Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church has had a hand in the development of the religious right and the broader conservative movement for four decades. Moon, who has called for “an automatic theocracy to rule the world” –under his aegis, of course — one of the dirty secrets of the religious right. Among other important relationships, journalist Bob Parrry exposed how Moon helped bail out televangelist Jerry Falwell several years ago. And pioneering conservative direct mail entrepreneur Richard Viguerie has had Moon front groups as clients since 1965.
But the ocasional scandal not withstanding, top leaders of the GOP and the Christian Right align themselves with the explicity anti-Christian and anti-American Moon organization with far greater frequency than ever makes the news.
For all the conservative movement’s histrionics about preserving the traditional family against percieved “attacks,” Re. Moon’s Unfication Church has done tremendous damage to countless traditional nuclear families in pursuit of his theocratic vision, and his political and business interests.
I have written about the Moon organization from time to time since 1983. I am constantly struck by the extraordinary blind spot most Americans have regarding this dangerous anti-democratic organization.
I am reminded of this today, because Journalist John Gorenfeld has an important article on AlterNet that deserves far greater attention than it has received. It details the apparent business relationship between President Bush’s brother Neil Bush and the Moon organization.
I devoted a chaper of my 1997 book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy to the multifaceted Moon organization. Here is a very brief section, that I think might have some bearing on the current, if belated, discussion of “values” in the Democratic Party.
It is strange that the Unification Church plays an integral role in the “family values” movement… With family values meaning support for the heterosexual nuclear family, as the centerpiece of the Christian conservative agenda, rank and file Christian conservatives are usually shocked to learn of thier movement’s connections to a group that urges separation from one’s biological family.
When young people are recruited and indoctrinated into the church, in a few short days they abandon their previous lives and biological families to become the “True Children” of the “True Parents,” (Rev. and Mrs Moon) and thus become members of the “True Family” (Unification Church). This phraseology is frequently prominent in, or just below the surface of their public activities….Perhaps the epitome of the co-optation of the Christian Right’s conservative family values rhetoric was the cover of the October, 1995 issue of the Unification News [the church monthly newspaper] which featured a photo of Rev. and Mrs. Moon, arms outstretched, under the headline, “True Family Values.”
…As far back as 1983, Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), then chair of the moderate Republican Ripon Society challenged the hypocritical alliance between party conservatives and the Moon organization: “A political movement basing its appeal on old fashioned patriotism and family values simply cannot justify an alliance with a cult that preys on the disintergration of the American family and advocates allegiance to an international social order operating with cell-like secresy.”
It is this context, and much much more, that helps make Neil Bush’s relationship with Moon signficant, even as the scheme Moon is advocating seems, on its face, to be a crackpot idea. Gorenfeld writes:
“Those who stray from the heavenly way,” the owner of the flagship Republican newspaper the Washington Times admonished an audience in Taipei on Friday, “will be punished.”
This “heavenly way,” the Rev. Sun Myung Moon explained, demands a 51-mile underwater highway spanning Alaska and Russia. Sitting in the front row: Neil Bush, the brother of the president of the United States.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the South Korean giant of the religious right who owns the Washington Times, is on a 100-city speaking tour to promote his $200 billion “Peace King Tunnel” dream. As he describes it, the tunnel would be both a monument to his magnificence, and a totem to his prophecy of a unified Planet Earth. In this vision, the United Nations would be reinvented as an instrument of God’s plan, and democracy and sexual freedom would crumble in the face of this faith-based glory.
The name Peace King Tunnel would allude to the title of authority to which Moon, 86, lays claim, and to which U.S. congressmen paid respect on Capitol Hill in last year’s controversial “Crown of Peace” coronation ritual…
While Neil Bush and Moon’s church couldn’t be reached for comment on the tunnel or his speaking fees, a brochure from Moon’s Family Federation underscores that the project is “God’s fervent desire,” dwarfing such past wonders as the Chunnel and heralding a “new era of automobile travel.”…
The billionaire Moon has never been one to pander to the Sierra Club, having subsidized the anti-environmental “wise use” movement. Likewise, his group anticipates an anti-tunnel backlash by those who “demand the preservation of the polar region’s ecosystem and the protection of polar bears and seals,”and proposes an aggressive media strategy: “[P]ublic opinion polls must be carried out all over the world and it is absolutely essential that a public relations campaign to educate environmental groups, concerned organizations and residents near the proposed construction sites be carried out as well.”
…Moon has frequently gone on the record against Western-style democracy and individualism, calling them results of the fall of Adam. “There are three guiding principles for the world to choose from: democracy, Communism and Godism,” he said in a 1987 sermon. “It is clear that democracy as the United States knows and practices it cannot be the model for the world.”
“Individualism,” he also said at the speech — entitled “I Will Follow With Gratitude And Obedience” — “is what God hates most and what Satan likes best.”
Neil isn’t the only Bush to attend Moon events. In 1996, his father, President George H.W. Bush, traveled to Buenos Aires with the Reverend in one of several such fundraising expeditions. “The 41st president, who told Argentine president Carlos Menem that he had joined Moon in Buenos Aires for the money, had actually known the Korean reasonably well for decades,” writes former top GOP strategist Kevin Phillips in his book “American Dynasty.”
Indeed, I wrote in Eternal Hostility, Neil’s mother and father, former president George Bush and Barbara Bush have appeared at numerous Moon sponsored functions in the U.S. and Japan, as well as the Buenos Aires event. Press reports indicated that they may have recieved millions of dollars for their services.
The Moon organization is a complicated, but important entity in both the religious right and in the Republican Party. It is worth taking the time to get to know more about it, its history, and its contemporary role. Talk 2 Action