The Words of the Self Family
Howard Self was born on June 7, 1949 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in English literature from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and then served in the Army for two year at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While pursuing another degree in psychology in Charlotte, Howard joined our church, February 15, 1975. He completed the 7-21-40-120 day training programs at Barrytown, then received VOC training and worked as a VOC pioneer in Atlanta for nine months. He also worked as assistant to Michael Beard during the Yankee Stadium campaign, and was on National MFT through the Washington Monument campaign. Howard matriculated Unification Theological Seminary after that summer, and upon graduation worked as an IOWC-Home Church leader in England for nine months. He joined CARP after returning to America from that mission.
Tyler Hendricks: From your extensive experience you must have a fairly clear understanding of CARP's basic mission. Could you share your perception of it with us?
Howard Self: First of all, CARP wants to inspire the rest of our movement, and to inspire Father.
Dr. Seuk's motto in particular is "Advance Father's plan," and do things before Father asks. This is the essential spirit underlying CARP's approach to its mission.
Second, CARP exists as a training mission. Members, especially young members, pass through CARP getting not just college education but education in all aspects of Unification life. CARP members witness, fundraise, work with professors and professionals of all sorts, run workshops on all aspects of Unification teachings, hold conferences, publish a newspaper and magazines. We even have video centers and performing arts. CARP is a microcosm of the whole Unification Movement, and members in their CARP experience can receive a well- rounded training.
Our anti-communism must be seen in a larger perspective. Father at one point called CARP the "Joshua" group, and I feel that typifies us well, because CARP strives to have a real effect upon life itself.
Tyler Hendricks: The biblical Joshua was involved in some rather warlike activities, even at the command of God. How does this relate with your interpretation of Father's comment?
Howard Self: CARP has to translate the Old Testament Joshua mission into a Completed Testament mission. By establishing a dominion of love.
In particular, we mean to raise the standards of young people, for they are decisive in shaping the future of society. In the civil rights movement, in many religious movements in America, young people have been the decisive factor. Since CARP works on college campuses, CARP's work is essential to America's fulfilling her providential mission. As Joshua fought the enemies of the chosen people, CARP is in the forefront of the fight against communism.
Tyler Hendricks: How does CARP interpret America's providential mission at this point, and how do CARP activities relate to that?
Howard Self: America is in the archangelic position, and must protect the Adam and Eve nations, as well as the other free nations of the world, from communism. CARP must awaken
American to this responsibility and help America fulfill it.
Tyler Hendricks: Is this considered a political activity?
Howard Self: It has a political aspect in that we are taking public advocacy on some major issues which confront America and the world today. However, it is more than political, just as the challenge of communism is more than simply a political challenge. Communism has the character of a religion, because it offers an all-embracing world view, integrating -- or attempting to integrate -- politics, economics, religion and culture. It is a universal ideology, one which teaches atheistic material- ism, distorts the meaning and value of human life and society, and promotes destructive social practice. Because of these flaws, communism must be con- fronted, and the confrontation must come on the universal level. From the Unification viewpoint such an answer must begin with an internal basis, that is, a religious and philosophical foundation, and work outward from there to include the public, political sphere. It is because of our religious, philosophical commitments that we have no alternative but to enter that public sphere and actively counter the forward movement of communism.
Tyler Hendricks: But what is the difference here between CARP and an overtly political movement?
Howard Self: First of all, we admit that we do advocate certain political postures, based upon our religious and philosophical viewpoint. In this regard we simply are exercising our right, if not duty, as an association of citizens of the United States, to speak out and affect the political process. That's the value and essence of democracy. The key point which separates us from a strictly political organization is that we are not partisan; we don't campaign for candidates nor do we lobby. We are not involved with party politics. We've supported and will continue to support any president and party which agrees with our viewpoint -- a viewpoint based, as I said before, upon religion, not upon economics or the desire for power or status.
Look at it this way. Politics is the final arena from which everything in society is affected. Why should that arena have a religious taboo around it, excluding it from God's influence and the influence of the Messiah?
Tyler Hendricks: Do you see any problem here with regard to the constitutional separation of church and state?
Howard Self: We respect this principle as the national standard, as a legal guideline which has been of great benefit to the people. Yet it is a mistake to carry the notion of separation to the extreme. In reality nothing is absolutely separate; churches and the government affect and influence each other profoundly, always have, and always will. A lot of church leaders, in fact, were involved in getting church and state separated to begin with.
In God's ideal, all aspects of society smoothly and easily interact with each other, for mutual benefit. Legal separation of church and state exists to prevent the misuse of political and religious power, and no one can disagree with that. However, separation of church and state does not necessitate the separation of God and state. Politicians must apply moral principles and seek God's guidance in their decision- making. The responsibility of churches is to spread those moral principles, and to ground them in the reality of God, a reality higher than simply the human conscience, rationality, or political expediency.
CARP is political in that it advocates basic principles and a moral stance, but not in the sense of being involved with partisan politics. Also, I might point out that although CARP is closely associated with the Unification Church in terms of membership and beliefs, we are separately incorporated, as an educational corporation. Thus the church-state question is not entirely appropriate in CARP's case.
Tyler Hendricks: Even presuming that CARP is taken to represent Father, a religious leader, is CARP doing anything else than what is done by other church groups in terms of public advocacy?
Howard Self: Not at all. Liberal churches from the sixties on have involved themselves in what could be called political activity, including civil rights activism, the Vietnam protests, the No Nukes issue, and so on. They host leftist speakers on human rights issues; they support and help fund coalitions to curtail America's international commitments, and even help fund leftist guerrillas through agencies such as the World Council of Churches. It's only when conservative churches get involved in public activism that we hear about the church-state issue. The left will use churches, ministers and theological seminaries to lend credibility to their moral values, but scream "theocracy' when people on the right do the same thing. It's very hypocritical.
The whole strategy of the left is to show, really, that God is on their side, that is, that if you don't support, for example, a disarmament of the U.S. you are immoral. In this case we would want to present the moral argument for a strong defense. We're not introducing religion into politics -- it's already there. We're just introducing a competing religious point of view. In the future CARP will exert even more influence on the political arena; we must do it, there's no choice.
Tyler Hendricks: CARP has been accused of being too confrontational in its tactics. How do you answer that?
Howard Self: We are definitely confrontational and we will continue to be so until the victory is won. We actively seek out and counter the activism of the left. Now communists are attacking CARP in their literature, just as they did in Japan. There the communists funneled all its energy into attacking J-CARP instead of the Japanese and U.S. governments. Thus, in a way, the government and church are protected; CARP absorbs the venom of the left; we draw their fire.
Often people hear about our rallies, because they make the news. But rallies constitute just a small part of our activities. We witnessed all this summer, for instance, and brought around fifty new members. CARP helped in running workshops with the church in the Texas, New York and California regions. We do national, regional and local fundraising as well; we completely support ourselves. So, many of our activities are identical with those of other church members. Are we too confrontational? Well, at the recent celebration for the Day of Victory of Heaven, in the middle of his speech Father told Dr. Seuk to be even more bold and courageous. So you decide.
Tyler Hendricks: I observed years ago that CARP was the first part of our movement in America to be uncompromisingly forward about Father.
Howard Self: Yes, we even had booklets entitled "Moonism versus Marxism," and lecture charts featuring Father's picture. Being "out-front" about Father is CARP's eternal pride.
Tyler Hendricks: What is the state of student life on campuses today?
Howard Self: There is a big need for a revival of idealism and morality. The idealism of the sixties has been lost, replaced by the values of the "me" generation. Most students have turned away from activism, and concern themselves with landing high-paying jobs. CARP is working to revive idealism and spirituality, to question the materialism and rat-race antics of the American business world.
Tyler Hendricks: I suppose students who are in college now grew up hearing negative media reports about Father and the Unification Church. What effect, if any, has this had?
Howard Self: When I first began work on the campuses there was a very negative prejudice against Father, but now students are more open and actually are curious. They encounter us in their courses, because their textbooks bring us up, under religion, sociology, psychology, and many other subjects. Students write papers about Father and our movement and contact us for information. Professors are generally eager to have our members speak to their classes, and often those who speak are CARP members who are in their classes. Also, Wonhwa Do is received in a totally positive way on campuses, and this has a big effect.
Tyler Hendricks: What of the future of CARP?
Howard Self: We're making many advances. Your arrival, for one thing, is a big boost for CARP. We're developing a computer systematization of our whole organization. We're continuing into the fall and winter the very successful Wonhwa Do tours, with the next coming up in North Carolina in November. A large dojang has been set up in Houston, and we have one or more black belts in each of our regions; they are forming Wonhwa Do clubs and teaching Unificationism. Our black belt in Houston is instructing Wonhwa Do in the public schools there.
Father directed us to set up video centers across the country, so there will be ten of those soon, in addition to the one already existing in Boston. We also have established a video productions center, to record our activities and to create Divine Principle, VOC and UT lecture series.
Unity is coming about between CARP in Korea, Japan, Europe, the Philippines and the U.S. We're planning for international student and member exchange programs. We are joining this year for the first time with the well-established "Mister and Miss University Contest," a kind of internal and external beauty pageant which has had good success for several years among college students in the Orient. This year for the first time American finalists will go to Japan for the competition held in December.
A majority of the present state leaders of the church have had CARP training. Many are asking us to establish CARP at universities in their states. This will expand the church and CARP at the same time.
We are stepping up our publishing work, specifically on issues such as Central America, the Middle East, and nuclear arms. As I mentioned, we have established a large number of coalitions recently. We had nineteen outside speakers at the KAL Memorial Service at the U.N., half of whom came for dinner that night at our Columbia center. This included the special assistant to New York's Governor Cuomo. Similar coalitions have come about across the country, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston (where Peter Gogan spoke at a large conservative banquet), Washington, D.C. Chicago and Boston. We are moving to a new stage of working together with a variety of organizations on a continual basis. Professors are even writing to Father, as at Cornell, asking that CARP representatives be allowed to stay on campus!
Another project in the planning stage is a fact-finding tour in Central America or Europe, for student editors and leaders. Of course, we will continue having campus debates, forums and seminars. This is a very exciting time for CARP. We are determined to influence this nation greatly by the end of the three year emergency period.
Tyler Hendricks: On that uplifting note we'll close. Thank you, Howard, and keep up the good work.