Messiah - My Testimony to
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter Twelve - Waves of Persecution
Just before he began his thirty-two-city tour, Reverend Moon was invited to the White House on February 1, 1974, to have a private meeting with President Richard M. Nixon. President Nixon had won reelection to a second term in 1972 by an overwhelming margin over the Democratic Party candidate. With his reelection, Mr. Nixon stood ready to join the more fortunate presidents in U.S. history who served two full terms. His second inauguration was held in January 1973 in front of the Capitol. President Nixon was at the height of his power, and it appeared as though no one could challenge him.
There was just one problem, one that wouldn't go away, like molasses that keeps sticking to the fingers. During the 1972 reelection campaign, some overzealous elements of the Republican Party were arrested during an attempt to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters on the sixth floor of the Watergate Hotel and place listening devices in the office. Initially, it was handled as a simple incident of breaking and entering. Gradually, however, an investigation by the FBI and persistent reporting of certain media revealed that the White House was involved, and the incident came to represent "criminal acts by the president."
All the news media in the United States, like sharks who smell blood and attack a prey together, latched onto the issue with full force. The White House continued to deny any involvement in the incident and even went so far as to say the press had concocted the whole thing. The president and his advisers believed that if they maintained this position, the problem would eventually go away.
In fact, the situation kept getting worse for the White House. The Washington Post adopted a clearly confrontational posture. Day after day, the newspaper hit the Nixon administration with front-page articles on Watergate. The newspaper claimed there was evidence that President Nixon and the White House had engaged in an illegal eavesdropping operation to gain information it could use against their political opponents.
This is what has cone to be known as the Watergate Incident. If President Nixon had moved a little more quickly to reveal the truth about what happened, severely punished those who were involved, and issued an apology to the nation, the incident would probably have ended there.
Nixon, however, was arrogant. He was buoyed up by his overwhelming reelection victory.
Looking hack, the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters was not, in itself, a serious incident. The involvement of the White House was fact, but there was no clear evidence that the president himself directly ordered the break-in. The reason the situation became so serious was that President Nixon and the White House carried out a cover-up, hindering the investigation and destroying evidence. This ultimately led to the president's downfall. He himself made the situation much worse than it was. He dug his own political grave.
By 1971, Watergate was no longer just a battle between the White House and the news media. Anti-Nixon sentiment swept the country. Congress, under the control of the Democratic Party, joined the strident opposition and began discussing impeaching Nixon. The political floodwaters around the White House reached dangerous levels.
America was boiling over, and it became difficult to carry on the affairs of the country without first bringing the Watergate incident to some kind of clear conclusion.
An added difficulty was that the Vietnam War was at a crucial turning point. America had invested huge amounts of materiel and military force into this war. The war was bigger than the Korean War and nearly as costly as World War II. Yet, America did not have a winning strategy. Anti-war demonstrations grew more feverish by the day. Public opinion was split down the middle. Military morale was at a low ebb.
The Paris Peace Accord signed on January 27. 1973, brought about a temporary ceasefire. U.S. forces completed their withdrawal within sixty days. President Nixon believed that even after U.S. forces withdrew he could continue military support to the government of South Vietnam, and there would be no problems as long as North Vietnam kept to the terms of the agreement. In the event of an emergency, the president expected that he could re-deploy combat forces and resume the bombing of North Vietnam to stop a North Vietnamese advance against the South.
That was not how the situation played out, however. Congress cut military assistance to South Vietnam by half. Communist forces in the North violated the peace accord by sending massive amounts of weapons, ammunition, and soldiers to the South over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They built strongholds and prepared for the final showdown.
This serious crisis demanded that the president of the United States make some difficult decisions to bring an end to the war. If U.S. forces were to he redeployed to Vietnam in a major way. President Nixon needed to adopt a decisive stance that could unite public opinion. On the other hand, if the policy was to make North Vietnam stop its violations of the peace accord and establish peace firmly, this, too, would require that the president exercise strong leadership and diplomatic skill. Yet, the White House was like a house on fire. President Nixon couldn't even put out the fires that were burning under his own feet.
There was still another problem. North Vietnam was backed by the Soviet Union, a country whose ambition was to bring the entire world under communism. Soviet strategy was to support North Vietnam in its war of attrition against the United States, thus dividing U.S. public opinion and draining America's strength. Then, while America was mired in confusion, the Soviet Union would move to take over all of Southeast Asia.
From the standpoint of this Soviet objective, the paralysis of the entire American political machinery brought about by Watergate was an unexpected windfall. Already, fierce fighting was under way in the countries surrounding Vietnam, such as Cambodia and Laos. Anyone could see that a U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam would inevitably lead to a blood bath in the Southeast Asian region and that the death toll could even exceed ten million innocent lives.
In the midst of this confusion, Reverend Moon made a major decision.
"Forgive, Love, Unite"
First, Reverend Moon wanted to save America. He saw that if the situation were allowed to continue, it would lead to much more than just the downfall of President Nixon. Ultimately, it would enable the Soviet Union to take over the entire world. Reverend Moon came to see clearly America's "crisis of spirit." He reasoned that for America to be saved from this dilemma, it had to return to the spirit of Christianity, which is forgiveness and love.
Second, he saw that the downfall of President Nixon in this particular time would lead in the very near term to a bloodbath throughout Vietnam. And, considering the expansionist and warlike character of communism, it was not likely to end there. Communism would conquer Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Then it would go on to subdue Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. From there it would extend its evil hand toward Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan. New Zealand, and even Australia. It was terrible to think how many millions of people would lose their lives in this process.
Reverend Moon proclaimed a bold plan to save America, fully aware that he would bring upon himself the severe criticism of all the news media in America. Reverend Moon called out for Americans to forgive President Nixon in the spirit of Christianity. He took out full-page advertising space in the principal newspapers in all fifty states and published a proclamation that called on Americans to "Forgive. Love, Unite."
The American media world was dumbfounded. Who would dare defend President Nixon in such a time? Who is this Reverend Moon? All eves were turned on Reverend Moon.
Christian leaders in America were also dismayed by this proclamation for a very different reason. They saw Reverend Moon as doing something they should have done themselves. Their fear of being criticized by the secular world for taking such a stand had kept them silent. Now, though, they saw that a minister from Korea had boldly taken a stand on the basis of the spirit of Christianity and had spoken up for God's viewpoint. In their hearts they were ashamed and, deep clown, they knew that Reverend Moon was right. Forgiveness, love, and unity were the way to bring life to America and to prevent communism from taking over the world. Even more importantly, they saw that this was the way that all Christians must follow.
To ensure that Reverend Moon's words are accurately represented here, I am quoting his proclamation in full as it appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other newspapers on November 30, 1973.
Ever since I was 16 years old, I have constantly encountered the presence of God. I have been able to share with the world numerous insights that He has shown me. On January 1, 1972. God spoke to me again in my prayers. He told me to go to America and speak to the American people about hope and unification.
In obedience to Gods call, I came and began the Day of Hope tour. In 1972 I took this message to seven American cities. The current nationwide speaking tour began in Carnegie Hall, New York, on October 1, 1973, and will go to 21 American cities, declaring a message of hope and unification.
After New York, I spoke in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C.. New Orleans, Dallas, Tampa. and Atlanta. The kind welcome I received in these great American cities deeply moved me. I am especially grateful to the mayors and other officials who responded by proclaiming The Day of Hope and Unification" in their communities.
A full-page ad carried in major newspapers in all fifty states during the Watergate crisis.
My travels in America have shown me a troubled land. The moral and spiritual decline is tragic and shocking. Many people are no longer proud to he Americans. The American nation seems mortally wounded in spirit and soul by the tragedy of Watergate. We are witnessing a crisis probably unprecedented in American history. The situation is very serious.
It is more than a political, social, and economic crisis. It is a crisis of the human soul. This is not only the problem of the man in the White House; it is a crisis for all of us.
On November 10, 1973, I took two weeks out from my tour and returned to Korea. I used that time for prayer and meditation in a desperate search for an answer and new hope for America.
Today we hear so much about America's troubles - what is wrong and who is to blame, what should be done and what cannot be done. Vicious accusation is becoming a daily staple in the American diet. Hatred and bitterness are killing the human soul. Some people cry out "Impeach the President." Opinion is divided, and the people talk on. Should the President remain in office? Should the President resign or be tried?
We were all witnesses to America's assassination of her President, John F. Kennedy in 1963. But today, without many realizing it. America is in the process of slowly killing her President once again.
A bullet killed Kennedy, yet the nation united in a common feeling of sorrow and repentance.
This time the "bullet" of hatred and accusation is capable of destroying not only the President, but the nation with him. in a war of hatred, no one is the winner.
All thinking American people feel grave concern for the future of their country. Some even believe America has been struck a fatal blow. However, at this critical moment in American history it is disappointing and strange that no one is asking, "What is the will of God?" If America was conceived as "One Nation Under God," then the answer must come from Him. I lave we stopped asking?
I bend my head and place my ear upon the heartbeat of America. I hear no one seeking the solution from above. We keep on criticizing and the nation sinks; we criticize some more and the nation falls even farther, deep into greater peril. Now is the time for America to renew the faith expressed in her motto "In God We Trust" This is the founding spirit that makes America great and unique. God blessed America because of this spirit. Furthermore, America is fulfilling a vital role in God's plan for the modern world. God is depending on America today. Therefore, the crisis for America is a crisis for God. An answer must cone from above, from God, from the one who has the answer. I have prayed to God earnestly, asking Him to reveal His message.
The answer came. The first word God spoke was "Forgive."
America must forgive. Whatever wrongs have been done, whatever mistakes are being made, America has a noble deed to perform. America must forgive. The Watergate affair is an error: not only the error of a few men, but the error of humanity, the error of the American people. The Lord's prayer says, "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors." If we want God to forgive us, we have to forgive each other first.
The Watergate is not merely a test of the President. The Watergate is a test of America's faith. How will this nation stand before God in the midst of moral crisis? Can this nation, which was founded 200 years ago based on Christian tradition, uphold that same tradition today? Can this nation prove its generosity and mutual forgiveness? Can it love? This is the test for the American people. Long ago the American settlers on the New England shores made many grave mistakes. But with their trust in God they came through many crises. They could then lead America to prosperity.
The Bible speaks of the time the scribes and Pharisees tested Jesus. They brought him a woman to be stoned. She had been caught in the act of adultery. Mosaic law demanded retributive justice. But Jesus' message was forgiveness. "He stood up and said to them. 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.' ... But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, 'Woman. where are they? Has no one condemned you?' She said. 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you: go. and do not sin again.'" John 8:3-12) Nobody dared to cast the first stone!
Who among you will be the one to cast the first stone? This is no time to cast stones upon your leader. This is no time to cast stones upon one another.
I have been praying specifically for President Richard Nixon. I asked God. "What shall we do with the person of Richard Nixon?" The answer did come again. The second word God spoke to me was "Love. It is your duty to love him." We must love Richard Nixon. Jesus Christ loved even his enemies. Must you not love your President?
What do you do when a member of your family is in trouble? Do you criticize him and tear him apart? Of course not. You guide him. You comfort him. You love him unconditionally. You belong to the American family, and Richard Nixon is your brother. Will you not then love your brother? You must love the President of the United States.
This nation is God's nation. The office of the President of the United States is, therefore, sacred. God inspired a man and then confirms him as President through the will of the people. He lays his hands on the word of God and is sworn into office. At this time in history God has chosen Richard Nixon to be President of the United States of America. Therefore God has the power and authority to dismiss him. Our duty, and this alone, is that we deeply seek God's guidance in this matter and support the office, itself. If God decides to dismiss this choice of His, let us have faith that He will speak.
I continued in prayer, and the third and last word God spoke to me was "Unite." America must unite.
Let us unite in the spirit of forgiveness. Unite in the spirit of love. Now is the time for national repentance. Love is the power to unite. America once knew how to come together to create a powerful nation for goodness upon the face of the earth. America is a beautiful land to behold, a nation of all nationalities, all races, and all religions united together into one working whole. The source of power has been love and faith in God and in one another.
The crisis in America today can be overcome. We must rekindle our faith in God and reunite ourselves in love. America's destiny is inseparable from the destiny of the world. America's well-being affects the plan of God. God chose this nation as His champion in his modern day dispensation. With the bicentennial celebration a few years away, God is testing America through the Watergate problem. America must demonstrate unity in love and forgiveness. Let us renew our faith in God, for this has been the wellspring of America's power. America must live the will of God. She has no alternative.
Who am I to say this to the American people? I am not even a citizen of the United States. I am a Korean, a guest.
However, I do this because I love America as much as my own country. This is a country God loves. And I love God and He is our Father in heaven. Wherever God my Father dwells, there is my country. Indeed, the Father's country is also the son's. America belongs to those who love it most. I am as concerned for America's well-being as for my own. This is the foundation of my courage to speak out on this issue.
Furthermore, I waited. I waited long. I anticipated that some great American spiritual leader or evangelist would rally America around God above the Watergate at this stormy and depressing time.
However, there has been no American spiritual leader speaking out for unity. I heard no articulate voice in the wilderness crying this to Americans. By this time, God spoke to me again, "Fear not! Remember Jonah in Ninevah. Speak out!" and I obeyed.
And this is why I am doing this.
As Founder of the Unification Church International, I have declared the next 40 days, starting December 1. 1973, as a period of prayer and fasting by our members all over the world.
In this we are determined to awaken our nation to this national emergency. America must unite in her Christian tradition of love and forgiveness in the face of the grave crisis created by the Watergate. We hereby launch this National Prayer and Fast for the Watergate Crisis as the only way to heal and unite this nation.
This is indeed the day of dismay and moral crisis. Yet, this is also a great opportunity for America, an opportunity in which the American people can demonstrate America's true greatness in faith and courage. Historically, great peoples have proved their greatness not during normal situations hut in crises.
This is the time the American people must act as a great people who put trust in God. Then this day will he a day of new hope and unification.
"In God We Trust." In these four words lie America's key to survival and prosperity. America must live the will of God, and God's command at this crossroads in American history is Forgive, Love, and Unite!
(signed) Sun Myung Moon, Founder. Unification Church International
Reverend Moon's plan went further than just putting advertisements in newspapers. He took action. Prayer vigils were organized around the country. Young people who were members of the Unification Church took turns fasting a few days each, and called on people to "forgive, love, and unite." They didn't pray for President Nixon alone. They prayed for all of America's political leaders.
The movement to save America through forgiveness, love, and unity spread across America. Many religious organizations responded and joined in the prayers. Young people who had previously marched in anti-war demonstrations were now participating in this movement of prayer.
Reverend Moon and President Nixon
It was only natural that this movement would catch the attention of the White House, which was paying close attention to anything having to do with Watergate. President Nixon had been backed into a corner, and he came to place his hope in this prayer movement. He wanted to receive personal advice directly from Reverend Moon. This is how he came to invite Reverend Moon to a personal meeting in the Oval Office.
Reverend Moon and President Richard M. Nixon pose for the camera after their meeting in the Oval Office in 1974.
Members of the Unification Church carry photographs of individual congressmen as they conduct the three-day fast in support of President Nixon.
On February 1, 1974, President Nixon's deputy special assistant, S. Bruce Herschensohn, guided Reverend Moon on a tour of the White House and gave hint detailed explanations about the Cabinet Room and other historic points. Then he ushered Reverend Moon and me into the Oval Office.
President Nixon stood to one side of the entrance and warmly greeted Reverend Moon as he entered. The two men embraced and greeted each other. In person President Nixon was a larger man than I had expected. Despite the whipping he was receiving day after day in the newspapers and on the airwaves, he looked in excellent health.
After the greetings, President Nixon took a seat in a chair in front of his desk and Reverend Moon sat down next to him. Mr. Herschensohn was the only other person in the room. The atmosphere seemed prepared so that Reverend Moon would feel free to say anything he wanted.
Reverend Moon's first words were surprising. He said, "Let's begin this meeting with a prayer." He then offered a fervent prayer in Korean. I did not translate this, believing that Reverend Moon's heart would best be understood intuitively.
Reverend Moon closed his prayer, and the president said, "Reverend Moon, you are a great messenger of God. Even aside from my own political fate, I am deeply moved by the movement going on around the country now to revive the Christian spirit. I admire the courage you have demonstrated in your words and actions in trying to save America. I am completely in agreement that this is the way for America to accomplish her mission and stop communism from taking over the world."
President Nixon paused, and Reverend Moon began to speak.
"At five o'clock this morning, when you were probably still asleep. I came to the vicinity of the White House. I circled around and offered a deep prayer from a place where I could see your bedroom.
The fate of the whole world, not just that of America is resting on your shoulders now. I hope that you will be able to overcome the crisis you are facing, lead America down the right path, and protect the world from the threat of communism.
"Mr. President, if you make a mistake now, America will be defeated in Vietnam, and that will mean that more than ten million innocent people in Southeast Asia will lose their lives. The lives of all these peoples are resting on your shoulders.
"I cannot bear to see so many innocent people suffering and dying. So I prayed very deeply to God, and in that prayer I received His revelation. I have been waiting for a chance to have this important meeting with you so that I could give you my recommendations based on God's revelation.
"You may find my words somewhat shocking and abrupt. Can I ask you to listen to me with an open mind?"
President Nixon responded, "Yes, of course, Reverend Moon! In fact, I really need that." And he settled himself to listen to Reverend Moon's words respectfully.
Reverend Moon began to speak in a tone that was both stern and sincere.
"Mr. President, please don't think that you can overcome this difficult period with wisdom that is squeezed from the minds of the people on your staff."
"Mr. President, you have to rely on God. You must place your trust in Him completely. To do that, you must get down on your knees before God and repent in tears. You must ask His forgiveness. Then, with a completely reborn heart, you must set aside all political objectives and private concerns to humbly apologize to the American people in tears. You must place yourself in a position where you are an offering before the American people, and people must feel that you are only trying to act in the interests of America, to bring about peace for all humanity, and to accomplish the will of God."
"Mr. President, you need to move the hearts of the American people. Then you need to receive their forgiveness. The American people are a great people of God. Once they understand your true intentions, they will forgive your past mistakes and give you their fervent support."
President Nixon listened earnestly to Reverend Moon's every word. I employed all my abilities in English and all my spiritual strength to translate these words from Korean to English. I felt that the life and death of all humankind depended on my translation. I had to convey not only Reverend Moon's words but also his spirit and love.
Reverend Moon took a deep breath and began again.
"President Nixon, I received something about you in a revelation from God. May I tell you this?"
The president seemed to realize that Reverend Moon was about to say something really important. He changed his posture as if to say, "Please, please...
Reverend Moon began to speak again.
"Mr. President, this country has faced several crises in its history that challenged American presidents to make very courageous decisions. Probably the most serious was the Civil War. The country was divided. Brothers were killing brothers. Both the North and the South were suffering tremendous casualties. The nation was in mortal danger of splitting in two.
"At that time, President Lincoln's heart was heavy. He had to find a way to unite the people and renew their faith in the government. He took the bold step of declaring a national day of fasting and prayer, asking people to repent and renew their faith in democratic principles."
"Mr. President, more than one hundred years later America has come to a similar juncture of history. You must do something extraordinary. Just a simple apology to the people will not do. May I suggest that you declare a week of repentance and fasting. You can begin yourself and set an example. The hearts of the American people will he moved, and millions will follow your example in the spirit of forgive, love, and unite, which I declared in my Watergate statement."
"I will support you in this endeavor with all my power and with the help of my movement in America and around the world. The voice of repentance and fasting will shake the planet. There will he prayer and fasting on the steps of the Capitol and the White House. Let the people hear the sound of prayers from every hill and valley in America asking God to directly intervene in the affairs of this nation."
"If one week is not enough, extend it to two weeks or three weeks, even as Moses endured forty days of fasting before he finally received God's message."
President Nixon seemed to think deeply for a moment about what Reverend Moon had just said. Then, he made his promise.
"Reverend Moon." he said. "That sounds like a great idea. I will consider that option."
The president continued. "I know that you are not thinking only about this country hut also the world in making this unconventional suggestion. Please continue to pray for me. Right now, I need your prayers more than anything else. Please continue to pray for this country, too."
Reverend Moon responded as if to prod the president. "Mr. President, you already have my prayers," he said. "Even if you pray, God cannot work unless you take action courageously and decisively.
"Please have courage. The Bible says, "Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it." [Luke 17:33] Be brave, and make your decision. You need to carry this out within the next three days. After that, it will be too late. Please don't forget that ten million innocent lives are at stake. If you are not courageous, many people will die. You can save this country and save the world, but you have to have the spirit that you are prepared to sacrifice your own life, if necessary, for that purpose, Mr. President!"
Reverend Moon spoke with overpowering intensity and authority. If the public had witnessed this scene, many would have been reminded of scenes in the Old Testament where a prophet gives God's command to a king.
President Nixon made a clear promise.
"I understand," he said. "I will do that."
The two warmly embraced each other again, and Reverend Moon left the Oval Office with a feeling of great exhilaration. He was happy that he had accomplished an important mission.
However, despite his firm commitment, President Nixon failed to take any decisive action within the next three days. In the end, people concluded that the president had obstructed the Watergate investigation and engaged in a cover-up.
President Nixon's impeachment was only a matter of time now. On August 8, 1974, seven months after the meeting with Reverend Moon, he wrote a short letter of resignation and removed himself from the presidency to avoid being impeached by Congress. He thus became the first president to resign midway through his term.
Soon, the Vietnam War became a "war of disgrace" for America, the first war in history to end in a U.S. defeat. After the withdrawal of U.S. forces in compliance with the Paris Peace Accord, the communist forces of North Vietnam worked to increase their military strength. They reinforced their personnel and supplies within South Vietnamese territory and bided their time. In March 1975, they staged a major offensive, based on their judgment that there would he no redeployment of American forces to South Vietnam.
At the end of April, Saigon fell and the war came to an official end. And then the days of terror began.
The winds of purges and massacres blew across Southeast Asia. The whole Southeast Asian region was turned into a living hell. From communist Vietnam, well over a million refugees, the so-called boat people, escaped to sea. Laos became a colony of communist Vietnam. In Cambodia, the pro-U.S. government was replaced by the Pol Pot regime, and no one knows for certain whether it was two million or three million people who were massacred by this fanatical communist regime. Reverend Moon's prophecy had become a reality.
Bruce Herschensohn. President Nixon's special assistant who later ran for senator in California, once said:
"Reverend Moon was a great prophet. He was the only person who correctly understood the situation at that time. I only regret that President Nixon was not able to act exactly as Reverend Moon had advised."
If President Nixon had done as Reverend Moon suggested, he likely could have avoided the tragedy of his own resignation, and the situation in Southeast Asia would have gone in a fundamentally different direction.
Reverend Moon had stressed so strongly the importance of President Nixon taking decisive action. Yet, in the end, President Nixon did not have courage. His failure to take action led him to tragedy.
Aside from Reverend Moon himself, only Bruce Hersehensohn and I have direct knowledge of his meeting with President Nixon. I have decided to make these historic facts public so that they may be available to future historians.
The historic White House meeting between Reverend Moon and President Nixon thus ended without the desired result. That did not mean, though, that the meeting had no effects at all. In fact, it produced substantial negative results. Following this meeting. Reverend Moon and the Unification Church were attacked by wave after wave of persecution.
There is an old Korean saying that sparrows cannot be expected to understand the intent of the phoenix. American journalists couldn't he expected to understand the profound implications and motivations of Reverend Moon's words and actions. Following President Nixon's resignation, the American news media turned their attention on Reverend Moon as the one person who had gone against the prevailing tide of public opinion to call on people to forgive Mr. Nixon.
Journalists reported as if Reverend Moon had given his support to an unethical politician and declared that Reverend Moon's actions had been rooted in political ambition. They conducted an aggressive campaign of character assassination throughout America.
"Forgive, Love, Unite" is this not the cry of true Christians? Do these words not represent the spirit of Jesus, when he called on people to love their enemies? When Reverend Moon spoke these words, was he not doing so out of concern over the lives of more than ten million people in Southeast Asia and the possibility that communism could grow to dominate the entire world? "Sparrows" could never understand such profound intentions.
America had showered Reverend Moon with praise, commemorative plaques, and keys to their cities. The power of the media, however, was truly amazing. Within a short time, they created an image of Reverend Moon as a right-wing extremist. They claimed he "brainwashes children" and "destroys families." Christian churches that had not taken the opportunity to study the Unification Principle in detail suddenly were confronted with shocking reports that the Unification Church was claiming the Second Coming had occurred and that Reverend Moon was the incarnation of Christ. They responded by ridiculing the church and Reverend Moon as the "chief of all heretics."
Was the world about to see the same result as two thousand years ago, when Jewish believers, Pharisees, and Sadducees ridiculed Jesus as the "chief of all heretics"?
The American media derided Unification Church members by calling them "Moonies."
The Unification Church in America continued to move forward, but only by resisting the force of a strong headwind. Even in the midst of this storm, Reverend Moon and the Unification Church marked the bicentennial of the United States in 1976 by holding the Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument rallies, in full view of the public and under the critical eye of the media. Despite this, Reverend Moon and the Unification Church accomplished total victory.
Anyone familiar with how much the media of that time detested the Unification Church will have some idea of how difficult it was to successfully stage these rallies. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Billy Graham enjoyed the support of American public opinion, the media, even the government. Yet they had to be satisfied with results that fell far short of Reverend Moan's rally.
America's attitude toward the Unification Church after September 18, 1976, was one of shock and dismay. Politicians, journalists, religious leaders all began to look seriously at the great revolutionary movement that was sweeping across America. This led to their experiencing a new kind of emotion toward the movement - they began to feel fear. They feared the leadership of Reverend Moon who had demonstrated that he was capable of holding such large rallies of historic proportions even in the face of great opposition.
They asked themselves, "If Reverend Moon can accomplish this much within five years after his arrival in America, imagine what he will do in ten years if he is allowed to continue unchecked. In twenty years, he will be a serious threat. He might even become powerful enough to take over"
America. Even if he doesn't go that far, he is sure to develop into a force that exercises major influence in this country."
Liberals in America, especially those who sympathized with international communism, felt particularly threatened by Reverend Moon's appearance on the national scene. They feared that Reverend Moon could become a major threat, and so they came together to form an anti-Reverend Moon movement.
This was during the height of the Cold War. The Soviet KGB was spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually in an attempt to defeat America in an ideological battle. Soviet spies and sympathizers were using huge financial resources to penetrate every level and every aspect of American society.
After President Nixon's downfall, a little-known politician whose primary selling point was that he was "clean" appeared on the stage of national politics. He used President Nixon's disgrace as his stepping-stone to success and was elected to the presidency in 1976. This was none other than President Jimmy Carter.
Carter was a weak and ineffective president who was ignorant of communism. He placed the total withdrawal of U.S. forces from Korea in his election platform, so he was a man who would move the communist objective of world domination one step forward. The election of President Carter was certainly good news for the communist bloc.
Thus, left-wing forces enjoyed their heyday in America following President Nixon's resignation. Any political force that might be interpreted as anti-communist went into hiding, and it became almost taboo in American society to speak out against communism. If even "anti-communism" could not he proclaimed, then Reverend Moon's "victory over communism" was even more out of the question.
It was in this context that the so-called Tong Sun Park incident occurred in 1976. It later came to be known as "Korea-gate," and people remember it as yet another political scandal that occurred soon after Watergate.
A brief summary of the allegations in this scandal were that the government of the Republic of Korea, in order to carry out lobbying activity in the U.S. Congress, gave businessman Tong Sun Park special privileges in the import of U.S. rice to Korea. Mr. Park was said to have used the exorbitant profits he made in the rice trade to bribe members of Congress in an attempt to have legislation passed that was in Korea's national interest.
As a result of this incident, the image of all Koreans, not just that of the Park Chung Hee administration, suffered a severe blow. Ethnic Koreans in America sometimes had stones thrown at them as they were walking down the street, and it was difficult for anyone to stand up in a public forum and say. "I am a Korean."
The Seoul government sent Mr. Park to testify before the U.S. Congress. America's three major television networks competed to broadcast his testimony live. As a result, the chairman and members of the congressional committee holding the hearings became television stars overnight. It was the best possible publicity for politicians and an effective means of campaigning.
One congressman saw how much political benefit could be reaped from such hearings and decided he would use this strategy to achieve his own political ambitions. This was Congressman Donald Fraser. He had been elected eight times from his district in Minnesota and enjoyed status as an important member of the Democratic Party. He planned to run for the Senate in the 1978 elections. At 51, he was still young. If he were elected senator, he could use that as a stepping-stone to take a leading role in the Democratic Party. He may even have dreamed of the White House.
Congressman Fraser played a leading role in a Congress that was dominated by liberals. He had strong sympathies for communism, and he had been a strident opponent of the Vietnam War. He fully supported President Carter's policy to withdraw U.S. forces from Korea, and he enjoyed the president's confidence.
It goes without saying that he was opposed to Reverend Moon. Fraser saw how the chairman of the House Ethics Committee became a star as a result of the televised Korea-gate hearings, and he must have said to himself, "Yes! This is it! I can do that, too."
"I am the chairman of the House Subcommittee on International Organizations," he must have thought. "What's to stop me from holding hearings, too. If I investigate how the South Korean government is using the Unification Church to further its interests in relation to the U.S. government, then I can ride the wave of Korea-gate. I can destroy the Victory Over Communism forces and the Unification Church that are growing day by day in America. I can even undermine the anti-communist policies of the South Korean government. This is a fantastic opportunity. It's a great opportunity for some publicity that I will be able to use in my Senate campaign. That Senate seat is as good as mine."
Fraser must have smiled to think how well things were about to go for him.
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