Unification News for October 2003

‘Messiah’ by Bo Hi Pak - Messiah: Volumes I and II (2002)

by Bo Hi Pak; University Press of America
Review by Paul Gottfried

This two-volume biography of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, originally written in Korean by his devoted disciple, Dr. Bo Hi Pak, and now available in English, has a value beyond being a testimony to nearly 60 years of Rev. Moon's public ministry.  An accomplished writer, longtime career officer in the South Korean army, Pak was the Reverend Moon's chief agent in the founding of the Washington Times in 1982 as well as the director of myriad until-now unheralded projects which helped Ronald Reagan and other Cold-War conservatives toss the Evil Empire onto the ash heap of history.

Pak has played a significant role in the Reverend Moon's American enterprises since the mid-sixties, when he was sent here to establish the American Unification Church. In the seventies when his leader moved to the United States or began to spend considerable time and money here, Pak expanded his informational and organizational activities, becoming publisher of The News World daily in New York (in 1976) and founder of both the Unification Church-supervised World Media Association and a vehicle for academic outreach, CAUSA (in 1980). Such efforts helped create centers for the dissemination of views that were thematically connected to the Church's millenarian focus, the age of peace and spiritual unity that the Reverend Moon would usher in after the passing of a century of war.

In this cosmic scheme, Communism represented the last critical challenge to the rule of peace - a "satanic force," which would have enslaved humanity, had not divine Providence  raised up the United States to oppose its ideas and political-military force. Pak reflects the Reverend Moon's view that United States had a providential mission to be the world-historical player against Communism in the late twentieth century.

One need only add to this predestined confrontation between Good and Evil a Korean background to understand the personal mission of Pak and of the man he serves. The Reverend Moon and many of those around them came out of an already Christianized Asian culture, which served as a bridge to the Western world, albeit to an almost Victorian-looking Protestantism.

Original sin, divine redemption, and moral rectitude are all basic to the Unificationist religion, which also reflects a deeply personal experience, the trauma of Korean nationalists who, like the Reverend Moon, suffered grievously under the Communists. Out of this combination of what appears to be an adaptation of nineteenth-century Presbyterianism and the Korean anti-Communist experience came the plans to found the Washington Times Corporation-and to promote the presidential ambitions of Governor Ronald Reagan.

Pak and the Reverend Moon had been eying Reagan as an American national leader from the mid-seventies on. What appealed to them about this figure was his unwavering anti-Communism; and in 1980, the Reverend Moon prodded The News World into announcing Reagan's electoral victory on its front cover before the returns were in. In a meeting shortly before the election with the then Republican presidential candidate, Pak addressed him as "President Reagan" and assured the gratified candidate that this was "a revelation from God received by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon." Such information casts light on the close relations between the Reverend Moon's publishing activities and the anti-Communist wing of the Republican Party.

For a Korean sponsor deeply concerned about world Communism, it seemed natural to concentrate his efforts on the one non-Communist superpower and to promote the electoral prospects of avowedly anti-Communist American politicians.

A final revelation for me in reading this biography was the willingness of the Washington Times benefactor to undergo what is called by Pak a "twentieth-century crucifixion." From July 1984 until August 1985, the Reverend Moon was in a federal penitentiary (and later a halfway house) supposedly for having defrauded the IRS of less than $7,300. He was jailed on the kind of blown-up tax evasion charges that might have been used to run a leader of organized crime off the streets. And politicians, most vocally Bob Dole, stirred the pot while chasing after anti-Moonie voters.

The Reverend Moon could easily have left the country and returned to Korea, which may have been what his detractors wanted. Instead he stayed and went to jail, while blessing the country that sent him there. Pak may be correct to see this as a conscious imitation of Christ, particularly given the Unificationist view that the Founder is bringing about

the Second Advent and sees himself as completing Christ's mission. In any case, the biography does clarify its subject's almost joyous acceptance of an unjust punishment.

Pak's repeated contention that his subject is an "unsung hero of Soviet liberation" is axiomatic. The continued refusal of beltway conservatives to recognize this fact is, of course, scandalous.

Dr. Pak also gives an amazing behind-the-scenes account of Rev. Moon’s meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow in 1990 and Kim Il Sung of North Korea in 1991. How an avowed anti-communist would meet the leading communists of the day is truly an inspiring story.

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