The Words The Kwak Family

Further Legal Developments - NY Deprogramming Bill Vetoed

Chung Hwan Kwak
July 21, 1981

NY Deprogramming Bill Vetoed
Excerpted from The News World, July 21, 1981

For the second year in a row, New York's Gov. Carey has vetoed a controversial bill that would have permitted parents to legally kidnap their grown offspring from new religious organizations and deprogram them for 45 days.

Carey's rejection of the so- called "Anti-Cult Bill" was hailed by religious leaders and civil liberties groups as an "act of wisdom and courage." His veto of the Lasher-Pisani Bill was expected to greatly influence several states that were contemplating enactment of similar legislation.

The governor said the state attorney advised him that the bill was "susceptible to attack on the ground that it is unconstitutionally vague; that because the temporary guardianships which would be authorized by the bill may have the effect of preventing religious conversions, the bill tends to infringe on areas protected by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution...."

Carey said "establishment of such temporary guardianships of individuals over the age of majority, without requiring objective showings of present or potential harm, also violates those individuals' constitutional right to privacy by preventing them from choosing their own lifestyle."

The bill was approved by narrow margins in both the Senate and the Assembly earlier this year and sent to the governor for signature. Citing a host of religious and civil liberties organizations that opposed the measure, the governor said he understood "that the emotional distress of the families of those whom this bill is intended to help is unquestionably real and heartfelt. Nonetheless, I am constrained to disapprove the bill."

Unjust Media Attacks on Father's Immigration Status
Excerpted from an editorial in The News World, July 11, 1981

President Ronald Reagan initiated a new era in America when, during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he concluded with a prayer for God to guide the nation's destiny. In his speech, he said, "I ask you to trust that American spirit which knows no ethnic, religious, social, political, regional or economic boundaries; the spirit that burned with zeal in the hearts of millions of immigrants from every corner of the earth who came here in search of freedom."

But holdovers from the Carter administration, entrenched in bureaucracies where his reforming broom cannot sweep them out, are working behind the scenes to weaken and corrupt that spirit. This is happening especially in the ongoing attempts by government opponents of new religions to deport the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church.

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) at first denied media reports of a move to deport Rev. Moon, saying that no action was being planned against him and his wife. However, they admitted that there had been an ongoing investigation of Rev. and Mrs. Moon's residency status for two years. Now it appears that those spokesmen had been deceitful and have every intention of targeting Rev. and Mrs. Moon for deportation, even though millions of other cases lie unattended in INS file cabinets.

That these agencies would be gathering information about the controversial Korean evangelist is not surprising, considering the frenzied yet undeserved hostility that he has received from some segments of the American public. Professional "deprogrammers" have played upon the anxiety and ignorance of parents whose children have joined, not only the Unification Church and other new religions, but established religions as well. This along with sensation-seeking news media has whipped up tremendous pressure upon lawmakers to "do something" about the so-called "cults." Responding to this pressure, a few congressmen and senators have for many years been pressing the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, the IRS and the INS to probe the Unification Church's tax exemption and legal status, as well as launching headline-making investigations of their own such as that by former Rep. Donald Fraser of Minnesota.

Despite this intense controversy and unfriendly scrutiny lasting almost 10 years since Rev. Moon came to the United States, not a single indictment has ever been brought against him. Wild allegations have abounded, but no objective inquiry has ever come up with any concrete evidence to charge Rev. Moon with any crime. Few other individuals or groups, even well established and respected ones, would have come through such intense probing as cleanly as Rev. Moon has, which should be a tremendous factor in his favor.

Unfortunately, religious and racial bigotry does not require concrete facts of wrongdoing to engender hostility and persecution. It is enough of a "crime" that he has brought new ideas, new faith and new inspiration to thousands of Americans, challenging established orthodoxies and threatening certain vested interests in the process. America's Founding Fathers, recognizing the injustice of such bigotry and its danger to freedom, wisely protected diversity of belief and expression in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

And Rev. Moon's activities have been of positive benefit to America. He established a theological seminary, founded numerous international humanitarian projects including food and medical care for underdeveloped countries, and sponsored international gatherings of scientists to discuss moral values -- certainly nothing to justify calls for his deportation.

But most importantly, he has dared to successfully challenge the worldwide power of atheistic and materialistic ideologies. His success in this field has won him acclaim throughout the world, but in this country it has won him the enmity of liberal-leftists. It is not unusual, therefore, that Rev. Moon, his wife, and top leaders of the Church have come under increasing harassment and persecution from the INS, considering that the Carter administration was a haven for leftists.

The fact that information regarding a confidential investigation was leaked to the press indicates that some elements within the INS are seeking to whip up public sentiment in support of a move to deport Rev. Moon. If not deportation, these officials may be seeking at least to curtail the freedom of Rev. Moon and his top aides in traveling abroad to inspire the far-flung international missions of the Unification Church, thus hindering its growth.

A blatant example of this harassment occurred in New York recently when Bo Hi Pak, publisher and president of The News World and the Spanish daily Noticias del Mundo, as well as Rev. Moon's chief aide, was detained by INS officials for several hours at Kennedy airport upon returning from a trip abroad. His passport and resident's "green card" were confiscated pending a hearing next week in a blatant denial of his civil rights.

This is surprising, considering that Mr. Pak has, for over 15 years, traveled freely in and out of the country without the slightest problem. Furthermore, he obtained his resident status under "Section 13" of the INS code, reserved for special foreign diplomats and officials, which requires approval by the secretary of state, the attorney general and members of Congress. Pak's name was on a list available for review by congressmen for over a year without a single objection. Yet only now does the INS see fit to question his residency status.

The recent leaks alleging deportation proceedings against Rev. Moon are similarly suspicious. Rev. Moon has lived in this country since 1972 and obtained permanent resident status in 1973. Five of his 12 children are American citizens, and most of them are studying in schools and colleges here. Why only now, eight years later, is there talk of deporting him?

The evidence shows that these INS actions against Rev. Moon, his family and his church are motivated by politics, not by any legal or ethical concerns. Apparently, a long-range campaign to discredit, harass and possibly deport Rev. Moon, which began under the Carter administration, is just now surfacing. This is happening even under a new government which would never have permitted such persecution of a religious minority, if Reagan's words quoted above have any meaning. 

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