On the Eve of Peace
This week in history, December 17-23:
- True Parents arrive in Washington, D.C. (December 18, 1971)
- The IRFWP conference “Realizing the Interfaith Ideal: Action Beyond Dialogue” is held (December 18, 1998)
- The monthly magazine Tongil Segye begins publication (December 20, 1970)
- The World Summit of Muslim Leaders is held (December 20, 2001)
- Heung Jin Moon ascends in a car accident (December 22, 1983)
- The Peace King Coronation of Jesus takes place (December 22, 2003)
December 18, 1971
True Parents Arrive in Washington, D.C.
The Kennedy Center is where the Little Angels performed the day they greeted True Father in Washington, D.C.
Having been denied visas on arriving in Los Angeles on December 11, 1971, because of alleged “communist affiliations,” True Parents traveled to Toronto, Canada. There, due to the intervention of U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC), who was familiar with True Father’s Victory over Communism work, their situation was clarified and they arrived in Washington, D.C., on December 18. Dr. Bo Hi Pak, who welcomed True Parents, stated that it “pained” him that he and others had not made “the necessary social and political preparations” for True Parents. However, it comforted him that the Little Angels were scheduled to perform that very night at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and they were all at the airport to greet True Parents. True Father, he said, “was extremely pleased with this unexpected welcome.”
That night, True Parents’ party sat in the VIP section of the balcony at the Kennedy Center. Dr. Pak noted, “More than a hundred senators, congressmen and other notables were there with their families, including Sen. J.W. Fulbright [D-Ark], Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird, and several other Cabinet-level officials.” There were ambassadors from around a hundred countries, he said, with more than 2,200 people in the sold-out crowd. Dr. Pak commented, “In a symbolic sense, the Little Angels’ invitational performance was a welcoming banquet held in celebration of Reverend Moon’s arrival in America that day. … It could also be said that Reverend Moon was the real host of that performance.” At the conclusion, Dr. Pak introduced True Father as the Little Angels’ founder and invited everyone to welcome him with a round of applause. According to Dr. Pak, “the leading figures from all walks of life in the United States were receiving the Lord for the first time and, symbolically, were giving him an enthusiastic welcome.”
December 18, 1998
Realizing the Interfaith Ideal: Action Beyond Dialogue
True Father speaks at the IRFWP conference.
The Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP) sponsored an important conference, “Realizing the Interfaith Ideal: Action Beyond Dialogue,” in Washington, D.C., from December 18 to 20, 1998. The “concept for the conference,” according to its coordinator, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, “revolved around an initiative for religious leaders to work formally with the United Nations.” Dr. Kaufmann described the response of UN representatives present as “gratifying” in that they acknowledged the conference initiative to be “inspired, timely, necessary and doable.” True Father’s banquet address at The Washington Times offices expanded on the UN theme. He stated, “The path to world peace will be incomplete if we rely merely on the political, economic and military functions of the United Nations. … The more internal and spiritual aspects can be reached only through religious teaching and through the unity and united actions of the world’s religions.” The conference was significant in that it planted the seed for True Father’s call for “a religious assembly, or council of religious representatives, within the structure of the United Nations” less than two years later at Assembly 2000.
December 20, 1970
First Publication of the Monthly Magazine Tongil Segye
The church headquarters first published the monthly magazine Tongil Segye on December 20, 1970. Its registration number at the South Korean Ministry of Culture and Public Information was Ra 1388. True Father congratulated them on publishing Tongil Segye and wrote its name (統一世界) in calligraphy. As the monthly magazine of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, Tongil Segye has featured pictures from major events, True Parents’ messages, feature articles, interviews and reports, church news, and articles contributed by members. In doing so, it has been leading the culture of heart that the Unification Church aims to realize. Its current issue is the 524th, and it has a standing history of 45 years. (Courtesy of the History Compilation Committee.)
December 20, 2001
World Summit of Muslim Leaders
Former President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid, met with True Father at the World Summit of Muslim Leaders.
A little more than a month after the tragic events of 9/11, True Father hosted Assembly 2001, “Global Violence: Crisis and Hope,” in New York City from October 19 to 22, 2001. It convened 380 political and religious leaders from 101 nations. During the conference, True Father met with Abdurrahman Wahid, the former president of Indonesia and longtime head of the Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest independent Muslim organization in the world. True Father also met with Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan and urged the two to work together. A month later at a breakfast meeting with Unificationist leaders, True Father suddenly insisted, “Muslims should hold a peace meeting before the end of the year. Ask H.E. Wahid and Minister Farrakhan if they will convene such a conference. I will help if needed.” Dr. Frank Kaufmann reported, “Within 22 days, 180 Muslim leaders from 51 countries sat in the ballroom of the newly opened JW Marriott Jakarta to welcome speakers for the opening plenary of the World Summit of Muslim Leaders discussing Islam and a future world of peace.” Minister Farrakhan and H.E. Wahid acted as co-conveners ably supported by IRFWP staff. Amid the confusion and retaliatory “war on terror,” True Father was constant in his emphasis on interreligious and international cooperation. This was evident in the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) organized by the Universal Peace Federation and associated peace efforts in the post 9/11 era.
December 21, 1973
True Father’s Watergate Statement Read into the Congressional Record
The Unification movement’s National Prayer and Fast for the Watergate Crisis Committee (NPFWC) organized vigils, rallies, letter-writing and leafleting in all fifty states to publicize its theme and to obtain signatures of people promising to pray and fast for the Watergate crisis. Eight U.S. senators and fifty-three U.S. congressmen either signed True Father’s Watergate Statement, “Forgive, Love, Unite,” or responded with messages of support. Congressman Guy Vander Jagt (R-Michigan) read True Father’s statement into the Congressional Record of December 21, 1973.
December 22, 1983
Heung Jin Moon in Car Accident
Heung Jin Moon ascended at age seventeen.
Heung Jin Moon, True Parents’ second son, was critically injured in a car accident on Route 9 just north of Poughkeepsie, New York, on December 22, 1983. He was traveling south from Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown with two companions when a tractor-trailer jackknifed on an icy stretch of road and collided with the Honda Civic that Heung Jin was driving. Though seriously injured, his two friends survived because, as they testified, Heung Jin swerved the car at the last moment to take the brunt of the impact himself and save them. Heung Jin suffered massive head injuries and lingered in a coma for ten days before expiring at 1:18 a.m. on January 2, 1984. He was seventeen. By all accounts, he was an exemplary son. Rev. Moon described him as “the most exemplary, obedient son, with the greatest piety … the most comforting son to Mother and me.”
True Parents were out of the country at the time of the accident, conducting a series of Victory over Communism rallies in Korea. A number of spiritualists had communicated to them that December 1983 was a “very dangerous time” and that True Father “must absolutely be careful.” True Father later testified that at the last rally in Kwangju, a left-leaning city with a reputation for rebelliousness, 36 terrorists were prepared to attack but were prevented from doing so because “the auditorium was already completely packed by the time they arrived.” With another 5,000 people outside, they “had absolutely no way to enter.” During True Father’s speech in Kwangju, Heung Jin Nim’s accident occurred. According to True Father, “Satan lost his condition to attack me and then turned his attention to the next best, my second son.”
December 22, 2003
Peace King Coronation of Jesus
A rally was held at Jerusalem’s Peace Park.
True Parents set important conditions, centered on the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), for the reconciliation of the Abrahamic faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In 2003, True Father called upon Christian clergy to “exchange the cross for a crown” as a foundation for traveling to the Holy Land and reconciling with their Jewish brethren. Some 131 members of the clergy did so and went to Jerusalem, where they met a like number of Israeli rabbis and jointly signed the Jerusalem Declaration, which repented for “dark parts of our past” and sought a “bright future” together.
Dozens of subsequent pilgrimages were conducted as part of the “Middle East Peace Initiative” (MEPI). True Father called for a “major providential mobilization” centering on December 22 as an Interreligious and International Day of Prayer for Peace in the Middle East. The day’s centerpiece was a rally at Jerusalem’s Peace Park which included a coronation of Jesus.
For Unificationists, this was a condition that “the chosen people of Israel embraced and welcomed Jesus and crowned him as the King of Peace,” an action that “reversed all that occurred 2,000 years ago.” Two Muslims presented a Jewish professor with a golden menorah as a symbol of reconciliation with the Jews. After that, Christian leaders presented a robe to a Muslim representative, symbolizing the confirmation that Muhammad is God’s prophet. Michael Jenkins, the rally’s master of ceremonies, proclaimed, “Jesus, Moses and Muhammad are one. The era of conversion is over, and the Era of the Peace Kingdom is now realized.”
December 23, 1992
True Mother’s Beijing Rally
True Mother’s Beijing Rally was held in commemoration of the establishment of the Women’s Federation for World Peace on December 23, 1992, in the Great Hall of the People. True Mother gave a speech titled “Women’s Role in World Peace,” the first Korean woman to give a speech in the Great Hall. Four hundred members of the Wives’ Association of the Great China listened attentively. On the 22nd, the day before the event, True Mother met Deng Pufang, the eldest son of Deng Xiaoping, who at the time was the most powerful political figure in China, and discussed about mutual cooperation between the two nations. (Courtesy of the History Compilation Committee.)
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 December 17-23.