40 Years in America

The New Beginning Of The History Of God

However, there were two ominous developments. One was the apprehension of a member, Carl Trent Trimble, by U.S. Park Police, who placed Trimble under the custody of his father. They were executing a court order signed earlier in the day by D.C. Superior Court Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio. The elder Trimble was given the power to have his son "counseled, examined, and treated by persons including, but not limited to physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, and lay persons (and) to keep (young Trimble) in ... custody, even in the event (young Trimble) wishes to leave said custody." This was one of the early court-ordered "blind" conservatorships which were to become a preferred method of abduction for distraught parents and "deprogrammers." Michael Runyan, the church’s director of public affairs, termed it "frightening...that this kind of thing could have happened in America.... It’s more like something that would happen in Communist Russia."

The other ominous development was word that a U.S. House subcommittee investigating activities of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency in the United States was interested in Rev. Moon’s "close ties" with the Korean government. According to the New York Times, "as he was making final plans for ...[ the] rally, Neil A. Salonen, president of the Unification Church, was being sought by...[t]he subcommittee’s staff consultant ... [who] tried to present Mr. Salonen with a subpoena to appear before the panel." Again, according to the Times, "Mr. Salonen evaded service of the subpoena, but agreed to make a voluntary appearance before the committee in his capacity as president of the Freedom Leadership Foundation, but not as president of the church." As with the conservatorships, this was the beginning of what was to become an explosive investigation during 1977-78.

The morning after the festival, at Great Falls Park, just outside of Washington, D.C., Col. Pak conveyed Rev. Moon’s message to several thousand members that he judged the Washington Monument rally to be an "unconditional success" and that he was "proud of them." Some two weeks later, on October 4th, the anniversary of Rev. Moon’s release from a North Korean communist prison camp, he again proclaimed the Washington Monument rally to be an "unqualified victory" and confessed,

I feel light as a feather. I feel like I can fly. I have borne a tremendous burden of responsibility, but with the victory at Washington Monument, I feel like I have been liberated from the weight. I can now walk as a free man. I can hold my head up before heaven and earth.

Rev. Moon proclaimed October 4th to be the "Day of the Victory of Heaven." Repeating a theme that he had introduced previously, he stated that barriers in the spirit world were broken down and that "[t]his will be reflected in the physical world." So long as members worked "at least as hard" as they had during the Washington Monument Campaign, they would see "a dramatic difference in our prayers and the results." A jubilant Rev. Moon expected the movement would "take off in leaps and bounds from now" and discussed prospects in evangelism, business and educational activities.

The afterglow from the Washington Monument lasted through 1976 and into the New Year. On January 1st, Rev. Moon stated that the church had laid an "invincible foundation" for "horizontal expansion throughout the world." At his birthday celebration on February 23rd, he pointed out that according to the lunar calendar, 1976 ended on February 20th. As he put it, "The year of victory is gone, now the year of joy has started." He conducted a blessing in marriage of 74 couples on February 21st "so everyone could be happy" and drew his birthday remarks to a dramatic conclusion by saying,

[A]s of today all the dispensational history of restoration has ended and all the conditions of indemnity have been met and paid in full. From this moment on, the more opposition we get, the more victories. Anything the outside will give to us in the form of persecution, suffering, and pressure, an equal amount of blessing will be restored to us.... The winning of territory inch by inch will continue to the year 2000. Every day’s work will accumulate to the Kingdom of God from this time on. Even though the Satanic world is attacking, they are no longer advancing. We are the force who is advancing.

The main stage at the Washington Monument Rally

Even more astonishing for members was Rev. Moon’s statement following the cake cutting and reception of gifts that "This is the new beginning of the history of God. Therefore, this is the original first year of the Kingdom of God. This is the Year One."

Rev. Moon developed themes of civic responsibility in his Washington Monument address, entitled "America and God’s Will," which were similar to those at Yankee Stadium. However, he extended this vision to inter-religious cooperation, arguing that Judaism, Christianity and the Unification Church were "three brothers in the Providence of God." Judaism, he maintained, "was the first work of God" and was "in an elder brother position." Christianity was "in the position of the second brother," and the Unification Church, "through which God had given a new revelation," was "in the position of the youngest brother." By extension, Rev. Moon argued that "Israel, the United States, and Korea, the nations where these three religions are based, must also be brothers." He stated that the three nations had a "common destiny" and that the communist bloc was "trying to isolate and destroy them." He called upon the "three brother nations" to "join hands in a unified effort," contributing "internally to the unification of world religions and externally to the unification of the world itself."

On the campaign trail

Rev. Moon’s call did not produce immediate results. In fact, by year’s end the "three brothers" were quarreling. More accurately, the two elder brothers had begun to gang up on the youngest. In December, the American Jewish Committee charged in an official report, "Jews and Judaism in Reverend Moon’s Divine Principle," that the church’s main theological text revealed "an orientation of almost unrelieved hostility toward the Jewish people." Citing specific references, the report asserted that whether the text was discussing "the Israelites of the Hebrew Bible or the ‘Jews’ of the New Testament period, Rev. Moon portrays their behavior as reprobate, their intentions as evil (often diabolical), and their religious mission as eclipsed." This report elicited an official "Statement on Jews and Israel," signed by Rev. Moon and published in full page advertisements, which repudiated anti-Semitism and pledged support for the state of Israel. At the same time that the American Jewish Committee was making its attack, the U.S. House Subcommittee on International Organizations, chaired by Rep. Donald Fraser (D-Minnesota) continued its probe into Korean-American Relations. The church charged the subcommittee of "bad faith" and "McCarthyite tactics" in harassing members for information. Later, it accused Rep. Fraser of attempting to drive a wedge between the United States and Korea.

Washington Monument was a watershed event in the history of the Unification Church in America. It closed out the initial proclamation phase of Rev. Moon’s ministry and opened the way for new initiatives in the fields of evangelism, education, interfaith relations, business, media and public life. The movement became increasingly diversified in the years ahead. This slowed the pace of the movement’s advance. However, its accumulated investments in the face of rejection eventually had an effect. In the succeeding period, the movement began to develop an infrastructure which greatly expanded its ability to exert influence in the U.S. and elsewhere. This was in keeping with Rev. Moon’s original strategy. It simply took longer than anticipated.

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