Unification Sermons and Talks
Rev. Antonio Betancourt
by Antonio Betancourt-Washington, DC
The following brief report was compiled by William Selig from notes from a sermon given by Antonio Betancourt at the Washington, D.C. Church on Sept. 24, 1994.
The strategy of Satan was to destroy Father's foundation because if Father's foundation could be destroyed, there would be no way that America could fulfill her responsibilities regarding God's headache of international communism.
In 1976, after the Washington Monument victory, Satan's strategy was to completely discredit Father; to bring him to the level in which he had to negotiate with America, with the options of leaving America and staying in Korea, or staying here and facing jail, persecution and character assassination.
God helped in a very interesting way. As Father was being persecuted in the United States, God was developing a parallel strategy in Latin America. In God's eyes, the Americas are one. The discovery of America was not the discovery of just North America or the Caribbean, but the discovery of the entire hemisphere. For God, north, central and south are one America.
The providence moved south. Father's whole strategy was to protect America and allow the United States to confront international communism by developing a foundation that would challenge Moscow. The whole strategy in Latin America had the aim of supporting Father's providence on the American frontline as a whole.
This strategy was accomplished. Father was very successful in Latin America in the early 1980s. Later on we began active education in the U.S. concerning the origins, nature and errors of communism, contrasting it with the God-centered worldview embodied in the American Constitution and vision of this nation's founders. Through many avenues Father inspired and guided brothers and sisters to undertake projects to educate the American people as to the ways in which communism was working in this nation, and how to combat it not in a negative way, but rather by exalting the God-centered ideals which this nation has always represented.
Eventually, we were able to support the United States in its confrontation with international communism. Father's victories in America brought as a consequence a new American leadership that was able to force the Soviet Union itself to raise up another kind of leadership, one which could negotiate with America in the best interest of both countries and for the advancement of world peace.
For years following Washington Monument, we heard Father speak about the "March on Moscow". The interesting thing is that we were thinking it would be a traditional march. But here it was, April 11, 1990, and the march on Moscow was taking place but there was no march in the dictionary sense of the word. Yet, Father marched, with about 40 former heads of state and government, into the Kremlin for the historical visit and embrace with then-President Mikhail Gorbachev.
After that historic reconciliation, a man of God embracing the leader of an atheistic regime, Father gave the direction to go into mainland China and Pyongyang, North Korea. We began a diplomatic offensive in China which led to a great deal of interaction with the highest levels of leadership there. This created the necessary clout and psychological impact to make the people in North Korea take Father and his vision seriously.
At that time, Father directed me to visit the embassy of any country that had relations with North Korea and introduce his ideals and our many activities, including the Summit Council for World Peace, of which I am Executive Director. Pursuing this responsibility, I was kicked out of many embassies. One was the North Korean embassy in Beijing.
After I introduced Father, they started accusing me. "We thought you were just a Colombian and you were heading this international organization (i.e., the Summit Council)," they ranted, "We never thought that you were an agent of that fascist Moon."
They went on to demand, "If Moon is serious to engage with our country, first of all he has to repent publicly. He has to apologize for the pain that he has caused our leader and our country for the last 40 years."
In my briefcase, I carried many photographs of Father and Dr. Bo Hi Pak with top leaders in Beijing and Moscow: Father with Gorbachev and Dr. Pak with Li Peng and other senior leadership in China. I said, "Look, Rev. Moon and the Unification Church were the enemies of Moscow and Beijing. Neither of them asked for repentance in order to engage in dialogue, and look at these pictures. Why should he repent to your country? Besides, if you ask the repentance of Rev. Moon, you have to repent for the things that you have done to our activities and to Rev. Moon. In 1987 you sent a task force of terrorists to kill him, which was uncovered by the FBI and Rev. Moon was told that you were after him."
The ambassador went completely crazy, and screamed, "Get out, out of my embassy!" Anyway, it's a very long history which changed the atmosphere to the point at which several of us were able to enter Pyongyang in April 1991, one year after the victory in Moscow. We were able to convince the North Koreans that Rev. Moon was indeed their friend and that Rev. Moon had initiated together with the entire Unification Movement a process of healing and reconciliation towards the DPRK (North Korea) and that we could be their best friend and help them to connect with the whole world.
It was very, very difficult, but we were able to engage them. On Nov. 30, 1991 an invitation was extended to Father and Mother to enter North Korea. On December 6th, they had their first encounter with Kim Il Sung, in Hungnam, the place from which Father had departed the north in 1950. At that time, forty years earlier, Father had departed from Hungnam concentration camp as a broken man, a man without a place in the world. The key advisors to Kim Il-sung advised him not to receive Rev. Moon in the place where he departed because they knew the psychological meaning of this. Yet Kim Il Sung decided to meet Rev. Moon in Hungnam he where had built a beautiful palace.
Father was able to encourage the North Korean leadership to have a more positive outlook on relations with South Korea, Japan and the West. We like to think that this has contributed toward the gradually improving relations in that part of the world, and is a spiritual support to the U.S. efforts to bring peace and stability in the region.
Through this process, Father is becoming more trusted by the leadership in the North, giving them moral support, vision and clarity, in order to help fulfill their most important goal - to establish direct dialogue and settle their relations with the most consequential country in the world - the United States of America.
Our overall vision, on the practical level, can be summarized in the ideal of world peace and harmony, based upon trust, friendship and cooperation beyond race, nation, culture and ideology. Truly Father is bringing religious ideals--in particular those of Christianity--into effective action for peace.
Father's role is to serve as the peacemaker and harmonizer, ultimately to bring North and South Korea together. We are involved in that process. Father gave us five points, and it's important to understand these five points when people ask what is Rev. Moon doing in North Korea and why is the religious leader of the Unification Church involved in North Korea.
War is not an option. We have to avoid war at any cost because the next war, according to Father, will be to the death, a gladiator's war. That is not an option. It must be avoided at all costs. We have to mobilize all the resources within and outside the Unification Church to prevent war.
The peninsula must be free of nuclear weapons. Therefore, the nuclear weapons problem of North Korea must be resolved. In order to achieve number one and number two, we have to win their trust because they haven't trusted anyone. Father is the first person, and ours is the first religious body, that they have trusted in the last 40 years. But the trust that we have built with them is not for our own sake, it is for South Korea, for the United States, and for the whole world, for the resolution of this problem.
Reunion of separated families. A database must be created that identifies where these families are in the north and in the south. We can begin with a small group, one family, two families, three families, and start to bring them together.
Prosperity must be brought to North Korea. We have to help restructure the economy of that country. As they prosper and achieve financial independence as individuals, next they will want security to protect their new prosperity. Naturally political reforms will be demanded by the public.
Preparation for unification. Eventually North and South Korea must unify. This is in accordance with God's will and the flow of history. But unification must be accomplished with the least amount of pain - human and financial.
These five points are the motivation and purpose behind our Council's work in Korea. We can proclaim it anywhere because they are perfectly sound and noble. Some parties resent it because they are jealous or frustrated, and because they have 40 years of struggle with the North's ugly history, and because of the memories of the more than two million killed in the Korean War. But for God's overall hope to be fulfilled, these criticisms must be put aside. From a religious perspective, we have to be able to forgive and to love.
The victory of the Summit Council is not my victory or Dr. Pak's victory. It is the victory of God and True Parents, together with all people who have been suffering for righteousness. We pay collective indemnity, which we can call salvific energy. Salvific energy is created, then Father uses it to accomplish the will of heaven.
Our relationship with North Korea is strong, but we are not agents of juche ideology. We are agents of heaven and our goal is the final resolution of this problem so that we can have peace in the peninsula and so that God's providence may be achieved without bloodshed and without economic losses.
Thank you for your prayers and your support.
Antonio Betancourt, Executive Director of the Summit Council for World Peace, assisted Dr. Pak as an emissary that arranged True Parents' hometown visit in November- December 1991, as well as many of the subsequent high-level visits to Pyongyang. Mr. Betancourt was virtually the only non-Korean present at the funeral of Kim Il Sung.
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