MINORITY RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION


Quoted from Mose Durst-author, educator, and the former president of the Unification Church of the United States.In his book, To bigotry, no sanction : Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church

The media have been referred to as the fourth branch of government. When given the choice between a story about a boy scout who helps ladies as opposed to one who mugs them, the choice will be the more sensational one every time, making the bad press given the Unification Church understandable.

Publications have made a fetish of words like cult, brainwash, slavery, victim. "Cultism Is Emotional Slavery" reads one headline in the San Francisco Chronicle. 8 "Moonie 'Brainwash' Charged" reads a second Chronicle article. 9 Since San Francisco was the home of Jim Jones's People's Temple, any unorthodox religion (in the eyes of the Chronicle) becomes fair game for sensational coverage. The Chronicle, like most other newspapers, overlooks the fact that Jones's congregation was part of a mainline denomination, not even of a small sect.

"Moon Accused of Plotting to Rule World" reads a headline in the Modesto Bee, a California newspaper that picked up a UPI story. 10 The article describes, in tones suggesting clandestine evil, the growth of the international Unification movement. "Reverend Moon Wants You" was once the lead story of the Reader, San Diego's weekly magazine. 11 Finally, the media have had a field day making word games with Reverend Moon's name. "The Dark Side of Moon" 12 is a title that has been repeated many times in the last ten years.

Remembering Convent Cruelties of 1919, we get a better perspective on the media's need for a scapegoat. In June 1880, the newspaper The Protestant Vindicator published the preamble of an anti-Catholic society:

... whereas, the influence of Romanism is rapidly extending throughout this Republic, endangering the peace and freedom of our country -- therefore, being anxious to preserve the ascendancy of 'pure religion' and to maintain and perpetuate the genuine truths of Protestantism unadulterated, with devout confidence and the sanction of the great head of the Church to aid our efforts in withstanding the 'power in great authority of the beast and the strong delusion of the False Prophet,' we do hereby agree to be governed by the following constitution.

Simply change a few of the phrases in the previous statement and you have many people's description of the Unification Church, or any of the other new religions. In the introduction to his book New Religions and Mental Health, Dr. Herbert Richardson draws succinct parallels between the anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic propaganda of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the anti-cult propaganda of the later twentieth century. (See chart below)



The stories about the Unification Church are part of the genre of anti-religious literature that Professor Harvey Cox describes in his article "Myths Sanctioning Religious Persecution." 13 Essentially, these false myths purport to describe the religious group in the following manner: The group will deceive you ("heavenly deception"); it is dominated by a foreign influence (the Pope or the KCIA); the leader is a charlatan; and the group uses the technique of "the evil eye" to capture the mind and soul of its converts. The stereo types continue ad nauseum.

Jesus was perhaps the most controversial figure of human history. While he was alive he received accusations from Romans and Jews, rich and poor, pious and proud. There was, and continues to be, a great deal of accusation against his life and work. So, too, is there against anyone who seeks to do God's work in any large way.

Finally, one might ask: What about the ex-member of a faith who makes the same accusations as those who know nothing of the group? The only ex-members I know who have made public accusations against the Unification Church were those who were violently kidnapped, locked up, and coerced into recanting their beliefs. This criminal activity of deprogramming or "faith-breaking" has as its central purpose the destruction of a church member's belief in the church itself, its leaders, and practices. As love turns quickly to hate, a trusting believer can become a cynical bigot. How? Let us analyze the process.