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White House official promotes faith-based plan at Moon event. (People & Events).

The White House is wooing a new ally in the drive for its "faith-based" initiative: controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon.

James Towey, director of the White House Office on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, spoke at a December conference in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington, Va., sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, a Moon front group.

Towey called the faith-based initiative "the centerpiece of the president's domestic policy" and said the administration opposes the "near relentless effort to sanitize the public square of all religious influences."

Moon has repeatedly used the "faith-based" initiative as a means to recruit support among local clergy, especially African-American ministers. (See "Moon Shadow," June 2001 Church & State.) Observers say Towey's appearance will greatly bolster that outreach.

A report on the conference appeared in the Moon-owned Washington Times newspaper. According to the account, Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-III.) also spoke.

Davis endorsed the faith-based plan, telling attendees, "God gets a great deal of lip service in this world. God has prescribed laws of behavior, and the central of these are love and justice."

Moon himself also took to the podium. Moon, who believes he is a new messiah sent to complete the failed mission of Jesus Christ, called for all religions to work together. Under Unification theology, all religions are to merge into one faith with Moon as the world's spiritual leaden

"It is time to overcome the hypocritical faith in God's name that lacks true love and abandon all selfish works that violate original human fights and result in injustice," said Moon. "It is most important that the various religions achieve harmony with each other and provide a model for the world."

During the lengthy address, Moon also claimed that his comments came not from research or personal opinion but "through experience, as I overcame all manner of difficulties and communed with God and spirit world."

Moon and his wife consider themselves the "True Parents" of mankind, viewing themselves as a kind of reincarnated Adam and Eve. During his remarks, Moon referenced this, telling the crowd, "God's purpose is to establish a restored Adam and Eve, or True Parents, centering on true love. It is to establish the original true world by having them receive the marriage blessing. Once that is accomplished, their true family will be the point of origin for true tribes, peoples, nations and the world."

Moon's influence with the Bush administration may only continue to escalate. In December, Bush appointed a Moon operative, David Caprara, to head AmeriCorps VISTA, the national community service organization.

Caprara formerly ran the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and also worked at a Moon front group called the American Family Coalition. He frequently appears at Moon events, most recently speaking at an Oct. 29 ministers' workshop in Ocean City, Md., that was sponsored by yet another Moon-related group, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

In other news about Moon:

* Moon continues to convene conferences in the "spirit world" during which famous historical figures renounce their former faith and beliefs and swear fealty to Moon. The Washington Times on Dec. 28 ran an advertisement from the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification featuring three of these testimonies--from St. Anselm, Thomas Paine and President Rutherford B. Hayes.

The Unification Church claims that during "spirit world" conferences last year, Jesus Christ, Confucius, Muhammad, St. Paul, Martin Luther, St. Augustine, the Buddha, several Hindu leaders and others pledged allegiance to Moon and offered personal testimonies.

The new round of testimonies featured more of the same. Paine, for example, asserted, "If Americans do not want to become eternal wanderers they must follow the teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who is on earth. He possesses a fundamental philosophy to save not only America but also all humanity."

Paine, best known as the author of the pamphlet "Common Sense," which helped spur revolutionary fervor, noted that there is "freedom of the press in this place but I am sad that the limitation of time prevents me from fully expressing my excitement."

Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, called out, "People of earth! People of America! I cannot record here everything that I have experienced. I can only say that the Unification Principle is a great truth and that it is unmistakable that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon holds all the keys to human salvation and peace."
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Publication:Church & State
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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