The Rev Sun Myung Moon – obituary [The Guardian]

Infamous anti-communist dead – Zuo Shou

“Notorious founder of Unification church – or Moonies – was nevertheless tolerated, and even welcomed, by many in west”

Christopher Reed

2 Sept. 2012

A crucial test of a new religion is whether it transfers to the next generation after its founder’s demise, and with the death of the Rev Sun Myung Moon at 92, the prospects for his Unification church – or "Moonies" – look poor. More significant is the future of the lesser known side of this self-proclaimed messiah: his international business empire and his secretive influence on US conservative politics.

During the late 1970s and 80s, Moon was notorious for blessing mass marriages, and his disciples for spiriting away young men and women by luring them to isolated camps where they were "brainwashed" into abandoning their families. The faithful endured 16-hour days of raising money and working for free on behalf of "Father", as Moon styled himself.

As court cases mounted worldwide, and Moon lost a libel action against the Daily Mail in Britain in the early 1980s, the church abandoned such recruitment and adherents dwindled. By the 90s his new religion was clearly failing and with an unfriendly White House, he declared the church closed, although a website and New York office remained. But his business empire continued, despite heavy losses in the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

Considering Moon’s documented history of extreme rightwing theocratic politics, antisemitism, constant rumours of sexual improprieties, his US imprisonment in 1982 for tax evasion, and, for Christians, an offensively blasphemous theology, it is difficult to understand how he was tolerated, even welcomed, by US presidents, politicians, clergymen and academics in America, Japan and Britain.

The answer might be hypocrisy – and Moon’s money. But where did the billions come from? The ultimate source still defies scrutiny, although he was at one time backed by two Japanese billionaires, both self-proclaimed fascists, and there were rumours of financing by the Korean CIA. As early as 1978 Moon’s nefarious activities were described in a congressional report, but his preposterous career and outrageous pronouncements continued. Here was a man who could not only truly testify to America’s freedom of religion, but also that there, almost anything was possible under religion’s name…

…Moon prospered under Reaganism. At this time he was backed by two Japanese tycoons that the US occupation had formerly imprisoned as war criminals. One was Yoshio Kodama, a yakuza (Japanese gangster) boss and organiser of fascist secret societies. Kodama made millions looting Manchuria in the war, and died in 1984 while awaiting trial in the Japanese Lockheed bribery scandal. The other was Ryoichi Sasakawa, who also made millions in the war and died in 1995. In the 1970s, when he controlled the $14bn Japanese motor-boat racing business, Sasakawa described himself as "the world’s richest fascist".

[Moon’s] connections [with high-ranking politicians] survived Moon’s increasingly embarrassing activities – his sermons dwelling on the "sexual organs", his description of American women as descended from prostitutes, family scandals, the Rabbinic court condemnation for antisemitism and a vow to "conquer and subjugate the world"…

• Sun Myung Moon, church founder and businessman, born 25 February 1920; died 2 September 2012

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link here

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