After newspapers across America last December revealed Unification Church attempts to infiltrate the political “Christian Right” through gifts to political action committees and conservative Christian groups, the Moonies quieted their activities.
Now some Unification Church-watchers are concerned that the group is stepping-up another tactic which may result in political acceptance: infiltrating independent charismatic ministries to gain favor in the burgeoning charismatic movement as a whole.
“They’re out there winning friends and influencing people,” said a source at the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) who did not want to be named, adding that gaining acceptance in America is essential to the church’s objective of having their leader Sun Myung Moon recognized as the second coming of Christ.
Last December’s articles, which appeared mostly in prominent Knight-Ridder newspapers, stated that in March 1987 Moon forged an alliance with the Christian Voice, the largest conservative Christian lobby in America. They also reported that Moon has been funding anticommunist guerrillas in Central America, Afghanistan, and the Philippines, and that the Unification Church gave the late John T. Dolan, founder of the 300,000-member National Conservative Political Action Committee, a $775,000 gift. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Anderson had also been paid $127,500 as a Unification Church consultant.
Recently the NAE warned its members to be wary of Unification Church attempts to infiltrate their ranks by joining with organizations that seem to have conservative goals. Moon-watchers say two points of Moonie infiltration into the Christian community have been over issues of religious freedom and anticommunism.
In recent years certain Christian leaders have been criticized for what some perceived as drawing too close to the Unification Church. Several years ago Tim LaHaye, Christian author and head of the American Coalition for Traditional Values, came under fire for accepting a gift from Col. Bo Hi Pak, a former Korean intelligence officer, president of the Washington Times newspaper, and Moon’s right-hand man. Since then, a number of pastors from a broad spectrum of denominations have received free trips from CAUSA, a Unification Church-funded anticommunism organization. Churchmen have also been speaking at CAUSA rallies (e.g., Jerry Fallwell spoke at a conference in Miami last year which was co-sponsored by CAUSA).
Another group admitting Unification Church funding is the American Freedom Coalition (AFC), publisher of the monthly Religious Freedom Alert, headed by Donald Sills as president and Robert Grant as chairman. Although LaHaye, Florida pastor D. James Kennedy, and others have left the AFC because of the Moon connection, others, such as Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Paul Crouch, Ben Armstrong of the National Religious Broadcasters, evangelists James Robison and Rex Humbard, and other prominent evangelicals have remained on AFC’s executive committee. (Although there is no known direct connection between CAUSA and AFC, Sills often speaks at CAUSA functions. CAUSA is headed by Phillip V. Sanchez, former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras and Columbia.)
In recent days Sills has been concentrating on attacking anti-cult organizations as a threat to religious freedom to audiences with a high percentage of charismatics. Sills (who visited Moon during his prison term) appeared May 3 on Crouch’s “Praise the Lord” show on TBN and denounced the secular Cult Awareness Network (CAN). From there Sills went on the AFC’s radio network hosted by Grant and sharply criticized CAN and cultwatchers in general. (In recent months Sills has emerged as a public affairs spokesman for the Greater Grace World Outreach — formerly The Bible Speaks World Outreach, a controversial group a federal judge recently ordered to return $6.6 million in contributions it swindled from a former member.)
But many agree that the church’s best attempt at influencing the political right is Bo Hi Pak’s Washington Times newspaper, which is reportedly losing $200 million a year. Moon himself is widely reported as saying he is having an influence on President Reagan “through the Washington Times”.