Chapter 1 The Life of the Founder






 Indictment for Tax Evasion



 Background to the Indictment

Since Reverend Moon came to the United States to lead worldwide missionary activities centering on the United States, the Unification Church, under God's providence, has seen development unprecedented in the history of religion.

Because the Unification Church, with its roots in Korea, had been comparatively successful in its missionary activities and made a visible impact in America-a society suffering with drugs and free sex-certain supporters of racist ideologies and communism had tried from the early 1970s to block the church's activities. In line with this, the Carter administration was persistent in its attempts to hinder the development of the Unification Church, a conservative, anti-Communist organization. The IRS had already investigated the movement's tax returns in 1971. In 1977, the New York state tax office levied exorbitant property taxes on facilities that were being used for missionary purposes, such as the church training center, the Unification Theological Seminary, and the World Mission Center.

Members show their support

However, the High Court in New York held that these taxes were unfair, and recognized the Unification Church's right to tax exemption as a religious organization.

In 1975, Congressman Donald Fraser, Chairman of the House Committee on International Organizations, began a 34-month investigation of the Unification Church, and in 1981 he tried to create serious problems for the church on several issues, including Reverend Moon's permanent resident status. In spite of such relentless persecution, the Unification Church and Reverend Moon continued to prevail. In 1981 Reverend Moon was falsely accused of tax evasion, thus staining the history of constitutional government in America.

 A Christian minister wears handcuffs to protest Reverend Moon's incarceration


Miscarriage of Justice

 Reverend Jerry Falwell speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club

Interest amounting to 112,000 dollars had accrued to a sum of 1.6 million dollars donated by church members which was deposited for a period of three years in the Chase Manhattan Bank in Reverend Moon's name. It was over this interest that the District Attorney's Office in New York brought charges of deliberate tax evasion. That Reverend Moon had been targeted for selective prosecution was clear from the fact that it was brought no less than eight years after the alleged evasion of taxation occurred. The reason the interest earned had not been reported to the IRS was that the fund had been used for the purposes of the church. The American Stock Exchange Commission had officially recognized that this was a church fund.

Reverend Moon's supporters hold a caldlelight match following his imprisonment   Reverend Moon arriving at the hearing on religious freedom (June 26, 1984)

On the basis of this testimony, the church maintained Reverend Moon's innocence of the tax evasion charges and continued the fight in the courts. The New York District Court disregarded the church's request for the trial to be held before a judge and insisted on a jury trial, which opened the door to the possibility of racial prejudice. This was an unjustifiable denial of a defendant's right to choose his method of trial. In addition, despite the fact that tax is not supposed to be levied on funds used for religious purposes in the United States, the Justice Department took special issue with Reverend Moon. It should have been pointed out that the judicial authority of the United States was disregarding the spirit of the Constitution-i.e. that all men are equal under the law-and that it disregarded the first amendment of the United States Constitution.

During the same period of time, Roman Catholic Archbishop Terence Cook of the state of New York, residing just seven miles from the court, was managing, in his own name, a fund more than one thousand times larger than that over which Reverend Moon was indicted on charges of tax evasion. Archbishop Cook, however, was not the subject of controversy.


Response from the Spheres of Religion, Politics and the Media


The figure of an imprisoned priest forms part of a protest rallyOn observing the injustice of the trial, a conscientious voice was raised among the religious and political authorities, and of the media. Forty Christian organizations representing 120 million followers, including the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCC-USA), the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, American Baptist Churches in the USA, the Methodist Federation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Christian Legal Society (CLS), National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), the National Bar Association (NBA), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS), Christian Voice Inc., and the Institute for the Study of American Religion (ISAR) among others, denounced this trial as an invasion of the freedom of religion. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, warned that the verdict of the court was unjust. Various media organs pointed out the injustice of the verdict and urged that the United States return to its founding Christian spirit. Numerous newspapers, including the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, carried editorials remarking upon the miscarriage of justice.

 Reverend Joseph Lowery reading a public statement to the US president


Testimony at the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution

The United States Court of Appeals dismissed Reverend Moon's appeal against his conviction and upheld the eighteen month sentence. On June 26, 1984, the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution convened a hearing on the freedom of religion. The hearing, chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch and attended by three hundred observers (not counting Subcommittee members), was for the purpose of investigating whether the verdict in Reverend Moon's case had been a violation of religious freedom.

Senator Orrin Hatch greeted Reverend Moon on his arrival prior to the start of proceedings, stating that the Subcommittee was honored to have Reverend Moon attend personally. In his testimony, Reverend Moon stated that if religious freedom failed in the United States, God would lose the nation where He could settle, and pointed out that the bank deposit over which he had been convicted was a non-taxable church fund. He furthermore declared: "I am even ready to give my life if that will ensure that the nation and the world survive and do God's will."

 Members of the clergy protesting Reverend Moon's imprisonment outside the White House

Rallies for Religious Freedom in Support of Reverend Moon

When the United States Supreme Court refused to hear Reverend Moon's appeal, many rallies and other gatherings took place in the name of religious freedom with the purpose of encouraging the American people to take notice of and reflect deeply on the issues.

On June 14, thirteen hundred religious leaders and representatives from the academic community held a rally for religious freedom at the Seoul Hilton Hotel in Korea.

Many rallies for religious freedom were held throughout Japan, including one in Tokyo on June 12. There, representatives from all faiths including Shintoism, Christianity, and Buddhism, participated. Having formulated a statement of support for Reverend Moon, and a message to be sent to the president of the United States, they staged a street march.

Christian ministers Common Suffering Fellowship Rally  New York march for religious freedom sponsored by the Coalition for Religious Freedom

In America, hundreds of rallies and events for religious freedom were held in cities across all fifty states, including Washington DC on May 30 and New York on June 11. These rallies for religious freedom, sponsored by the Coalition for Religious Freedom, continued the struggle to defend the freedom of religion. Resolutions to be sent to the President of the United States were adopted. Moreover, ministers participated in "Common Suffering Fellowship" meetings in empathy with Reverend Moon's suffering in prison.


The Path of the Righteous

Reverend Moon entered Danbury Prison on July 20, 1984. Since receiving his call from God, Reverend Moon had previously been imprisoned five times, this being the sixth. Reverend Moon's experiences of incarceration have come about during the course of his effort to fulfill the responsibility bestowed on him by God. Each instance of imprisonment resulted from persecution, and was an ordeal which, as a pioneer, he inevitably had to experience. On the day that Reverend Moon began serving his sentence, a large group of clergymen wearing handcuffs marched through Washington DC to the White House. There, they held a rally imploring God to forgive the sins of America, and determined themselves to share in Reverend Moon's plight, following in his footsteps on "the path of the righteous."