The Words of the Leone Family
Editorial: Clergy Support Rev. Moon
August 5, 2004
To: Opinion Editor
Contact: Rev. Mike Leone, 202-319-3216 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following editorial is by Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr. and Rev. Jesse Edwards: As widely reported, the Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon participated in a peace awards ceremony on March 23 at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., which attracted a bevy of U.S. senators and representatives, some of whom hosted the awards process. Religious leaders from a broad variety of the world's religions were also on hand to support the event, in which over 100 exemplary Americans were awarded "Crown of Peace" plaques and the Moons received literal crowns and robes as they were respectfully proclaimed "King and Queen of Peace" for their lifetime work in conflict resolution worldwide.
After a three-month hiatus, the event recently attracted a storm of media attention. While the press gave it a huge amount of ink and airtime, they missed the real story.
They thought the story was that some of America's leading public servants and clergymen were being co-opted by a bizarre cult leader, and that these leaders, by attending the event, were displaying a shocking irresponsibility and/or obtuseness. The story they missed, however, was that political and religious leaders around the world are being ineluctably attracted to Rev. and Mrs. Moon due to their remarkable works of charity, vision for world development, theological insights, and efforts to create peace and unity between religions, races, nations, and cultures.
The media missed the story because there are in fact two portrayals of Rev. Moon. One is the papier-mache Rev. Moon -- the public caricature formed as a result of, among other things, the sharp reaction to his call for radical abolition of religious and racial barriers throughout the world. Rev. Moon's demonization is propelled by the fact that his message of unity, equality, and co-prosperity has particularly moved people of color here and worldwide. This phenomenon of recoil from the prophetic word and act is the same one that led to the demonization of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi by their opponents.
The second Rev. Moon, however, is the real Rev. Moon. This is the one who (incomprehensibly for critics and many journalists) engenders respect, excitement, awe, and even love in the hearts of open-minded political leaders, clergymen, and many others around the world. At a recent press conference, for example, the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, who served for 20 years as Washington, D.C.'s delegate to Congress and who has been a Baptist pastor for decades, praised Rev. Moon as being thoroughly in sync with the black community's values. "That's my man!" Rev. Fauntroy said of the Korean clergyman. Many of those who come to know him, indeed come to love and respect him.
They do so because of what they see as his profound desire and ironclad determination to end world conflict, which has been manifested in his helping to end Soviet communism through, for example, The Washington Times' incalculably crucial support for freedom-oriented policies in the Cold War era (Rev. Moon founded The Times in 1982).
Additionally, thoughtful people love and respect Rev. Moon because of his unwavering support for family values, promoted by virtually all of the organizations he has inaugurated and in all of his sermons.
They also love and respect him because of his extraordinary lifestyle in which the 84-year-old religious teacher typically devotes more than 20 hours daily, even to this day, ministering to people and planning and implementing Kingdom-building activities.
Finally, they love and respect him because of his humbling commission from Jesus Christ, who appeared to the 16-year-old Moon and told him to complete the Savior's ideal of creating a world in which God's will would "be done on earth as it is in heaven." In connection with this, they love and respect him even as he has identified himself as the messiah (Greek for "anointed one") and audaciously proclaims that each of us can and must also become a messiah by growing to be a person of mature love through rebirth into a full relationship with God.
This is the Rev. Moon that has somehow escaped the attention of the otherwise vigilant media.
Politicians are paid to do what's best for their constituents. Clergymen are tasked with doing what's best for people's souls. Far from being irresponsible or obtuse, when they work with the Rev. and Mrs. Moon in the latter's many activities, the leaders are in fact displaying the highest qualities of courage, leadership, good sense, and moral strength. And it's high time that others realize it and join with them in supporting the visionary leadership of this outstanding, though misunderstood couple.
Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr. is founder and patriarch of the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation, an independent denomination headquartered in Washington, D.C. Rev. Jesse Edwards is pastor of the Pentecostals of Philadelphia and chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Clergy Leadership Conference. Both men are not Unificationists but nonetheless work closely with Rev. Moon.
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