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Saturday, March 3, 2001 Go to: S M T W T F S
E-mail the story | Plain-text for printing

Rev. Moon talks of U.S. decline

The controversial cleric spoke in North Phila. He said the U.S. should not have tried to discredit him.

By Frederick Cusick
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Controversial Unification Church founder the Rev. Sun Myung Moon told an audience in a North Philadelphia church last night that Americans and their nation have been declining since the end of World War II "because they didn't recognize the truth that was brought to them by Rev. Moon."

"The truth I'm sharing with you tonight. This is the ultimate truth, directly from God," Mr. Moon, 81, told an audience of several hundred at the Christian Tabernacle Church of God in Christ.

Mr. Moon also told the audience: "I'm an expert on the spirit world," and in the afterlife, he said, there are no nationalities or religious sects.

Mr. Moon, who in the 1980s spent 13 months in federal prison for tax evasion, said that America had damaged itself in the last 30 years by persecuting him.

A native of North Korea who came to America 30 years ago, Mr. Moon is probably best known for orchestrating and holding mass weddings of his followers in such venues as Madison Square Garden.

He has regularly been denounced for operating an exploitative cult that victimizes his followers. Maintaining that he is following God's instructions, he has built up political power in the country through the ownership of a variety of businesses, including the conservative Washington Times newspaper and the United Press International wire service.

Last night's appearance, titled "We Will Stand America," is part of a 50-state speaking tour that his organizations put together around the theme of "rebuilding the family, the community and the world."

Gov. Ridge's office sent a proclamation to the event declaring yesterday "Stand Together America Day" in Pennsylvania.

Reading from a prepared text and speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Moon said: "In the family, the parents are to live for the children, the children for the parents, the husband for his wife, and the wife for her husband."

Several ministers from area churches attended the gathering. The less-controversial statements in his speech drew applause.


Frederick Cusick's e-mail address is fcusick@phillynews.com.