The Words of the Anderson Family

The Priority of Religious Freedom over the Freedom of Reverend Moon

Gordon L. Anderson
October 1984
Professors World Peace Academy -- USA

Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han, May 18, 2011

A recent Washington Post article (7/28/84), which discussed the relationship of members of the Unification Church to the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Freedom, quoted one minister as saying he "felt a bit used" by his coming to the Washington Pageant for Religious Liberty and finding such a heavy emphasis on Rev. Moon. The writer for the Post was quick to notice that "No mention of Moon or his church appeared in the announcements." It is clear that he was trying to crush the enthusiasm for a genuine religious liberties movement in America by implying Unificationists have created, or are at least using, the religious liberties movement as a selfish and expedient way of freeing the founder of their church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

My purpose in writing this letter is to remind fellow Unificationists not to view the religious liberties movement as an expedient, as some providential force created for the purpose of freeing Father. Certainly we are all shocked and saddened that our leader was put in jail by forces of bigotry in the United States. I was present with a small group of followers when Father was escorted to Danbury prison. Our natural feeling, because of our love for him, may be to do anything to free him from prison. But here is where we encounter a serious ethical problem, that of ends and means. Our response to this question determines whether we remain "Moonies" or become "second Rev. Moons."

It is of utmost importance to remember why Father went to jail as a confident hero and not filled with resentment and complaint. Father went to jail with the conviction that he was serving God and the larger purpose of saving the world. He went to prison with the conviction that it could serve the purpose of uniting Christianity against godless forces in America. He also went saying that the central focus of members of the Unification Church should not be to worry about him, that they could best serve him by saying, "I shall become a catalyst, a central point of bringing unity to the world."

If an Unificationist spends his time complaining about the injustice done to Father rather than working to unify religion and the world for God, then he is betraying Father's central hope. If an Unificationist tries to manipulate the religious liberties movement to free Father without having a greater commitment to the principle of religious liberty itself, he will be the perpetuator of division rather than unity. He will find himself inside the Unification Church but not on Father's side.

This problem occurs if church members give higher priority to their relationship with Father than to their relationship with God. They have inverted their priorities. But, if members of the Unification Church view their relationship to Father in the context of their ultimate faith in God, then God will work to bring about an indissoluble bond between Father and his followers.

In ethics, the question boils down to means and ends. Can we sacrifice our principles to accomplish some immediate goal? Can we lie, deceive, cheat, use prostitution, drugs or whatever to raise money for our church? God could not bless such money in the long run. When I was in Vietnam, American soldiers engaged in immoral practices as they fought for "the moral values in America" and in the long run greater indemnity had to be paid, even if it seemed proper in the short run. Do we think that in the long run other ministers with other churches would see the Unification movement as a center for the unification of Christianity if they believed the purpose for a religious liberties movement was for the building up of the Unification Church? Of course not. In the long run, God would probably abandon the Unification Church and attempt to work through the religious liberties movement.

On the other hand, if Unification members work diligently for the unification of Christianity and all religions, if Unificationists value unity more than their own church or their own leader, then God will restore their leader and their church to them. If Unificationists place the principle of religious liberty above their concern for freeing Rev. Moon from jail, it is exactly the condition of faith which will move the heart of God and the heart of other ministers. They will rally behind the Unification Church and lift it up; they will rally behind Rev. Moon and free him from prison. As Jesus said, "He who is willing to lose his life will gain it."

If we are willing to risk all that we have, our families, church, even our leader, then we have set the condition to gain them and receive God's blessing on the relationship. Martin Luther King succeeded not because his loyalty was primarily to black people. He succeeded because his primary loyalty was to God. What has frequently marked off "Christians" from Christ is that they are devoted to Christ and the Church while Christ is devoted to God. The same insecurity divides "Lutherans" from Luther; they cling to his words and doctrine for truth, while he depended on his relationship to God. The principle is no different for "Moonies." Will we, out of insecurity, promote the institutional Unification Church and use all means for the end of being close to Rev. Moon? Or, will we become "second Rev. Moons" working for God's liberation and the unity of humanity? This is the test for the next generation of Unificationists; will they just form another church or will they be catalysts for a genuine religious movement responding to God's call in the world?

The Washington Post article shows that the world is watching the behavior of Unificationists as Father is in jail. Will we succumb to dubious practices and bring down the wrath of God on our church, or will we righteously march on in faith embodying the spirit of unity which will lead to a great new religious revival in America and the liberation of Father in the process? This is the challenge to members of the Unification Church as we stand at the beginning of one of the most exciting times in history. 

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