Rev. Sun Myung Moon is still around, and he apparently has some pretty important friends. This is from Salon:
You probably imagine your congressman hard at work in the Capitol debating legislation, making laws — you know, governing. But your newspaper probably didn't tell you that one night in March, members of Congress hosted a crowning ritual for an ex-convict and multibillionaire who dressed up in maroon robes and declared himself the Second Coming.
On March 23, the Dirksen Senate Office Building was the scene of a coronation ceremony for Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times newspaper and UPI wire service, who was given a bejeweled crown by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill.
Afterward, Moon told his bipartisan audience of Washington power players he would save everyone on Earth as he had saved the souls of Hitler and Stalin — the murderous dictators had been born again through him, he said. In a vision, Moon said the reformed Hitler and Stalin vouched for him, calling him "none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."
He left out "convicted tax cheat".
So, who were the congressmen at the event?
CONGRESSMAN DANNY DAVIS (D-IL) – Initially, Davis told Capitol Fax he was "not necessarily in agreement with everything that [Moon] said … Jesus the Christ is my guy."
CONGRESSMAN CURT WELDON (R-PA) – When first contacted by investigative reporter John Gorenfeld, Weldon's press secretary stated: "I'm telling you, he didn't go." When Gorenfeld sent her some links showing Weldon was listed as a primary sponsor of the event, she stated that Weldon "planned to attend this awards show, but couldn't make it due to his schedule." When Gorenfeld next produced a photo of Weldon standing with a group of Moon associates at the event, she said that Weldon's participation was apparently "limited to his attendance." Soon after, Gorenfeld found a photo of Weldon actually giving the welcoming "congratulatory remarks" from the stage — as a photo was displayed of himself giving a pin to Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy.
CONGRESSMAN ROSCOE BARTLETT (R-MD) – Bartlett's press secretary told Christian Challenge that Bartlett thought he had "received the Ambassadors for Peace Award from the Washington Times Foundation for his work in Congress, and attended part of the banquet … this was the sum total of his participation."
CONGRESSMAN HAROLD FORD JR. (D-TN) – Ford's office told Christian Challenge that Ford did not attend the event and "if Rep. Ford was on the Host Committee, 'he was not aware that it had any affiliation with the Unification Church,' and that Ford 'does not accept Moon's claims to be messiah.' In partial support of Ford's claim, it should be noted that Ford does not appear in any video of the event. However, see the IIFWP website and see if you find the statement about not really knowing who the real sponsor was to be credible.
US SENATOR MARK DAYTON (D-MN) – Dayton's press secretary told Christian Challenge that Dayton "attended part of the banquet because some 'very distinguished people from our state were being honored there' … She said that the meeting planners 'were not being up front as to who was sponsoring the event. We would never have been there if we knew what the event really was.'" Again: See the IIFWP website and see if you find the statement about not really knowing who the real sponsor was to be credible.
CONGRESSMAN PHIL CRANE (R-IL) – Crane's office told Christian Challenge that "we have checked [Crane's] schedule, and he was nowhere near the Dirksen Building" at the time of the event.
CONGRESSMAN SANFORD BISHOP (D-GA) – Bishop told Christian Challenge that "he received an 'international peace award' at a banquet, but got there late 'just before it was dismissed.' Bishop added, 'The Messiah in my life is Jesus Christ … I am not a Moonie, and I do not believe that Mr. Moon is a messiah. The Washington Times has never spoken to me; they have no authorization to say that I am affiliated with this." Bishop (see above) is named as a Congressional Co-Chair of the event.
HOUSE SPEAKER DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), CONGRESSMAN CHRIS CANNON (R-UT), US SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), CONGRESSMAN CHARLIE RANGEL (D-NY), CONGRESSMAN TOM DAVIS (R-VA), CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON (D-TX) – No response to date from any of these offices.
According to the Salon article, "the surreal event went uncovered by the Washington press corps, save for Moon's own Washington Times, which ran a brief description of the festivities."
Sun Myung Moon and wife
This story gets even stranger:
In a related development, it seems the Washington Post's "Reliable Source" column on April 4 (2004) unsuccessfully attempted to report on Moon's remarks at the event. They quoted Moon as proclaiming (and this is the same quote that appears in Moon's own video): "The five great saints and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin, who committed all manner of barbarity and murders on Earth, and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons. Emperors, kings and presidents who enjoyed opulence and power on Earth, and even journalists who had worldwide fame, have now placed themselves at the forefront of the column of the true love revolution. … They have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."
However, shortly after it first appeared on the Post site, it was deleted by the Post and oddly replaced by a paragraph about Celebrity Jeopardy.
Why would the Post be afraid to run a story about Rev. Moon? What kind of friends does he have, really?