The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, also called the Unification Church, and well-known as the Moonies (although this is usually considered derogatory), is a new religious movement founded in South Korea in 1954 by the late Sun Myung Moon.
Since its inception, it has expanded to most nations of the world and now counts its membership at five to seven million members, although most experts dismiss such high figures.
Unification Church beliefs are based on the Bible and are explained in the church’s textbook, Divine Principle. The Blessing ceremony of the Unification Church, a wedding or marriage rededication ceremony, is a church practice which has attracted wide public attention. The Unification Church has tried to engage in interfaith activities with other religions, including mainstream Christianity and Islam, despite theological differences.
The Unification Church has sponsored many organizations and projects over the years; including businesses, news media, projects in education and the arts, and political and social activism. It has a megachurch in Seoul, Korea and the Peace Island in Liberia with the New Hope Academy situated there The church was led by Moon until his death on September 3, 2012, at which time, it was reported that his wife Hak Ja Han and their sons Hyung Jin Moon and Kook Jin Moon would take over the leadership of the church.
Origins in Korea
Unification Church members believe that Jesus appeared to Mun Yong-myong (his birth name) when Moon was 15 on April 17, 1935, and asked him to accomplish the work left unfinished after his crucifixion. After a period of prayer and consideration, Moon accepted the mission, later changing his name to Mun Son-myong (Sun Myung Moon).
In this photo taken on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, Rev. Hyung-jin Moon, second from left, the youngest son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, stands as people pay respects to his father during a memorial service at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea. A Unification Church official says the youngest son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon has left South Korea for the North Korean capital to meet with mourners. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
The church’s official teachings, the Divine Principle, was first published as Wolli Wonbon in 1946. The second, expanded version, Wolli Hesol, or Explanation of the Divine Principle, was not published until 1957. Sun Myung Moon preached in northern Korea after the end of World War II and in 1946 was imprisoned by the communist regime in North Korea. He was released from prison, along with many other North Koreans, by the advance of American and United Nations forces during the Korean War. He built his first church from mud and cardboard boxes as a refugee in Pusan.
Moon formally founded the church in Seoul on May 1, 1954, calling it “The Holy Spirit(ual) Association for the Unification of World Christianity.” The name alluded to Moon’s stated intention for his organization to be a unifying force for all Christian denominations. The phrase “Holy Spirit Association” has the sense in the original Korean of “Heavenly Spirits” and not the “Holy Spirit” of Christianity. “Unification” has political as well as religious connotations, in keeping with the church’s teaching that restoration must be complete, both spiritual and physical. The church expanded rapidly in South Korea and by the end of 1955 had 30 church centers throughout the nation.
Rev Moon At Funeral Exhibit. Official Funeralwill be held on September 15 2012
In 1958 Moon sent missionaries to Japan, and in 1959, to America. Moon moved to the United States in 1971, (although he remained a citizen of the Republic of Korea). Missionary work took place in Washington, D.C., New York, andCalifornia. UC missionaries found success in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the church expanded in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco. By 1971 the Unification Church of the United States had about 500 members. By 1973 the church had some presence in all 50 states and a few thousand members.
The United States sociologist Irving Louis Horowitz compared the attraction of Unification teachings for American young people at this time to the hippie and radical movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Church also sent missionaries to Europe. The church entered Czechoslovakia in 1968 and remained underground until the 1990s. In 1975, Moon sent out missionaries to 120 countries to spread the Unification Church around the world and also in part, he said, to act as “lightning rods” to receive “persecution.” Unification Church activity in South America began in the 1970s with missionary work. Later the church made large investments in civic organizations and business projects, including an international newspaper.
In the 1970s Moon gave a series of public speeches in the United States, including one in Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1974 and two in 1976: in Yankee Stadium in New York City, and on the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., where Moon spoke on “God’s Hope for America” to 300,000 people. In 1974, Moon took full-page ads in major newspapers defending President Richard Nixon at the height of the Watergatecontroversy. In 1970, President Nixon sent a request to the Korean Foreign Ministry to provide information about the Unification Movement, and two years later he met with leaders of the movement.
In 1975 Unification Church held one of the largest peaceful gatherings in history, with 1.2 million people in Yoido, South Korea .
In 1976 the Unification Church’s made its headquarters in New York in the New Yorker Hotel, a 40-story Art Deco building, as well as the one of the first skyscrapers in the world.
In 1982 Moon was convicted in United States federal court of willfully filing false Federal income tax returns and conspiracy. In 1984 and 1985, while he was serving his sentence in Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, Connecticut, American UC members launched a public-relations campaign claiming that the charges against him were unjust and politically motivated. They mailed booklets, letters and videotapes to approximately 300,000 Christian leaders. Many signed petitions protesting the government’s case. Among the American Christian leaders who spoke out in Moon’s defense were conservative Jerry Falwell, head of Moral Majority, and liberal Joseph Lowery, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Michael Tori, a professor at Marist College (Poughkeepsie, New York) suggested that Moon’s conviction helped the Unification Church gain more acceptance in mainstream American society, since it showed that he was financially accountable to the government and the public.
In 1984 Unification Church started a book publishing company in One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Manhattan, whose editorial board included prominent scholars associated with some of the nation’s leading universities. The company is called Paragon House and has a $5 million budget.
In 1990, Unification Church founded its $8m Universal Ballet project, with Soviet-born Oleg Vinogradov as its art director and Julia Moon as its prima ballerina. At the opening ceremony, letters of congratulation from President Bush andJohn Frohnmayer, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, were read.
In 1991 Moon announced that church members should return to their hometowns and undertake apostolic work there. Massimo Introvigne, who studied the Unification Church and other new religious movements, said that this confirmed that full-time membership is no longer considered crucial to church members.
In 1992, Unification Church opened the New Eden Academy International on the campus of the University of Bridgeport, a boarding school for children of Unification Church members.
In 1993, Unification Church members organized a seminar in the Russian Ministry of the Interior.
As of December 1994, Unification Church had invested $150 million in Uruguay. Members own the country’s largest hotel, one of its leading banks, the second-largest newspaper and two of the largest printing plants.
Starting in the 1990s, the Unification Church expanded its operations into Russia and other formerly communist nations. Han made a radio broadcast to the nation from the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. As of 1994, the church had about 5,000 members in Russia and the Russian Education Ministry was giving the Unification Church privileged access to thousands of state schools with their captive audiences of impressionable pupils. About 500 Russian students had been sent to USA to participate in 40-day workshops of and by the Unification Church. Starting in 1992 the church established business ties with communist North Korea and owned an automobile manufacturer (Pyeonghwa Motors), a hotel, and other properties there. In 2007 it founded a “World Peace Center” in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city.
In 1995, the former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, spoke at a Unification Church event in the sold-out 50,000-seat Tokyo Dome. Tickets ranged from $80 to $120. “If as president I could have done one thing to have helped the country more,” Mr. Bush told the gathering, “it would have been to do a better job in finding a way, either through speaking out or through raising a moral standard, to strengthen the American family.” Han, the main speaker, credited her husband with bringing about Communism’s fall and declared that he must save America from “the destruction of the family and moral decay.”
In 1996, the Unification Church started a $10-million project called Tiempos Del Mundo, a newspaper in Spanish circulating in 16 countries of Latin America, “a newspaper for half a Hemisphere”, as The New York Times called it.
In 1998, Unification Movement forgave a $90 million loan to the University of Bridgeport and donated an additional $15 million.
In 1998, the Unification Movement launched its operations in North Korea with the approval of the Government of South Korea, which had prohibited business relationships between North and South before; and built a church there.
Since 2000, Unification Church’s Pyeonghwa Motors has invested more than $300 million to the automobile industry of the DPRK. In 2000, “an event of historical importance” occurred, according to a live broadcast for the state-ownedKorea Broadcasting System, as 78 North Korean girls and boys arrived at the Unification Church’s cross-cultural “ice-breaker” event, where guests such as the minister of unification, Park Jae-Kyu, and the minister of culture, Park Jie Won were present.
In 2000, Unification Church bought the news agency United Press International. At the United Nations Headquarters, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid addressed an event of the Unification Church in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN.
The church met with the President of the Marshall Islands Kessai Note and discussed plans to invest US$ 1 million for construction of a new high school. The next year, he attended Moon’s birthday party.
In 2003, on notification by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, about 500 Christians, Muslims, Jews and other international and interfaith tourists joined the Unification Church Middle East Peace Initiative “to such a degree that the Old Gates were opened by the Israeli police near the Wailing Wall, and by the Muslim leadership at Al Aqsa, without incident”, as the official UN-report says. The Los Angeles Galaxy, which competes in Major League Soccer, played in South Korea during Unification Church’s Peace Cup. That same year, Unification Church held the Interreligious Peace Sports Festival between the people of various faiths, which is, according to the UNESCO official data, “an annual sporting event designed to build and promote friendship and peace among people from different cultural and religious backgrounds using the powerful medium of sports competition”. The college team of Sun Moon University, which some described as the best in South Korea won the tournament.
In 2004, one of the Unification Church pastors gave the official invocation to one of the formal events of Las Vegas chaired by the Mayor of Las Vegas.
In 2005, Chun Doo-hwan, the 12th President of the Republic of Korea, and Chung Mong-joon, the Vice-President of FIFA, attended the opening ceremony of the Unification Church-owned Peace Cup, along with Moon.
In 2006, the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, 4th President of Sri Lanka Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, twice Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremasinghe and the Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka W. J. M. Lokubandarawere guest speakers at a UC event. In Korea, in response to a slanderous newspaper article, more than 700 members of the Unification Movement joined a rally and destroyed the office of the newspaper. Later on, the newspaper wrote a rebuttal.
Starting in 2007, the church sponsored a series of public events in various nations under the title Global Peace Festival. One such event was endorsed by Mwai Kibaki, the President of Kenya.
In 2007, Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan, at the time President of the 33rd session of the General Conference, UNESCO’s supreme governing body, was granted the title Ambassador for Peace by the Unification Church at the General Conference (United Nations). In 2012, Hassan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali (6th United Nations Secretary-General and current President of the UNESCO Panel on Democracy and Development) gave remarks at the Unification Church event in UNESCO’s headquarters in France, along with Akiko Yamanaka (parliamentarian of Diet of Japan, Cambridge University professor and former Deputy-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan) and other 300 politicians and religious leaders.
In 2007, the Unification Church completed the construction of a peace center in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Since 2008, US government has provided aid in planning, development and coordination of the Global Peace Festival of the Unification Church. Georgetown University students took part in it, among many. UC held youth events in collaboration with UN-HABITAT and The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of Kenya. Year later, 5 representatives of the Unification Church (Universal Peace Federation) attended an annual (international ministerial-level) session of UN-HABITAT in its headquarters. In April Moon, then 88 years old, appointed his youngest son, Hyung Jin Moon, to be the leader of the church and movement, saying, “I hope everyone helps him so that he may fulfill his duty as the successor of the True Parents.”
In 2009, UN spokesmen gave speeches at Church events. Hyung Jin Moon, now President of Unification Movement and a Harvard alumnus, met with the 14th Dalai Lama. That same year, Moon’s autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen (Korean: 평화를 사랑하는 세계인으로), was published by Gimm-Young Publishers in South Korea. The book became a bestseller in Korea and Japan.
In 2010, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke at the Unification Church-owned Manhattan Center during Africa Day event, which was also co-sponsored by the Unification Church. In collaboration with US government, the church organized a summer employment program for 250 disadvantaged teens.
In 2011, 48th President of Paraguay Juan Carlos Wasmosy, 49th President of Paraguay Raúl Cubas Grau, 50-th President of Paraguay Luis Ángel González Macchi and the President of the Chamber of Deputies Óscar González Daher participated in the Global Peace Festival of the Unification Church. The church joined with Morehouse College to launch Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Leadership Academy. Students enrolled in the Academy “completecommunity projects, a health fair for the community surrounding the school as well as other service oriented activities”. The Unification Movement received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Taiwanese Executive Yuan. That same year, representatives of seven religions from South Korea visited Pyongyang, North Korea, for the first time ever, in their joint efforts to unite the Korean Peninsula; the delegation was headed by members of the Unification Movement.
In December in Pyongyang, to mark the 20th anniversary of Sun Myung Moon’s visit to the DPRK, de jure President Kim Yong-nam hosted the new President in the official residence. The latter donated 600 tons of flour to North Korean children of Jeongju Province, the birthplace of Sun Myung Moon. Also, after the 2011 earthquake in Japan, he donated $ 1.7 million to the Japanese Red Cross.
In February 2012, Stavros S. Anthony, the Mayor of Las Vegas, recognized the contributions of Unification Church’s Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea. That year the Movement was constructing 70-storey twin skyscraper in Seoul at an estimated cost of $2 billion USD. A Russian senator who backed the church, invited it to hold its event in Federal Assembly of Russia. Global Peace Women was launched in Malaysia, a chapter of Unification Church-affiliated Global Peace Festival Foundation, with the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia as its chair. That same year, the Head of UNEP Achim Steiner and other UN dignataries gave remarks at an environmental event of the affiliate in UNEP Headquarters. The event brought together about 300 people including Keishu Shinso Ito, the highest-ranking minister in Japanese Buddhism, along with other religious leaders. At the opening of Yeosu Expo 2012, Kook Jin Moon, a son of Moon responsible for economic development of the movement, sat in front of the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak among the VIP group.
In 2012, a spokesman of an Unification Church-affiliated tourism-oriented body signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General of UNWTO, “to promote a culture of peace through tourism”.
Prime Minister of Guyana Samuel Hinds at the local Unification Church headquarters, 2012
The UC’s beliefs are based on the Bible, but include new interpretations not found in Jewish and Christian tradition. They are outlined in the church’s textbook, Divine Principle. A brief overview with 12 theological statements about these teachings was written by thirty eight seminary students:
1. God: There is one living, eternal, and true God, a Person beyond space and time, who possesses perfect intellect, emotion and will, whose deepest nature is heart and love, who combines both masculinity and femininity, who is the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness, and who is the creator and sustainer of man and the universe and of all things visible and invisible. Man and the universe reflect his personality, nature and purpose.
2. Man: Man was made by God as a special creation, made in his image as his children, like him in personality and nature, and created to respond to his love, to be the source of his joy, and to share his creativity.
3. God’s Desire for Man and Creation: God’s desire for man and creation is eternal and unchanging; God wants men and women to fulfill three things: first, each to grow to perfection so as to be one in heart, will, and action with God, having their bodies and minds united together in perfect harmony centering on God’s love; second, to be united by God as husband and wife and give birth to sinless children of God, thereby establishing a sinless family and ultimately a sinless world; and third, to become lords of the created world by establishing a loving dominion of reciprocal give-and-take with it. Because of man’s sin, however, none of these happened. Therefore God’s present desire is that the problem of sin be solved and that all these things be restored, thus bringing about the earthly and heavenly kingdom of God.
4. Sin: The first man and woman (Adam and Eve), before they had become perfected, were tempted by the archangel Lucifer into illicit and forbidden love. Through this, Adam and Eve willfully turned away from God’s will and purpose for them, thus bringing themselves and the human race into spiritual death. As a result of this Fall, Satan usurped the position of mankind’s true father so that thereafter all people are born in sin both physically and spiritually and have a sinful propensity. Human beings therefore tend to oppose God and His will, and live in ignorance of their true nature and parentage and of all that they have lost. God too, grieves for His lost children and lost world, and has had to struggle incessantly to restore them to Himself. Creation groans in travail, waiting to be united through the true children of God.
5. Christology: Fallen mankind can be restored to God only through Christ (the Messiah), who comes as a new Adam to become the new head of the human race (replacing the sinful parents), through whom mankind can be reborn into God’s family. In order for God to send the Messiah, mankind must fulfill certain conditions which restore what was lost through the Fall.
6. History: Restoration takes place through the paying of indemnity for (making reparations for) sin. Human history is the record of God and Man’s efforts to make these reparations over time in order that conditions can be fulfilled so that God can send the Messiah, who comes to initiate the complete restoration process. When some effort at fulfilling some reparation condition fails, it must be repeated, usually by someone else after some intervening time-period; history therefore exhibits a cyclic pattern. History culminates in the coming of the Messiah, and at that time the old age ends and a new age begins.
7. Resurrection: The process of resurrection is the process of restoration to spiritual life and spiritual maturity, ultimately uniting man with God; it is passing from spiritual death into spiritual life. This is accomplished in part by man’s effort (through prayer, good deeds, etc.) with the help of the saints in the spiritual world, and completed by God’s activity of bringing man to rebirth through Christ (the Messiah).
8. Predestination: God’s will that all people be restored to Him is predestined absolutely, and He has elected all people to salvation, but He has also given man part of the responsibility (to be accomplished through man’s free will) for the accomplishment of both His original will and His will for the accomplishment of restoration; that responsibility remains man’s permanently. God has predestined and called certain persons and groups of people for certain responsibilities; if they fail, others must take up their roles and greater reparations must be made.
9. Jesus: Jesus of Nazareth came as the Christ, the Second Adam, the only begotten Son of God. He became one with God, speaking the words of God and doing the works of God, and revealing God to the people. The people, however, rejected and crucified him, thereby preventing his building the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus, however, was victorious over Satan in his crucifixion and resurrection, and thus made possible spiritual salvation for those who are reborn through him and the Holy Spirit. The restoration of the Kingdom of God on earth awaits the Second Coming of Christ.
10. The Bible: The Old and New Testament Scriptures are the record of God’s progressive revelation to mankind. The purpose of the Bible is to bring us to Christ, and to reveal God’s heart. Truth is unique, eternal, and unchanging, so any new message from God will be in conformity with the Bible and will illuminate it more deeply. Yet, in these last days, new truth must come from God in order that mankind be able to accomplish what is, yet, undone.
11. Complete Restoration: A proper understanding of theology concentrates simultaneously on man’s relationship with God (vertical) and on man’s relationship with his fellowman (horizontal). Man’s sin disrupted both these relationships, and all the problems of our world result from this. These problems will be solved through restoration of man to God through Christ, and also through such measures as initiating proper moral standards and practices, forming true families, uniting all peoples and races (such as Orient, Occident and Negro), resolving the tension between science and religion, righting economic, racial, political, and educational injustices, and overcoming God-denying ideologies such as Communism.
12. Second Coming or Eschatology: The Second Coming of Christ will occur in our age, an age much like that of the First Advent. Christ will come as before, as a man in the flesh, and he will establish a family through marriage to his Bride, a woman in the flesh, and they will become the True Parents of all mankind. Through our accepting the True Parents (the Second Coming of Christ), obeying them and following them, our original sin will be eliminated and we will eventually become perfect. True families fulfilling God’s ideal will be begun, and the Kingdom of God will be established both on earth and in heaven. That day is now at hand.
God is viewed as the creator, whose nature combines both masculinity and femininity, and is the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness. Human beings and the universe reflect God’s personality, nature and purpose.
“Give-and-take action” (reciprocal interaction) and “subject and object position” (initiator and responder) are “key interpretive concepts” and the self is designed to be God’s object. The purpose of human existence is to return joy to God. The “four-position foundation” is “another important and interpretive concept”and explains in part the emphasis on the family.
Members of the Unification Church believe that Moon is the Messiah and claim that there is “no room to challenging Moon…history will answer whether Moon is new messiah”.Moon himself gave the following answer to the question of whether he is the messiah or not: “Yes I am. But so are you.” Then he pointed to each person around him: “And so are you, and you, and you.”
Sex and marriage
The Unification Church is well known for its wedding or marriage rededication ceremony. It is given to married (or engaged) couples. Through it, members of the Unification Church believe, the couple is removed from the lineage of sinful humanity and engrafted into God’s sinless lineage. The Blessing ceremony was first held in 1961 for 36 couples in Seoul, South Korea by the Moons shortly after their own marriage in 1960. All the couples were members of the church. Rev. Moon matched all of the couples except 12 who were already married to each other before joining the church.
Later Blessing ceremonies were larger in scale but followed the same pattern. All participants were Unification Church members and Rev. Moon matched most of the couples. In 1982 the first large scale Blessing (of 2,000 couples) outside of Korea took place in Madison Square Garden, New York City. In 1988, Moon matched 2,500 Korean members with Japanese members for a Blessing ceremony held in Korea, partly in order to promote unity between the two nations. In 1992 Sun Myung Moon gave the wedding blessing for 30,000 couples at the Seoul Olympic Stadium and for 13,000 at the Yankee Stadium.
In 1997, Al Sharpton, a Christian minister and a candidate for the 2004 presidential election, who had also taken part in other Unification Church events and holidays, took part in a blessing ceremony at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., as a wedding-vow renewal with his wife. That year, 3.6 million couples were married simultaneously in the ceremony. In 2001, the Catholic Church archbishop Emmanuel Milingo was wed by Moon with a Unification Church member in a blessing ceremony against the will of the Pope.
The Blessing ceremonies attracted attention in the press and in the public imagination, often being labeled “mass weddings”, the one of such blessing ceremonies was held at Headquarters of the United Nations in 2000. Such weddings proved to be happy, according to scientific researchs. “Whatever anyone wants to say about the Unification Church, the marital aspect seems to work,” said Robert Epstein, a research psychologist. No-divorce rates are up to 83% in the Unification Church. Unification Church teaches that romantic love leads to sexual promiscuity, mismatched couples and dysfunctional societies.
The Unification Movement affected the demographic map of mono-ethnic Korea due to its Blessing Ceremony. South Korea has an acute problem of gender imbalance. Consequently, there is a large shortage of marriageable women: more than half of female immigrants are from the Philippines, Thailand and other countries came to Korea due to the Unification Movement and less than 20% – through marriage agencies.
Several church-related groups are working to promote sexual abstinence until marriage and fidelity in marriage and to prevent child exploitation; they care for victims of Thailand’s massive sex trade as well.
In 1996, Unification Church gathered 3,500 signatures during its anti-porn campaign. As a church official said, “pornography makes love seem temporal, pure love goes beyond the sexual relationship.”
In 2009, a blessing ceremony for 7,000 couples was attended by the Vice Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and by the daughter of the late President Park Chung-hee. She said: “I join in a trans-religious spirit. I like the Unification Church way of interpreting the Bible, incorporating the Quran and Buddhist scripts”.
Relations with other religions
The relationship between the Unification Church and Judaism has been marked by some controversy. The Divine Principle has been accused of containing antisemitic references. Statements by Moon that Jewish victims of the Holocaust were paying indemnity for the crucifixion of Jesus have also been described as antisemitic. In the 1980s church leaders Mose Durst, Peter Ross, and Andrew Wilson expressed regret over some members’ misunderstanding of Judaism and urged better relations with the Jewish community.
From its beginning, the Unification Church claimed to be Christian and promoted its teachings to mainstream Christian churches and organizations. The Unification Church in Korea was labeled as heretical by Protestant churches in South Korea, including Moon’s own Presbyterian Church. In the United States the church was rejected by ecumenical organizations as being non-Christian. The main objections were theological, especially because of the Unification Church’s addition of material to the Bible and for its rejection of a literal Second Coming of Jesus. Christian commentators also criticized Unification Church teachings as contrary to the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone.
The relationship between the Unification Church and Islam has often been noted, both by scholars and the news media. The Divine Principle lists the “Islamic cultural sphere” as one of the world’s four major divisions (the others are the East Asian, the Hindu, and the Christian spheres). Unification Church support for Islamist anti-communists came to public attention in 1987 when church member Lee Shapiro was killed in Afghanistan during the Soviet war in Afghanistan while filming a documentary. In 1997, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of The Nation of Islam, an African American Islamic organization, served as a “co-officiator” at a blessing ceremony presided over by Moon and Han. In 2000 the Church and the Nation of Islam co-sponsored the Million Family March, a rally in Washington, D.C., to celebrate family unity and racial and religious harmony.
In 1974 Moon founded the Unification Theological Seminary, in Barrytown, New York, partly in order to improve relations of the Unification Church with other churches. Professors from other denominations, including a Methodist minister, a Presbyterian, and a Roman Catholic priest, as well as a Rabbi, were hired to teach students to be leaders in the Church.
Unification Church held dialogues between the members of the Israeli Knesset and the Palestinian Parliament as part of his Middle East Peace Initiatives.
In the 1980s the Unification Church sent thousands of American ministers from other churches on trips to Japan and South Korea to inform them about Unification Church teachings.
In 2009 in Peruvian Congress, Unification Church held an interfaith event. The President of the Congress of Peru Marcial Ayaipoma and other notable politicians are “Ambassadors for Peace” of the Unification Church.
In 2010, the church built a large interfaith temple in Seoul. Author Deepak Chopra was the keynote speaker at an interfaith event of the Unification Church co-hosted with UN at the United Nations Headquarters.
In 2011, an interfaith event was held in the National Assembly of Thailand, the President of the National Assembly of Thailand attended the event.
In 2012, the Unification Church-affiliated Universal Peace Federation held an interfaith dialogue in Italy, which was cosponsored by United Nations. That year, Unification Church affiliated Universal Peace Federation held an interfaith program for representatives of 12 various religions and confessions in the United Nations General Assembly Hall. President of the United Nations General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and other UN officials gave speeches there.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou gets the Ambassador for Peace Award from Thomas Walsh, a leader of Unification Church
The church and its members own, operate and subsidize organizations and projects involved in political, cultural, commercial, media, educational and other activities. In South Korea, Unification Church manages some 4,600 hectares of land and more than 300 residential and commercial rental properties. Many of the companies and enterprises are profitable and help realize church doctrine. The Unification Church in 2001 persuaded the North Korean government to relax its restrictions and permit Pyeonghwa Motors, a South Korean automaker with ties to the Church, to assemble cars in the DPRK and advertise them to North Koreans. The Unification Church sought to promote private business enterprises that would shift the North Korean economy away from a planned economy to a market economy .
The church-owned conglomerate Tongil Group has four subsidiaries listed on the Korea Exchange. Unification Movement is the largest supplier of U.S. sushi restaurants, supplying most of the 9,000 units in the country. It is the second largest exporter of Korean goods. In some U.S. areas it is the largest employer. For a while the Unification Church was the largestforeign investor in China. It manages the top Asian ballet company, the largest Asian helicopter plant, as well as the only automobile-manufacturing plant in North Korea,Pyeonghwa Motors. Three of its NGOs, namely Universal Peace Federation, Women’s Federation for World Peace and Service for Peace, are in consultative status with the UNEconomic and Social Council. The church owns Manhattan Center during Africa Day event, which was cosponsored by an affiliated organization. Unification Church-owned Yeongpyeong Resort, The Ocean Resort and Pineridge Resort hosted Expo 2012 in May 2012, and will sponsor the 2018 Winter Olympics and Formula One. It also owns the Peace Cup, whose president, Chung Hwan Kwak, is a long-time church member and he holds the positions of Asian Football Confederation Social Responsibility Committee Chairman, President of K-League, President of Korea Football Association, which is part of FIFA. Most notable Peace Cup football clubs are Aston Villa, Juventus, Lyon, Inter Milan, etc.
Economic interests of the Unification Movement include the petrochemical industry, construction of golf courses, non-ferrous metallurgy, automobile industry, avia carriers, yacht building, energy drinks, banking, Hollywood, etc. The church owns a mansion in a former Gothic Catholic Church. The church ranks third in the tourism market in Korea. It provides tours toNorth Korea for separated families and built a golf course for tourists in Pyongyang. Japanese members of the Unification Church are the largest share of the air travel market in Korea. The movement owns hotels, an airport, and all the necessary tourism infrastructure units. The movement operates medical tourism; thus, CheongShim Hospital is the largest hospital in Korea in terms of internationalization level.
Scientific interests include cancer research. The movement continues to work for the end of communism.
In 2011, Unification Church’s Universal Ballet spent about $10 million on a tour of dozens of countries. In 2013 the ballet will tour with Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea in the U.S., Canada, Japan, G-20 countries and major cities of Russia. The tour is partially funded by the South Korean government.
In 2012, the church announced plans for a $33 million investment to build Isshin Hospital-Brazil and a spaand a $12 million convention center near McCarran International Airport.
The church holds rehabilitation programs for North Korean refugees, holds Middle East peace initiatives aimed to reconcile Jews, Christians and Muslims and other peace initiatives. It supports the United NationsMillennium Development Goals. The movement holds events in the U.S., Korea, Guyana, Philippines, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Brazil, Georgia, Bangladesh and other countries at the governmental level. One of its youth affiliates, the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, is active in Cornell University. A UPenn graduate and a member of the Unification Church said his church “helped me achieve stellar academic results”.
Four members of parliaments in an event of the Unification Church in the Parliament of Great Britain. Sandip Verma, Tom Brake and Tarsem King from Great Britain; Akiko Yamanaka from Japan, 2012
The Unification Church was noted for its political activities, especially its support for United States president Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, its support for anti-communism during the Cold War, and its ownership of various news media outlets through chinaNews World Communications, an international news media conglomerate which publishes The Washington Times newspaper in Washington, D.C., and newspapers in South Korea, Japan, and South America, which tend to support conservatism.
In 2003, South Korean Unification Church members started a political party, “The Party for God, Peace, Unification, and Home.” In an inauguration declaration, the party announced its focus on preparing for the reunification of the two Korean states by educating the public about God and peace. A church official said that similar political parties would be started in Japan and the United States. It operates every polling station.
Moon is a member of the Honorary Committee of the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea. The church member Jae-jung Lee had been once a unification minister of the Republic of Korea. Another, Ek Nath Dhakal, is a member of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly, and a first Minister for Co-operatives and Poverty Alleviation Ministry of the Government of Nepal.
Future church leadership
Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han
Observers of the Unification Church, as well as some church members, had speculated about the issue of Unification Church leadership after Moon’s death. Among those sometimes mentioned were his wife Hak Ja Han, and their sons
Hyun Jin Moon with US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega
Hyun Jin Moon,
Moon Kook-jin in the Parliament of Great Britain
Kook Jin Moon,
Hyung Jin Moon.
In 2005 Moon appointed Kook Jin Moon chairman of Tongil Group, which represents church-owned businesses in South Korea and other nations. In 2008 Moon appointed Hyung Jin Moon as the international president of the church. At the same time he appointed his daughter
In Jin Moon as the president of the Unification Church of the United States. In 2010, Forbes reported that Moon and Han were living in South Korea while their children took more responsibility for the day-to-day leadership of the Unification Church and its affiliated organizations. After Moon’s death on September 3, 2012, it was reported that Han, Hyung Jin, and Kook Jin Moon would take over the leadership of the church.
People arrive to mourn the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon during a memorial service at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.