The Words of the Self Family

The Outcry Is Growing -- Rally and March for Religious Freedom

Howard Self
August 9, 1984
Washington, DC

Washington, D.C., August 9, 1984. Ministers in a mock jail cell during the Washington Rally guarded by the "Department of Injustice."

When True Father first went to prison he told us to expect miracles to happen in the first 40 days of his incarceration. On the 21st day, August 9, 1984, an important historical event occurred in Washington, D.C. The Rally and March for Religious Freedom, co-sponsored by the new University Alliance for Religious Liberty and the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Freedom, brought together a dynamic coalition of professors, ministers, students and laymen.

Many of the marchers had come over long distances (six buses came from New York) to raise their protest against recent abuses of First Amendment rights, specifically for the cause of religious freedom.

The rally was reported to have brought over 2000 people, who carried over 1000 picket signs with slogans such as "Religious Freedom Now," and "Free Rev. Moon and Rev. Sileven." Over 40 large banners, some held aloft by ten-foot brightly colored helium balloons, gave notice that a real happening was in progress. A mock jail constructed of shiny metal bars held a half dozen ministers from different denominations, closely watched by six "IRS" and "Department of Justice" guards. A sign on top of the jail declared in bold letters: "OUR FATE IF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IS LOST"

Near the end of the rally, a funeral service replete with a hearse, pallbearers, a silver casket, and a bugler playing taps, was held, marking the death of the First Amendment. The sign on the coffin read, "MURDERED, THE FIRST AMENDMENT" About 50 ministers wore sashes designating them "CLERGY FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY." Students from a variety of campuses carried signs declaring their school's place in the fight for religious freedom. For the first time since the civil rights marches and the anti-war demonstrations of the Vietnam era, ministers, professors and students were united and marching for a common cause. The religious liberty movement was now rolling.

It was being led by In Jin Nim, hand-picked by Father to speak for him at this rally, the first for her in a series of public rallies. In Jin Nim was clearly the star of the event. Her powerfully righteous speech, remarkably reminiscent of another famous Moon's oratory, moved the hearts of everyone, including the until now skeptical reporter for the Washington Post. In a prominent article the next day, the reporter wrote both an accurate and objective account of the rally and march, including a photo of In Jin Nim.

She quoted In Jin Nim: "My father sees the issue of today (religious freedom) as the very survival of America and the free world," and also, "My dear President Reagan, I applaud your stance for human rights in Central you must stand up for religious freedom in the United States." The Post article included quotes from a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and Unificationist Michael Smith, now a student at the University of Illinois, who led the march around the White House.

In addition to the Post, the rally was covered by the Associated Press, the Washington Times, the New York Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and a host of other newspapers as well as by local TV stations and national networks, CNN and INN. Everywhere the message went out from the nation's capital that the fight for religious freedom is now raging and the outcry is growing. The campuses and churches are now united and will never be silenced.

As In Jin Nim prepares for a full slate of rallies and marches to be held across the nation, her father prays deeply in a federal prison. Those who know remember that 38 years ago, in August 1946, a man in North Korea was beaten to the edge of death by the communist police for teaching the word of God. They tried their best to still his voice, yet they failed. Today, others are trying again, yet his voice is never silent. It comes from the lips of his sons and daughters and grows louder and louder every day. 

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