Mother of Peace: Episode 28
Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 4: God’s Light Shines Upon a Path of Thorns, pg 126-132
Through my husband’s energy, in 1972, the year after arriving in the United States, we set in motion so many projects. We convened the first meeting of the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. We established the American branch of the Professors World Peace Academy and strengthened the already-existing Freedom Leadership Foundation, dedicated to the victory over communism. At Belvedere, we taught hundreds of young members to live according to God’s word, and in the fall of 1973, with our mobile teams and local centers fully functioning, we conducted a second national speaking tour, this time of 21 cities. In each city, we hosted a banquet for social leaders and clergy, where numerous mayors presented us with keys to their city. We then held three nights of public talks on God, America and the future of Christianity.
At that time, a crisis arose in America. In 1972, Richard Nixon had been elected to a second term as president by an overwhelming majority, but one year later, popular sentiment had turned against him. The media and Mr. Nixon’s political opponents were demanding that he resign from office over the Watergate affair. His supposed allies had no power to defend him. Even Christian leaders drew back and kept silent.
It was my husband who spoke out. Our movement published “America in Crisis: Answer to Watergate: Forgive, Love, Unite” in 21 leading newspapers. This was not about forgiving President Nixon alone, Father said, but about forgiving, loving and uniting as a nation for the sake of the world.
Mr. Nixon’s commitment was to win the Vietnam War and keep communism out of southeast Asia. In opposition, communist affiliates confused the American public, mounting demonstrations against him on college campuses and even on the National Mall. Seeking to awaken reverence for God and ignite a fire among Americans thirsting for righteousness, our members began demonstrating for God and the dignity of the American presidency. We gained media attention and the president himself took notice.
Early in 1974, President Nixon sent us an invitation to meet him in the White House. Mr. Nixon was anxious, aware of the likelihood of impeachment. As members covered the White House in prayer, my husband counseled him to stand strong, confess any wrongdoing and call for national prayer, unity and renewal.
On the heels of our meeting with the president, we went out again, this time to speak in 32 cities, completing our coverage of all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. At first, most Americans were perplexed to hear about a Christian leader from the East. But to know us is to love us, and wherever we went, people were touched and took something valuable from our message. Public interest increased by the day, and with it came controversy.
The final tour of that era, this one of eight cities, began that September 18 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, with a speech entitled, “The New Future of Christianity.” It was the first really large venue the Unification Church had sought to fill, and the event had an amazing impact. More than 30,000 people packed the Garden, while another 20,000 had to be turned away.
Without a moment’s rest, we held even more rallies that impacted the world. Our confidence to fill large arenas led to greater gratitude to God, our Heavenly Parent, and to our members who were, and are, devoted to Heaven’s principle and providence. In the midst of this, in Korea, we displayed the power of the Victory Over Communism (VOC) movement at a rally of 1.2 million on Yoido Island in Seoul. This led to a nationwide movement aimed at the reunification of North and South Korea in the 1980s. The VOC teaching spread beyond Japan and Asia. Through the Confederation of Associations for the Unity of the Societies of the Americas (CAUSA), leaders in the Western Hemisphere, including national leaders in Latin America and 70,000 members of the clergy, attended the CAUSA workshops.
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The Yankee Stadium Festival, on June 1, 1976, was the first half of the God Bless America Festival, held to honor the bicentennial year of the United States’ founding. With its success, we decided not to wait, but to hold a rally in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Monument, in September, just three months later. Not surprisingly, members of the US government with less-than-noble motives worked with narrow-minded religious leaders and “anti-cult” groups that preyed upon members’ parents to launch an all-out attack on us. Always on the lookout for a controversy, the media built its audience by articles and news reports disparaging and criticizing us.
Arrayed against us at the Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument events were more than 30 opposition groups, including the US Communist Party. Nonetheless, without a trace of fear or the remotest consideration about pulling back, my husband and I set aside our personal safety and dedicated our lives to the future of the United States. We invested all we had to wake up the American churches and people to the reality of God, the truth of the Bible and the supreme importance of God-centered marriage and family life, beyond race, nation and religion. Declaring this message on the vast expanse of the National Mall was our goal, and nothing could change that.
After a good deal of back and forth, 40 days before the rally, the government granted the permit to hold our assembly on the National Mall. Now the die was cast. I felt as if I were entering a waterless desert with an oasis 40 days away. On the emotional level, that 40 days seemed as if it were more than 40 years.
Wherever I went, whatever I did, whoever I was with, I could think only about the rally. I was so absorbed in it that I would confuse breakfast with dinner, dinner with breakfast, and miss lunch altogether. I think that I was not the only one.
The rally was neither being held to promote the Unification Church nor to publicize the names of Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han, quite the opposite. We sacrificed so much internally and externally to bring it about. We were informed that there might be a terrorist attack, but we were not afraid of that.
Finally, September 18, 1976, arrived, and with it our rally to mark the bicentennial of the United States took place in the vast grounds surrounding the Washington Monument. My husband and I arose early that morning, prayed deeply and headed to the National Mall with a heart more serious than that of someone on the way to the gallows, not out of fear for ourselves, but because of the enormous providential significance riding on the outcome.
There, more than 300,000 people gathered by mid-day, peacefully, hopefully, and gratefully. It was indeed a grand and miraculous sight. The American media, the government and certain religious hierarchies had opposed the Unification Church but we had surmounted all challenges.
The people of America’s humble neighborhoods in Richmond, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, New York, New Haven, Boston and beyond, gathered for God and for America. They were what made the Washington Monument rally a huge success. Our members had mobilized all the buses available on the East Coast, more than a thousand, and had to bite their lips as many hundreds of would-be participants were left behind at the gathering places with no more buses to transport them. It is a testimony to the American people’s love of God and country that True Parents triggered. We could feel it: God is alive in America.