beautiful faces of the women who want a better life in the future. When I heard those stories, it brought tears to my eyes.

My friend and I said, “We cannot sit still. We must fight for every sister to have the right to a decent education.” Likewise, when I heard the story of Mr. Goto and about our sisters in Japan who are suffering to this day, I said to my friends, “We cannot sit still and let the atrocities continue while we can enjoy the freedom to exercise our religion here.”

I believe that God blessed America because it stands in the position to do so much good work for the rest of the world. If America can truly understand its providential gift and its providential role as a country that can teach the rest of the nations how to truly love each other, how to truly embrace each other and work together, then America will become one of the greatest countries of the world. As a proud American, I look forward to that day.

As a proud American woman, I feel that it is my duty to ask all of you to please be aware of the deprogramming issues and please talk about it with your politicians. Please talk about it in your universities. Please talk about it in your women’s circles. This is something that we cannot just stand and let pass. This is something worth fighting for. This is the freedom that was given to us by our Heavenly Parent, and we need to let our brothers and sisters have the opportunity of exercising that freedom just like we can.

I’m hoping that as you go back to your respective countries and your fields of work, you can please remember that the deprogramming issue is not just about somebody being mean to Unification Church members. This is a human rights violation of the worst kind. We as human beings, as God’s sons and daughters, cannot let this happen. We as mothers cannot let this go on.

I truly want to thank all of you for this evening. I know it’s such a grave topic, but a topic nevertheless that needs to be highlighted, discussed, and shared. I am inviting all of you to please take up this cause and help me fight against the human rights violations that are taking place in Japan, so that Japan can live up to its rightful position. It claims to be a country governed by a constitution and yet fails to be doing so, even as we speak.

I have encouraged all the different clergy in America, through the work of ACLC, to join with me in fighting deprogramming and human rights violations. I have also asked the president of CARP, the college organization all around the country, to highlight the injustices that are taking place in Japan. I take this opportunity tonight to ask such an illustrious gathering of women leaders from all around the world to take this cause back with you to your countries and start talking to politicians, friends, or to whoever has an ear.

I want to thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I always feel that giving a sermon after the Lovin’ Life band is a really hard act to follow. To highlight such a horrific situation in Japan is an incredibly difficult thing to do. But I think if you really open up your hearts and see that all of you women in this room have an incredible divinity that is channeled from our God up in heaven, this wonderful thing called a beautiful smile, this thing called a loving gesture, this thing called compassion, this all-embracing thing called the feminine touch. All of you have that magic wand in your hand.

I invite all of you to use it and wield it kindly upon our brothers and sisters, upon our countries, and upon the world. Hopefully we can work each and every day to inspire a young generation of men and women to become this generation of peace that I as a mother so long to see.

Thank you very much for giving me this time, and God bless you. Thank you. 

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