Unification News For April 1996


African Student Wins 20th Oratorical Contest at UTS

by Gareth Davies-Barrytown, NY

Passion carried the day on February 21, when Raymond Otika, a junior student from Uganda, won the twentieth David S.C. Kim Oratorical Contest. Eight finalists from eight nations addressed the topic "Why Reverend Moon is the Messiah" and, at the end of the evening, Dr. Michael Mickler explained the view of the judges that those who spoke from their hearts came closest to true oratory.

Mike Armstrong, a Divinity Senior, gave Raymond his strongest challenge. He immediately captured the attention of the audience of 70 with his whimsical allusion to the well-known movie A Miracle on 34th Street in which a man claims to be Santa Claus and demonstrates all of the appropriate attributes. "He had a beard and a cheerful disposition and he knew all of the reindeer by name and yet nobody believed him except for one child!" Mike took an increasingly serious tone as he made his point. "Reverend Moon is striving, through his many works, to build the Kingdom of Heaven. Like the child in the movie, I believe in Reverend Moon - he has awakened me from a nightmare."

The eight finalists were chosen from an original field of 16 entries. They represented Zaire, Australia, England, Uganda, Canada, Nigeria and the Philippines. The variety of cultural influences was evidenced in the variety of approaches and styles of the finalists, ranging from rational persuasion delivered from the lectern, to emotional assault delivered on the move!

Perhaps it is fitting that a man who joined the Unification Church 20 years ago should win the 20th oratorical contest. Having recently arrived in the United States, Raymond Otika referred to his experiences during his recent travels. "When I went to Japan, I thought it was the Kingdom of Heaven - but then I met the Yakuza in a bath house. When I arrived in America, I thought it was the Kingdom of Heaven but then I read in the paper about two boys who threw another child out of a window and how another boy, aged five, dashed down the stairs to try to save his brother. This is our world; we are throwing each other out of the window and one man is dashing to save us."

Raymond also told the audience about his own powerful experience at the time of the matching and Blessing when he first met his Japanese wife. "In 1982, Reverend Moon took me by my shirt collar and said to my wife, `Take this black man,' and to me, `Take this yellow woman, and save the world from racism.' When my wife left behind the comfort of Japan to join me, I was deeply moved and knew that this must be the work of the Messiah." Raymond ended his speech with a challenge to the audience. "If you doubt that Reverend Moon is the Messiah, please take over."

Mike Armstrong took second place and Serge Brosseau of Canada was third.

Reprinted from The Cornerstone.

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