As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 39
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 4: Launching Our Global Mission
"Why Does My Father Have to Go to Jail?", pg 138-140
“Why Does My Father Have to Go to Jail?”
Even in Danbury prison, I followed my principle of living for the sake of others. I would wake up early in the morning and clean places that were dirty. In the cafeteria, others would lean over their food and either take a nap or chat among themselves, but I kept my back straight and sat with dignity. When I was given work to do, I worked harder at it than others did, and I kept an eye out to see how others were doing.
In my spare time, I read the Bible. One prisoner, seeing how I read the Bible day and night, said to me, “Is that your Bible? Here’s my Bible. Take a look!” He threw a magazine to me. It was the pornographic magazine Hustler.
In prison, I was known as a person who worked without talking. I read books and meditated. After going three months this way, I became friends with the prisoners and the guards. I became friends with a person who was on drugs and with the prisoner who had said the pornographic magazine was his Bible. After a month or two, the prisoners began to share with me the items they received from outside. Once we could share our hearts, it was as if spring had come to the inside of the prison.
Actually, the United States government did not really want to send me to prison. They chose to indict me while I was out of the country on a trip to Germany, and they probably would have been satisfied if I had chosen not to return. They weren’t trying to put me in jail. They were trying to remove me from the country. I was becoming well known in America, and the number of people following me was increasing. So they wanted to put a roadblock in my way. Just as in Korea, I was a thorn in the side of the established churches. Because I knew this was their purpose, I chose to return to America and go to jail. I still had things that needed to be done in America.
I think that going to jail is not a completely bad thing. If I am to get people who are in the valley of tears to repent, then I must first shed tears. Unless I first experience such a wretched heart, I cannot get others to submit themselves to God. Heaven really works in mysterious ways. After I was imprisoned, seven thousand ministers and other religious leaders accused the U.S. government of violating religious freedom and began an effort to save me.
Among them were the conservative Rev. Jerry Falwell of the Southern Baptist Convention and the liberal Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, who years later gave the benediction during the inauguration of President Obama. They stood at the forefront of the effort to save me. Also, my daughter, In Jin, still in her teens, marched with them. She stood before several thousand religious leaders and read in tears a letter she had written in appeal to the judge who had handed down my sentence:
“My father’s life has been dotted with tears and suffering, as he sought to carry out God’s will. He is now 64 years old. His only crime was that he loved America. Yet, at this moment, he is either washing dishes in the prison cafeteria or mopping its floors.
“Last week, I visited my father and saw him for the first time in his prison uniform. I cried and cried. My father told me not to cry for him but to pray for America. He told me to take my anger and sorrow and transform these into a powerful force that will make this a truly free country.
“He said that while he was in prison, he would endure any hardship, bear any injustice, and carry any cross. Freedom of religion is the basis of all freedoms. I am truly grateful to everyone who has stood up to support religious freedom.”
My sentence was reduced by six months for good behavior, and I was released after serving thirteen months. The day I left prison, a banquet to celebrate my release was held in Washington, D.C. Seventeen hundred Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis were gathered and waiting for me. In my remarks to the gathering, I repeated my position in favor of transcending religions and denominations. I spoke in a loud voice to the world at large, feeling no need for concern for the reaction from those opposed to me.
“God is not a denominationalist. He is not bound by secondary arguments over doctrine. There are no distinctions over nationality or race in God’s great parental heart. Neither are there any walls between nations or cultures there. Even today, God continues to do everything He can to embrace all the world’s people as His children. America today suffers from racial issues, issues resulting from the confusion of values and moral degradation, issues of spiritual drought and the decline of Christian faith, and the issue of atheistic communism. These are the reasons I answered the call of God and came to this country. Christianity today must have a great awakening and come together as one. Clergy, too, must reexamine the roles that you have been playing until now and repent. The situation that played out two thousand years ago, when Jesus came and called on people to repent, is being repeated today. We must fulfill the important mission that God has given to America. The situation cannot continue as it is now. There needs to be a new Reformation.”
Once I had been released from prison, there was nothing to hold me back. I spoke with an even louder voice than before to give a message of warning to a fallen America. I repeatedly spoke in strong words that returning to God’s love and morality is the only way to revitalize America.
I was imprisoned without my having done anything wrong, but God’s will was there as well. After my release, the people who worked for my release took turns coming to Korea to learn more about my work. They came to find out what it was about Reverend Moon’s spirit that had attracted so many young people in America. On their return to the United States, one hundred twenty of these ministers organized the American Clergy Leadership Conference.