The Words of Hak Ja Han (Mrs. Sun Myung Moon)

Remarks of Mrs. Sun Myung Moon Delivered in Acceptance of the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity Award to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon by Shaw Divinity School

Hak Ja Han
May 11, 1985
Convocation for the Awarding of Degrees
Shaw Divinity School
Raleigh, North Carolina

Mother is joined by Ye Jin Nim, Hyo Jin Nim, and Nan Sook Nim following the awards ceremony during which she accepted on Father's behalf an honorary doctorate from Shaw Divinity School in North Carolina.

Dr. Smith, Dr. Turner, Dr. Paige, members of the faculty of Shaw Divinity School and Shaw University, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

On behalf of my husband, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and our family, I would like to express my deep gratitude for the honor you have bestowed upon him this day. My husband was especially moved when he read of the history of Shaw University and Shaw Divinity School, and of their founder, Dr. Henry Martin Tupper, for he found in the life of your founder two Christ-like characteristics to which he dedicated his own life: love of God and service to humanity.

I am told that on your Founder's Day you all gather around Dr. Tupper's grave in the center of the campus to pay tribute to this great man, and to read aloud the epitaph on his tombstone:

He counted not his life
Dear unto himself
That he might lift Godward
his brother.

Dr. Tupper received a great deal of persecution for his idealism and yet he persevered with courage. Rev. Moon, too, knows the meaning of being persecuted for the sake of ideals; he is in a federal prison this very day on that account. Yet the sole purpose of his life will continue to be to lift all people Godward and ease the pain of suffering humanity.

Mother addresses the audience at Shaw University upon accepting Father's honorary doctorate.

My husband has also devoted himself to the cause of unity and understanding between races. When he was asked, "Who is the greatest American leader of the twentieth century?" Rev. Moon replied, "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." At a time when many oppressed people wanted to return hate for hate, Dr. King said, "We must return love for hate." Dr. King was imprisoned over and over again, and he gave his life for what he believed, but his words continue to inspire us.

In the same tradition, my husband loves his enemies. He long ago forgave his accusers, and he loves America now more than ever. He is thanking God in prison because he has been used as an instrument to rally and inspire the American people to fight against all forms of oppression and injustice.

Rev. Moon shares with Shaw Divinity School and Shaw University a commitment to international, inter-religious, and interracial harmony. Since it is his belief that Jesus would have us live, work, and study as one loving human family, he has dedicated his life and his ministry to end racism, religious bigotry, and all forms of intolerance, not because he hoped it would make him popular or famous, but because it is right and because it is the will of God.

Shaw Divinity School and Shaw University have had a great past, and Rev. Moon believes and prays that, with God's blessings, it will be used by God to establish an even greater future. He is pleased then to join in the great tradition of the Shaw Divinity School in working to love God and serve all God's children.

May God bless the Shaw Divinity School for its bold leadership and courage now as in years past, and may He use it as a living instrument to build His Kingdom.

Thank you very much.

Shaw Divinity School Awards Father Honorary Doctorate

After the May 11 ceremony, Mother is joined by (left to right) Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, Dr. Bo Hi Pak, Ye Jin Nim, Hyo Jin Nim, Nan Sook Nim, and Dr. Mose Durst.

On May 11, Shaw Divinity School in Raleigh, North Carolina, awarded Father an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree. Mother participated in the public graduation ceremonies at the Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, accepting the honor on Father's behalf.

School trustee Rev. Oscar McLaughlin, in presenting Father's degree to Mother, remarked that Father was being recognized for his "commitment to the cause of Christianity in the world today and social and political activism, including religious freedom" as well as for "his campaign against world communism." Rev. McLaughlin called him a "fighter and champion of peace and justice" and a "champion of human rights against all forms of tyranny." Mother stood quietly by while Rev. McLaughlin spoke; then she accepted the diploma and a red and white doctoral hood in Father's place.

Mother gave a brief but moving speech [see box] to which the 3,000 people in the audience listened with great respect and sincerity. As the first American school to publicly recognize Father in this way*, she said, Shaw Divinity School demonstrated great courage, vision, and Christian commitment in the highest sense.

Mother shakes a professor's hand at the reception following the conferring of Father's honorary doctorate. Left of her is Dr. Joseph Paige, executive vice president of Shaw Divinity School. Hyo fin Nim is at right.

In addition to honoring Father, the school also gave honorary doctorates to Dr. W. Franklin Richardson, general secretary of the National Baptist Convention and senior minister of Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, New York; and to Dr. Oscar Cook, pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and a member of the general board of the Baptist State Convention.

The doctoral presentations were made before the joint commencement ceremonies of Shaw Divinity School and Shaw University. More than 350 students received degrees, with 14 divinity school students graduating.

Dr. W. Franklin Richardson commented at a luncheon after the event that it was truly commendable to give the degree to Father while he was still in prison because "Jesus tells us to remember those in prison: `...1 was in prison and you came to me' (Mt 25:36)."

In announcing the awards, Dr. Stanley H. Smith, president of Shaw Divinity School and Shaw University, stated that honorary degrees are given to persons who have distinguished themselves in their profession, specialty, and communities, and to persons who have been instrumental in advancing Shaw Divinity School.

A statement released by the school said that Father "has demonstrated a deep and sacrificial concern for establishing God's kingdom through the elimination of racial and religious bigotry."


* On December 9, 1975, Father was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD.) degree from Ricker College in Houlton, Maine. This is the first time, however, that Father received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from an American institution. 

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