Mother of Peace: Episode 29
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 132-137
My husband and I had emigrated with our family to this unfamiliar land and we took on a challenging course. We concluded our first campaign with the success of the three rallies: Madison Square Garden in 1974 and the Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument rallies in 1976. Uttered with sincere devotion, our prayer was the light that ended the darkness. Its light was cast beyond the open-hearted people who attended our events, to illuminate all Americans and all people in our global village.
Understandably, the American people did not automatically welcome my husband and me warmly when we arrived “fresh off the boat” from a land in the far-distant East. They were unfamiliar with terms they were hearing for the first time, such as “Divine Principle” and “True Parents.” There was only one reason that we were able to receive such a broad and deep response within four years of our arrival. It was not just that our message made sense. More than that, it was that our message re-awakened the religious vision upon which the United States of America was conceived. That is what triggered the significant response. Our prayers and sincere devotion, and our message about the importance of the family, summoning young people to recover their sense of morality and to strive for the perfection of true love in the community—this is what moved the hearts of the American people, for it is the founding vision of that nation.
Many young people came to realize that the Principle is the truth and joined our family movement. For these brothers and sisters, the Principle became the core axis of life. They shared the Principle with everyone from fellow youth carrying backpacks on the West Coast to the elite leaders in the universities and the government. They gained the support of people of all races, occupations, ages and educational backgrounds. My husband and I toured the United States to encourage and inspire not just the public, but our members. We called them to establish schools, create newspapers, get their doctorates, link cultures through programs such as the Little Angels, dance troupes and rock bands, raise funds going shop to shop and door to door, create home churches, fish businesses and restaurants, and organize volunteer service projects. On every path we trod, the blood, sweat and tears of our frontline missionaries, domestic and international, continued to flow. I was constantly in prayer.
At Belvedere, in the summer of 2016, the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Yankee Stadium Rally brought to mind this entire history. Returning from those memories, I viewed the hundreds of happy interracial families gathered on the lawn at Belvedere. As I rose to the podium, I set aside the emotions attached to that day of celebration and considered the future. Standing and speaking with a heart of grateful love, I let our members know that there is still much work to do. We cannot allow ourselves to be satisfied with those victories from decades ago. At the end of the day, I lingered at Belvedere. A summer rain fell upon the lawn, and once again, deep in my heart, I felt the call to focus my mind and continue on the path toward a world of hope and happiness as the Mother of peace.
A song of victory rang out from Danbury
My husband and I were well aware of the many who opposed us. The charge of “brainwashing” was a recurring accusation. Such scurrilous criticism always followed my husband and me. But such is the story of God’s history, and we understood why. The movement against us in the United States reached its crescendo in the late 1970s. The Washington Monument Rally was the tipping point for those who hoped our movement would fail, and critics and fear-mongers now envisioned the Unification Principle spreading like wildfire throughout America. Donald Fraser, a congressman from Minnesota, took the lead on Capitol Hill, opening a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We would be accused of involvement in a political scandal nicknamed “Koreagate” in the press. It had nothing to do with us, except that we were from Korea, but it was gaining publicity for members of Congress.
After Congressman Fraser chaired the hearing that investigated, without result, our movement in March and April of 1978, he failed in his campaign to win a seat in the US Senate. In 1980, however, he became mayor of Minneapolis, and he later signed a proclamation welcoming my husband and me to that fair city.
With a congressional committee coming up empty-handed, those who wanted to convict my husband of something, anything, asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate us. Beginning in the late 1970s, our church was subjected to a full IRS audit. We opened our books, confident that we had done nothing wrong. For two years, we even provided a private office for an IRS team in our Manhattan headquarters building. “I have lived a life of sacrifice and service for America and the world,” Father Moon declared publicly, “I have nothing to be ashamed of. This case is the result of racism and religious prejudice.”
Although Father Moon had done nothing wrong, on October 15, 1981, the US district attorney in the Southern District of New York, on the third attempt with a grand jury, finally succeeded in lodging charges of tax evasion against him. Our lawyer knew that the newspapers and television stations’ persistent attacks on our movement rendered it impossible to convene an unbiased jury of New York City citizens. Also, it would be hard to seat a jury that could understand the complexities of such a tax case. Father Moon therefore requested a bench trial, but the court did not accept this motion. In pleading their case, the government lawyers confused everyone in the courtroom, no one more than the members of the jury.
On May 18, 1982, the jury handed down their verdict. My husband was found guilty of owing a total of $7,300 in taxes accrued over a three-year period, nearly 10 years prior. It is routine for people who underpay their taxes by far greater amounts to simply pay a fine. But for Father Moon, an evangelist from Korea? The judge pounded his gavel and pronounced his decision: “I sentence you to 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.” Upon this announcement, my husband immediately stood up, smiled, and walked across the courtroom, with his hand outstretched, to shake the hand of the government’s lead prosecutor. The lawyer was startled. He turned his back on my husband, stuffed his papers in his briefcase and walked out of the courtroom.
* * *
American churches were paying close attention to our case. Holding church funds under the name of the pastor was common practice for them, and this became the basis of the accusation against my husband. The government was prosecuting someone for what was a general church practice, and if they could send my husband to jail for that, they could send anyone to jail. When Father Moon was pronounced guilty, they rose up. With one voice, the National Council of Churches, United Presbyterian Church in the USA, the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Conference of Black Mayors, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the National Association of Evangelicals, and many others called the decision “an obvious oppression of religion.” With them in our ranks, we founded the Coalition for Religious Freedom and Minority Alliance International, which organized rallies throughout the country to protest the verdict. Conscientious people of all denominations and political views recognized oppression when they saw it, and demonstrated on behalf of liberty.
On the foundation of this bipartisan support, we submitted an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. To our great disappointment, in May 1984, the Supreme Court washed its hands of it, thereby affirming the sentence. My husband’s response? “It is the will of God.” He was not concerned about going to prison. He had already turned the court’s decision into the next step of God’s plan to awaken America from spiritual death. He was incarcerated on July 20, 1984, at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.
This whole affair was not about taxes. It was about the world’s most powerful nation failing to investigate and understand the nature of our movement and the authentic reasons for our growth and influence. It was a misuse of governmental and media power induced by fear and ignorance. But God always works in mysterious ways. The Christian community united with us as it never had before. Major clerics were outraged that what could be characterized as an administrative mistake, if that, could be punished by 18 months in prison. Thousands of clergy throughout the United States protested. Hundreds spent a week in Washington, D.C., in the Common Suffering Fellowship. They studied the Principle and America’s tradition of religious freedom, visited their congressional representatives, demonstrated outside the White House and proclaimed that when the government threw Father Moon in prison, it had thrown them in there as well.
Besides supporting this domestic ecumenical activism, Unification Church members around the world prayed unceasingly. Having no experience of the earliest years in Korea, they could not digest the reality that the Lord would be in prison. My husband and I comforted them. “From now, a new world will begin,” Father Moon counseled our members, our family and me. “Now, not only America, but all humanity will be with us, and the drumbeat of hope will sound throughout the world.”