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

by Bo Hi Pak

Religious Freedom Under Attack

November 20, 1984

Opening address given at the Seventh World Media Conference in Tokyo, Japan, on November 20, 1984.

Honorable Prime Minister Kishi, Honorable Dr. Soustelle, Ambassador MacArthur, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Seventh World Media Conference. If you were to dig a hole straight down through the earth from where you are sitting, you would come out close to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Those who came here from Buenos Aires have traveled the longest and win the jet-lag award. The grand prize for the jetlag award winners is an extra cup of coffee at breakfast, along with our most heartfelt sympathy.

For most of you who came from opposite sides of the world, this is your nighttime, and that is good. Why? Because we journalists are generally night people anyway, so this is your working time. So let's get down to work. Of course, journalists work during the day too, and those who came from Asian time zones should have no problem either. You get down to work too. I must say you all look bright and happy this morning. In America, this is known as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Let me take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our honorary chairman, the Honorable Nobosuke Kishi, former prime minister of Japan. Prime Minister Kishi is one of our world's greatest living statesmen. He commands my highest respect and admiration. When you have met Prime Minister Kishi, you have encountered the finest tradition of Japanese leadership. I salute you, Prime Minister Kishi, on behalf of all the participants of the Seventh World Media Conference.

I would now like to pay tribute to our two distinguished conference co-chairmen. Dr. Jacques Soustelle of France is a member of the French Academy and the former vice prime minister of France. I have tremendous respect for Dr. Soustelle; he is indeed one of my most revered personal friends. Not only does this eminent scholar specialize in pre-Columbian cultures, but he also deserves respect for his political acumen. Thank you, Dr. Soustelle, for your leadership.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation as well to Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II, who has acted in a leadership role in our World Media Association for some time. He is a member of The Washington Times editorial advisory board. In that capacity he led an Asian fact-finding tour of five nations this past spring. I deeply appreciate his dedication to the work of the World Media Association. As you know, the MacArthur name is a legend in this part of the world, particularly here in Japan. General Douglas MacArthur is greatly admired by the Japanese, and Ambassador MacArthur, nephew and namesake of the general, has added to the stature that the MacArthur name enjoys. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan during the most important years of Japanese modern development. His diplomatic skills helped make the United StatesJapanese relationship the strong one it is today. Ambassador MacArthur, we also salute you for your inspired leadership of this conference.

As for this Seventh World Media Conference, the welcome provided by Japan, our host country, has been most heartwarming. The welcoming committee, organized months ago, did a tremendous job of making this conference possible. The prominent figures on that committee include more than thirteen Japanese leaders. The committee is headed by Mr. Kohei Goshi, chairman of the Japanese Productivity Center. I would like to ask all of you to join with me in showing our appreciation to the committee members and Mr. Koshi. We thank you all very much.

Under such excellent leadership, our conference has been prepared efficiently and effectively, and we are about to reap the fruit of their efforts. We have more participants than ever before, over 600, coming from eightyfive countries. Most of all, the caliber of this conference has risen to its highest level. We will have an exciting three days together here in Tokyo, which is probably one of the most beautiful and hospitable-as well as expensive-cities in the world.

At the Fifth World Media Conference held in Seoul, Korea, and the Sixth World Media Conference held in Cartegena, Colombia, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the founder of our conference and of the World Media Association, gave his founder's address. The founder's address has become a Media Association tradition. At this Seventh World Media Conference, however, Reverend Moon cannot be with us. He is incarcerated in the United States Federal Prison in Danbury, Connecticut, where he is serving an 18-month prison term.

Before I came to Japan, Reverend Moon wrote his founder's address in prison and asked me to deliver it on his behalf. I am deeply privileged and honored by his request. Before I do that, however, I must first answer a very obvious question in your minds: Why is Reverend Moon in a U.S. prison? I feel it is my duty to explain briefly about his situation before I deliver his remarks.

Shortly after he entered the federal prison, one distinguished South American journalist wrote him a moving letter. I would like to quote from that letter:

Thank you, Reverend Moon, for having elected to go to jail. Thank God you are in jail is spite of the fact that you could have avoided it. You could have shortened your term merely by capitulating to the government. Or you could have won the government's mercy by keeping silent about injustice and government abuse. But you did not choose that path. We are proud of your decision to choose suffering instead of bending your principles.

These words eloquently explain why Reverend Moon is in prison at this time. He is a crusader for God and has been all of his life. In America, Reverend Moon is fulfilling the role of a prophet. 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 gives words of warning and calls upon His people to rededicate themselves to Him. The role of the prophet is nearly always an unpopular mission. The prophet must tell the truth squarely, and the truth is sometimes very painful to hear.

Truth and Controversy

In the process of doing his mission, Reverend Moon inevitably became controversial. He has been persecuted. However, he is not the first religious leader in history to suffer persecution. Every major religious figure in the Judeo-Christian tradition has walked the path of suffering through persecution. In the Old Testament era, many of the 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 in this same tradition.

When he was indicted by the U.S. prosecutor, he was in Korea. 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 voluntarily to face trial. Reverend Moon is a man of honor and he is innocent.

For this reason the religious community in America has risen up against the decision of the court. More than 40 prominent individuals and religious organizations, representing almost 120 million Americans, filed friends of the court briefs with the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Reverend Moon.

Reverend Moon's incarceration began on July 20, 1984. Thousands of ministers and theologians declared themselves ready to spend one week of their lives in prison with Reverend Moon. But because the prison officials do not permit this, the ministers organized a Common Suffering Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Numerous rallies in support of Reverend Moon and religious freedom were held in major cities across the United States. Freedom of religion has become a major issue in America, and Reverend Moon is the rallying point.

The movement for religious freedom has become a worldwide movement. There has been an outpouring of sentiment by millions of people the world over to protest against the injustice wrought upon Reverend Moon. Here in Japan, rallies for religious freedom were held in many cities. In Tokyo, on September 24, several thousand people gathered to rally in his support.

Reverend Moon is a man of destiny, and he is determined to live out his destiny regardless of the sacrifices demanded of him. I am convinced of one thing, however, and it is this: When Reverend Moon comes out of the prison, he will not come out just as a religious leader and founder of a church and media organization. He will come out as a man of history and an indomitable world figure.

Thank you very much.

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