Unification Sermons and Talks
by Reverends Durst
Unification Church Response to Frontline Production of The Resurrection of Reverend Moon
This statement was issued by Dr. Mose Durst on February 17 in response to the airing on January 21.
In October of 1990, Eric Nadler, a reporter working with Globalvision, Inc. of New York, contacted Reverend James Baughman, President of the Unification Church, and asked that the Church cooperate in the production of a "Frontline" documentary on the Unification Church. In a taped meeting, Reverend Baughman explained to Mr. Nadler that the Church had been victimized many times by the media and that before cooperating he required Globalvision's assurances that the show would be fair and objective.
Thereafter, and on several occasions, Mr. Nadler along with his producer, Rory O'Connor, provided written and verbal assurances that the documentary they were to produce would be fair and objective and that they would offer the Church the opportunity to respond to criticism.
With these assurances, the Unification Church fully cooperated with Globalvision and Globalvision conducted lengthy interviews with Church officials and elders, filmed Unification Church worship services, attended a Church Holy Day celebration, visited the Unification Theological Seminary, and previewed Church audio/visual materials.
As the weeks went by, however, Church officials received complaints from individual Church members of abusive and unfair investigative techniques being used by "Frontline". Specifically, Church officials became aware of the following facts:
1. Virtually all of the persons Globalvision had interviewed were known to be openly hostile to the Church, and Globalvision had not provided the Church the opportunity to respond to any of the charges of these critics, as they had previously promised. In addition, Globalvision had not contacted most of the numerous reputable scholars and religious leaders who were familiar with the activities of the Unification Church and whose names and telephone numbers had been given to Globalvision by Church officials.
2. Dr. Brian Saunders, graduate of the Juilliard School and Director of Music and Development at the Universal Ballet Company, stated in an affidavit that he overheard a Globalvision cameraman refer to him as a "Moonie nigger."
3. Globalvision sought to intimidate Church officials in an attempt to obtain an interview with Reverend Moon, by stating that if Reverend Moon was not interviewed they would provide the airtime that would have been devoted to his interview to critics of the Church.
Because of the above facts (and others not referenced), Church officials grew concerned that "Frontline"'s intent was not to produce an objective documentary on the Unification Church's religious activities, and that "Frontline"'s work with Church officials was nothing more than a ruse to gain access to materials, lend credibility to their efforts and gain the confidence of Church members in general.
On January 21, 1992, the "Frontline" broadcast was aired and the Church's worst fears about "Frontline"'s hostile intentions came to pass. What "Frontline" had produced was an unfair, unobjective, and politically motivated attack on Reverend Moon and the Unification Church. The following sections outline many of "Frontline"'s abuses.
The most outrageous charge made by "Frontline", indeed, the centerpiece of its entire program, is the allegation that Reverend Moon and the Unification Church have received substantial funding from a Japanese businessman by the name of Ryoichi Sasagawa. In a brief inflammatory biography, Mr. Sasagawa is depicted by "Frontline" as a pro-Mussolini Fascist, a war criminal, a gambling boss and the leader of right wing political organizations. Thereafter it is alleged by "Frontline" that Sasagawa is a secret patron of Reverend Moon's activities in the United States.
In support of its allegations "Frontline" presents Patrick Choate, author of the book, Agents of Influence (a best selling expose on alleged Japanese influence in America politics), who states, without providing "any" corroborating evidence, that Reverend Moon "asked Sasagawa to be one of the principal advisors to his church inside Japan."
Though Mr. Choate presents no support for his statement one is left with the distinct impression that the subject is well covered in his book. Ironically, Mr. Choate's book makes no mention of Reverend Moon or alleges "any" affiliation between him and Sasagawa. Incredibly, the book does reveal that Mr. Sasagawa has sent hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding to PBS, National Public Radio and WGBH Boston, which produces "Frontline". According to Choate, his purpose for providing this funding was "aimed to raise American 'awareness' about Japan". Choate also reports that another of Sasagawa's benefactors is former President Jimmy Carter.
"Frontline" provides no evidence "of any kind" to support its inflammatory charges concerning Reverend Moon's connection to Sasagawa, which is the climax of its entire program, and on the basis of these charges, "Frontline" endorses a call for "the ultimate congressional investigation" of the Reverend Moon! Should "Frontline" now endorse a call for an investigation of PBS, NPR and Jimmy Carter?
Had "Frontline" chosen to ask the Unification Church, the Church would have confirmed never having received one yen from Mr. Sasagawa.
"Frontline" relied on a dubious array of longtime critics of the Unification Church as its sole authority for its charges without providing significant testimony by anyone with opposing views.
A. Lars Eric Nelson
Lars Eric Nelson, a columnist for the New York Daily News, was seen demanding that the Justice Department conduct an investigation to determine if there is foreign ownership of The Washington Times and if there is, whether it violates the Foreign Agents Registration Act. "Frontline" neglected the obvious and material issue of how Mr. Nelson felt about the foreign ownership of his own newspaper. "Frontline"'s failure to address this issue with Mr. Nelson is consistent with the racist bias of the program what is acceptable for white newspaper owners is not acceptable for Oriental owners.
B. James Whelan
"James Whelan, former editor of The Washington Times, alleged for "Frontline" that "The Washington Times" is controlled by Reverend Moon. Not mentioned was the fact that James Whelan admitted, during a sworn deposition, that the reason he was "fired" by "The Washington Times" was because he asked for his salary and benefits to be doubled; including a demand for a new Lincoln Continental every two years and paid-for membership in five private clubs. Again, instead of testing the credibility of Mr. Whelan, as any unbiased journalist surely would, "Frontline" presented his allegations uncontested.
C. Michael Warder
"Michael Warder, former publisher of "The News World" newspaper, who left the Unification Church in 1979 for, as he himself stated, "personal reasons", alleged that The News World was totally controlled by Reverend Moon. By contrast, in December of 1978, then Lt. Governor Mario Cuomo had this to say about "The News World":
"You have produced a worthwhile, accurate, straightforward and widely read daily... And you did it with journalistic integrity, in an era of unprecedented controversy surrounding any form of highly organized religion (and especially ones that appear to be working); that integrity has been carefully scrutinized and tested. You have passed that test, you have been vindicated as independent, intelligent and honest."
If "Frontline" intended to present an objective account, why did they not present other points of view, such as Mr. Cuomo's, or those of Ed Koch, who was a featured columnist of the paper?
The complaints by Warder, Whelan and another former Washington Times employee, William Cheshire, seem to presume that the authority granted white newspaper owners is not granted Orientals. Would anyone be shocked or outraged if the white owner of a major newspaper wanted a voice in the editorial posture of his own newspaper?
D. Donald Fraser
"Donald Fraser was seen recalling what he considered to be a series of unfair articles about him which appeared in The News World in 1978. Fraser said, "I didn't appreciate the accusation they were making against me. They were absolutely false, I think they knew they were false." "Frontline" did not report what the accusations were nor attempt to confirm their validity.
For example, Fraser admitted paying witnesses who testified against Reverend Moon in those hearings $2,000 each pursuant to a "consulting contract." When Rep. Edward J. Derwinski, the subcommittee's ranking minority member, discovered this breach of congressional ethics, he stated, "It will have all the appearances of a payoff to witnesses for their testimony."
In addition, Fraser admitted payment of "salary advances" to a staff member in violation of federal law. These abuses were widely reported on the wire services and by "The News World". If "Frontline" intended to present an objective report, why was Fraser not confronted on camera with these facts?
E. Daniel Junas
"Supporting the Choate allegation about Reverend Moon's connection to Sasagawa, "Frontline" introduces Daniel Junas, who is billed as the author of an upcoming book on the history of the Unification Church. Mr. Junas's only known public credential is as author of an article entitled, "Reverend Moon Goes to College," which appeared in a publication called "Covert Action. Covert Action " can not be found in a traditional public library. It is distributed through "revolutionary" bookstores. The publication's stated goal is to be "a permanent weapon in the fight against the CIA, the FBI, military intelligence, and all the other instruments of U.S. imperialist oppression throughout the world."
Mr. Junas himself seems opposed not just to military intelligence but to intelligence in general, with fanciful claims such as that the Unification Church was founded by the CIA, and that Reverend Moon's "front-man" in Japan was former Japanese Prime Minister Kishi!
Globalvision passed up respected scholars such as: Professor Lawrence Tribe, Dr. Martin Marty, Dr. Joseph Fichter, Dr. Lonnie Kliever, and Dr. Gordon Melton all of whom possess in-depth knowledge of the Unification Church and Reverend Moon and instead chose Mr. Junas.
F. David Finzer
"David Finzer, is seen on camera alleging a conspiracy involving Reverend Moon and the Moon organization to misuse funds controlled by a non-profit organization. Finzer's allegations were presented by "Frontline" as yet another example of "the Moon organization's" attempt to polish Reverend Moon's image. "Frontline" failed to report, however, that during 1991 these same allegations were the centerpiece of a highly publicized lawsuit filed by Finzer against Reverend Moon, the Unification Church, The Washington Times and several others, and that Finzer's lawsuit was summarily thrown out of court by the Federal judge. Also not reported by "Frontline" was the fact that Finzer and his attorney, Ford Greene, are awaiting a hearing on whether they will be forced to pay penalties for filing a frivolous lawsuit. "Frontline" was informed in writing by Church attorneys of the dismissal of Finzer's lawsuit during the production of the program. Globalvision's conscious exclusion of this information is far below accepted journalistic standards.
G. Marv Kammerer
"The South Dakota cowboy appearing at the outset of the show is named Marv Kammerer. Mr. Kammerer is not the typical pro-American rancher that "Frontline" presented him as; in fact he happens to be an activist with the "Black Hills Coalition for Peace," a radical political organization. This group strongly opposed the Persian Gulf war and Kammerer himself referred to the American soldiers serving in Kuwait as "mercenaries". To protest South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler's support of the U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf, Kammerer was reported by local newspapers to have deposited a "body bag" in the Senator's office. As part of his agenda, Kammerer sought to undermine the patriotic demonstrations in South Dakota in support of the troops by his bigoted attacks on the participation of Unification Church members.
"Frontline" misrepresented Mr. Kammerer and his motivation for attacking the Unification Church. A true investigative report would have disclosed Kammerer's affiliation with a radical protest group and disclosed his ulterior motive for attacking Reverend Moon and the Unification Church.
A. Deliberate Misquoting of Congressional Documents
"Frontline" deliberately misrepresented the findings of the 1978 Subcommittee on International Organizations (The Fraser Subcommittee). The narrator states: "Moon was the key figure in an international network of organizations engaged in economic and political activities." The text of the Fraser report says: "that he was the key figure in an international network of organizations engaged in economic and political "as well as religious activities"" (emphasis added). This intentional omission by "Frontline" was made to support its underlying false premise that Reverend Moon 's primary objective is political power and influence.
B. Deceptive Use of Archival Film Footage
1. "Frontline" presented a newsreel clip of left wing Japanese students protesting the signing of a 1960 agreement which allowed U.S. troops armed with nuclear weapons to be stationed on Japanese soil. The narrator states, "Japanese business and political leaders moved to quell the unrest as brigades of right-wing students staged counter-demonstrations. Sun Myung Moon's Japanese followers soon took to the streets as political activities on behalf of conservative business interests became central to the Unification movement."
"Frontline" showed rioting left-wing students and then gave the impression that the footage of these violent protesters was footage of Unification Church members. Beyond such contrived manipulation, "Frontline" presented no footage, evidence or testimony supporting this allegation. There is no such evidence, it is a false accusation.
2. Reverend Moon is shown on camera addressing a rally protesting his indictment in November 1981. The narrator states, "While waging its global war of ideas, the Unification movement was also fighting another battle to overcome the stigma of Moon's 1982 conviction for tax evasion. To clear his name, Moon launched a campaign termed the New Birth Project...". The whole notion of a "New Birth" campaign is a complete fabrication by "Frontline".
Nevertheless, "Frontline" used film footage from November of 1981 taken prior to Reverend Moon's conviction and represented it as proof of the Unification Church's launching of a campaign to "clear his name" after he was released from prison in 1985. This demonstrates "Frontline"'s cynical fabrication of the entire "New Birth" story line.
3. The narrator states, "Finally, Reverend Moon also refused to talk to "Frontline"...", as Reverend Moon is seen on camera in an airport walking by without comment. In fact the footage shown by "Frontline" was filmed in October 1981 and was deceptively used (twice) by "Frontline" to give the impression that Reverend Moon was rebuffing their requests for comments.
[There were several other instances of "Frontline"'s deceptive use of archival film footage in addition to those referenced above]
C. Misappropriation and Misuse of Audio/Visual Materials
"The Church initially provided Globalvision with various audio/visual materials including photographs and video tape masters of various Church activities. These materials were provided to Globalvision for review purposes only and Globalvision was advised in writing that in no event could any of the materials be used in its production without, in accord with U.S. copyright laws, obtaining proper releases from the subjects of the tape. In spite of this admonishment, "Frontline" used substantial portions of the footage without permission, without obtaining proper releases from appropriate persons, and without giving any credit to the copyright holder (the Unification Church).
Indeed, approximately 15% of its fifty-five minute production consisted of footage used without permission taken from Church archives. In addition, as is the standard practice in the industry, "Frontline" provided no compensation for use of these materials. The Church on several occasions, directly and through its attorneys, requested the return of these misappropriated materials, however, "Frontline" has refused to respond.
D. False Claims Regarding Government Investigation
"Frontline" stated that after the Fraser committee completed its investigation, no government agencies investigated the Unification Church. "Frontline" implies that because of Reverend Moon's support of Ronald Reagan, the government turned a blind eye to possible illegal activities of the Church. However, during the four years following the Fraser committee report, the Unification Church was the subject of major investigations by the INS, the IRS, the Justice Department, the SEC and several other government agencies, including the U.S. Congress, and was found to be operating within the law. The Unification Church is without a doubt the most investigated church in the history of the United States.
E. Misrepresentation of Reverend Moon's Conviction for Tax Evasion and Efforts to Obtain a Pardon
"Frontline" went to great lengths to remind viewers that Reverend Moon was convicted of tax evasion. "Frontline" then depicted the efforts made by thousands of civil rights advocates and various prominent politicians who voiced their concern over the unjust treatment accorded Reverend Moon as being nothing more than a "PR" campaign orchestrated by the Unification Church.
Rather than addressing the substance of the outcry that followed his conviction, or the reason certain public officials endeavored to help Reverend Moon obtain a pardon, "Frontline" attempted to deceptively discredit Reverend Moon and the Unification Church even further. This is not investigative journalism, but merely another example of "Frontline"'s politically motivated manipulation of the facts.
Not reported by "Frontline" was the fact that the Reverend Moon was sentenced to 18 months in prison for failing to pay less than $8,000 in taxes alleged to be due over a three year period (less than $3,000 per year). These facts alone would have served to explain the indignation of prominent public figures who supported pardon efforts on behalf of Reverend Moon.
Racism And Religious Bigotry
A. Use of the Pejorative Term "Moonie"
"The narrator of the show is heard saying, "These are the images many still retain of Moon and the "Moonies", as his followers once called themselves."
The word "Moonie" was coined by critics of the Church and has been used by the Church's detractors in much the same way as the words "nigger", "kike", "fag", etc. have been used to dehumanize other minorities. "Frontline" was informed by Church officials, various prominent non-Church members and by hundreds of concerned members of the Church that use of this word was unacceptable.
Church officials provided O'Connor and Fanning official denunciations of the usage of "Moonie" by the New York Times, Reuters, the NYC Commission on Human Rights and various publishing houses. Rory O'Connor himself, in a radio interview on National Public Radio before the show aired, went so far as to acknowledge that use of the term is improper and that it would therefore not be used in the show. However, consistent with many of his other assurances, O'Connor lied.
After promising to refrain from such derogation, "Frontline" utilized the pejorative term "Moonie" in the program numerous times. This is a reprehensible standard of journalism for public television or for any medium. Further, the preferred term, "Unificationist," was not used in the program.
B. Disrespect towards Church Tradition, Teachings, and Religious Activities
"The narrator treats Unification Church beliefs and history in a brief, derogatory fashion. Church history is referred to as "lore," Jesus' call to Sun Myung Moon is mocked, Reverend Moon's tortures at the hands of Japanese forces in Korea and North Korean Communists are dismissed as "claims." Unification theology is pigeon-holed as "theocratic ideology," and the integrity and significance of the Unification Church is undermined and dismissed. Bona fide religious activities, which make up the overwhelming majority of projects initiated by Reverend Moon, go unreported by "Frontline" in order to further "Frontline"'s deception.
By suppressing the relevance of religious faith upon the lives and activities of Unification Church members, "Frontline" demonstrated a bias against religious faith in general and a particular bigotry against members of the Unification Church.
"Frontline"'s major theme was that the Reverend Moon and the Unification Church are agents of influence for Korean and/or Japanese interests. "Frontline" was produced, directed and researched by Caucasians. The producer's apparent bias and hostility toward Japanese and Koreans is reminiscent of the "yellow peril" syndrome of the post WW II era.
Without a shred of evidence of any kind, "Frontline" attempted to fabricate a conspiracy between Reverend Moon and the very worst elements of Japanese society: war criminals, Mafia, right wing extremists, fascists, and gamblers.
"Frontline" sought to access, inflame and exploit the current and increasingly prevalent anti-Japanese sentiment and to then direct it against Reverend Moon and the members of the Unification Church. The consequences of "Frontline"'s unconscionable actions can only lead to misunderstanding, fear, prejudice and hostility directed toward members of a religious minority and their families. The days of state sponsored pogroms ought not to be Resurrected by "Frontline" nor funded by the federal government.
About the Attackers
Further evidence of "Frontline"'s disregard for objectivity can be seen in the credentials of the reporter and producer of "Resurrection." Eric Nadler and Rory O'Connor are not typical newsmen. Their backgrounds reveal consistent promotion of the anti-American agenda of the radical left.
A. Eric Nadler
"While an editor of "Penthouse Forum" in 1986, Nadler was a vehement critic of the Meese report on pornography and, while on the Penthouse payroll, followed the commission hearings around the country in an effort to make a public mockery of the proceedings. In a Chicago Tribune interview at the time, Nadler condemned the Meese commission for including "...a Catholic Priest who believes that pornography is a sin." Nadler is also a regular writer for "Mother Jones", a major leftist magazine on politics and culture.
B. Rory O'Connor
"Over the years Rory O'Connor has been active on the far left of all the major issues. In 1983 he co-authored the book, "Nukespeak", wherein he advocated the abolition of all nuclear energy. "Commentary" magazine described "Nukespeak" as follows: "...it not only makes no pretense to objectivity, its authors and compilers seem to believe they can destroy the nuclear power movement magically, by incantation."
In 1987, O'Connor visited Nicaragua and returned with the decidedly anti-contra piece, "Letter from Managua: In Nicaragua the Soldiers Write Poetry, but Even Children are Well Versed in War" published in "Vogue", in which he promoted the American left's romanticization of the communist regime.
Nadler and O'Connor together were the creators of "South Africa Now," a weekly half hour TV magazine show which was considered so biased that even PBS pulled it from most markets after public outcry.
Even this cursory review of the "Frontline" program, "The Resurrection of Reverend Moon," indicates that it was not objective.
The value criteria upon which its creators based their selection of information and spokespersons appears to have included: favor toward the political far left; antipathy toward religion and religious motivation; antipathy toward Japan and Korea; committed public opposition to the Reverend Moon and/or Unification Church; and cynicism toward the themes of patriotism and traditional American values.
For further information, please write: HSA Public Affairs, 4 West 43rd Street, NY NY 10036."
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