Sunday, June 27, 2004

Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon's self-coronation at the Dirksen Senate Office Building before a dozen members of Congress provides a window into the doings of a cult leader with a criminal record who is steadily buying his way into the mainstream of political life.
. . .in an exquisitely bizarre finale, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., carried a bejeweled crown to the front of the room. Moon and his wife donned crowns and robes and Moon told the crowd of doings in the spirit world where Marx, Lenin, Hitler and Stalin have learned from him.
"They have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Rev. Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent," Moon beamed. "This resolution has been announced on every corner of the globe."
Not every corner. The story in the next day's Moon-owned Washington Times diplomatically ignored its founder's assertions of godhood. It took three months and some very strange photos of Moon and his wife in crowns and robes to push the story out of the margins.
"We all think he's losing his mind. He's getting crazier every day," said Steven Hassan, a former official in the American branch of Moon's Unification Church who is now an anti-cult consultant.
But as Moon gets crazier, he also seems to get more access to power and his lieutenants become more skillful at husbanding it. He has a long history of seeking out the powerful, currying favor and looking like just another statesman, even after recklessly free-associating like a psychic on LSD.
. . . When Weldon's press secretary initially denied that her boss was at the Dirksen ceremony, she was confronted with photos, pulled from the Moon Web site, of Weldon in attendance. When she said he did not speak, up came another photo of Weldon giving a speech..
. . . Twenty years ago, Moon was sent to prison for 18 months for tax evasion. Upon his release, he held another in his series of mass weddings for couples he had personally paired. Ordinarily, this sort of behavior would scare off power-brokers in Washington, but Moon has instead refashioned himself as a billionaire donor with a few eccentric notions.
. . . Eight years ago, launching a newspaper in Latin America, Moon was shunned by Argentine President Carlos Menem. Former President George H.W. Bush felt no such misgivings. He was flown to Buenos Aires and praised Moon -- "the man with the vision" -- and told the audience The Washington Times "brings sanity to Washington, D.C."
This "sanity" is the work of a billionaire with links to the Korean CIA and whose church gained prominence by recruiting lonely college students who were put on the streets in the 1970s to sell "Bicentennial God Bless America Candy."
. . . Moon has paid out millions in speaking fees to an array of powerful people, including the elder Bush, former President Gerald Ford and members of Congress . . .

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