Controversial evangelist and media mogul Sun Myung Moon has formed a new political party in South Korea that hopes to reunify the divided nation.
Officials with Moon's Unification Church held a mass rally of 2,000 in Seoul March 10 to announce the new Family Party for the Universal Peace and Unity. The Moon political unit will focus on reunifying North and South Korea as well as promote "family values."
"Our party will kick off campaigns to promote values of freedom, equality, peace and happiness around the country and the rest of the world," said Chung Hwan Kwak, president of the party. "The party will tackle various issues facing the world community, such as challenges to global security and morality and ethics, environmental protection and AIDS prevention."
Kwak also serves as chief executive officer of United Press International, a once-respected news service that Moon purchased in 2000. He also serves as chairman of the University of Bridgeport, which Moon also now owns, and in addition runs a number of other Moon-related enterprises.
Kwak said the party will not run candidates in the South Korean elections next year but will instead focus on publicizing itself and its goals. Chief among those goals is promoting the reunification of Korea. The nation has been divided since the Korean War into two countries democratic South Korea and North Korea, a dictatorship run by Kim Jong Il.
Moon may be interested in using the new party to unify church and state as well as the Korean peninsula. During a March 2 speech in Arlington, Va., Moon called for theocracy, remarking, "To unify Korea we must unify church and state. We must establish a political party and then unify church and state. We must be able to unify the UN and deal with the Cain-type countries. The current administration in America must be guided by the religious leaders. If you follow Rev. Moon, you will not go down. In the future those who hear my words and believe will go to heaven, those who don't will not."
An official with the Korean National Election Commission said there is no reason why the new party could not be certified, and once the proper paperwork is completed, Moon's party could join 22 other political parties in South Korea.
In other news about Moon:
A college professor in Pennsylvania says conservatives have not done enough to acknowledge their debt to Moon. Paul Gottfried, professor of humanities at Elizabethtown College, wrote in the Moon-owned Insight magazine in March that Moon should be applauded for pouring $1.5 billion into The Washington Times, a staunchly right-wing and pro-Republican voice in the nation's capital. He accused Republicans, including former senator Robert Dole, who ran for president in 1996, of helping to engineer Moon's imprisonment for tax evasion in 1984.
"It is inconceivable that other foreign patrons of American newspapers would have made a similar sacrifice after such unkind treatment by their host country," wrote Gottfried. "In 1996 the Washington Times endorsed for president the Republican politician who had gone after its founder 20 years earlier. The continued refusal of Beltway conservatives publicly to acknowledge their steadfast patron is, of course, scandalous."
Any doubts that Moon considers himself the new messiah have been erased. Moon's Family Federation for World Peace (FFWP) held a "Divine Principle Seminar for Clergy" in Chicago March 19-21, during which the Rev. Michael Jenkins, president of the Moon front group, announced that Moon is the second coming of Christ.
A report about the event on FFWP's website stated, "All the participants hailed and praised God throughout the lectures. No objections were heard when Rev. Jenkins concluded that Rev. Moon is the second coming of Jesus. He was given strong cheers and a standing ovation. "
Moon says the Jews have no one to blame but themselves for the Holocaust. In his March 2 speech in Arlington, Moon implied that six million Jews perished because they allowed Jesus Christ to be crucified.
"To recreate Israel, the church and the state must become one as Cain and Abel," Moon said. "Instead they became one with Rome and captured and killed Jesus. They united with Rome. Who are the Jewish members here, raise your hands! Jewish people, you have to repent. Jesus was the King of Israel. Through the principle of indemnity Hitler killed six million Jews. That is why. God could not prevent Satan from doing that because Israel killed the True Parents. Even now, you have to determine that you will repent and follow and become one with Christianity through Rev. Moon."