Celebrities Involved with Moon

The Washington Post/July 30, 1996
By Marc Fisher

The Washington Post reported July 30, 1996 that many prominent Americans have become involved with Moon organization events. The list is impressive --it includes Gerald Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Coretta Scott King, Bill Cosby and George Bush. Even the former head of the Soviet Empire Mikhall Gorbachev has attended. If you believe the hype--it's all for "world peace" --at least that what George Bush said.

It is all about the so-called "Family Federation for World Peace" and its "Inaugural World Convention" held at the National Building Museum July 31st. Cosby did his monologue and former President Ford was sitting there listening to Hak Ja Han Moon, wife of the Rev. sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church --give the "Founder's Address." Moon controlled organizations sponsored the event.

The Rev. and Mrs. Moon made sure every invitation noted their name--there were thousands sent out all over the nation's capital. However, the famous guests who received expenses and some reportedly large paychecks for speaking claimed they really didn't know the money was coming from Moon's groups.

Cosby performed his act while Korean followers of Moon listened on earpieces to translation. He said, "This is really the first time in my life that I have performed for people with things in their ears, for the first time, we'll see how funny translators are."

Apparently the crowd of ardent believers didn't have much of a sense of humor and sat seriously listening to Bill Cosby reportedly "stone-faced." Many Korean members of Moon's church took notes during Cosby's monologue--how this related to his performance is a mystery.

Cosby wasn't too thrilled either--his monologue lasted just sixteen minutes and he left the stage abruptly with a scowl on his face. Attendees complained that he "just got off the stage and ran out of the building." Moon's spokesperson denied being dissatisfied with the show and simply said "He performed and that's the bottom line."

After Cosby was confronted by reports that Moon was connected to the event he tried to give his fee back, which according to one Hollywood source was $150,000. Apparently, he didn't wand to be associated with Moon - a "the self-styled Messiah," who controls the Unification Church and owns the Washington Times. Critics have called the group a "cult" and claim it uses "aggressive recruiting tactics." Others say those tactics amount to "brainwashing."

Cosby supposedly tried to make a deal to get out of his commitment, but Moon's lawyers were not willing to bargain--according to the popular comedian they threatened to sue if he backed out.

Cosby said, "I see myself in a court of law with their lawyer saying, Okay, Mr. Cosby, you dropped out, why? And then I say, You're a cult. And they say, Well, Mr. Cosby, what is a cult? And I say, Well, when people do bad things and take children from their families. And they say, Where have we broken the law? What has Rev. Moon done that is so bad? Well, I say, they have those kids on the street selling flowers. Oh, they say, that's a terrible thing, isn't it, selling flowers?…What have they done that is so bad? Well, they marry people by the thousands. Oh, that is terrible, Mr. Cosby. Marriage. We certainly don't want any of that going on in our culture do we?"

It seems Bill Cosby has a simplistic understanding of both destructive cults and Moon's Unification Church. That is--how such organizations affect their member's lives and their families. Specifically, Moon served time in prison for tax fraud and the mass marriages Cosby mentioned occur often with couples who have little knowledge of each other, besides Moon's designation of them as partners. Hardly, the typical marriage "going on in our culture."

Moon's people claimed that the convention was organized, "to restore family values and achieve world peace." It is not clear how an organization that is the focus of many family complaints concerning estrangement from their loved ones which often arranges marriages with between virtual strangers is focused on "family values." Likewise, Moon's rather extreme political rhetoric can be seen as encouraging confrontation not "world peace."

What is clear is Moon is willing to pay enormous lecture fees to attract a growing number of celebrities and famous political leaders to his staged events. Despite campaigns by Moon's critics who have had "letter-writing campaigns" to protest the involvement of speakers like former president Gerald Ford, former British prime minister Edward Heath, TV preacher Robert Schuller, Maureen Reagan, former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias and former secretary of housing and urban development Jack Kemp. The celebrity speakers don't seem to feel conflicted and ignore the protests while continuing to collect substantial honorariums.

The event reported about by the Washington Post in July 1996 featured former president George Bush, Boston University president John Silber, Religious Right leaders Gary Bauer and Ralph Reed, Coretta Scott King and of course Rev. Moon with entertainment provided by Pat Boone and Family.

At the event, Moon sat five feet from Gerald Ford--but the two men didn't even talk. Ford, refuses to disclose his fee, but said-- "This gathering is sort of a spiritual Olympics." He left right after his speech.

Famous familiar faces drew many to Moon's conference. This is exactly why so many critics of such events protest celebrities involvement. They claim that Moon uses these speakers to attract attention, create the appearance of respected endorsements and mislead people about their agenda. Just this point seemed to be made by two women quoted in the Washington Post. Attending from another state one said Moon's organization "True Family Values Ministries" invited them and paid their expenses. She claimed "We're here for the Baptists…I think Moon is for the true values of the Bible. I don't get into all the intricate details of Moon, all that about the Messiah. Mainly, I'm for family values." Her companion said "[my] mom has a real negative attitude about us coming here because of Moon, but when she sees that Dr. Schuller was here, she'll have to think again. If Gerald Ford is here, it's got to be okay."

A less supportive observer dryly stated "Ford - if they pay him enough, he'll go almost anyplace" and commented that she was "curious and dismayed to see what people will do for money."

Gerald Ford's spokesperson insists that the ex-president didn't know the "Family Federation" was a Moon-controlled organization when he decided to attend. However, Moon's people say that is impossible and that every speaker and attendee knows about Moon's role and that his groups sponsor such events. They say Moon's name is on every invitation sent out. "There is no deceit or intent to deceive," said a Moon spokesperson.

Agents should know what they're getting their clients into, but Cosby publicist David Brokaw claims, if the organization doing the hiring is less than open, the truth may not emerge until the deal is made.

According to the Post report when Rev. David Coffin of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fairfax was called and asked to be a pastoral representative to the Family federation convention he "didn't know who these people were and I kept asking over and over who was the sponsor. The person on the phone was very evasive and never mentioned Moon at all. "She kept naming more organizations and more names of reputable people who were going to be there, but never a word about Moon." Coffin he was suspicious and refused to attend.

But many other church people in the United States and the world do accept such invitations. Of 24 attendees questioned by the Post all but two said a Moon paid for their expenses. "The sponsors feel it's necessary to commit resources to bring people together to discuss world peace and issues of thefamily," Moon's spokesperson said. 

The closing address of yesterday's opening session was delivered by Hak Ja Han Moon. Many people not affiliated with the Unification Church left during her long speech, in which she described how the world's "True Parents" (and allusion to Mr. and Mrs. Moon) have come to Earth to perfect the work left uncompleted by Jesus.

The True Father - in Unification Church theology, Moon - "finds the bride that Jesus could not find," Mrs. Moon explained. Together, they "save all humankind" and "establish a True Family" by marrying off all the people of the world in "International Holy Weddings."

Another "Moon megamarriage" will take place during November 1997, at a ceremony in Washington, according to the Unification Church World Wide Web page (http://www.unification.org), 3.6 million couples will marry.

Maybe Presidents Bush and Ford can throw some rice.


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