By Alan Bean
Why were individuals and organizations as diverse as Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Tim “Left Behind” LaHaye, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, the Washington Times, James “Four Spiritual Laws” Kennedy, Rex Humbard, Hal “Late Great Planet Earth” Lindsey, Oliver “Iran-Contra” North, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and a long list of Congressmen willing to associate their names and reputations with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. It’s simple, the good Rev. made the drop, he greased the wheel, he put his money where his mouth was.
And what a strange mouth it was. Moon claimed to have been in communication with luminaries such as Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler (both of whom he personally “saved”), the founders of the five great world religions, and, of course, Jesus Christ himself. He led crusades in the United States dedicated to ripping down the crosses from Christian churches (he didn’t like the competition), and claimed repeatedly to be the Son of God, the king of the world etc. etc.
It wasn’t just the money, of course. Rev. Moon was a passionate anti-communist who believed strongly in free market capitalism (a system he worked with great success). He was also virulently anti-homosexual, claiming that gays should be eliminated in the way Stalin disposed of his enemies. In short, his politics, if not his theology, lined up with that of the Christian Right on a number of hot-button issues.
And then there was the tax evasion issue. Moon did 13 months for the crime and Christian televangelists like Jerry Falwell and Tim LaHaye, realizing their own legal vulnerability, rallied to his support. It didn’t hurt that Moon had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to prop up Falwell’s faltering Liberty University.
In short, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was an insane rich man. While most mainstream religionists wrote him off early and often, it is surprising to witness the degree of support he received from American religious leaders long after his heretical (and downright bizarre) beliefs had become public knowledge.
Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.
By the way, the Washington Times has been very kind to Moon because he bought the paper (he also owned United Press International at his death). The Times has published a laudatory obituary for their owner which tells you all the good stuff while cleaning up the weirdness. Sort of what FOX news does for the religious right.