A Rally for Religious Freedom
JULY 1, 1982
Holy Blessing of 2,075 Couples in Madison Square Garden
We celebrate 37 years since a large percentage of American Unificationists participated in a record-setting Marriage Blessing of 2,075 Couples officiated by True Parents at Madison Square Garden. This number eclipsed the previous record of 1,800 couples wed by True Parents in 1975, which the Guinness World Records reference book recorded as the largest mass wedding in history. Engagement ceremonies of 705 couples in May 1979, 843 couples in December 1980 and 653 couples in June 1982 led up to the ceremony. More than 60 percent of the couples were either interracial or cross-cultural. With this event, the U.S. church demographics went from primarily single people to mostly married people virtually overnight.
- The Korean War breaks out with the invasion of North Korea into South Korea (June 25, 1950)
- True Father speaks to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on morals and religion (June 25, 1965)
- A hearing on religious freedom takes place, followed by a rally in Washington, D.C. (June 25, 1985)
- The launching ceremony of Cheon Seung Ho is held (June 26, 1963)
- A hearing on religious freedom is held (June 26, 1984)
- US clergy rally for True Father (June 26, 1985)
- Dr. Theodore Shimmyo is inaugurated as the second president of the Unification Theological Seminary (June 26, 1994)
- The US Marriage Blessing Movement begins (June 27, 2015)
- True Mother writes a letter to Judge Gerard Goettel (June 28, 1982)
- The Washington Declaration is made (June 29, 2003)
- The Declaration of God’s Eternal Blessing is proclaimed (July 1, 1991)
- Dedication Ceremony of the Education Center for Ideal Families and World Peace (July 1, 1998)
- True Father holds a 23.5-hour Hoon Dok Hwe (July 1, 2010)
June 25, 1950
The Korean War Begins
The Korean War broke out when the army of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea). The conflict pulled in China and the United States. Eventually, sixteen UN member nations provided troops to the South. The war continued for more than three years until the Korean Armistice Agreement (not treaty) was signed on July 27, 1953. The hostilities resulted in a death toll of over 1.2 million. True Father was in Heungnam prison camp at the war’s outbreak. Following their landing at Incheon led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, UN and South Korean forces fought their way north, subjected Heungnam prison and factory complex to a massive aerial bombardment and liberated True Father after two years and eight months of confinement. According to Unification teaching, the division of the peninsula and the Korean War were deeply intertwined with providential history and True Father’s mission.
June 25, 1965
True Father Meets Dwight D. Eisenhower
True Father met for 45 minutes with former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower at his Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, office as part of his first world tour. He was accompanied by Mrs. Won Bok Choi, Col. Bo Hi Pak, Kenji “Daikon” Ohnuki and Gordon Ross. True Father noted that the day marked the 15th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. In their discussion True Father focused attention on three points: the need for a strong anticommunist ideology and movement; the need to bring a halt to moral decay; the need for an active, dynamic religion. President Eisenhower agreed, saying: “Man is a spiritual being. We must bring to bear a greater moral strength based on moral law to stand against the communists. It will take the vigor of youth to do this.” True Father presented the former U.S. president with several gifts, and President Eisenhower wished him the “greatest success.”
June 25, 1985
Rally for Religious Freedom
More than eleven hundred ministers from a broad range of denominations gathered from around the country in Washington, D.C., to affirm religious freedom and protest the unjust imprisonment of True Father at Danbury Federal Penitentiary. The rally was sponsored by the Coalition for Religious Freedom and the University Alliance for God and Freedom. Across from the White House, several ministers held handcuffed arms high in the air and a mock jail cell held a gagged woman dressed in white with an inscription that read, “Lady Justice Imprisoned by Blind Government Officials.” This was one of a series of rallies and conferences that led up to True Father’s release on August 20, 1985.
June 26, 1963
Launching Ceremony of the Cheon Seung Ho Boat
True Parents held the launching ceremony for the boat Cheon Seung Ho at a dockyard in the Manseok neighborhood of the city of Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, with around 200 key members in attendance. On this day True Father prayed in his benediction, “Cheon Seung Ho means that ‘Heaven has won,’ and this launching ceremony of Cheon Seung Ho is being held as it is the starting point of all victories in heaven and on earth.” True Parents had already begun preparing for the maritime providence by this time. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee)
June 26, 1984
Hearing on Religious Freedom
After the Court of Appeals denied True Father’s appeal and upheld his eighteen-month sentence for tax evasion, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution convened a hearing on religious freedom. Chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the hearing looked into whether the verdict in True Father’s case had been a violation of religious freedom. More than three hundred invited persons and observers as well as media crews were present. In his prepared remarks, True Father stated, “In 1971, God called me to come to America and … for the last 12 years I have given my heart and soul and every drop of sweat and tears for the sake of this nation.” He listed a number of the vast array of projects undertaken by the movement at the cost of “several hundred million dollars,” denied that he had defrauded the U.S. government of a few thousand dollars, and expressed gratitude that God was “using me as an instrument to lead the fight for religious freedom and to ignite the spiritual awakening of America.”
June 26, 1985
U.S. Clergy Rally for True Father
On June 26, 1985, members of the clergy held a religious freedom rally in Washington, D.C., in protest against True Father’s incarceration in Danbury. Participants, who wore a white sash, marched in protest toward the White House, singing the gospel song “We Shall Not Be Moved” at Lafayette Square on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. The clerics raised their handcuffed hands above their heads and prayed for religious freedom. Around 1,000 clerics from different denominations participated in the rally, as did around 2,000 Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) members from fifty universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University,. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee)
June 26, 1994
Dr. Theodore Shimmyo Inaugurated as Second UTS President
Dr. Theodore Shimmyo was inaugurated as the second president of the Unification Theological Seminary at the seminary’s 18th commencement exercises. He succeeded the seminary’s first president, Dr. David S.C. Kim, who had served for nineteen years since the seminary’s founding in 1975. Dr. Shimmyo, a graduate of the seminary’s first class, had been a professor of systematic theology and assistant academic dean. In his acceptance speech, “A Place Where Leaders Are Educated,” he pledged to “make sure that this seminary serves the rest of the Unification community, this nation and the world, with a desire to shoulder their burdens.”
June 27, 2015
U.S. Marriage Blessing Movement Begins
The Unification movement in the United States began a nationwide Marriage Blessing Movement on June 27, 2015. It was initiated as a way to extend the grace of the Blessing to more couples and families throughout the nation, multiply the numbers of Blessed Central Families nationwide, and support each Blessed Central Family in reaching the goal of blessing 430 couples. True Mother authorized Blessing Ceremonies to be held in communities across the U.S. once every three to four months on a predetermined date, to be presided over by approved Blessing officiators representing True Parents. An international Blessing Ceremony will still be held at Foundation Day each year, in which the U.S. will take part. The first nationwide Blessing was held on June 27, 2015, followed by a second on October 3.
June 28, 1982
True Mother’s Letter to Judge Gerard Goettel
On May 18, 1982, a jury for the Southern District of New York returned a guilty verdict against True Father for filing false tax returns from 1973 to 1975. Groups and individuals representing more than 120 million Americans later filed briefs in support of True Father’s appeal. However, the immediate concern was the penalty that the trial judge, Gerard Goettel, would impose. On June 28, several weeks prior to his decision, True Mother wrote the judge, petitioning him to pray and be guided by God in his deliberations. She wrote: “I believe that I have had the most blessed life of any woman who has ever lived in being married to my husband. He has totally dedicated his life to the service of God and humanity. … From the time I was a young girl, I prayed fervently to live a pious life and to marry a pious man. God listened to every one of my prayers and blessed me more abundantly than I could have ever imagined.” She noted that she had just given birth to their thirteenth child and that the trial proceedings were very difficult, but she “chose to sit by my husband’s side every day.” She emphasized that True Father “continued to inspire us with messages of forgiveness and compassion … [he] would not allow any of us to harbor any hostility towards the government, the prosecutors or any of the witnesses.” She asked the judge to be “compassionate and lenient.”
On July 17, 1982, the court sentenced True Father to 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine plus costs. The only positive outcome was Judge Goettel’s “binding recommendation” against deportation. The government’s lawyers were eager to deport True Father and pressed Judge Goettel not to issue an opinion on the matter. However, in this instance Judge Goettel did not see things the government’s way. His position was that deportation, in addition to the eighteen-month jail sentence that he himself had imposed, represented “excessive punishment.” The decision, though technically a recommendation, was binding on the Justice Department and could not be appealed.
June 29, 2003
The Washington Declaration was the second in a series of three declarations, the others being the Jerusalem Declaration (May 18, 2003) and the Seoul Declaration (August 15, 2003), which were offered on the foundation of the First, Second and Third Israels. Each of the declarations focused on interreligious reconciliation and peace. Together they led to True Parents’ “Declaration Ceremony for the Beginning of the Nation of the Fourth Israel” on August 20, 2003.
July 1, 1991
Declaration Day of God’s Eternal Blessing
True Father proclaimed the Declaration Day of God’s Eternal Blessing (Chil Il Jeol) at a special ceremony at True Parents’ residence in Seoul’s Hannam-dong neighborhood. On that day, True Father began a new era in which blessed families, as tribal messiahs, inherited True Parents’ realm of victory. At the ceremony True Father prayed, “I have designated this day, the first day of July, to be the one on which we can apply and declare ourselves to be tribal messiahs across the world.” He said that Unificationist families no longer belong to any nationality but are members of the Royal Family. He advised Unificationists to create a new spiritual attitude and train themselves to overcome their fallen nature in working with their hometown communities.
July 1, 1998
Dedication Ceremony of the Education Center for Ideal Families and World Peace
On July 1, 1998, beginning at 10 a.m., a dedication ceremony was held in Jardim, Brazil, for the Education Center for Ideal Families and World Peace. Around 3,000 people, well-known figures in Brazil and leaders from a variety of backgrounds in Jardim, came to the event. True Father said, “The goal of the Jardim education center is to raise people who do not live for their own individual benefit but instead live for the country, the world and God as families and to raise people who live for the world, even though it means sacrificing one’s clan or nation.” After the dedication, FFWPU members from across the globe began to attend the Jardim forty-day workshops in this center to inherit True Parents’ heart and traditions. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee.)
July 1, 2010
True Father Holds 23.5-Hour Hoon Dok Hwe
True Father, at age 90, hosted a historic Hoon Dok Hwe that lasted twenty-three and a half hours, speaking on the topic of “God Is the Owner and Victor” to Japanese women participating in a forty-day workshop for “world ocean leaders” at Blue Sea Garden in Yeosu, Korea.
This Week in History briefly lists significant events in the history of the Unification Church, the lives of the Founders, and world events that are momentous to Unificationists. Most items are marked according to the solar calendar. Items marked “H.C.” correspond to the Cheon-gi or Heavenly Calendar, which is based on the lunar calendar. This installment covers the week of June 25 to July 1.