The Words of the Pak Family
Early in 1986, True Father spoke with me about the need to establish a nationwide organization in order to assist in educating leaders about the direction America needed to go in order to fulfill its providential mission. I formed a planning committee of American brothers to discuss this new mission and to work out a way of fulfilling it.
Together, we painstakingly researched all fifty states to see what would be required to establish such an organization in each one. We also needed to look into all of the legal work involved in getting things incorporated, as well as a myriad of other details that required our attention pertaining to this. After this initial preparation was completed, we had to find the manpower in order to accomplish True Father's wishes.
On January 2, 1987, True Father held a meeting in the Grand Ballroom of the New Yorker Hotel with the leadership of all the Unification Church organizations and businesses throughout the United States. After speaking for quite a long time, Father asked everyone, "How many of you would be willing to go to Africa and work there as missionaries -- to even live and die there?
If you would rather not, it's okay and there is no shame in that, just move to the back of the room." A few people moved to the back, however, most of the people stayed where they were sitting. He explained that this mission would be very important. The mission later became known as the African Mission.
Father then told everyone that before going, there would be a three-day seminar in order to orientate everyone to their new assignment. I was responsible for this mobilization and for conducting the seminar. Arrangements were made for several buses to take the leaders to the orientation seminar the following day. Until they arrived, however, none of them knew the location where the seminar was going to be held. After traveling for what probably seemed like a very long time to them, they arrived at a hotel in Princeton, New Jersey, where I welcomed them.
Much to their surprise, after they had all assembled in a meeting room, I spoke to them and told them, "None of you will be going to Africa!" I went on to explain that Father was testing them, to see which of them would step forward with absolute faith and trust when asked to do something that they did not even fully understand yet. I then disclosed to them that in fact, Father wanted to set up a nationwide organization of leaders that would be able to gather and organize the movers and the shakers, as well as the opinion-makers throughout the country, and educate them with the CAUSA materials of anti-communism and Godism.
To make a long story short, for the next couple of days I explained to them what we would be doing and how we would go about doing it. The organization that we would initially establish would be called the American Constitution Committee (ACC), to be headed by Mr. Joe Tully.
In the midst of our organizational and strategy sessions, someone mentioned the name "top guns" to me. They explained that "Top Gun" was actually the name of a popular movie that had come out the previous year, and that (in the movie) it was the name given to the very best that America had to offer in terms of Navy fighter pilots. I felt that it was a great name with a great meaning, and I decided to adopt it in reference to the ACC leaders. In fact, the ACC top guns were a group of some of the finest and brightest young American leaders in the Unification Church in the 1980s.
The "Top Gun" workshop was held in Princeton, New Jersey, in January 1987; these were the participants.
In the fight against communism, Father was so intent on getting the organization up and running quickly that he contributed money for each state leader to lease and furnish an office and to requisition a car, so that they could travel throughout their state to meet with people in leadership positions, as well as past CAUSA conference participants. Through this way, each of the top guns was able to begin immediately to make contact with many patriotic and capable people and organizations.
Later, the ACC top guns joined field personnel of a non-Unification Church organization by the name of Christian Voice (CV) and formed the American Freedom Coalition (AFC), which was registered in each state. Where possible, the leaders were assigned to their home state, where they grew-up.
The national headquarters of the AFC was established in Washington DC. It was headed by Dr. Robert Grant (CV's chairman and one of its founding members) who served as AFC's president. Michael Leone served as the executive director, and Gary Jarmin as the national field director. The AFC co-chairs were Congressmen Richard Ichord (Democrat-Missouri) and Bob Wilson (Republican-California). Famous civil rights leader Dr. Ralph David Abernathy and Phillip Sanchez also served on AFC's Board. God's providence was moving forward so quickly at that time, and Father was very serious.
Several months after our preparatory meeting, on June 12, 1.987, President Ronald Reagan laid down his momentous challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev, general secretary of the Communist Party, leader of the USSR, when he said, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
While President Regan was making his declaration, AFC had already set up offices in all fifty states and had them legally registered. The state and regional offices provided local leadership, served as a vehicle through which educational seminars were carried out and community- and state-level projects and programs were established.
Father often spoke about God's three big headaches -- communism, the breakdown of the family, and disunity among the world's religions. The Washington Times served as the "air force" to bring this message through the media to America. Father saw AFC as the ground troops in the field, whose mission was to bring this message to religious, political, business and community leaders in every state. We did this by taking on the issues of the day that confronted America.
One of those issues was the fight against communism in Central America and South America. Communism was approaching America's front door and President Reagan was taking a stand to stop it. Colonel Oliver North became a symbol for that fight against the advance of Communism and was targeted by the left in America for his role in the Iran -- Contra controversy."' He testified before the U.S. Senate about his activities and the stand that the Reagan administration was taking against communism and warned about the rise of terrorism around the world.
The American Freedom Coalition produced this television show to support a former National Security Council aide, who was under attack from soft-on-communism politicians in the U. S. Congress for his support of democracy in Nicaragua.
AFC took the part of defending Col. Oliver North and produced a video "Oliver North -- Fight for Freedom" that aired on television stations all over America. The TV special got out an anti-communist pro-American message and raised funds through advertisements and an 800 number to support these issues in all fifty states. I created a promotional arm for AFC, Global Image Associates, headed up by Mike Smith, PA Beltrami and Jim Gavin who worked to create the video, buy the TV time, collect the contributions and build a donor list that continued to support the activities of AFC.
AFC took on another issue that was dear to True Parents' hearts; the Strategic Defense Initiative, promoted by President Reagan. Global Image Associates was again tasked with creating this for AFC. I met General Daniel Graham, the founder of the organization, High Frontiers, and worked with his organization to create a new TV special called "One Incoming." General Graham was able to solicit the assistance of the actor Charlton Heston to narrate the TV drama, which depicted what would happen if America was attacked with no missile defense, and on the other hand, what would happen if we had a defense. The TV special went on the air, educated the public and raised funds for the activities of AFC.
The "Fight for Freedom" and "One Incoming" videos were also shown at programs set up by our AFC representatives all over the country. Local political and community leaders would speak at these functions and through this kind of activity we continued to build our local coalitions. AFC grew to become a respected player on a local and on the national level.
The voter education work conducted through the distribution of Voters' Guides and Candidate Scorecards in the 1988 elections also helped build the AFC nationwide coalition. On a local level, we were able to network with like-minded organizations to distribute these critical educational materials. This educational effort helped people vote for candidates that stood for their ideals and values. AFC was recognized locally and nationally for its voter education campaign.
Our top guns wore many hats and one of those hats was representing the Washington Times. I was president of the Washington Times during this time and our AFC representatives received copies of the Times to distribute and actively sold subscriptions for the Washington Times' national edition. This enabled our top guns to get out vital news from the newspaper and gave our representatives added credibility as they networked with movers and shakers in their states.
Throughout the year, I held American Leadership Conferences in Washington DC, where we presented pro-American, anti-Communist seminars. Our AFC representatives would participate with leaders from their states who were always inspired by the seminars and by the speakers who supported our conferences. Members of Congress and nationally renowned political and spiritual leaders would encourage our conference to bring America back to its founding spirit and create an America that can be like that "shining city on a hill" that President Reagan so often spoke about. At the end of every conference, I concluded with a testimony on Rev. Moon's life and work, which was always the highlight of the conference.
Father was the inspiration for all our endeavors and he personally met with AFC representatives on a regular basis. He would listen to reports from each of the fifty states and comment on what was reported. Most importantly, he gave us a vision of the importance of America as a global leader. I le often told us that America can lead the world to do great things for God and mankind; or America can cause the world to decline if it loses its moral compass. He talked to us with great urgency; after these meetings, our top guns would go back to their respective states, recommitted and reinvigorated to bring about a moral and spiritual revolution in America.
Our AFC representatives were respected for what they stood for, and respected for the incredible effort they put forth to build coalitions in their states. To their credit, the AFC representatives were instrumental in the passage of the law in the U.S. establishing Parents' Day as an annual, national day of commemoration.
Many of our top guns went on to become respected political, business, spiritual and community leaders in their states. Most importantly, however, our top guns were proud to represent the fighting spirit and vision of our True Parents.