Truth Is My Sword Volume I - Collected Speeches in the Public Arena

by Bo Hi Pak

Reverend Moon's Tax Case

September 5, 1984

Reverend Moon initiated the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS) in 1971 to unite the specialized disciplines of science toward the search for a holistic worlduiew that could bring together scientific and religious thought. The conferences brought praise from the participants for the degree of intellectual freedom enjoyed by the participants and the stimulating papers and discussions that ensued. In the speech below, Dr. Pak explains to ICUS participants the facts behind Reverend Moon's prosecution and conviction for tax evasion, for which he suffered 18 months in prison. Dr. Pak characterized the case as an "inquisition, " and indeed a book by that name was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Carlton Sherwood in 1991. The dust jacket of the book says, "Here, carefully and tautly told, is the story of how the American prosecutorial system can be shamefully abused to persecute a religion and its leader. This special address was given at the 13th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in Washington, D.C., on September 5, 1984.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am very grateful to have this brief opportunity to report to you regarding Reverend Sun Myung Moon's current confinement in federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Reverend Moon founded the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), and I know as conference participants you have a sincere interest in his well-being. You may want to know something about his status at this time. Furthermore, when you return to your universities and communities, people will ask you about Reverend Moon. For these reasons, we feel it is our duty to explain briefly about his situation.

To begin, I want to recall some of the remarks made by Mrs. Moon in the plenary session. She said, "Some of you may wonder why Reverend Moon has had to go the way of imprisonment. I want to say only that as a crusader for God, my husband has suffered attacks and persecution throughout his life."

These simple words contain the key to understanding the life of Reverend Moon. He has indeed been a crusader for God throughout his entire life. Reverend Moon suffered for nearly three years in a concentration camp in North Korea, accused of the crime of preaching the word of God in a communist state. The average prisoner in that death camp did not last more than six months. Yet, because of his faith, Reverend Moon survived for nearly three years.

Reverend Moon's Mission in America

Today in America, Reverend Moon is fulfilling the role of a prophet of God. He is the voice crying in the wilderness, as the scripture states. Throughout human history, God has frequently raised up such voices. Through them God has given mankind words of warning and called upon His people to rededicate themselves to Him. This is the role of the prophet, and it is nearly always an unpopular mission. The prophet must tell the truth squarely, which is sometimes very painful to hear.

This is precisely Reverend Moon's role in America. He came to this country in 1971, obeying the voice of God. Reverend Moon sees very clearly that the future of the world depends on this nation. The United States of America was founded on the concept of One Nation Under God, and America has been blessed abundantly by God largely because America has been a Good Samaritan in the modern world, helping her neighbors and protecting weak nations and people from totalitarian encroachment. But Reverend Moon sees that America is now shrinking from these responsibilities. She has become confused regarding her role and mission in the world. This has resulted in America's retreat from the world's frontlines.

Reverend Moon followed the voice of God that directed him to come to America and begin a movement that would revive the fervor of Christianity and the founding spirit of America. His movement is kindling a spiritual awakening throughout the United States. But in the process of doing his mission, he inevitably became controversial. He has been persecuted. However, he is not the first religious leader in history to have been persecuted. Every major religious figure in the Judeo-Christian tradition has walked the path of suffering. In the Old Testament era many prophets were scorned. Jesus Christ himself was crucified. St. Paul, St. Peter, and others were imprisoned. Even in American history Roger Williams was exiled, Joseph Smith was killed, and Martin Luther King, Jr., was jailed many times. Today Reverend Moon is following this same path. With that in mind, you will understand readily why he has become a target of criticism in the United States.

The Court Case

Many people today, as a result of media reports, regard Reverend Moon's court case as a dispute over taxes. From the very beginning, however, this was not a tax case. The tax charges were used as a guise to allow the U.S. government to accuse the Unification Church and Reverend Moon in front of a biased jury. In essence the case against Reverend Moon is an indictment and trial of the Unification Church. It is the trial of a religion, a modern-day Inquisition.

What is the result? For the first time in American history, a minister has been sentenced to jail for administering the affairs of his church exactly according to the theological principles of his faith and the desire of his congregants. Reverend Moon stands convicted for no other reason than his religious beliefs and practices are misunderstood. He is being punished for being who he is.

As you know, Reverend Moon was in Korea when he was indicted. Reverend Moon is not a U.S. citizen. He could have remained comfortably in Korea because there is no extradition agreement between Korea and the United States. Yet he returned to the United States to face trial. Reverend Moon is a man of honor, and he is innocent.

Furthermore, Reverend Moon believes in the goodness of the U.S. judicial system. He knew well, however, that a jury trial would allow the government to capitalize on the unpopular image of him created by the media. For this reason, he requested a bench trial instead of a jury trial. His request was brutally denied, and this act represented a tragic abuse of Reverend Moon's constitutional rights. Certainly the right to trial by jury exists for the protection of the accused; it is in fact a shield to protect the citizen from possible government abuse. But in Reverend Moon's case, the spirit of the law was violated and the jury system twisted by the government to the disadvantage of the citizen.

The charges against Reverend Moon stem from the fact that, as the spiritual head of the international Unification Church, he held certain assets in his name. These assets were held on behalf of the church at a time when the international Unification Church was relatively young in the United States and lacked the formal organizational structure of more established religious organizations. During the years 1973 through 1976, Reverend Moon held church funds in his name in accounts at the Chase Manhattan Bank, and he also held stock in a church business, Tong-il Enterprises, in his name. Reverend Moon did so upon the request of church leaders who regard him as the central representative of the church.

The government charged that Reverend Moon had not paid taxes on $112,000 in interest for three years in the early 1970s. In other words, the IRS and the Department of Justice went about trying to prove that assets held by a religious leader in his own name are his personally and, therefore, subject to taxation. Yet they do not do so with all religious leaders. During that same time, the late Terence Cardinal Cooke, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, who resided about three miles away from the courtroom where Reverend Moon's case was being tried, held assets in his name worth a thousand times the amount that Reverend Moon was being charged with evading. What is more, the internal laws of the Catholic Church require that the reigning ordinary own its property in his own name. This is known as corporate sole, a well-established principle.

In effect, the government held Reverend Moon and the Unification Church to a standard never before applied to any other religious organization. Certainly if Reverend Moon remains in prison for administering church funds in the tradition of the time-honored practices of well-established mainline churches, every other minister in this land remains in jeopardy of being prosecuted.

This is the reason the religious community in this country has risen up against the court's decision. More than 40 religious organizations and prominent individuals filed friend of the court briefs with the United States Supreme Court. These organizations represent almost 120 million Americans.

On May 14, 1984, when the Supreme Court declined to review Reverend Moon's case, these individuals and organizations were appalled. They immediately recognized the danger to themselves, their religion, and religious freedom in America. In over 200 years of history, the religious community has never been so indignant and so united as it is now. Reverend Moon's case has shocked and awakened the conscience of America. For the first time in American history, a united front of highly diverse religious people has rallied to fight for the preservation of America's most valuable resource: its religious freedom.

Birth of a Movement

On June 26, 1984, Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, conducted a Senate oversight hearing on religious freedom. This also was a first in 200 years of American history. Reverend Moon, invited to testify as a special witness, stated:

I am honored to dedicate myself today to the preservation of religious freedom in this country. If I can raise up a beacon warning Americans of the danger which lies ahead, then my sacrifice will serve a great purpose.

The issue today is the very survival of America and the free world. To assure this survival, I am willing to suffer any indignity, go any distance, do any labor, and bear any cross. I am even willing to give my life, if that will ensure that the nation and world survive and do God's will.

At this point, religious leaders began to take their grievances into the street. Rally after rally was organized, crying out for religious freedom. Many coalitions for religious freedom were organized, and brought together religious people from the left and the right in a sincere spirit of cooperation, where the mutual defense of each other's rights is of primary concern. Since Reverend Moon's incarceration on July 20, 1984, the movement has intensified. Religious communities have put government officials in the United States on notice that they will not tolerate another minister unjustly jailed, another church padlocked, or another mission destroyed because of state oppression of religious freedom.

Thousands of ministers and theologians have declared themselves ready to spend one week of their lives in prison with Reverend Moon. However, because prison officials do not permit such a condition, a Common Suffering Fellowship has been organized here in Washington, D.C. In this way, religious leaders of different creeds, races, and nationalities intend to show their solidarity with Reverend Moon and their support for religious freedom. It is very heartwarming for him to see this expression of support. He truly feels he is not alone.

Furthermore, Reverend Moon feels very strongly that God will use his imprisonment for a good purpose. He said, "Now Danbury prison is my pulpit, and prayer in the prison is powerful." Reverend Moon rises at 3:00 a.m. each day and prays until he goes to work. He is confident that, while he is in prison, God will work a miracle here in America-the American people and the American nation will take up their responsibility to do God's will. This is of great comfort to him because it has been his goal since coming to America.

A few days ago, a U.S. congressman visited him in Danbury. This man remarked that in his 12 years in America, Reverend Moon had done everything possible to restore America to God, and yet the results of those efforts are still invisible, as far as a spiritual foundation is concerned. "Now that you are in prison," the congressman said, "skyscrapers are being built on this foundation by the very people you came here to help." Reverend Moon responded to him with a very broad smile.

Future of the Unification Church

Where do we go from here? We will not rest until we have won the complete vindication and exoneration of Reverend Moon. In the meantime, our church is flourishing. As Dr. Richard Rubenstein, a historian of religion, has observed, "A new religion thrives best on the bread of persecution." You will find our Unification Church and movement stronger, more united, and more determined than ever before. In addition, the projects initiated by Reverend Moon, such as ICUS, The Washington Times, and many others, will expand more than ever before.

I want to conclude this report by sharing with you something Reverend Moon told me recently. "Don't worry," he said. "Suffering for righteousness' sake is the way to know God's heart and bring His greatest blessings to the earth." I was astonished to see Reverend Moon busy in prison comforting those around him. He is not living for himself, even there. It was a very moving experience.

We have all the more reason to look forward to next year's ICUS conference. Reverend Moon will be there in person with greater vigor than ever before. Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you. May God bless you.

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