The Real American Taliban
Moon's rhetoric has turned stridently anti-American, another problem for the Religious Right and its strongly patriotic positions. On May 1, 1997, Moon told a group of followers that "the country that represents Satan's harvest is America." [ Unification News, June 1997] In other sermons, he has vowed that his victorious movement will "digest" any American who tries to maintain his or her individuality.
He especially has criticized American women who must "negate yourself 100 percent" to be a receptacle for the male seed. [For details of Moon's speeches, see The Consortium, July 28, 1997]
Still, despite his controversial remarks, Moon continues to buy friends on the American right
-- as well as among African-American religious figures -- by spreading around vast sums of money. The totals are estimated in the billions of dollars, with much of it
targeted on political infrastructure: direct-mail operations, video services for campaign ads, professional operatives and right-wing media outlets.
Through The Washington Times and its affiliated publications -- Insight magazine and The World & I -- Moon has not only showcased conservative opinions, but he has created seemingly legitimate conduits to funnel money to individuals and companies he seeks to influence.
Moon's penetration of conservative ranks has raised red flags among Republicans. In 1983, the GOP's moderate Ripon Society charged that the New Right had entered "an alliance of expediency" with Moon's church. Ripon's chairman, Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, released a study which alleged that the College Republican National Committee "solicited and received" money from Moon's Unification Church in 1981. The study also accused Reed Irvine's Accuracy in Media of benefitting from low-cost or volunteer workers supplied by Moon.
Leach said the Unification Church has "infiltrated the New Right and the party it [the New Right] wants to control, the Republican Party, and infiltrated the media as well."
Leach's news conference was broken up when then-college GOP leader Grover Norquist accused Leach of lying. (Norquist is now head of Americans for Tax Reform and a prominent ally of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.)
For its part, The Washington Times dismissed Leach's charges as "flummeries" and mocked the Ripon Society as a "discredited and insignificant left-wing offshoot of the Republican Party." [WP, Jan. 6, 1983]
Despite periodic fretting over Moon's influence, conservatives continued to accept his deep-pocket assistance.
When President Reagan and Oliver North were scratching for support for the Nicaraguan contras, The Washington Times established a contra fund-raising operation. Moon's international group, CAUSA, also dispatched operatives to Central America to assist the contras.
By the mid-1980s, Moon's Unification Church had carved out a niche as an acceptable part of the American right. In one speech to his followers, Moon boasted that "without knowing it, even President Reagan is being guided by Father [Moon]."
Yet, Moon also made clear that his longer-range goal was the destruction of the U.S. Constitution and America's democratic form of government. "History will make the position of Reverend Moon clear, and his enemies, the American population and government will bow down to him," Moon said, speaking of himself in the third person. "That is Father's tactic, the natural subjugation of the American government and population."
As Andrew Ferguson wrote in the right-wing American Spectator, Moon's church attracted U.S. conservatives by advocating a muscular anti-communism. "There is little else in Unificationism that American conservatives will find compelling," Ferguson noted -- except, of course, the money. "They're the best in town as far as putting their money with their mouth is," one Washington-based conservative told Ferguson. [AS, Sept. 1987]
Iran-contra Wars Though Moon's money sources remained shrouded in secrecy, his cash gave the right an important edge in attacking its enemies and defending its friends. After the Iran-contra scandal exploded in 1986, The Washington Times and other Moon operations battled aggressively to protect Reagan's White House and Oliver North. Godwin, the link between Falwell's Moral Majority and Moon's Washington Times, raised funds for North through a group called the Interamerican Partnership, which was a fore-runner to North's own Freedom Alliance. [ Common Cause Magazine, Fall 1993]
Another Moon-connected group, the American Freedom Coalition, also went to bat for North According to Andrew Leigh, who worked for a Moon front called Global Image Associates, AFC Broadcast a pro-North video, "Ollie North: Fight for Freedom," more than 600 times on more than 100 TV stations. Leigh quoted one AFC official as saying that AFC received $5 million to $6 million from business interests associated with Moon. AFC also bragged that it helped put George Bush into the White House in 1988 by distributing 30 million pieces of political literature. [WP, Oct. 15, 1989]