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Local/Regional News Item Wednesday, April 4, 2001
Moon brings pro-family message to Louisville
Church founder says couples have duty to procreate

Bringing a message he said he learned from God while visiting the spirit world, Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon called for stronger families and for racial and religious harmony at a Louisville service last night.

Moon spoke at King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church as part of a 50-state whirlwind tour. His church has been criticized by some as a cult, and Moon served time in prison for tax evasion in the 1980s.

Moon's hour-and-a-half talk was attended by a few hundred people from various churches, as well as the Muslim and Baha'i faiths. It was the centerpiece of a four-hour rally that included rousing gospel music and a video that praised Moon's work. It portrayed criticisms of him as religious persecution and compared him to slain religious leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

In recent years, Moon and his organizations have sought coalitions with other religious groups, joining in efforts such as last year's Million Family March in Washington. He has also promoted a training program for former addicts and convicts -- called ''Jesus and a Job'' -- run locally by the Rev. Charles Elliott, King Solomon's pastor.

Elliott and other ministers sought to downplay doctrinal differences. The Rev. Hycel Taylor of Evanston, Ill., who introduced Moon last night, said he understood those who question Moon's teachings but said he supported his main message. ''Who would be against world peace?'' Taylor asked the crowd.

Moon, still energetic at age 81, focused much of his address on family problems, saying married couples who do not have children are failing to pass on the ''lineage'' that can be traced back to Adam and Eve and their creator.

''We do not have the right to stop this lineage,'' Moon said through an interpreter.

''As long as there is no children, that is not a family.''

Moon elicited nervous laughter at times with explicit sexual imagery, comparing sexual organs to snakes that can bring swift and sudden death if misused:

''We chased God out of our lives. You have a responsibility to teach your children abstinence.''

Couples should combine ''God's life, which is true life, through the oneness of husband and wife.''

Moon's presentation ranged from folksy, anecdotal tones to pulpitpounding seriousness before he used the last part of his talk to read from a lengthy summary of his teachings.

Moon's message drew praise, in spite of its marathon length.

''He's good, but he's long-winded,'' said Paul Bean of Cincinnati, whose church choir came to perform at the service. ''He has some good points about trying to come together.''

Joan Lyons of Louisville agreed. ''I just like the way he says . . . you're supposed to love each other.''.

Before Moon arrived, a group of about 10 staged a loud protest, criticizing Moon's political and business activities, and his teachings that Jesus partly failed as Messiah.

''Those of us who have been oppressed know he is not a failure,'' said the Rev. Louis Coleman of the Justice Resource Center, saying Jesus gave civil-rights activists their strength and motivation.

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