As recent events have shown, the right is hobbled by some very shadowy and unsavory characters. Jack Abramoff, Jeffrey Skilling, and Ken Lay are all examples of the more criminal side of rightwing politics. But one relatively ignored figure has been working behind the scenes since Nixon - the leader of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Commonly known as the Unification Church, it is what many people automatically think of when they think of a cult - the moonies.
The leader of the Unification church, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, is surprisingly influential on the right. He founded the rightwing newspaper, The Washington Times, and bought the wire service, United Press International. The Times has become a money loser, existing as a sort of Pravda for the right. The value of its editorial pages is greater than profit. Ronald Reagan once referred to the Times as his 'favorite paper'.
The 'values voters' who support the right would probably be shocked to know what Moon's church espouses - that Jesus failed in his mission (which wasn't to redeem mankind, but to unite the world's religions) and Moon is now the messiah, sent to complete the job. Moon claims Jesus visited him on Easter morning, 1936 and 'revealed that he was destined to accomplish a great mission in which Jesus would work with him.'
"Early in my life God called me for a mission as His instrument," Moon wrote in his book, God's Warning to the World, "I committed myself unyieldingly in pursuit of truth, searching the hills and valleys of the spiritual world. The time suddenly came to me when heaven opened up, and I was privileged to communicate with Jesus Christ and the living God directly. Since then I have received many astonishing revelations." He has referred to Jesus as a 'failure'.
True to form, the phonies who make up the leaders of the religious right don't care. For them, Moon is an opinion maker and a cash cow. Ask Jerry Falwell.
Originally, Falwell had a very low opinion of Moon, seeing him for what he was - a world class bullshit artist and a cult leader. "Reverend Sun Myung Moon is like the plague: he exploits boys and girls, and he should be exported [sic]," Falwell told Esquire in 1978, meaning 'deported' - Jerry's not all that smart for the founder of a university.
And it's that university that brought Falwell around to Moon. In 1994 Moon gave Falwell $3.5 million for his Liberty University and forgave debts worth tens of millions of dollars. Predictably, Falwell is no longer critical of Moon and speaks at moonie events.
He's not the only one to benefit from moonie cash. Moon used the Times to put out editorials supportive of Nixon during the Watergate scandal. He gave $100,000 in seed money to Oliver North's Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, formed to fund the Contras if congress cut off their funding - which they did. The Iran-Contra scandal ensued. But the most damning account of the christian right's hypocrisy and Moon's influence in Washington was reported by Salon in 2004:
You probably imagine your congressman hard at work in the Capitol debating legislation, making laws -- you know, governing. But your newspaper probably didn't tell you that one night in March, members of Congress hosted a crowning ritual for an ex-convict and multibillionaire who dressed up in maroon robes and declared himself the Second Coming.
On March 23, the Dirksen Senate Office Building was the scene of a coronation ceremony for Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times newspaper and UPI wire service, who was given a bejeweled crown by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill. Afterward, Moon told his bipartisan audience of Washington power players he would save everyone on Earth as he had saved the souls of Hitler and Stalin -- the murderous dictators had been born again through him, he said. In a vision, Moon said the reformed Hitler and Stalin vouched for him, calling him "none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."
To many observers, this bizarre scene would have looked like the apocalypse as depicted in "Left Behind" novels. Moon, 84, the benefactor of conservative foundations like the American Family Coalition -- who served time in the 1980s for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice -- has views somewhere to the right of the Taliban's Mullah Omar. Moon preaches that gays are "dung-eating dogs," Jews brought on the Holocaust by betraying Jesus, and the U.S. Constitution should be scrapped in favor of a system he calls "Godism" -- with him in charge. The man crowned "King of Peace" by congressmen once said, according to sermons reprinted in his church's Unification News: "Suppose I were to hit you with the baseball bat to stop you, bloodying your ear and breaking a bone or two, yet still you insisted on doing more work for Father."
In 1996, Reuters reported:
BUENOS AIRES (Reuter) - The South Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon launched a new Spanish-language newspaper for the whole of Latin America this weekend, with the backing of guest George Bush who praised Moon's respect for editorial independence.
The former U.S. president, guest speaker at a banquet late Saturday to launch Moon's new publication "Tiempos del Mundo" (Times of the World), was full of praise for the controversial evangelist's best-known newspaper, the Washington Times, and referred to Moon as "the man with the vision."
Bush then travelled with Moon to neighboring Uruguay Sunday to help him inaugurate a seminary in the capital Montevideo to train 4,200 young Japanese women to spread the word of his Church of Unification across Latin America.
Moon already owns a major newspaper, bank and hotel in Uruguay and is buying up land in the Argentine province of Corrientes, where he plans to construct what his followers call "ideal cities".
"I want to salute Reverend Moon who is the founder of the Washington Times and of the new paper here," said Bush, who was reported by the Washington Post to have been paid $100,000 for his Buenos Aires appearance.
"A lot of my friends in South America don't know about the Washington Times but it is an independent voice," said Bush. "The editors of the Washington Times tell me that never once has the man with the vision interfered with the running of the paper, a paper that in my view brings sanity to Washington DC."
Which brings us to Jesus' favorite president, George W. Bush. In 2001, The National Examiner reported:
President-Elect George W. Bush has a strong personal and financial connection with the cult-like Moonie church, say sources. Critics say the Moonie church opposes Christianity and the American way.
In fact, the Bush family may have received as much as $10 million from the Moonies in recent years. Rev. Sun Myung Moon considers himself a personal friend of our new president, according to newspaper reports.
The incoming chief executive's own father - former President George H. Bush - has been courted by the Rev. Moon's Unification Church since he became vice president in the Reagan administration, says a report by investigative journalist and Newsweek correspondent Robert Parry.
Rev. Moon, now 80, was even a VIP guest at the Reagan-Bush inauguration.
Solomon quoted a spokesman for the elder Bush as saying: "President Bush has no relationship with Rev. Moon or the Unification Church." But, Solomon wrote: "The facts tell a very different story."
Parry confirms that the elder Bush could have become a wealthy man merely from the checks for speaking at many high-profile Moonie events on three continents, including the launch of a church-owned newspaper in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"Estimates of Bush's fee for the Buenos Aires appearance alone ran between $100,000 and $500,000," wrote Parry. "Sources close to the Unification Church have put the total Bush-Moon package in the millions, with one source [estimating] that Bush stood to make as much as $10 million." Bush has consistently refused to answer if or how much he has been paid by Moon.
Shockingly, if the Bush family is accepting all this cash, it's coming from a man who has given speeches calling America "the kingdom of Satan" and vowing "the liquidation of American individualism."
The Gadflyer tells us, "Moon's groups have taken home grant money from the [George W.] Bush Administration, which has given his anti-sex missionaries $475,000 in Abstinence-Only dollars to bring Moon's crusade against "free sex" to both black New Jersey high-schoolers and native Africans. The Centers for Disease Control briefly announced that another Moon foundation was the only group qualified to receive another, no-bid grant for HIV education in Africa. Only after a competitor raised objections did the CDC cancel the grant program entirely. Meanwhile, one of Moon's top political movers, David Caprara, has been appointed by George W. Bush to head AmeriCorps VISTA; and another former church VIP, Josette Shiner, was given a senior trade position."
So there you go, values voters. This uber-christian president and his uber-christian party are a sham. As I've told you over and over and over, you're being played for chumps.