Unification News for November 1999
As we know from the Divine Principle, we are now living in the time of the Last Days. When the evil-filled "fallen world" declines, and is gradually replaced by the entirely good Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. We are fully confident that this "restoration" is taking place, right through its inexorable conclusion. Furthermore, Principle makes it quite clear which actions and intentions are "good", and which are certainly "evil".
Conscientious people, from Noah's day until today, have resisted the world's evil ways. And many actively fight against this widespread evil. So far, this "fight against evil" has only been moderately successful, as a reading of today's paper should make abundantly clear. Why is this so? Where has the fight fallen short?
Divine Principle points out that "fallen man" is a mixture of good and evil, with his bad tendencies coming out much more easily than his good or unselfish ones. Also, one's attitude or intentions are quite important; one's unspoken heart helps define both one's actions and their goodness in the eyes of God. Man passes many laws, and in a mostly just society (yes, like America's), it is extraordinary indeed when it is found "good".
Regarding evil, God's view is sometimes stated; "Love the sinner, but hate the sin". Rev. Moon said; "You may befriend people of all kinds, but never compromise your standards".
Standards based upon Principle.
In this article I'm deliberately provocative. I'm taking a "Devil's Advocate" viewpoint on many controversial issues. I'm pointing out the ineffectiveness, both historically and currently, of many "reformers". Even, in some cases their hypocrisy—whether deliberate or unintentional.
The "fighters against evil" have opposed many things. Some things have always, from ancient times, been criminal sins. Wanton murder, rape of a woman not your wife, becoming intoxicated while on military duty, and others. Some things weren't always crimes, but have become so in the past century or two. Such as slavery, child abuse, unregulated prostitution, and more.
More recently, the list of things regarded as wrong, if not outright illegal, has grown. Such things as; abuse within marriage, sexual harassment short of rape, discrimination based upon race or religion, alcohol abuse, violent pornography, etc.
However, modern society has had mixed feelings about other issues; such as "soft" pornography, the use of legal but harmful drugs (tobacco, etc.), and consensual sex outside of marriage—including homosexuality.
No one proposes "legalizing" those "ancient sins"—they remain all too common, but severely punishable. But the "other wrongs" are still fiercely debated, and they shift in and out of legality. The so-called "victimless crimes" remain very common. As I'll point out, even knowing Divine Principle doesn't always rule out "gray areas" or debatable points.
Most people oppose the abuse of drugs. I examined this question earlier, in more depth. (May & June 1992 UNews). Basically, illegality does not end the demand—and no amount of "enforcement" can do so. Only ending the demand can fully solve the "drug problem". And only Principle clearly explains the cause of the demand for mind-altering drugs.
In America, the "Prohibition" of the 1920s did result in a deep cut in alcohol use, and the health problems resulting from it declined. But it hardly eliminated its use, which has rebounded in recent years.
Yet, (here's what I warned you about), the mere fact of "illegality" adds a certain spice and attractiveness to drug use, especially to rebellious young people. In some places where drug use is legal, such as the Netherlands, actual use is low, far lower than it is here.
Nicotine-tobacco-is powerfully addictive, as many experimenting teenagers find out, to their regret. It remains legal, and even so, its use has declined steadily and steeply, over the past several decades. Recently, Canada added a huge anti-smoking tax of over $3.00 per pack. And cigarette smuggling has become a favorite Canadian pastime. People have actually died trying to get them across the border. Recently, a strike in Italy made tobacco unavailable. People were mugged on the street for their cigarette. European underworld smugglers now have three big items, heroin, cigarettes, and plutonium. At home, Vermont's prisons recently re-allowed them, after seeing prisoners paying $40.00 a pack for them even trading sex for them. Laws which oppose bad things can have unintended results.
Pornography wavers between being legal and illegal. The difference between great art and awful raunchiness seems apparent enough until you try to define it by law, and such imagery now fills our airwaves, advertisements, etc.
Many people oppose pornography. Yet, one of my favorite columnists (in Christianity Today magazine) reported he'd never seen so much skin as when attending an anti-porn conference. It seems the attendees were busy trying to out-shock each other, with the latest awful smut they'd collected. In contrast, no one takes a belt at an alcoholism conference, or at a child abuse one. No amount of law enforcement could possibly eliminate pornography. Anyone with a home darkroom or a video camera could see to that.
In a similar vein, prostitution is almost totally illegal in this country, yet it is everywhere present. America has gone through many phases of "corruption" and reform on this hot issue. Read the autobiography of Lincoln Steffens for a fascinating account of this. Steffens reports on an early effort to run the hookers out of New York City. The Police Chief answered the reformers; "If you'll permit me to put them all on barges and drown them in the Hudson. But with your plan they'll all just show up in Philadelphia, anyway". And as the Stalinist Soviets later learned, even actually doing such a horrific thing doesn't eliminate the problem anyway.
In Nevada, where it is legal, the infamous "Ranches" survive by being low key, isolated operators. Yet they have no shortage of either workers or customers. And, in a recent survey, almost all of the "working girls" reported having been sexually abused as children.
Many of these issues have proven to be real tar babies. Occasionally one hears tragic news of anti crusaders dabbling in, then getting caught doing the same thing they were against. Several scandalous televangelists come to mind, as well as relapsed drug dealers. Darkest of all, from the news, and from people met while fundraising, I've heard of those who worked with runaways, etc., getting mired in child sexual abuse. That is rare, fortunately.
Unificationists have long been warned, and are very cautious about this kind of thing. Considering which people to try to teach, or to deeply relate with.
Perilous "tar babies" indeed.
There is one issue so hot that even I am reluctant to tackle it. Many people oppose homosexuality, especially the militant 'in your face' activist kind.
This is very much tied in with the issue of what causes it. Is it genetic, spiritual, or ancestral? Psychological or environmental? Or is it a conscious choice? Or some combination of these?
I know of people who are certain they were born gay. If so, well then people are born with a lot of things. This still doesn't solve the pressing issue, how do you deal with it now? I have an old school buddy who is a gay activist. He tells me he decided to be gay as an adult. Any long-time Unificationist can tell you about blitzing bars, if you don't know what I mean already. I can't count how many gays tried to recruit me; persisting, handing me phone numbers, etc. I defer to our courageous brother Richard Cohen, on this issue.
However, I'll mention one thing. Unificationists wish all to come unto God, as do all sincerely religious people who feel the suffering of God and of people. The suicide rate for gay teens is three times higher than the already terribly high rate for other teens. Were strident anti-gay pressures to build, who knows how much this tragedy could compound? God is bigger than that. Recall Rev. Moon's high praise, at Danbury from a true American, J. Terry Dolan. Mr. Dolan died of AIDS not long afterwards. It was said he'd stopped being an active gay as he gathered his formidable talents towards the saving of America.
Some societies try to oppose evil by imposing severe, even deadly penalties. Several Middle Eastern nations come to mind. But executing drug dealers, even users has not ended those nation's drug problems. Some countries try to deal with sexuality by wrapping their women up, not an inch of skin showing. As did America during Victorian times. But, then as now, there was plenty of illicit, even violent sex. Countries like Iran have stoned prostitutes, and yet (like South Vietnam once did) allows temporary marriages. It sounds good to some but try it out for a year or two. But in the event, people try it for a day or two.
Some countries have gone to the opposite extreme, legalizing just about everything. Europe leads in this. But those countries legal 'needle parks' have brought them troubles, also. Naturalists and topless bathers may in truth become quite relaxed towards the sight of human bodies. Like at German city parks, or on French beaches. No surprises there, but if they believe that this has solved their fallen natures, they're in for a big disappointment. Looking back on my own hippie days, I can testify to that. Again with time teaching and effort, the root causes may be dealt with.
The Netherlands has legalized prostitution. And now one man on welfare has successfully sued to have tax paid sex visits. Obviously laws can have strange consequences.
Clearly, knowing about the Fall of Man, and waging a tough and tenacious battle against fallen nature is the only way to find effective solutions to these deep-seated troubles. As I'd mentioned, Nevada has no trouble finding 'working girls' for their legal brothels—almost always from the ranks of abused and violated women. Those who it seems, have had their womanly honor destroyed. Thus there is a supply and a demand. Fallen men look there for satisfaction, but I very much doubt that they find it. As most people instinctively realize. This was well illustrated in the popular movie "Splash".
Only the prospect of a much better love can lead them to a better way. And only the reality of better families and communities, can end the life and love destroying scourge of sexual abuse.
For now, good people try to ban evil things like porn shops, dealers, and hookers on the street. No one wants them nearby, yet they will crop up anywhere until the supply and demand comes to an end. This looks to me like a gradual thing. But true men and women can resist these things. Thus these fallen world things will finally vanish.
So we have seen that banning awful things can be a mixed bag. Many people think that our own mass marriages are terrible and our families too strange. Do we want the banning bandwagon to roll over us? Are we sure which things are worth opposing, and how and when? I think Rev. Moon is no typical 'Victorian', he's spoken of wearing natural fabrics, allowing healthy wind and sun on the skin. Of course, with a heavenly attitude.
One example of successful opposition to evil regards communism. Many people were anti-communist—even during Marx's own lifetime. People were against it for many reasons and with differing purposes too. Many people sacrificed their lives to defy it. Yet, as the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade pointed out, being run over by a truck doesn't make one a good mechanic. Rev. Moon understood the engine of communism and it's structure. He understood it's fuel, wheels, ideology and operations. He didn't shoot anyone at all, but he defeated them and he said so right in the Kremlin and in Pyongyang.
The famous missionary Irene Webster-Smith stated that "is it better to put an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff, or a fence at the top"? Today good people are trying to do both of these kinds of things. As are we Unificationists, through our many projects.
We can be very, very grateful for the clear light of the Divine Principle. Chapter one shows so well, what is a part of God's intended creation and what is not. That ends a lot of arguments. And chapter two explains the causes of evil and the tight grip of fallen behaviors. But it also explains the plain and practical way to restore these.
We have the leadership and example of the True Family and the living reality of true men and women to emulate. We have the incredible experiences of Rev. Moon's life, overcoming situations and temptations that we may very well face ourselves. And we have the testimonies of our Elders and the efforts of our well-educated members in witnessing to all sorts of people and in addressing all of these complex situations I have mentioned.
We know that under God's heart and will we are going to restore the Kingdom of Heaven. At first, all of these evils will be overcome. I offer this article, without pulling any punches to help stimulate further discussion on these all important issues. God's will be done!
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