A Moon Swoon

One Houston preacher gave up the cross for the cult

Houston Press/March 12, 2006
By Richard Connelly

Our sister paper SF Weekly recently did a story on the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's extravagant attempts to make inroads among black churches by offering preachers such things as free vacations to faraway countries. Dozens of ministers have heeded Moon's call to throw out their crosses and replace them with crowns, the symbol of Moon's church.

The Reverend Bennit Hayes of the Gloryland Missionary Baptist Church in Sunnyside was cited as a minister who had a drawerful of discarded crosses from his parishioners (although the article didn't directly accuse him of taking free trips).

A Moonie in Houston?

Q. Has Reverend Moon paid for your travel expenses?

A. Naw, naw, naw, naw. See, that's one of the most misconceived things that most folks think. That just 'cause you're black you got to have folks pay for your travels.

Q. That's not what I meant.

A. Naw, naw, naw. I want you to just get what I'm saying. I came in paying my own way, up until the time I became a member of the executive committee. And once I got on the executive committee, my travels [are] paid for by the committee...I'm a giver. A lot of the black pastors do come on board for the free ride. That's a fact. But most of us come in here giving.

Q. Reverend Moon has said that the Holocaust is a consequence for the Jews' killing of Jesus. Do you believe that?

A. I was at the Holocaust museum in Israel. And let me say that the Jews themselves, the ones I met, repented for that.

Q. For the Holocaust?

A. No, no. That they actually did set up the murder of Jesus. They repented for that. Because they're the ones that led to the death of Jesus.

Q. But do you believe the Holocaust is a consequence of that?

A. I have my own views on that. But see, Reverend Moon doesn't control your mind. He gives you the liberty, you know, to think for yourself...Reverend Moon has done much more today than what Jesus did in his day. Jesus didn't travel all over the world. Reverend Moon has traveled all over the world. The Reverend Moon's been in prison. Jesus was never in prison. You see what I'm saying?

Q. Reverend Moon has called gays "dung-eating dogs." What do you think of that?

A. That's a little extreme for me. I wouldn't call them that. They're all children of God.

Q. But that kind of statement doesn't turn you off Reverend Moon?

A. Naw, naw. That's the human in him. That's what makes him not totally divine.

"Not totally divine" sounds like something Carson Kressley on Queer Eye would say, but we're sure Hayes wasn't implying anything.

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