Unification News for February 2000

Rev. Moon’s Numerous Contributions to Society

Rev. Michael Yakawich

This was first published as an op-ed in the Billings (Montana) Gazette, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2000.

He was born to a poor family in a small village in what is now North Korea. This month he will turn 80 years old. He has been vilified, attacked, beaten, arrested and imprisoned in three countries, including 2 1/2 years spent in a communist concentration camp. He also has accomplishments that spawned a movement with millions of members in over 180 nations. A religious leader, businessman, prophet, devoted husband, father and grandfather, his name is Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Born to Presbyterian parents, he was called to ministry at the young age of 15. His ministry came to Montana in the early 1970s. He visited the state in 1975 and spoke in Missoula. His wife of 40 years, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, spoke at the Sheraton Billings Hotel in 1993. Their son, Kook Jin Moon, gave a public talk in Billings in 1995. The Unification Family Church established a church building at 501 S. 29th St. in Billings, in 1987, which has provided clothing and food services, youth programs, neighborhood functions and traditional church programs.

Despite all the controversy that has surrounded his movement, many people still do not yet know the magnitude of his accomplishments in America and around the world, some to which I can personally attest. In 1977, Moon established the Unification Theological Seminary in upstate New York. In 1987 he began the Assembly of World Religions to foster and promote unity among the world’s faiths. He has established certified colleges in Bridgeport, Conn., and South Korea.

In addition, Moon has begun many other organizations to promote greater cultural and religious understanding and to promote world peace. The Interdenominational Conferences for Clergy was established in 1982. The Women’s Federation for World Peace, begun in 1995 by Rev. Moon and his wife, has held numerous events to bring together women from different races, cultures and nations to overcome the problems of past hatreds. The WFWP has been recognized by the United Nations and was granted the status of a non government organization consultative body, the highest honor that it can accord a private organization.

Among his humanitarian efforts are the International Relief Friendship Foundation formed in 1976 with the purpose of helping to alleviate poverty, malnutrition, and disease in the developing world. It is an organization that promotes programs in agriculture, technical training, health care, and emergency disaster relief in Africa, South America and Asia; established hospitals in Cambodia and Vietnam; distributed medical equipment in Uganda and Kenya; and distributed food in famine areas. The Tokyo-based Isshin Hospital annually sends out medical teams to rural areas to provide health care to those who would otherwise be without it. Recently, Moon donated 30 ambulances to South American cities in need of emergency vehicles.

Other projects include the Religious Youth Services which have accomplished over 187 projects for relief, such as building and restoring public buildings as schools and health facilities, and recently establishing a refugee camp in Croatia. More recently, the International Relief Federation for World Peace was instrumental in stopping the riots in New Delhi, India, in 1993, and facilitating dialogue with the Muslim leadership during the Gulf War preventing that war from becoming a religious Jihad.

In the cultural arena, Moon founded the Washington Times Corporation in 1984. The Universal Ballet Academy opened its door in 1990 in Washington, DC.

Both Rev. and Mrs. Moon hold honorary doctorate degrees from Argentina’s La Plata Catholic University and Shaw University in Raleigh, NC.

In conclusion, through all his life, Moon’s commitment has been to establish the True Family movement as a way to create God-centered families as the foundation for world peace and to break down the walls which divide us. His motto, "With the heart of a father, in the shoes of a servant" remains his life’s goal and to be True Parents and to encourage all people to be True Parents.

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