Former President Donald Trump this weekend spoke at an online event sponsored by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, widow of the “Moonie” cult leader, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
The event, called “Rally of Hope,” focused on world peace and reunification of North and South Korea and drew an estimated audience of one-million people worldwide. It also drew the praise of President Trump, who expressed his admiration not just for Dr. Moon, but for her late husband and the publication he founded, The Washington Times.
“I want to thank the Universal Peace Federation, and in particular, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, a tremendous person, for her incredible work on behalf of peace all over the world,” Trump said in a videotaped address. “Her story of escaping from North Korea at five years old, at the outset of the Korean War, is an amazing example of the power of faith in Almighty God.
“I also want to thank her late husband, Reverend Moon, for founding The Washington Times, an organization for which I have tremendous respect and admiration.”
Cult expert Dr. Steven Hassan called Trump’s appearance at the rally “outrageous,” noting that “crimes of the Moonies are well-documented.”
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Rev. Sun Myung Moon was convicted of tax fraud in 1982. He also lost a libel lawsuit against the Daily Mail in the 1980s, after the newspaper exposed the brainwashing, sleep-deprivation, and “love-bombing” techniques Moonies used.
Hassan said Trump’s appearance at the rally is also evidence that the Unification Church, commonly referred to as “Moonies,” are “in NO way fringe” but remain “actively interwoven into the power structure of the modern GOP.”
“When most people hear about the Moonies, they think, ‘what a crazy cult!’” Hassan tweeted. “What these people might not realize though is how INTERTWINED this cult is with the modern GOP.”
Hassan noted that a Moonie event in May likewise drew several GOP leaders, including former Vice president Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. pic.twitter.com/IKAsUWXfkR
— Steven Hassan, PhD (@CultExpert) August 10, 2021
Hassan, who’s a former Moonie, also writes on his blog that the cult uses the conservative newspaper, The Washington Times, not only to gain power and influence, but also to gather intelligence.
The Times is currently owned by Operations Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Unification Church or HAS-UWC (Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity).
Hassan also notes that Pastor Hung Jin “Sean” Moon, the son of Rev. Moon, and leader of a Moonie splinter group, Rod of Iron Ministries, helped build momentum for the January 6 rally at the U.S. Capitol.
According to an article in Raw Story, Rod of Iron deployed members to a string of rallies leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. And a video that Sean Moon posted to his Instagram account shows Moon and his followers at the Jan. 6 rally, claiming to have been pepper-sprayed by police.
Steve Bannon, former White House senior counselor, has also appeared virtually at a Rod of Iron event. Pennsylvania state senator and “Stop the Steal” organizer, Doug Mastriano, was also billed as a special guest at a Rod of Iron event, according to Vice.
Hassan says this kind of political activism is typical of the Moonie “far right cult,” which claims to be Christian. (The Moonies do not believe Jesus was God, born of a virgin, or physically resurrected, Hassan says.)
When he was a Moonie, Hassan said he “prayed & fasted for 72 hours on the Capitol steps to show my loyalty to Nixon during Watergate.”
He added that he was told that if North Korea invaded South Korea, he and other American cult members would be sent to the front lines to die as martyrs. “Unification of North under South control was always agenda!” he added.
Though the group isn’t as well-known as it was in the 70s and 80s, and it’s divided into several offshoots, the Moonies are still a powerful force.
Sean Moon has purchased a 40-acre compound in central Texas, which he believes will offer a safe haven when the “deep state” provokes an imminent civil war.
The organization Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon runs, the Universal Peace Federation, has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (UN). Like her late husband, Dr. Moon is pushing for a renewed UN backed by the UPF, which she believes will overcome religious divisions and usher in world peace.
According to the Ex-Moon Organization, the Moon organization and its followers also own, control, and influence dozens of companies, religious bodies, and political groups in the U.S. and around the world.
In his speech Saturday, Trump expressed support for Moon’s Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Think Tank 2022—a UPF initiative bringing together world leaders to solve the conflict in the Korean Peninsula.
Trump promoted unifying Korea and promoting world peace. The former president said his meetings in 2018 and 2019 with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un have paved the way for these goals to be realized.
“I knew that while any leader can wage war, it takes true courage to pursue a chance for peace,” he said. “I believe that leaders should never be afraid to talk if there is an opportunity to create a better world for their people.”
He added, “I truly believe that an extraordinary future awaits the people of North Korea, and I have faith that if they pursue the path of denuclearization, they will make that future a magnificent reality.”
Hassan, however, had a much bleaker view of UFP and the Rally of Hope.
“Like many cult events, this ‘Rally of Hope’ was conducted under the guise of doing good, but this is subterfuge,” he said.