Articles From the April 1994 Unification News


All You Really Need to Know About AFF, CAN, and ICEP

by Peter Ross-NYC

The poet Edgar A. Guest wrote: Hate is that evil / State of mind / Which feeds the worst / In Humankind.

With this perspective in mind, one can begin to put into context the activities of organizations in America like the American Family Foundation (AFF), the International Cult Education Program (ICEP), and the Cult Awareness Network (CAN). What appear to be benign and sincere attempts to contribute to the welfare of society on the part of these organizations, deeper scrutiny reveals alternatively, enterprises entirely beset by the power of hatred. While those individuals publicly representing these organizations might in other social contexts appear as rational, sincere, and conscientious, yet in their public persona as representatives of these organizations, Herbert Rosedale, Marcia Rudin, and Cynthia Kisser, appear debilitated, blinded, and otherwise undermined as a result of their manifest hatred.

When a parent or relative of someone who joins a community or organization that they disapprove of calls an organization, like the Cult Awareness Network, the American Family Foundation, or the International Cult Education Program, for information they are deceived. Instead of receiving objective information, the parent/relative is forced to suffer pain and anguish as a result of the policy and practice of these organizations to disseminate disinformation.

For example, instead of receiving a copy of the Divine Principle, a biographical introduction to the Reverend Moon, and a list of the organizations and institutions that he has founded world-wide, along with informed criticisms of the Church, the caller is instead served up atrocity apostate tales, junk science, and a litany of unfounded allegations. Moreover, soon after the call, the parent in turn receives a call from a deprogrammer, a mercenary, who for a fee of up to $50,000 will kidnap the relative from the group and hold him/her against their will, until they recant their faith. Practicioners of this abusive activity now prefer the term exit counselor in lieu of the term deprogrammer.

The Unification Church has been informed by parents of members from America and various other countries, Yugoslavia, the Philippines, and South Africa, that they received these types of solicitations. This information has in turn been passed on to the Federal Bureau Investigation and United States prosecutors.

Galen Kelly, the infamous deprogrammer and former national security director for CAN is currently serving a seven and one quarter years sentence in a federal jail. Kelly was convicted in Federal Court in Alexandria, Virginia, for the 1992 kidnapping of a woman in an effort to sever her affiliation with her religious community.

However, Cynthia Kisser, Executive Director of CAN, has repeatedly stated in public that she and her organization do not engage in kidnappings.

"Kisser said that Kelly was not a member of her group and that the network was not involved in the alleged conspiracy. However the prosecutors said that he [Kelly] 2belonged to the group." The Washington Post (10/01/92). "Prosecutors said Kelly is part of the Cult Awareness Network, which court papers said uses kidnapping to 'deprogram' members of cults." Richmond Times-Dispatch (10/07/92).

"Cynthia Kisser, who is now the national director of CAN, assisted me on at least two kidnapping type deprogrammings involving members of The Way International. On one of these cases, where we had been holding the person against their will in the basement of a home in Wisconsin, she actually came and spent two days helping with the case. It was because of Kisser's involvement that we were able to complete the deporgramming. I specifically recall this case because the target had been struggling quite a bit." (Affidavit from Mark Blocksom, former CAN deprogrammer, July 1992.)

Early in his career as a moonophobe, Herbert Rosedale, President of the American Family Foundation, in an article published in The Times Herald Record, described a Unification retreat site as "a center which spreads physical and emotional disease among its members and infects the community with the results therefrom."

AFF's literature announcing Mr. Rosedale's appointment as President of AFF stated: "Mr. Rosedale has been, and will continue to be, an active advisor and resource for the Cult Awareness Network....He will also continue to be a bridge between [CAN] and AFF as we pursue our common purpose."

Marcia R. Rudin, is the Director of the International Cult Education Program, (and wife of A. James Rudin, national interreligious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee). ICEP defines itself as "a joint program of the American Family Foundation and the Cult Awareness Network. The national Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the Association of College Unions-International (ACU-I) are ICEP participating organizations."

Ms. Rudin is also an employee of the American Family Foundation and sells CAN literature, books, and videos from her mid-town Manhattan residence in an apparent violation of local zoning laws.

In observing the activities of hostile apostates of the Unification Church like Steve Hassan and in listening to his self-promotional rhetoric, it is appropriate to recall another definition of hatred: "the coward's revenge for being intimidated." In addition to his self-promotional criticisms of the Unification Church, in 1989 Hassan stated at a CAN conference in Trenton, New Jersey, that "the Catholic Church is the biggest cult in America."

In his book, Combating Mind Control, Hassan states that he served as the national coordinator for a group called FOCUS which is "affiliated with the Cult Awareness Network." He has also admitted to having participated in involuntary deprogrammings. Hassan is a featured speaker at CAN conferences and routinely receives referrals from CAN.

AFF, CAN, and ICEP routinely work closely together, share the same literature, share the same funding sources, sponsor conferences together, share mailing lists, and otherwise conspire together in pursuit of their shared goals and aims.

These individuals and organizations have served as catalysts for the opposition to, among others, the work of the Reverend Moon in America and to the egregious misrepresentation of the Unification Church to the American public. They have pursued this endeavor through the exploitation of national tragedies like Jonestown, and more recently the government's actions against the Branch Davidians. They have systematically presented to the American people distilled images of the Unification Church and others, elicited from individuals who they themselves have so greedily "deprogrammed". They have intentionally and knowingly presented the theories of quacks and the proponents of junk science as tenable and legitimate, while refusing to disclose to the American public the refutations of those same theories by the established scientific and legal communities.

In the face of universal condemnation from the established religious community in this country they have tried to deny their own anti- religious agenda. They have accused the Unification Church, and others, of illegal and deceptive conduct, while they themselves have engaged in a conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights and in a conspiracy to deceptively generate fear and hatred. In several instances, associates of these organizations have been convicted of crimes in pursuit of their agenda.

For further information about the identity and the activities of AFF, ICEP, and CAN contact: Law Offices of Peter D. Ross at (212) 682-0901.


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