Stuff you’ll read in the Washington Times Obituary for the Reverend Sun Myung Moon that you will not read in the Washington Post obit:

In addition to leading the worldwide religious movement he founded in South Korea in 1954, Rev. Moon supported anti-communist causes during the Cold War, promoted international and interfaith peace activities, and strongly advocated a pro-marriage, pro-family culture.

His belief in the divine significance of marriage was the rationale behind the Unification Church’s most famous events — the mass public “blessings” for both newlyweds (including church members whom Rev. Moon matched together) and married couples of all religions renewing their vows.

Rev. Moon’s marriage to Seon-Gil Choi ended in 1958 after she filed for divorce.

In 1960, Rev. Moon married Hak Ja Han. The couple eventually had 14 children and are revered by church members as the “True Parents.”

“Liberals in America, especially those who sympathized with international communism, felt particularly threatened by Rev. Moon’s appearance on the national scene,” Mr. Pak later wrote. “They feared that Rev. Moon could become a major threat, and so they came together to form an anti-Rev. Moon movement.”

During the 1970s, the Unification Church in America attracted many young adults. These converts often lived communally, witnessing, lecturing or raising money for the church’s projects. This attracted the attention of established religious organizations. Some parents of new members complained that the church prohibited contact between young converts and their families. In some cases, parents arranged to have young people abducted from Unification training centers and “deprogrammed.”

One analyst predicted that the new daily would not “last more than six months,” but according to Mr. Pak, Rev. Moon invested more than $1 billion in The Times during its first 10 years of publication, and Unification Church members — including many with no previous newspaper experience — worked tirelessly with seasoned professional journalists to make it a success.

Stuff you’ll read in the Washington Post obituary of the Reverent Sun Myung Moon that you won’t read in the Washington Times obit

His stated ambition was to rule the world and replace Christianity with his own faith, which blended elements of Christianity, Confucianism and Korean folk religions. A leading symbol of the 1970s cult wars in America, he attracted a great deal of attention and ridicule for holding mass weddings for Unificationist couples whom he had paired, often without the prospective partners ever having met.

To much of the outside world, Mr. Moon undercut his credibility with grandiose statements. “God is living in me and I am the incarnation of himself,” he said, according to sermon excerpts printed in Time magazine in 1976. “The whole world is in my hand, and I will conquer and subjugate the world.”

Such comments helped spur a panic among parents of young Unificationists, who accused Mr. Moon of running a cult and brainwashing their children. Unificationists often lived communally and were forced to sever ties with their families, trading biological mothers and fathers for their “True Parents,” Mr. Moon and his wife. They staked out street corners and airports and worked long hours selling flowers, peanuts and candles to raise money for the church. Alarmed parents hired professional deprogrammers to bring their children home.

By the mid-1980s, Mr. Moon’s recruitment efforts in America had begun to flag. The National Council of Churches had rejected Unificationism, calling it “incompatible with Christian teaching and belief.”

His most prominent investment was the Washington Times, founded in 1982 as a conservative counterbalance to what Mr. Moon perceived as The Washington Post’s liberal bias.

The broadsheet, whose circulation reached 100,000 at its peak, was a financial drain — it never climbed out of the red and soaked up about $1.7 billion in church subsidies during its first 20 years in business. But it quickly became an important national voice for the conservative right.

Mr. Moon and other church leaders were unabashed about their ambitions for the newspaper. “We are going to make it so that no one can run for office in the United States without our permission,” Col. Bo Hi Pak, Mr. Moon’s top aide and the founding president of the Times, reportedly told conservative activist David Finzer in 1988.

Christian evangelist Jerry Falwell, who once likened Mr. Moon to “the plague,” appeared at Unificationist events as a supporter after a Moon-sponsored organization donated $3.5 million to rescue Falwell’s Liberty University from the brink of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, his first marriage ended in divorce. A relationship with another woman resulted in a child but no wedding. In 1960, he married Hak Ja Han, who bore 14 of Mr. Moon’s children and came to be known as True Mother.

In 1999, another son, Young Jin Moon, fell from the 17th floor of a Reno, Nev., hotel. His death was ruled a suicide by the local coroner. A third son, Heung Jin Moon, was killed in a 1984 car crash; four years later, Mr. Moon announced that Heung Jin had been reincarnated in the body of a Zimbabwean church member.


Also bankrolled what is considered the worst war movie (and that is saying a lot) of all time, Inchon. It stared Sir Larry Olivier as General Douglas MacArthur and a whole bunch of other actors who are probably embarrassed to have it on their resumes.

The only reason Larry starred in it was because Moonie threw a whole pile of bucks to sign Larry who wanted the money.

@ManchuCandidate: Somehow this gem eluded my attention. Reading about it was pretty interesting; minor issues like paying the cast and crew in cash (Olivier made a cool million and had no qualms about stinking up the screen for the loot) and getting the DOD’s participation until they later backed out when the Moon connection became public.

Best of all the tidbits was this incoherent review in President Saint Ronald’s diary after viewing the movie at the White House, “Ran Inchon — it is a brutal but gripping picture about the Korean War and for once we’re the good guys and the Communists are the villains. The producer was Japanese or Korean which probably explains the preceding sentence.”

The fact that the film tanked everywhere at the box office and has never been released in any format says all I need to know about this missed viewing opportunity. I think the term Stinker applies here.

@ManchuCandidate: I’ve just started reading a new collection of Pauline Kael reviews, and being of her time, Olivier is a major hero. Being of my time, I first encountered him in Marathon Man.

@nojo: A big old ham, especially in movies. Very good in Rebecca. Taught two generations of English actors how to talk like space aliens. Compare his work with the later Gielgud who morphed from major piece of pork product into a truly distinguished actor of modern plays.

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