Rev. Moon calls for new UN-backed religious body for world peace

Nando Media/February 5, 1999

Seoul -- The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, head of the Unification Church, on Friday called for an inter-faith UN-backed religious body to work for world peace.

Moon, who had returned to his home country to conduct a mass wedding of 40,000 couples here Sunday, said a new United Nations-related body was needed in the next century as other peace efforts had been "ultimately ineffective."

"Only if these efforts are supported by the more internal ones of religion, education and culture can ideal results be secured," the controversial religious leader said in a statement.

Moon founded the Unification Church here in 1954 before moving it to the United States where he dramatically expanded the movement by promoting strict family values.

Its "Blessing '99" ceremony will be staged at Seoul's Olympic stadium on Sunday.

The church said the ceremony would also extend to millions of other couples through satellite and Internet links, despite suspicions by religion experts that actual participation would be far lower.

Similar mass weddings will take place simultaneously world-wide, with the main event in Seoul to be conducted by Moon, who returned in early January from Brazil.

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