As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 25
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 3: Internal Riches Through Struggles and Suffering
Two Universities Expel Students and Professors, pg 93-95
Two Universities Expel Students and Professors
Yonsei University and Ewha Womans University were embroiled in crisis and finally chose a measure that had never been used before and has never been used since. Ewha fired five professors, including Professor Young Oon Kim, and expelled fourteen students. The expelled students included five in the graduating class. Yonsei also fired one professor and expelled two students.
The school chaplain of Ewha tried advising the students, “You can attend the church after you graduate. That way, no harm will come to the school.” But it was of no use. It had the opposite effect.
The expelled students protested vehemently. “There are many atheists in our school,” they said. “And we even have the children of traditional shamans attending our school. How can the school justify expelling us and following the hypocrisy of this double standard?”
The school, however, stood fast. It simply repeated its position: “We are a private school and a Christian school. We have the right to expel any student we choose.”
When the media got word of the incident, one newspaper carried an editorial titled, “Expulsion Is Wrong in a Country with Religious Freedom.” This situation soon became a topic for debate among the general public.
Ewha, since it was supported by a Christian foundation in Canada, was concerned that its support would be cut if it became known that large numbers of its students attended a church declared to be heretical. In those days, Ewha held chapel three times a week, took attendance, and submitted these attendance records to mission headquarters.
After the students were expelled and the professors fired, public opinion began to turn in our favor. Ewha, in an effort to counter this trend, began a campaign of false rumors too vile to repeat. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the more vile the rumor, the more people revel in believing and repeating it as true. These false rumors began to feed on themselves, and soon they took on a life of their own. Our church suffered from this for more than a year.
I did not want the problem to grow out of control like this. I did not want to cause problems. I tried to convince the students and professors to lead simple, quiet lives of faith. I explained that there was no need for them to leave the dormitories and cause such public trouble. But they were adamant. “Why do you tell us not to come here?” they asked. “We wish to receive the same grace as everyone else.” In the end, they were forced to leave their schools. I was not comfortable with this.
After being forced from their schools, the students went as a group to a prayer hall on Mount Samgak on the outskirts of Seoul. They went to seek comfort for their wounded hearts. They had been kicked out of their schools, their families were angry with them, and their friends no longer wished to meet them. They had no place to go. They fasted and spent their entire time praying with such emotion that their eyes filled with tears, and their noses ran. Soon, some began to speak in tongues. It is true that God appears when we are on the edge of despair and desperation. The students who were expelled from their schools and cast out by their families and society found God in the prayer hall on Mount Samgak.
I went to Mount Samgak and gave food and comfort to the students who had become emaciated from fasting.
“It is bad enough that you’ve been unjustly expelled,” I explained. “Please do not fast also. If your conscience is clear over what you have done, then being insulted for it is not dishonorable. Do not be discouraged, but wait for your time.”
Five of those students who were seniors later transferred into Sookmyung Women’s University. But the damage was already done.
This incident played a decisive role and was the turning point in gaining me a profoundly negative reputation. Newspaper reports began to read as if all the evil acts committed by various religions were done by us. People who at first reacted to the rumors with “Could it be true?” now began to say, “It’s true.”
It hurt to be subjected to such unfair treatment. The injustice was so intense that it made me angry. I wanted to shout out in rebuttal, but I did not speak out or attempt to fight. We had too much else to accomplish and had no time to waste in fighting.
I believed that such misunderstandings and hatred would dissolve with time and that we should not use our energy to be overly concerned about them. I pretended not to hear people who said, “Sun Myung Moon should be struck by lightning,” or the Christian ministers who prayed for my death.
But instead of dying down, the rumors grew ever more outrageous with each passing day. It felt as if the whole world had united in pointing fingers of accusation at me. Even in the heat of the Heungnam fertilizer factory, I refused to let others see even my shins, yet now rumors had it that I danced naked in our church. Soon people who came to our church for the first time looked at me with eyes that seemed to say, “Are you the one who takes off his clothes and dances?”
I knew better than anyone that it would take time for such misunderstandings to go away, so I never tried to argue with them, saying, “I’m not like that.” We cannot know someone without meeting the person, yet there were so many who did not hesitate to curse me without ever having met me. I knew it was useless to battle against such people, so I endured in silence.
The Yonsei-Ewha incident forced our church to the brink of destruction. The image of the “pseudo-religion,” or “cult,” became inseparably identified with my name, and all established churches joined together to call for the government to prosecute me.
On July 4, 1955, the police raided our church and took me and four members—Won Pil Kim, Hyo Young Eu, Hyo Min Eu, and Hyo Won Eu—into custody. Ministers and elders of the established churches joined hands with secular authorities in writing letters calling for our church to be closed. These four members, who had been with me from the beginning, were forced to stay in prison with me.
The matter did not end there. The police investigated my background and came up with a charge of draft evasion. But this, too, was egregious. By the time I escaped the North Korean death camp to head south, I was already beyond the age of compulsory military service. Still, they charged me with draft evasion.