Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, known pejoratively as "The Moonies", has died. Back when I was a young, mop headed lad in the late seventies and early eighties, the Moonies were uniformly portrayed as a sinister cult, brainwashing the unsuspecting youth of America and conducting mass weddings, usually of strangers. Yeah, the Moonies were portrayed as a major threat to American security, but then something weird happened...
In 1982, Rev. Moon founded the Washington Times, a right-wing tabloid. The "Times" was a favorite of Ronald Reagan, and employed a lot of children of prominent conservatives. In 2000, the Unification Church bought the venerable UPI wire service. The Reverend himself seemed to vanish from the headlines of mainstream papers, his reputation as a sinister Svengali was largely forgotten.
Moon's "rehabilitation" proceeded to the extent that, in 2004, Moon conducted a "coronation" ceremony in the U.S. Senate building, which was attended by congresscritters from both parties.
Moon was virulently anti-communist and anti-gay, and his comments on the "Love Organ" have got to be read to be believed:
"Man's convex love organ, thousands of your ancestors culminate there. When these two organs meet together, lineage is mixed. Through that, new life is created. Do you think that new life would want to get involved in the dirty, filthy lineages of its parents? Will the newborn try to run away from this filthy abomination? 'I would rather not be home,' it might say ... If you create a mixture of black and white, maybe not in your generation but down the road (a few generations) a sign of this mixture will emerge. The worst possible man and woman meet together and have a relationship, and then won't they create the worst devil? They both inherited Satan's lineage. Do you think they can separate it from them? If you young people do something, you will create a worse thing than the atom bomb ... We should love our enemy, but what about our love organ and lineage. You sisters look so gentle and pretty, but your lineage is filthy and dirty. You need a blood transfusion. But there is only satanic lineage? What can you do? Where can you find God's love? That is why throughout human history God created many religions through which he trained people to receive the Lord of the Second Advent. The role of the messiah is to clean the filthy blood lineage and give God's blood to mankind ... Satan is like a prostitute. Don't we all have that kind of mind? Perhaps a Westerner may feel 'If I sleep with this oriental man, it will be good.' We all have this problem, no matter how old. Sometimes old women have the urge to live with a handsome young man. Among six billion people, there are all kinds of handsome men and women all over the world. If you become a promiscuous person, you can commit all kinds of sin ... What about young Americans who go to nightclubs and dance and have one-night stands? They mix their blood. Your lineage is so filthy; there is no way to clean it ... We possess the most fearful organ, the love organ. Unless we become one mind and body, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. Even after forty days of fasting, you forget meal time. But to unite mind and body, you still cannot enter ... As a man, in your right front pants pocket is a small inside watch pocket. Keep pliers there, and when you go to the bathroom, once a day, pinch your love organ. Cut the skin a little bit as a warning. If your love organ does not listen to your conscience, then you should cut off the tip. Even if it takes that extreme measure, we have to make sure our mind and body become one ... Without going through that kind of enlightenment stage, you cannot become a true man ... ," excerpted from a 2001 Moon speech entitled "Purity, Lineage and the Love Organ."
Goodnight, Reverend Moon... no longer will you illuminate our land as a benevolent heavenly overseer, an "earth-bound moon", if you will. It's a shame that your passing wasn't revealed to the West earlier, so the Republicans could honor your memory at their convention, and acknowledge the fact that their recently adopted platform was largely inspired by your millenialist, authoritarian teachings.
For a sober, "balanced" view of the Moonies, this article is a good read, although this is money-quote by my estimation:
No matter how absurd or repellent the beliefs of the Rev Sun Myung Moon may appear, they are hardly odder or more dangerous than those of the Rev Pat Robertson, and other millennarian fundamentalists.