Articles From the October 1995 Unification News
Reverend Moon Speaks to America
by Peter Ross-NYC
Recent months have attracted as great an interest in religion as the O.J. Simpson trial has in the art of punditry. In late August, the Dalai Lama came and spoke in several cities. His largest audience watched his somewhat disappointing interview with Ted Koppel on Nightline. His Holiness, John Paul II, preoccupied the national attention to a far greater extent - even securing large segments of time on some of the major networks throughout his 5-day visit to America. Beginning on September 5, another 75-year-old religious leader embarked upon what became a 16-city tour of America, one which he completed in 16 rigorous days. The Reverend Moon's crusade bridged the two other tours not just in time or in culture by bridging East and West together. Rather, his tour was distinguished by the contents of his address, The True Family And I .
Throughout his life, Reverend Moon has garnered great distinction in innumerable arenas. One of these is as "the marrying man" as one newspaper described him after the 30,000-couple Blessing ceremony in 1992. No one has brought together in marriage more couples and certainly no one in history has exceeded the size of these ceremonies. Who do you know that blessed the marriages of over 360,000 couples in a single ceremony? And he is not done yet! In addition to conducting Blessing '95 in August of this year, Reverend Moon convened eight major events as part of the 2nd World Culture and Sports Festival. These included: the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace Parliament, the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences, the Professors' World Peace Academy Conference, the World Media Conference, the Summit Council for World Peace Conference, the Women's Federation for World Peace Conference, the World CARP Convention, and the Han Ma Dang Sports Festival. To each conference Reverend Moon sgave a plenary address and at the conclusion of each conference he offered closing remarks. In between, there was time given to meet the various participants. Beyond the confines of the Festival, Reverend Moon continued to maintain leadership over his ever-expanding international foundation.
A reasonable person might think that such unparalleled feats were enough for one year. However, Reverend Moon immediately returned to America and embarked upon a very publicized speaking tour. His first stop was Philadelphia and his last stop - fifteen days later - was in Anchorage, Alaska. One of Philadelphia's dailies, The Philadelphia Daily News, noted that despite the absence of any couples to be married, Reverend Moon was nevertheless "clearly enjoying a kind of honeymoon as he spoke of marriage." The paper went on to quote some of his major statements affirming the original value of the family while pointing to those factors threatening "to destroy completely the family ideal."
The following day Reverend Moon made his New York appearance at the Manhattan Center where he addressed a very distinguished audience. The event was preceded by two simultaneous receptions: one, for VIP's which included Ambassadors, City Commissioners, jurists, Ministers, and academics; the second for members of the press corps which included among others the Associated Press, Bill Bell - the religion writer for the Daily News, Korean television, radio, and print, as well as other ethnic Asian representatives. For the press, this was an opportunity to once again have a direct experience of the Reverend Moon. All too often, the media have been inclined to allow a small and vocal group of hostile detractors to define and characterize both the Unification Church and its Founder. But here was Reverend Moon - direct, live, and accessible. And anyone encountering him on such terms can only be profoundly impressed. This was also a chance for the media to meet for the first time as Church President, Dr. Tyler Hendricks. In response to Bill Bell's question as to whether the Church had gone mainstream Dr. Hendricks was quoted as having replied: "We're in God's mainstream." Farley Jones, President of the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, executive director of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace, Reverend John Gering, director of the Religious Youth Service, and Ms. Karen Smith of Ocean Church were all available to give extensive context to the scope of Reverend Moon's acclaimed work in those areas which they each represented. Ms. Beverly Freed, who was directly responsible for outreach to the media for the New York event, had done a commendable job to facilitate this reception.
For the main program, William Lay, NY Chair for the FFUWP, served as emcee. He first introduced Bishop D. Ward Nicols who had been invited to offer an invocation. Bishop Nicols is currently the senior bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In addition to his distinguished service in the AME Church, Bishop Nicols is a member of the World Council of Churches' Central Committee, the World Methodist Council, and is a trustee of various universities throughout the world. Following him was H.E. Ambassador Mario Nobilo who extended the appreciation of his government to the Reverend Moon for the relief work that had been carried out in Croatia under the auspices of the International Relief Friendship Foundation. Dr. Herbert London, the John M. Olin Professor of Humanities, New York University, offered effusive comments to welcome Reverend Moon to New York on this portion of his national tour. Ambassador Phillip V. Sanchez, Publisher of Noticias Del Mundo, introduced Reverend Moon while exuding his customary natural warmth and intellectual keenness.
On the following day, Thursday, September 7, Reverend Moon was invited to the University of Bridgeport to receive an honorary doctoral degree. He availed of this occasion to again deliver The True Family And I. The university had just recently awarded a degree to Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon. The New York Times published an extensive report on this event. It selected as its quote-of-the-day Dr. Richard Rubenstein's explanation for why the university had awarded Reverend Moon this particular doctorate. As President of the university he had stated: "If you have somebody who's that much of a benefactor, you don't just shake his hand and say thank you. Without him, the university would have died." Representing the feminine perspective, Donna Philips, head of the faculty council, was quoted in the Times for having stated that "she was happy the university could formally thank a benefactor who had given so much."
In extending coverage to this event, both the Times and the local Connecticut Post referenced a small but seemingly (unseemly?) embittered protest by some local red-necks. "Furious Rabbi Stein" (as characterized in the Times) of the local Coalition of Concerned Citizens was photographed while piercing the air with his finger in rabid protest. The Connecticut Post described his contribution to an otherwise civil occasion thusly: ""I'm shaking with rage," seethed Rabbi Israel Stein." While the protest only attracted a dozen folks they all sang from the same sheet. One of the protesters was identified as Cynthia Lilley. She is a national advisor for the American Family Foundation and her 15 minutes of fame arrived during her attempt to defame the Unification Church in a charade on NBC's Today show several years ago. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
On the foundation of these first three cities, Reverend Moon moved through the nation. Published articles in the major papers, as well as announcements on radio and television, heralded his arrival. After his speeches, banner headlines recorded the substantive content of his speech. Among others, these included: "Rev. Moon espouses love, values (Boston's Sunday Telegram); "Rev. Moon Answers His Critics In Visit" (Chicago Sun-Times); "Moon urges matrimony" (Houston Chronicle); "Body-mind unity would end violence, Rev. Moon says" (Denver's Rocky Mountain News); "1,500 hear the Rev. Moon focus on family in L.B." (Press Telegram, Long Beach, CA); "Moon brings message of family love" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer); Rev. "Moon spreads message of love to Miami beach audience" (Sun-Sentinel, Miami Beach). Through his own unchanging service to America and despite opposition as a result of uninformed prejudice, public recognition from those informed of his message and his work is finally being heard and seen. This can only continue and become an increasingly pervasive influence in popular culture. Those who introduced Reverend Moon in the various cities introduced his work in general terms to the assembled audiences. But in particular, they could speak with unquestioned authority of Reverend Moon's work in their respective field of endeavor. In Seattle, Professor Joseph Bettis, an emeritus religious studies professor at Western Washington University and a United Methodist minister introduced Reverend Moon as a leading voice in the world for diversity and tolerance - spiritual. racial, cultural, political and that Reverend Moon is "the great spiritual teacher for the 21st century." At the University of Minnesota, retired Colonel Buford Johnson commented in his introduction: "I look at what they're preaching - God, family, and love - and I wonder what the big problem is. Americans are paranoid." Dr. Morton Kaplan, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago introduced Reverend Moon by re-iterating his remarkable contribution to the demise of Communism.
It seemed that even those who have set themselves apart as Reverend Moons' most hostile of critics could not restrain themselves from recording the arduous road that this man of faith has walked from the obscurity of war-torn Korea to establish an international foundation of the highest integrity. Cynthia Kisser, executive director of the Cult Awareness Network was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times as stating "that the hiring of [former president} Bush, and the appearance of Coretta Scot King and Barbara Walters at a Moon-connected conference in Washington this spring, indicate Moon is "becoming entrenched politically and socially.""
Reverend Moon's tour concluded in his beloved Alaska where he spoke in Anchorage. ["At-last-ka" as he once described it.] The Anchorage Daily News reported on this program. The paper noted the tremendous investment Reverend Moon has made in the fishing industry in pursuit of his vision for solving the tragedy of human starvation by wisely utilizing the resources of the ocean. This report referenced how International Seafoods of Alaska has "worked closely with federal, state, and local officials to develop a new protein powder from fish discards that has been shipped overseas to feed hungry people ... ." The paper pointed out that "Moon's cross-country tour has helped revive the media spotlight that first shone in the early '70s as he attracted thousands of U.S. adherents." The paper noted how subsequently "critics attacked him" and that some of these attacks have persisted even until today.
Back to the pope. There are many factors which account for the commanding attention which His Holiness attracted throughout his 5 day visit to America. It is true that our contemporary culture has been leveled to most base level as a result of what the pontiff himself characterized as the "culture of flight from God." Equally true is the reality that this could only have resulted from the cumulative ineptitude and the internal corruption within the traditional moral and spiritual authorities of our age. Nevertheless, amidst this devastation, along comes a figure of uncompromising personal religious integrity who, despite the opposition both from within and without his very own Roman Catholic tradition, has been unshakable. To many in this parched spiritual climate, his presence and his message offers solace in the moment and hope for the future. One day before addressing his audience at the United Nations, the pope said: "But even if there is a crisis, a solution must be found because it is worthwhile to have this international organization, this family of nations. Nations, too, need a family. They cannot live alone as orphans." He spoke of the unprecedented opportunities for justice, reconciliation and development now visible in the world. But, he then continued: "Ancient rivalries and suspicions still compromise the cause of peace. We must find ways to set them aside. If we do not, history and the Lord of History will judge us harshly."
At this juncture, Reverend and Mrs. Moon have come. They are prescribing the essential solution for resolving our modern or post- modern cultural crises. Throughout their entire lives, as True Parents, they have sought to redress the "culture of flight from God" by affirming the teachings and embodying the practices of the essential religious truths. Moreover, they have acted to convey God's impassioned revelation to modern man. Empowered by this understanding, they have already developed successful paradigms for the effective resolution of those "ancient rivalries."
By the time this edition of Unification News has gone to print, Reverend Moon and his immediate family will have imparted the seminal message of The True Family And I, to audiences in every state throughout America. They plan to share it with a wider international audience as they travel to over 160 countries in the coming months. As people around the world hear this message - uncompromised and unapologetic, profound and instructive - and learn of Reverend Moon and his life-long work for themselves, they will come to regard him with great appreciation and distinction. However, his purpose has never been one of personal reward. But his consistently stated intention is to effect the conclusion of a process initiated by God, all too long ago, for the restoration of the human family. Reverend Moon concludes his speech by repeatedly stating, with great conviction and hope:
"As you probably know, Reverend Moon and his spouse are known throughout the world as the True Parents. If it is true that as the True Parents, we are connected to God in true love, true life, and true lineage, I would like you to remember one thing. Beginning from a true family and you, a realm of liberation, liberty, unification and happiness will begin. This will allow the hope of peace to sprout upon the earth."
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