Rev. Moon's Conjugal Visitations
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Among the trendier gripes about why liberals lack power in American politics is that there isn't enough tolerance for America's faithful. A big problem, Rabbi Michael Lerner recently sighed, is that "the Left's hostility to religion and spirituality has become such a major stumbling block to the chances that progressive forces will ever win enough power" to make a difference. So the new advice, from Hillary Clinton to the New Republic 's Gregg Easterbrook, is: Stop making snickering remarks at Jerry Falwell's expense. Cheer the innovation of $2 billion in federal tax money carted off to religious groups last year. Drag the "Left Behind" series into your Amazon shopping cart.
And listen, I should add, to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative mouthpiece the Washington Times and self-proclaimed Messiah. Moon's warning to America is that we must have sex the way he entreats us, in the positions he has designated, or else forfeit our "love organs," as he dubs them, to the dark lord Satan.
We all know the Right wants to decide what we can't do in the bedroom. But no one ever seems to ask what the Right wants us to do instead.
"After the act of love," read the instructions from the Rev. Moon's conservative Family Federation, "both spouses should wipe their sexual areas with the Holy Handkerchief. Hang the handkerchief[s] to dry naturally and keep them eternally. They must be kept individually labeled and should never be laundered and mixed up."
Maybe the best explanation of our widespread ignorance of the Washington Times owner's sex rites is liberal squeamishness. For those of you who suckled on secular humanism and feminist tracts (which Moon calls Satanic, by the way), these prescriptions from God might seem as off-putting as a Castro Street postcard storefront to Dr. James Dobson.
But in order to usher in a national dialogue on faith in the public square, it's important to look beyond stereotypes of the Right to understand the diverse philosophies behind public movements for state-enforced morality.
Rev. Moon, whose Washington Times is a crown jewel of the conservative media Death Star, offers the essential lessons. He's the last man most Americans would associate with Republican power circles, but is in his own secretive way as important a figure in the Christian Right as Jerry Falwell, who's still in business thanks to a $3.5 million bailout from Moon in 1995, or Tim LaHaye of the Council For National Policy, who took money to serve on the board of a group rehabilitating Moon's image, and once wrote a letter addressing Moon as "the Master."
Just how big is Moon's standing in the Right? The "Republican Noise Machine" is a mighty edifice built with $3 billion in gifts from various right-wing philanthropists. Moon's gift of the Washington Times to the conservative cause alone places him in the club as a charter member; the paper owes its existence to a staggering figure of over $2,000,000,000 since 1982 in donations in Moon's mystery money.
Moon also also controls United Press International, one of the worldâ€™s largest wire news services. In addition to having a hand in the creation of modern-day Christian Right politics, Moon has given huge sums to Richard Viguerie, the "founding funder" of the Reagan revolution; Terry Dolan, the pioneer of the "liberal bias" attack; and George W. Bush, who received $250,000 from Moon in 2004.
By 1989, U.S. News & World Report was reporting Moon had built "a network of affiliated organizations and connections in almost every conservative organization in Washington, including the Heritage Foundation," but that "conservatives ... fear repercussions if they expose the church's role." In 2004, a veteran Christian Right lobbyist, Gary Jarmin, arranged to have Moon coronated the "King of Peace" in a kitschy ceremony on Capitol Hill in which he wore a glittering crown and royal robes.
Moon, the first President Bush said, while touring South America with the True Father in 1996, is "the man with the vision" whose newspaper "restores sanity to Washington." So why must the gatekeepers of the mainstream media bar his ideas from the public debate on morality? Why does his own employee, Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley, whose paper Moon says he mainly established to "tell the world about God," hold back from telling the McLaughlin Group about the greatness of Rev. Moonâ€™s plans for society?
In the interest of healthy public discourse, it bears upon us instead to consider the philosophy fueling Moon, who has long acted on his professed longing to see gays and "free sex" banished from America. Moon's Federation offers an instruction manual explaining, among other things, on which occasions the man should be on top, how Satan can be banished with the spank of a wooden paddle and franker lessons still.
Recipe for love
There is, as Moon sees it, a profound sex crisis in America. "Satan," the Times publisher said in 2004, "is clinging to our sexual organs." Women are a "line of prostitutes," who should be punished for selfishness. "The concave organ [vagina] should be sealed with concrete."
"The women are the problem in history," he said in 2004. "Women who don't want to have children should cut away their breasts, bottoms and love organ because the purpose for those was first for the children. If they don't fulfill that purpose, then they are not needed."
"Woman's sexual organ is like the open mouth of a snake filled with poison," he said in 1996. Men don't get off any easier. Keep pliers in your pocket, he says, "and when you go to the bathroom, once a day, pinch your love organ. Cut the skin a little bit as a warning."
Moon has even a darker vision for gay men. Moon told an audience he'd like to see them removed in a "purge on God's orders.... Gays will be eliminated, the three Israels will unite. If not, then they will be burned. We do not know what kind of world God will bring, but this is what happens. It will be greater than the Communist purge but at God's orders." (No wonder the Times style guide puts "gay" in quotes.)
Far from being confined to his church, his philosophy has fueled years of voter mobilization drives, state and local candidacies and public campaigns opposing sexual liberties for nonmembers -- such as birth control, sex education, gay rights. There have been Moon-sponsored rallies for "pure sex" in the streets of Chicago, featuring mascots dressed up as gonorrhea bacteria. So don't mistake his sexual beliefs for a party to which you aren't invited. "By 2004, we have to reach the level of Jesus occupying Rome," he said in 2001, speaking of his American ambitions. "Invite me as master and owner, or it all will fade away and be broken. The Capitol Hill, the U.N. -- I should be the king."
The goal of getting involved in politics and social services, say his clerics, is to cleanse Satan from humanity's bloodline. Meanwhile, under George W. Bush's Healthy Marriage Initiative and abstinence-only grants, his pastors have won nearly $1 million in public funding. Moon's abstinence-only education group Free Teens USA, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, instructs school kids in New Jersey: "It's not just your body, it's your whole lineage forever." In a lesson plan featured online, a "family tree" exercise appears to be inspired by Moon's teachings. And to teach that loving carelessly is vile, youths are asked to drink from a cup of spit, according to a lesson plan featured online.
So let's say you've married a spouse chosen for you by the creator of the Washington Times at one of his 2,000-couple stadium weddings. You've gone through a Moon-ordained period of sexlessness, but now the time has come to get down to business for the first time with your new husband or wife.
Not so fast. At some date prior to the lovemaking, Moon's "indemnity stick ceremony" is used to paddle Satan's spirit from your lover-to-be. The evil spirit is present, according to one church testimony, because "men and women misused each other's sexual parts, for selfish purposes, [and] it gave birth to this resentment ... So we receive three hits of the stick."
According to the Family Federation website, Satan will not be purged until newlyweds carry out his "Three Day Ceremony" in specified sex positions, in Holy Gowns, in front of his photograph. You're to meet at a location that's "as holy a place as possible" -- one of Moon's churches is OK. You should have a number of items on hand, according to the instructions available online, including a Holy Handkerchief, a church-supplied cloth, and a photo of the Washington Times publisher and conservative benefactor with his wife, Hak Ja Moon. By now you have embraced them as your True Parents, maybe even replacing your biological mom and dad. Next the room must be sanctified to ward off any potential Satanic comeback, with prayers, a candle and the sprinkling of holy salt.
Over three nights, there must be three acts of sex. The first night, the woman is on top. The second night proceeds much the same as the first. But this time there is emphasis on the idea the man-on-bottom has progressed to "Growth Stage Adam."
Night three: time for the "man to restore dominion." Missionary position.
Moon appears to recognize that not all men will be able to sustain an erection during this procedure.
"The act of love should be a complete act (penetration and ejaculation)," the anonymous authors make clear. "In the event that it is difficult to achieve this, strive to achieve as much penetration as possible and continue with the remainder of the ceremony.
"For the act of love, it is all right to caress each other. Insertion must be accomplished. The couple should continue the act of love until ejaculation, but if it is difficult to reach ejaculation, the act may be stopped at that point. However, insertion itself must be accomplished. If insertion is not possible because the husband does not have an erection, the wife must take her husband's sexual organ in her hand and guide it into her sexual part in order to successfully do the ceremony. If the act of love is not fulfilled and it is delayed, it must be fulfilled within 24 hours starting from the beginning of the ceremony. It is not permitted to use a condom or any other apparatus during the act of love."
In an America where the separation of church and state have widely come to be seen as an urban legend, these ideas deserve as much consideration as the Silver Ring Thing, until recently the inspiration for a $1 million grant in Pittsburgh to push someone else's religious crusade: "to saturate the United States," as the mission statement said, "with a generation of young people who have taken a vow of sexual abstinence until marriage and put on the silver ring. This mission can only be achieved by offering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ ..."
And this is the risk of inviting God into the public square. One man's Silver Ring Thing is another man's Holy Handkerchief.