Moon's U.S. Tour 2001
Rev. Sun Myung Moon will come to Memphis Sunday during a national tour designed to encourage people of all faiths to tear down the walls of race and denomination.
The Korean evangelist and founder of the Unification Church will preach at Greater Hope Baptist Church, 2660 Spottswood. The event begins at 2 p.m. with a reception and registration.
Traveling with Moon and also speaking will be Rev. Jesse Edwards, president of the United Pentecostals of Philadelphia, Pa., and Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon, president of the World Bishops Council of Springfield, Mass.
The 50-state, 51-day We Will Stand tour is sponsored by the American Clergy Leadership Conference, an interdenominational, interracial group of ministers based in Washington.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon spent more than an hour Saturday night connecting God and humans through families.
Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, spoke to the multidenominational, multiracial audience gathered at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana Convention Center in his native Korean. The focus of his speech emphasized the lineage of God through Adam and Eve down to modern couples, their children and grandchildren.
Several times he noted that life, love and lineage were the goals of all humans, but that lineage was the most important to God with the ultimate end being the unity of humans into one society, one nation, one world.
Moon was in Billings Saturday as part of his 50-state tour in 51 days. His "We Will Stand" tour is an effort to rebuild families and renew communities. He has garnered the support of many clergy, not all of whom agree with him on doctrinal matters but support Moon's effort to put family life first.
A number of Billings religious and clergy attended and participated in the program, including the Rev. James DeFoe of the Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church, Jose Chavez, a lay minister at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Bishop Richard Larsen of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Rev. Hilton McClendon of the Hope of Life Community Church, who offered a gospel song for the gathering. The event drew a diverse crowd of about 450.
Moon, 81, began in a soft-spoken manner, his words translated by an aide. But he quickly got warmed up, emphasizing his points by slapping the podium. He challenged his audience with questions and at one point asked the indulgence of the clergy present.
"Some of the ministers may be uncomfortable with some of these statements, but please stay with me," he said.
He indicated to the men present that "no matter how famous or dignified you are, you are only half a person. You have no choice about that no matter how bad you feel.
"What you need is your spouse," he said. "That is why she is called your better half. For the honor of love, you need the better half." Likewise couples are incomplete without children, he said.
"Without children, you will never be a father and mother," Moon said.
"It is your children that put you in the position of honor of love ... and it is grandchildren that continue this lineage line of God.
Lineage is the most important and it comes through the absolute love given by a husband and received by the wife and vice versa."
Moon said Jesus was sent to be the second Adam and through him a perfection level would be reached. In his pitch for unity, he wondered what was to be gained through more denominations. He called for a unity of mind and spirit to "reach a perfection and maturity to build God's family."
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon urged an enthusiastic crowd of supporters in Baltimore last night to go forth and multiply.
In a sermon delivered in Korean and translated into English, Moon, 81, told more than 300 people that having children is the best way to serve God, more important even than the much-vaunted virtue of love.
Moon, the leader of the Unification Church, spoke at a revival at Brown's Memorial Baptist Church in the 3200 block of W. Belvedere Ave., his 32nd stop in a 51-day tour of the country. The event began at 5 p.m. with an hour of music, followed by five or six speakers who praised Moon. About 7:20 p.m., after a video detailing his accomplishments around the world, Moon walked to the podium amid a burst of applause.
In the past, Moon has declared himself a messiah who has come to unite all religions. Some have called his church a cult, but his supporters said last night that he is a man of God and compared him to Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Moon's audience cheered him on, even when he ventured into controversial territory. They applauded enthusiastically when he denounced lesbianism and homosexuality and encouraged wives to bear their husbands lots of babies. He said that he has 14 children, eliciting more applause.
"When you raise a child, that is the most precious thing a woman can do under the sun," Moon said. "That's the way you will deserve praise from your husband that yes, you did your mission."
He said that after raising children, a woman is "entitled to go to heaven."
Organizers describe Moon's national tour as an interfaith revival to encourage strong family values. It is part of an effort by the American Clergy Leadership Conference - a Unification Church affiliate - to build an interfaith and interracial religious coalition. The tour began Feb. 25 in New York.
Moon ran into some trouble this month in Detroit after two Baptist pastors took offense when they were listed as event sponsors and urged people to stay away.
But last night, Moon seemed to draw only praise.
One supporter was Mary Beth Sodus, 40. "I think his message was right on the money in terms of the importance of family and the importance of marriage being a sacrament," said Sodus.
She said that she has been participating in a Moon-sponsored dating service for the past 18 months in hopes of meeting a husband and one day having children.
The one thing she had some trouble with, Sodus said, were Moon's comments on homosexuality.
"I'm not here to hate anybody," she said.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, is being lambasted by a local Christian radio station and embraced by a national coalition of pastors as he prepares for a rally in Milwaukee next week.
Is the 81-year-old Moon a second Adam, a messiah chosen by God to complete what Jesus left undone?
Is he a false prophet, a blasphemer with a financial empire, a tax-evasion conviction and a cult-like following of the kinds of "Moonies" who sold flowers on street corners in the 1970s?
Or, could he be the honorable leader of a Christian denomination that is worthy of working hand-in-hand with other faith groups to strengthen families, achieve world peace and foster Christian unity?
The questions are swirling.
"The key thing that is causing a lot of discussion in Christian radio right now is the fact that there are a lot of mainline pastors and Evangelical pastors who are very, very much convinced that the anointing of Jesus Christ is on Father Moon," said the Rev. Michael Jenkins, Moon's North American president and spokesman. "And that's got people really discussing things.
"So, we are happy that these discussions are going on. We love and appreciate our Christian brothers and sisters.
"We just want to point out there was similar misunderstanding at the time of Jesus. When Jesus cast out demons, in the book of Matthew, they said it was by the power of Beelzebub that he did such work, and they also called him a blasphemer."
The Rev. Vic Eliason, vice president and general manager of the corporation that owns and operates the Christian radio station WVCY-FM (107.7) in Milwaukee, has a different view.
He has been sharing it on his 2 p.m. weekday "Crosstalk" show, which is syndicated in 87 markets coast to coast. And his show's producer, Ingrid Schlueter, also has gone after Moon on her own "Homefront" show at 3:15 p.m.
"The issue is not numbers, not a coalition response, not simply a massing of people," said Eliason. "Christianity is not democratic. Christianity is a doctrine that is handed to us from God, and when someone else steps into God's place and claims to be the Messiah, that's blasphemy."
"I'm a minister, and I have no hesitation in declaring God's word as authority. Our organization believes in the Bible, and we stand for everything the Bible says," Eliason added. "Any man who usurps God's authority is a blasphemer. Any man who tells me the devil is out of business has lost his grip on reality."
Visiting all 50 states
The debate over the airwaves in Milwaukee has been sparked by "We Will Stand," a 51-city, 50-state revival and tour of interfaith pastors that Moon has helped organize. It has been billed as "clergy of all denominations and faiths coming together to lift up and rebuild the family, restore the community and renew our nation."
And its 38th site will be at Bethel Baptist Church, 2030 W. North Ave., on Wednesday. The doors open at 5 p.m. for a night of music, worship and talks by Moon and other ministers.
Using WVCY-FM's airwaves, the Rev. Joseph Dallas, pastor of New Creation Bible Church, 3934 W. Fond du Lac Ave., is helping to organize an informational demonstration that night.
"We know that Reverend Moon is a false prophet," Dallas said. "He's a diabolical deceiver and a liar."
Jenkins will respond to such attacks by appearing on Eliason's show on Monday.
It's no accident that an inner-city church was chosen. The tour is largely focusing on African-Americans, said the Rev. Hycel B. Taylor, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Ill., and former national director of Operation PUSH in Chicago.
Some critics charge that Christian churches, in particular, are allowing themselves to be used by Moon to give him greater credibility by cooperating with him.
Taylor says he supports the tour for three reasons: It is part of the movement toward world peace and interfaith dialogue that Moon has helped foster; it enhances Christian unity; and it bolsters family values, especially in neglected, inner city areas.
"I think that it's appropriate that there's questions about his theology," said Taylor. "Conservatives questioning his theology are subject to questioning as well. ... He is not the messiah for African-Americans. They are not naive about that."
40 million members?
Moon, originally know for his Unification Church, in the late 1990s created a new organization, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, to broaden his reach. Critics dispute the numbers, but Jenkins said that organization has 250,000 participants in North America and 40 million worldwide. He said the church itself - under the name Family Church - has 50,000 members in North America and 3 million worldwide.
Disagreements arise over Moon's official teachings and informal statements and over whether his words were translated accurately from his native Korean.
Some controversial teachings:
Moon says Jesus appeared to him at the age of 15 on a Korean mountain and asked him to complete parts of Jesus' mission that were not finished.
Moon teaches that he and his wife are the "True Parents," a new Adam and Eve who are free of original sin. The mass weddings he performs in stadiums and other locations - which include wedding vow renewals and church-arranged pairings of interracial couples - free those couples from original sin, as well as any children born to them.
Moon has been quoted as saying Satan has repented and been forgiven by God. Jenkins said Moon means that Lucifer, the leader of the fallen angels, has repented, and that evil remains in the world because of other fallen angels, and living and dead people opposed to God.
The local leader of the Unification Church said this week he expects a good crowd to hear the Rev. Sun Myung Moon speak in Billings on Saturday.
Moon, founder and leader of the Unification Church, brings his 50-states-in-50-days "Standing Together" tour to the Holiday Inn Grand Montana.
The Rev. Michael Yakawich, pastor of the local Unification Church, now called the Billings Family Church, said he expects about three dozen local clergy to attend the event and a crowd of at least 350.
The tour began Feb, 25 in New York where 3,500 clergy and followers joined the 81-year-old evangelist, who called for national interracial and interreligious harmony and cooperation. The tour will visit 50 states in nearly as many days, with the finale gathering in Washington, D.C., on April 16. The tour drew 250 in Cheyenne Tuesday night.
"This in not just a Unification Church event," Yakawich said. "It is asking for everyone to take a stand against drugs, alcoholism and racism."
Yakawich said prominent Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Pentecostal ministers are joining the tour. He said the event would include a buffet and entertainment before Moon's address, which will be delivered in Korean with simultaneous translation.
He said Moon believes that "the faith community must take a leading role in making a better reality for all our citizens. Our churches, temples, mosques remain the most segregated part of our society."
Despite the controversy surrounding Moon's religious beliefs and teachings, many clergy, especially African-Americans, have decided to stand with Moon on the issues of rebuilding the family, restoring the community and renewing the nations, Yakawich said. "This is an ecumenical program, not that far removed from what we've done in the community."
Moon, born in North Korea, spent 2 1/2 years in a communist concentration camp. He was freed by the American invasion at Inchon during the Korean War. He also served time in U.S. federal prison for income tax evasion. He founded the Washington Times newspaper in 1984.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon called for an end to divorce, voluntarily childless couples and marital infidelity at his We Will Stand presentation Wednesday night downtown.
The Korean-born founder of the Unification Church made his first public appearance in St. Louis before more than 850 people at the Regal Riverfront Hotel. The event was the 31st day in the 31st state of his 51-day, 50-state U.S. tour. The aim of the tour: To rebuild the family, restore the community and renew the nation.
Moon, 81, says to rebuild families, couples have to stop choosing to be childless. He startled some in the predominately female audience into nervous laughter as he listed male and female genitalia.
If you believe you have those organs for your own sake, then you are a thief or a robber, he said. Women who deliberately avoid having children are bound to hell.
Moon spoke for two hours in Korean as an interpreter conveyed his words in English. The family unit is at the core of a healthy community and a nation, he said. He called couples who do not have children narrow-minded and foolish. God does not consider childless couples a family, he said.
When you become old and get ready to join the spirit world you will feel empty without children, he said. He and his wife have 12 children and more than 40 grandchildren.
Imam Donald Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam's Mosque 28 on North Kingshighway, and one of six local clergy supporting the conference, said, If America would hear and welcome the message of Rev. Moon, this nation would be able to have salvation.
However, Moon's theology and parenting ideals are not accepted by all who support him, including the man who introduced him, the Rev. Hycel Taylor of Second Baptist Church of Evanston, Ill.
As African-Americans we cannot deny we have a problem with families - with one out of three black (young men) supplying the $3.5 billion supply-and-demand prison industry, our women can't find males. He calls many female-led families admirable. We will not allow (Moon) to invalidate our families because they don't have the ideal (man and woman) at the head of the family, Taylor said. As long as they have God in the family, they have a family.
CHEYENNE - The Rev. Sun Myung Moon declared Tuesday that he and his ministry, in effect, have endured persecution and are now establishing the final process of God's work on earth through the creation of the "true family".
"Rev. Moon followed God's direction, Jesus' call, to come to America," Moon said through a translator before more than 250 people attending a banquet on the 50-state "Stand Together America" tour.
"But there was no support, no preparation," he said. "I was mocked, spit at, laughed at, but I didn't care. I had a purpose, a mission, to protect American Christianity for the sake of God's providence."
While he did not directly identify himself as the Messiah, his speech and reading from a prepared text focused on the importance of his native Korea during the end of the world, the timing of historical events that coincide with his life and ministry, and oblique references to himself as "the Lord of the Second Advent".
Moon, founder of the Unification Church, stopped in Wyoming during the "Stand Together America" tour in which he will speak in 50 states in 51 days to "break down the walls" of denomination, race, and husband and wife, said the Rev. Michael Jenkins of the American Clergy Leadership Conference before the banquet.
The idea for the tour started in Moon's native Korea with 150 pastors, and has since attracted the support of 12,000 clergy, Jenkins said. Other ministers, including Cheyenne City Councilman the Rev. C.J. Brown and the Rev. William Ephriam of Colorado Springs, encouraged people to be open to Moon, whose ideas, influence over followers and business dealings. During his speech, Moon jokingly referred to his controversial past. "While Rev. Moon is a brainwasher, in a short time maybe you have been brainwashed."
The Unification Church, Moon and his followers, derided as "Moonies," were regarded as cultic in the 1970s, especially as young people devoted their lives in poverty while the leadership of the church lived in luxury.
The subsequent banquet featured an invocation by the Rev. Louis Johnson of the New Beginnings Christian Church of Casper, and John Kambutu, professor of educational studies at the University of Wyoming Casper College Center. Former Natrona County Republican Party Chairman Marvin Emrich said he and his wife Maureen were invited by Michael Hentrich, of Casper, a member of the Family Federation for World Peace. Maureen Emrich said she recently received the American Century Award by The Washington Times Foundation.
The unification behind Moon is to "rebuild the family, restore the community, and renew the nation and world," according to promotional literature. The entire effort depends on the sanctification of the family, which began as a formal movement in 1995 with Moon's mass weddings of millions of couples, Jenkins said during the news conference. "We do believe a new age has dawned." The "Stand Together" movement does not discriminate against single people, who can be blessed by God," Jenkins said.
However, people cannot exhibit "the full reflection of God" unless they are married, he said.
Moon amplified that in a nearly two-hour long speech that dealt with love, sex organs, the roles of men and women, philosophical aspects of "subject" and "object," conflicts between mind and body, and the shortcomings of Jesus 2000 years ago.
God sent Jesus to redeem the world, Moon said.
However, the Jews should have built Jesus a palace and prepared a perfect bride so he could have married and have had children to create a true family, Moon said.
"Don't you think Jesus would have wanted to marry if he found a holy bride? If a holy bride sent by God was there, and they were together, don't you think Jesus would have functioned like a man, like between a husband and wife?"
If Jesus and his wife had a family, their descendents would have been able to conquer the Roman empire and establish a political kingdom that would endure, he said. "Then, there wouldn't be George W. Bush as president of America, but one of Jesus' descendents would be king."
The purpose of the Lord of the Second Advent is to restore true life, true love and true lineage.
God needs families - ordered by a husband's leadership over his wife - so He can be at the center of love, Moon said.
And to be perfect families, they must be blessed by one chosen by God, he said.
"What if the Lord of the Second Advent doesn't come on a cloud, but comes in a physical body?"
Local ministers and protesters were both conspicuous by their absence at a carefully choreographed presentation by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon Monday evening. Although the initial announcement of Moon's appearance as part of a 50-state tour called "Stand Together America" generated controversy locally, the seats in a Little America banquet hall were primarily filled with Moon's followers and a few local curiosity-seekers. The Rev. Vic Walters was one of two local clergy on hand for the evening. Elder C.J. Brown, a Cheyenne city councilman and associate pastor of New Kingdom Church of God in Christ, was listed on promotional materials as one of the event's supporters. Brown said he came because he was invited and to hear Moon's message of unity. "I'm here to learn," he said. Walter, pastor of the Evangelical Free Church, came away from the almost-three-hour, highly amplified lecture with the decision that he had learned enough. "Moon's message should be offensive to any orthodox Christian individual who knows his theology," Walter said. He said he went because he was curious and had never heard Moon in person. He added that he had expected a general talk on family values, not the extended lesson in Moon's theology that was presented. "It was rank heresy," Walters concluded. But Moon captivated much of the audience with a combination of humor, thunderous declarations and repeated phrases like "life, love and lineage." Moon's spoken English is difficult to understand, so a translator was used, with the translation frequently overlapping Moon's declarations. But occasionally Moon used repeated English phrases to make a point. His message to support families and against racism was well-received. John Kambutu, a professor of educational studies at the Casper College center for the University of Wyoming, spoke in favor of Moon's views against racism. During his talk, Moon detailed his anti-racism views, using examples of polar bears, brown bears and black bears as representatives of the different races. He said the bears developed different colors as a reaction to the environment and were not made that way by God. Gail Ridgely, president of Wind River Community College, told the crowd that American Indians need more equality in the Equality State. But he did not directly address any of Moon's views. Although there were no protesters, two Cheyenne Police officers were on hand at the beginning of the talk, and security people provided by Moon stood along the perimeters of the room throughout the talk. John Redmond of Arvada, Colo., brought his family to Cheyenne for the talk. "Our society's social problems can be traced back to the breakdown of the family," the 20-year member of the Unification Church said. "And it is best solved by a connection to a religious entity." Redmond attributed Moon's controversy to a distrust of foreigners. Moon himself joked about brainwashing and being controversial but then linked it with a belief that anyone speaking the truth will be persecuted. "He is saying challenging things, but in America a lot of people don't know what he thinks or believes," Redmond said. "But I think he provides a way of making the races work together to restore the family."
It was billed as an evening to break down barriers between races and religions, and much of the talk was aimed in that direction. But the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification church, also led an occasionally bewildered audience Monday night through a Bible study that explored elements of his theology with more references to male and female sexual anatomy than are usually found in lectures about the Garden of Eden.
The occasion was Moon's one-day journey through New Orleans, the latest stop on the last half of his breakneck 50-city "We Will Stand" tour that had him in Mobile, Ala., Saturday night and will take him to Cheyenne, Wyo., today.
Local clergy, including state Rep. Leonard Lucas, D-New Orleans, promoted the evening as an effort "to bring the body of Christ together," Lucas said.
Speaking through an interpreter, Moon, 81, told the audience his study of the Bible convinced him that differences in skin color were merely superficial and that the human family is the engine that will reform the world with love.
Neither sentiment is unusual, but the audience fell uncomfortably silent, broken only by a few nervous twitters, when several times Moon explained his evidence for the divine plan for families in graphic terms centered on male and female sex organs.
In Unification belief, Adam and Eve sinned and were expelled from Eden before they could rear a God-centered family, and Jesus Christ did not complete his work on earth, as most Christians believe, because he did not marry and establish an archetypal family.
Moon, who has called himself the "third Adam," believes that his mission is to preach the pre-eminence of the family in order to bring the kingdom of God to earth.
Sex outside the family, or homosexual sex, "go against the ideal of God's creation," he said. Even more: "Women who have the ability to have children and avoid having children deliberately are bound to hell," he said.
Moreover, the sin that drove Adam and Eve out of Eden was a sexual sin between Lucifer and Eve, an encounter that, in Moon's description, began with descriptions of sexual stirrings that seemed to make many in the audience uncomfortable.
Moon also preached themes of global reconciliation and humanity as the family of God, provoking applause from the audience as it found itself on more familiar terrain.
Unification church members spread their invitations all over the city, but the fact that the audience was largely African- American is evidence that racial reconciliation is still needed in New Orleans, said Clopha Deshotel, an administrator at the University of Bridgeport, in Bridgeport, Conn., a school in which the Unification church has made a sizable financial investment.
"Look, I heard the same things about Rev. Moon everybody else has, and believe me, if I didn't think he was a man of God, I'd be the first to denounce him," Lucas said. He said he learned about Moon and his movement's agenda for reconciliation at a Unification conference in Washington, D.C.
The promise of an evening centered on such talk was enough to bring the Rev. Hadley Edwards and several members of his Bethany United Methodist Church to the ballroom.
"There's so much division in the world, the church needs to stand up for unity and be a stabilizing force," he said before the speech.
Before he began, Moon asked the audience's indulgence if he should wander off-point, an acknowledgment of his age.
"I don't think anyone has come here and given such a shocking or strange talk" he said.
The Unification Church in Kodiak, which now calls itself the "Family Federation for World Peace" has asked local clergy and congregations of all demoninations to look beyond their religious differences and support a new national crusade, led by leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Moon, the 81-year old spiritual leader of the Unification Church, is halfway through a 50-state, 50-day national speaking tour that will conclude in Anchorage, April 12 at the Hotel Captain Cook. The tour, called "We will Stand," began Feb. 25 in New York City. It is an out-growth of the "Million Family March" led by Chicago Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan last March and is cosponsored by the Unification Church.
The American Clergy Leadership Conference, including 70 Christian ministers from across the United States, are joining Moon in what is being billed as an interfaith, interracial crusade to rebuild the family, restore the community and the nation.
Some of the church faithful believe it may be the aging church leader's swan song in the United States.
The local Unification Church invited 20 Kodiak church leaders and supporters to a luncheon Monday to discuss the crusade, and how to support it locally. They also were invited to attend the event in Anchorage.
The dozen that attended the luncheon, including Borough Mayor Gabrielle LeDoux and a variety of leaders and congregants of local Lutheran, Protestant, Salvation Army, Catholic, Christian Science, Mormon, and Baptist Churches.
"We are praying for the success of this every day. Some people are even fasting for this," said Eugene Harnett, an Anchorage Federation for World Peace representative and organizer of the Alaska event. Black ministers, in particular, are backing the crusade, he said, because they most keenly understand the need for the country to return to the family, and the importance of overlooking racial and national differences, he said.
Moon's tour will not include Kodiak, Harnett said, which Moon considers his home away from home, especially in the summertime when he comes here to fish.
Jesse Vizcocho, a Kodiak City councilman and Filiipino-American leader in the community, joined in the entertainment with songs and his guitar.
A father of four, Vizcocho said he realizes that the common thread in all religious teachings is the importance of family as the basic unit of society and the church. "By rebuilding the family we can also rebuild the society," he said. Vizcocho is active in the Filipino Bible .
ChurchVal Miller, a local Christian Scientist, said she was inspired by a short video and the ideas discussed at the luncheon. The video, shown during the lunch, detailed Moon's life and mission.
Miller said she had wondered for many years why people are so judgmental about religious differences and said it was "beautiful" to see people coming together. "But it has to start in our own community," she said.
Tim White, the protestant chaplain at the U.S. Coast Guard Base said he didn't really understand what the proposed gathering really would do, or how changes could occur - especially when it's so difficult to get just two different Christian church congregations together to hold a meeting, he said.
Many of the Christian leaders already on tour are facing criticism in the media, and from within their own churches. They are having to defend publicly their involvement in the crusade, Harnett said.
Kodiak's Unification Church pastor Neal Drucker, who was born and raised a Jew, and raised his children in Israel, said bringing various groups together is the principal challenge.
Members of his organization received mixed reactions from those they invited to the Kodiak luncheon, Drucker said. While some people welcomed the invitation, it made others uncomfortable. Still others were against it, he said. "The challenge is up to us," Drucker added.
Approximately 20 families in Kodiak belong to the local Unification Church.
The church owns a local processing plant, International Seafoods of Alaska, and U.S. Marine Corp., that operates three fishing vessels locally and an at-sea factory processor.
Shouts of Praise God! and Amen! echoed through the Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit as people of varying races and religions listened to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon talk about the need for people to come together and purge evil from American society. The time has come for America to awaken once again, the 81-year-old Moon said earlier this week through an interpreter. It's time for the country as a whole to create a new movement to build up true parents, true families, a true country and a true world centered on God. The founder of the Unification Church visited Detroit as part of We Will Stand, a 50-day, 50-state tour. The event drew a large number of area clergy and interested people of different faiths. Moon started the movement in 1945 after he said Jesus Christ spoke to him.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon was welcomed to Mobile by a bevy of local politicians and religious leaders Saturday - a far cry from the resistance the Korean prophet faced when he tried to build a seafood and ship building business in Bayou La Batre 24 years ago.
Moon came with a throng of leaders from many religions to proclaim a message of saving the soul of humanity by rebuilding the family.
In his speech to the more than 500 people who attended the family-centered "We Will Stand!" event, Moon mentioned the old conflict in which that tiny Mobile County fishing village attempted to keep out the Unification Church that some local and state officials dubbed a cult.
"Some 20 years ago, there was protest of my presence here," Moon said through an interpreter. "I wonder if there's anyone here who participated in that."
There was laughter through the room at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center, where the meeting was held, as Moon scanned the room for raised hands. He found none.
"It's OK! You're forgiven!" Moon said, waving his hand across the audience. "The past is past."
That worked both ways. The city of Bayou La Batre presented Moon and his wife with a plaque Saturday, thanking them for their "generosity and commitment to the Bayou La Batre community."
The Unificationists have firmly entrenched themselves in the businesses and community of Bayou La Batre. The church has referred to its settlement there as a "model," and it built one of its few U.S. grade schools there.
Clinton Johnson, Mobile's city council president, presented Moon with a key to his city. Mobile County Commissioner Mike Dean presented Moon with the welcome from the entire commission.
Moon and a diverse group of religious leaders - Christian, Jewish and Muslim - are touring the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in 51 days with a strong message of family values. Mobile was the 28th stop on the tour that some say may be the last hurrah for the 81-year-old Moon.
Moon's plane arrived Saturday morning, fresh from a stop in Overland Park, Kansas. To the disappointment of his growing Unificationist flock in south Mobile County, Moon planned to leave for his Sunday date in Los Angeles on Saturday evening.
"We wish he could stay with us, but this tour's tight schedule won't let him," The Rev. Joshua Cotter, pastor of Bayou La Batre's Family Church of South Alabama. Moon's plane took off from Brookley Field an hour after he finished his speech, Cotter said.
Moon spoke for more than two hours Saturday - an hour longer than was planned, but a far cry from some of the marathon talks Moon has given in the past.
"Are you sure you want me to continue talking?" Moon asked the crowd Saturday. "I once spoke for 16 and three-fourths hours. So I can continue talking all night, if you like."
More than four decades after Moon founded the Unification Church, the man and his teachings remain the subject of division and controversy within some parts of the mainstream religious community.
But, while the religious leaders on the tour disagree with Moon theologically, they said they share the same family values.
"This was not a religious event. It was a moral event," said Ronald Ali, imam at the Masjid of Al-Islam in Mobile.
Wyatt Tee Walker, pastor of the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in the Harlem community of New York City and a longtime activist, said the tour he has joined isn't about Rev. Moon or the Unification Church.
"This is a tour to end racism, to break down the barriers of race and of religion that separate us, to end the breakdown of the family," Walker said.
Georgia Sen. Donzella James, who has spoken at the tour's last three stops, said she's been criticized by some in the black community for her association with Moon, whose church owns the conservative Washington Times daily newpaper in Washington.
But James, who describes herself as devout a Catholic as she is a Democrat, said Moon's message simply speaks to the problems of today's families.
"In Britain, they have mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease," James said. "Here we have mad child disease and foot-in-mouth disease with our children."
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 81, who calls himself the new Messiah, will make his first appearance in St. Louis at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Regal Riverfront Hotel, 200 South Fourth Street. He will speak through a translator about family values at the We Will Stand conference.
Moon founded his Unification Church in Korea in 1945 and brought it to this country in the 1960s, advocating arranged, mass marriages. The 35 members of the Missouri Family Church, a Unification Church at 9451 Lackland Road in Overland, are sponsoring his visit here, part of a U.S. tour.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the controversial Unification Church, visited Norfolk this week as part of a 50-state tour soliciting attention to his bedrock theme of ending racial and religious division.
Moon canceled an appearance at the MacArthur Memorial on Monday, but later in the day spoke to a large crowd of supporters at the Sheraton Waterside.
According to organizers, the tour reflects the growth of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, a group of 120 American clergy that Moon organized the last year to promote the need to rebuild the family, communities and the nation.
Members of the Unification Church believe that Moon, 81, is a divine prophet on an equal level with biblical prophets such as Ezekiel. Moon has also gained notoriety for mass weddings, called blessings, involving hundreds of couples. He was imprisoned for a tax evasion conviction in the 1980s.
His critics include Virginia Beach-based evangelist Pat Robertson, who warned this month that President Bush's plan to fund faith-based charities was flawed because it could channel federal money to groups like the Hare Krishnas and the Unification Church.
Such criticism is rejected by Moon supporters like Milton A. Reid and Thelma Brown, both of whom are active in the American Clergy Leadership Conference.
Reid, pastor of Gideon's Riverside Fellowship church in Norfolk and a former publisher of the New Journal and Guide, said that in the 20 years he has collaborated with Moon he has seen no sign that the church brain-washed members, as critics have charged.
Brown, with Miracle Tabernacle Church in Portsmouth, said she embraces Moon's vision of spurring Christian clergy to collaborate in rebuilding the family structure.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Korean evangelist and leader of the Unification Church, made Little Rock the 20th stop of his 51-day, 47-city "We Will Stand" tour of America on March 16.
About 750 people gathered at Robinson Center Music Hall at 6 p.m. to hear Moon speak and see a performance by the Mississippi Mass Choir. Many in the crowd brought small children, saying they had come to hear the nationally known choir, but by the time the choir took the stage nearly four hours after the event had started, fewer than 500 people remained.
Fliers and press releases promoted the event as an interdenominational, multiracial event with speeches by local and national church leaders. But the only local speaker at the Little Rock venue of "We Will Stand" was the Rev. Charles E. Williams of Greater Paradise Baptist Church, who gave a brief invocation.
Black and white preachers from Dallas spoke before introducing Moon at about 8 p.m.
"The body of Christ has been divided too long. The devil's been trying to separate God's people," said the Rev. John Jackson of Dallas. "We want to tear down the walls of denominationalism. The Son of God died for all men."<
When two local gospel acts did not show up, the Rev. Wendel Blair of Dallas led the gathering in an a cappella version of "This Little Light of Mine" accompanied by hand clapping, and then a gospel tune, accompanied by a Hammond organ and drums.
"Rev. Moon is teaching and preaching for the true God, true parents and true love," Blair said. "This ministry is all about interrelationships and interdenominations."<
"This is a ministry of all Christian people coming together," said the Rev. Michael Jenkins, also of Dallas. Jenkins and Blair were speaking of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, which was founded by Moon in May and includes "12,000 pastors from across America," Jenkins said.
After a video presentation about the life and ministry of the Korean evangelist, Moon preached in his native language; his message was translated into English. Moon compared the divisions between denominations, families and races with man's separation from God, a split that began in the Garden of Eden with the fall of Adam and Eve.
"When we look at ourselves as the children of Adam and Eve, we know we're not perfect. ... While there [are] fights between blacks and whites, God will not come here. ... If we die and go to the spirit world, there [are] no denominations. There is no Baptist Church, there is no Methodist Church."
Moon's commentary about Adam and Eve's relationship with God was unorthodox. "Because of the fall of man, God could not officiate at their wedding and have a relationship with his grandchildren. ... In the Garden of Eden while Adam and Eve were growing into perfection, they made an illicit love relationship because of Satan. ... Satan replaced God as the father of human kind. ... Because of the misuse of their love organs, no one has been able to enter the Kingdom of God."
After preaching for about an hour, Moon and his interpreter read for another hour from a 22-page booklet distributed by Unification Church members before the program. Then local pastors -- many of whom were not present -- were recognized for their participation in the American Clergy Leadership Conference preceding an enthusiastic performance by the Mississippi Mass Choir.
To forge ties with Baltimore's black churches, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon plans to speak here next week at a Baptist church, part of a 51-day, 50-state whistle-stop tour of the country.
Moon, 81, the leader of the Unification Church, has declared himself the Messiah come to unite all religions. His mass weddings and church members' proselytizing have led some to call his church a cult.
But the Rev. Willie Ray, longtime anti-violence crusader and organizer of Thursday's We Will Stand revival, scheduled for 6 p.m. at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in West Baltimore, is embracing the Korean-born leader.
"If you really hear him, he's a theologian," Ray said after a news conference to announce the revival yesterday at the United Missionary Baptist Convention headquarters in West Baltimore.
"He has a theology about how he sees God. Jesse Jackson has a theology. Louis Farrakhan has a theology. He's just a Korean with a theology. He recognizes Jesus Christ as lord, and he recognizes God as his father.
Phillip D. Schanker, former pastor of a Washington church and national media coordinator for the revival, said many Christians "have a misunderstanding that Reverend Moon thinks he is Jesus. This tour will give us an opportunity to have Jesus in the center and clarify that misunderstanding.
Organizers describe We Will Stand as a national interfaith revival to encourage strong family values. Moon will "inspire the Baltimore people, and I think they're going to embrace him," Ray said. "This is going to be the start of a movement.
The tour is part of an effort by the American Clergy Leadership Conference, a Unification Church affiliate, to build an interfaith and interracial religious coalition. It was a co-sponsor, along with Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan, of last year's Million Family March.
Moon's tour was conceived at the ACLC's first national convention in December in Chicago. The first event, on Feb. 25 at New York's Garden of Prayer Church of God in Christ, attracted more than 3,500 people, organizers said.
The tour had been fairly free from contention until Wednesday night's stop in Detroit. Two Baptist pastors objected when they were incorrectly listed as event sponsors and went on television to encourage people to stay away.
Seven other black ministers representing Baptist, Methodist and the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ congregations attended the news conference yesterday. Other religious leaders appeared to be leery of endorsing the revival but did not condemn it.
"I think some good can come out of it. I think Willie Ray's intentions are good. But I don't know what ... Moon's intentions are," said the Rev. H. Walden Wilson II, pastor of East Baltimore's Israel Baptist Church.
The Rev. Gregory B. Perkins, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the region's largest coalition of black clergy, agreed with the aim of the revival but said attending is not on his calendar.
"The alliance is obviously for family and has been. We are for principles of morality that we obviously believe from a Christian-Judeo perspective," he said. "The alliance as an organization has not tied on as yet, but we're definitely not in opposition to it because honestly I haven't had a chance to look at it."
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon emphasized the importance of marriage and having children as ways to fix a broken-down society during his 26th stop on a 50-state tour Thursday night in Des Moines.
Moon, who founded the Unification Church in 1954 in Korea, said the sanctity of marriage and reconnecting with God needs to follow the three ideals of life, love and lineage.
Moon, 81, spoke to about 700 people at the Des Moines Marriott. He said society's downfall began when Satan kidnapped Adam and Eve from God. This act cut off God's life, love and lineage and let Satan rule the world. To regain the world from Satan, one must be reborn, he said.
"God wanted to see Adam and Eve reach maturity, but from the beginning his ancestors were killed off," said Moon, whose speech was translated from Korean to English. "God wanted to officiate a wedding and have them start producing children and grandchildren."
Moon argued that several problems with society can be traced to people's misuse of their bodies. Such actions, he said, stem from Adam and Eve's covering up their own genitalia after picking the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
"The love organ is the most precious organ in our body but it becomes the most fearful organ in our life," he said. "We should be able to educate children as they grow up to value their love organs and know how dangerous it is to deal with them."
The misuse of the human genitalia has led to premarital sex where "anyone can do what they want with their love organs."
Moon said women who fail to marry or "ignore the value of man are bound to hell."
Marriage is important to Moon, who believes parents are to live for children, the children for the parents, the husband for his wife and the wife for her husband.
Moon has officiated over mass weddings in stadiums over the years. In 1997, 28,000 couples either took vows for the first time or renewed their vows at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C.
"As a man, you're only half a person," Moon said. "As a woman, you're only half a person. We need the better half to become a whole. By doing that we congeal love and become true parents."
Moon's ministry has been controversial since he expanded to the United States in 1971.
Moon believes that he and his wife are the Messiah and "True Parents of all humanity." He also believes that they are the "first couple to have the complete blessing of God, and to be able to bring forth children with no original sin."
Moon said Thursday night that gays and people who have sex before marriage are "like animals - they have to be quarantined."
In recent years, Moon has gained national attention for his efforts to break down society's racial and denominational walls. His church helped sponsor the Million Man March in 1995 and the Million Family March in 2000, although the National Park Service has said each event drew far less than a million.
About 100 Iowans belong to the church, which has about 10,000 members nationally, said David Payer, tour coordinator for Iowa. Payer was one of the first Unification Church members in Iowa, joining in 1973.
"A 50-city, 50-day tour is quite a burden, but Moon feels a powerful calling from God to call people together at this time," Payer said. "Moon says there are denominational differences, but they are not that big of a deal under God."
Detroit - Shouts of Praise God! and Amen! echoed through the Little Rock Baptist Church as people of varying races and religions listened to the Rev. Sun Myung
Moon talk about the need for people to come together and purge evil from American society.
The time has come for America to awaken once again, Moon, 81, said through an interpreter. It's time for the country as a whole to create a new movement to build up true parents, true families, a true country and a true world centered on God.
The founder of the Unification Church visited Detroit as part of We Will Stand, a 50-day, 50-state tour. The event drew a large number of area clergy and interested people of different faiths.
Moon started the movement in 1945 after he said Jesus Christ spoke to him.
Many who oppose Moon's ministry say it's contrary to Christian teaching. They say Moon's church promotes him as a new messiah sent by God.
But Wednesday, area clergy dismissed the controversy surrounding Moon and said it's crucial that people of all faiths unite to stop intolerance and hatred.
Rev. Mozie Lee Smith, pastor of the Huggins African Methodist Episcopal Church in Detroit said she's been a follower of Moon's for many years and supports his message.
We are all brothers and sisters, red, yellow, black and white, she said. We're all fighting the same evil that causes our children to kill each other.
Rev. George Stallings, archbishop of Washington, D.C.'s Imani Temple African American Catholic Church, said the man isn't as important as the message. Moreover, he said he likes the fact Moon is controversial because it draws attention to the movement.
It's time to tear down the walls of denomination and race, he said. And link us together and restore our cities.
The Unification Church, based in South Korea, has been reviled by some mainstream religious groups as a cult. It claims 50,000 members in the United States and 3 million across the world.
Victoria Edwards, a high school student from Grosse Pointe Park and a member of the Unification Church, said she liked the message of Moon's speech.
I think it was good to see all of the different kinds of people come together, she said.
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