Sun Myung MoonIt should be obvious to sensible persons that whatever fraction of Sun Myung Moon which isn't pure bullshit artist is necessarily raving lunatic. As the wacko billionaire who made his fortune off the backs of the Moonie cult (otherwise known as the Unification Church), Moon has established his niche in the world as the Korean version of L. Ron Hubbard.
Over the years, Moon's gargantuan wealth and legions of worshippers have evidently corroded away any sense of propriety or self-restraint he might have once possessed, leaving only a megalomaniac and his vast financial and human resources.
As evidence, consider the day in April 2002 when he received the latest in a long series of earthshattering religious visions. This one was especially noteworthy. In it, Moon learned that he had been selected as "the Savior, Messiah and King of Kings of all of humanity" by God. Also on the selection committee: Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and Buddha (in addition to several others, including the godless Communists Marx and Stalin for some mysterious reason).
Anyway, that's how Moon described it in his full-page newspaper ad, which ran in papers all across the U.S. (including the Los Angeles Times). It was a $720,000 print run, but it was worth every penny. Finally middle America would get the word and rally behind their messiah. Except it was a bit of a reach. Moon's captive congregation is accustomed to his indefatigable hubris, but the general public who have yet to send their mind through the laundry just find it repugnant.
But he can't help it. Moon has been claiming for decades (like The Beatles before him) that he is bigger than Christ. In a 1990 sermon, he reiterated this belief (note that Moon always addresses himself in the third person, usually as "Father"):
"Jesus never achieved a thousandth of what Father has done. In his two years and eight months of public ministry, [Jesus] didn't even establish the national foundation. Now, Father has established a foundation of worldwide power that is unprecedented in history."Moon has a bad habit of comparing himself favorably to his predecessor, proclaiming that he will succeed where Jesus has failed, and so on. This kind of material kills with the home crowd, but it doesn't really do so great on the road. But apparently this is irrelevant, since Moon seems to have become utterly oblivious to the shocked reactions of his public audiences.
Case in point: an April 2001 appearance at a Methodist church in Las Vegas. It was just another typical sermon by Reverend Moon. There were about 600 people in the congregation when the sermon began. But for some reason, people kept walking out, well before he got on a roll about schlongs:
"The head of the love organ is shaped exactly like a poisonous rattlesnake. And just like a rattlesnake, it's always looking for a hole."
Oh yes, there was more. He went on to explain that 70% of all divorces result from the wife's inappropriate feelings of entitlement toward her husband's genitals. As Moon explained it, a man's "love organ" can only serve its master, and the spouse just needs to get used to it. He told the audience that these women, along with childless couples and homosexuals, are destroying the fabric of society. Offended churchgoers left in droves; some of them even heckled him on their way out. And this was by no means an isolated incident. He's been spouting that snake-genitalia lunacy for years and years. In April 1996, Moon preached:
"The Bible refers to the origin of free sex by using the image of a snake. Woman's sexual organ is like the open mouth of a snake filled with poison. Man's sexual organ is like the head of a snake. If you think of fallen love action in these terms you feel disgusted and so you should. It is poison to humanity."
In November of that same year, he was in Buenos Aires to celebrate the launch of his newest Spanish-language newspaper. At the ceremony (attended by guest speaker and former President George HW Bush for a reported fee of $100,000), Moon passed along this revolutionary insight:
Why would anybody (who isn't brainwashed or getting paid) sit through an entire speech by this screwball? Ever since 1954, Moon has made no secret of his nutball theology:
In a Moonie marriage, the choice of a partner is handled for you. Church elders make the seemingly-random selections by pairing up photos of prospective brides and grooms. Maybe they shuffle Polaroids like a deck of cards. Sometimes the lucky couples wind up with a common spoken language. Sometimes not.
They meet for the first time during the week leading up to the wedding day, often on the day of the ceremony itself. The event is so big that it has to be held in a sports arena or stadium, complete with a closed-circuit video feed on the Jumbotron.
Because of these antics and his blasphemous theology, you might expect that Moon would be shunned by respected Christian leaders. Which he is. For instance, Jerry Falwell told Esquire magazine in 1978: "Reverend Sun Myung Moon is like the plague: he exploits boys and girls, and he should be exported. [sic]"
This negative general attitude poses a significant problem for the Unification Church. Its goal is the absorption of every national government and competing religious faith. Which is a tall order, considering the horrible reputation the church has earned over the years. But Moon is nothing if not determined.
"The democratic world has hated Reverend Moon until now, but from now on it will like the Reverend Moon. The time has already come when America will start to like Reverend Moon."
Moon's chosen tactic, which has been highly effective, is to purchase his legitimacy outright. In addition to United Press International (UPI), Moon is the owner of the Washington Times, a conservative newspaper devoted to right-wing causes. Every operating year, the Times loses tens of millions of dollars, but profitability has never been a priority. Its intended purpose was made clear when, during Watergate, the paper ran an endless stream of pro-Nixon editorials urging the American people to forgive and forget.
Ever since then, Moon has made substantial inroads to the Republican party by parlaying access to his media outlets and exorbitant cash contributions. For instance, it was $100,000 of Moon's money that initially kicked off the Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, a nonprofit organization conceived by Oliver North and headed by a group of conservatives including Charlton Heston. The NFF's mission in life was to raise private donations for the Contras, in the eventuality that Congress cut off funding. Also recall that former President George HW Bush was paid six figures to attend a 1996 ceremony in Buenos Aires. At the podium, Bush gushed:
"I want to salute Reverend Moon, who is the founder of the Washington Times, and of the new paper here."
Not to mention mainstream church leaders, like our old friend Jerry Falwell. The man who called for Moon's "exportation" in 1978 was singing his praises years later. Falwell changed his tune after one of Moon's front organizations handed Liberty University $3.5 million and otherwise forgave tens of millions in debts so he could bail out his college in 1994. Later, Falwell reciprocated by appearing at various Unification Church events and called upon President Ronald Reagan to pardon Moon's felony conviction for tax evasion.
Oh, that. Well, it turns out that the messiah didn't want to pay his taxes. So he underreported his income by omitting $162,000 and hoped that either the Internal Revenue Service wouldn't notice, or his high-placed friends in the government would squelch any investigation. But the IRS did, and his friends didn't. Moon was convicted in 1982. He fought his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court and lost, after which he announced that God evidently wanted him to go to prison. In 1984 he finally submitted to God's will and spent the next 13 months in the clink.
It's all part of the divine plan. As Moon himself might say: You just gotta trust Father on this one.