The Words of the Baughman Family
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In December 1971, when Father came to America, he emphasized that our movement should be referred to as the Unification Church. In October 1973, Time magazine and Newsweek chose to write articles on our church. Instead of referring to our members as Unification Church members, Time took it upon itself to refer to our members as "Moonites." Newsweek decided to refer to them as "Moonists." While these publications respect the rights of homosexuals to refer to themselves as "gays" and the right of blacks to be referred to as "blacks" rather than as "negroes" or "colored people," they took it upon themselves to coin derisive names for a religious minority. Eventually the Washington Post was among the first (if not the first) to use the diminutive and even more derisive term of "Moonie" in February 1974.
We, as Unification Church members, have every reason to be proud of associating ourselves with the name of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. However, as several Civil Rights leaders, concerned about the systematic persecution of our church, have pointed out, "Moonie" was created as a derisive term and is being used against Unificationists in the same way that the term "nigger" was used to degrade blacks.
Another form of religious bigotry is to substitute the word "cult" for church. The "church" connotes that which is normal, legitimate, and merits respect. The word "cult" suggests immature people who have sacrificed their freedom to the dictates and whims of some illegitimate personality.
It is the prerogative of church members to use the term "Moonie" when referring to one another. However, the public and media should respectfully refer to our church not as "the Moonies," not as a "cult," but as the Unification Church. Our members should be called "Unificationists," or "Unification Church members" by the media and the general public. Father and our church elders have supported efforts to end this form of blatant bigotry and we as church members are encouraged to stand up and do the same.
Anyone who persists in the use of these terms is choosing to employ the language of bigotry to inflame prejudices and obscure reality. Unification Church members should not tolerate -- but rather challenge -- the use of these pejorative terms.
In True Parents' Name,
Rev. James A. Baughman President
Unification Church of America