Controversial Korean evangelist and self-declared messiah Sun Myung Moon received a "Crown of Peace" at a March 23 ceremony that took place at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and was promoted by members of Congress.
Wearing flowing robes reminiscent of Middle Ages kingly attire, Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, had golden crowns placed on their heads during the ceremony, which was attended by a U.S. senator and several members of the House of Representatives.
It was clear that Moon followers viewed the coronation ceremony as more than just an award. On Moon's Family Federation for World Peace and Unification website a few days later, top Moon official Chung Hwan Kwak was quoted as saying, "So in effect, the crowning means America is saying to Father, 'Please become my king.'"
Observed Kwak, "The 'outside' view of the Capitol Hill event was that Father received a crown, an award for his years of dedication and leadership in reconciliation and peace-making. The 'inside' view of the event was that America surrendered to True Parents in the king's position."
The event was sponsored by the Interreligious and International Peace Council, a Moon front group that claims to build bridges between Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In reality, critics say the organization pursues Moon's longstanding dream of merging religion and government under his authority.
Moon's group was able to get access to the Senate building thanks to an influential friend: U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), who attended the event. Also attending were six members of the House of Representatives: Reps. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.), Christopher B. Cannon (R-Utah), Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), Harold E. Ford (D-Tenn.) and Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.).
The House members were listed as "Congressional Co-Chairs" of the event on invitations. "Invitational Committee" members included U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), U.S. Rep. Phillip M. Crane (R-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis (R-Va.) and U.S. Rep. Eddie B. Johnson (D-Texas).
During his remarks at the Senate ceremony, Moon claimed that dead world leaders have endorsed him from the "spirit world."
"[M]any other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin, who committed all manner of barbarity and murders on earth, and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons," Moon told the crowd. "Emperors, kings and presidents who enjoyed opulence and power on earth, and even journalists who had worldwide fame, have now placed themselves at the forefront of the column of the true love revolution.... They have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."
(Moon officials have asserted that within the past few years, Moon has been endorsed by every deceased U.S. president at a series of "spirit world conferences.")
Days later at an April 7 gathering, Moon bragged about his enthronement. A summary of his remarks on a Moon website reported that he said, "The coronation of True Parents and King and Queen of the Peace Kingdom was no small event. This was not a symbol or a simple matter. This Coronation of March 23 was a most serious condition in history and was a central point for the Peace Kingdom."
Moon also said, "Father is giving direction to Jesus. Do you think Jesus is coming again from the clouds?... The fulfillment of the Coronation on Capitol Hill reversed the fortunes of the Jesus course on the cross. I'm very logical and reasonable as a person.... You don't know how serious the coronation was in history. If that didn't happen, then there was a possibility that an atomic bomb would have been dropped on the Gaza Strip."
Moon also blasted the separation of church and state.
"Who emphasized the separation of church and state?" he asked. "It is not God's viewpoint."
Moon concluded his rant with an attack on gay people, a frequent theme in his sermons. He announced that to stop homosexuality, all Unification Church couples should sleep naked.
"Even mother and I are setting such a condition," said Moon, who is 84. "You must think that your body is for your wife and your wife's body is for the husband. When couples get old, they should still touch each other and be close like they are young. The wife should sleep holding her husband's love organ. The husband should do the same.... There is no spare key to your spouse's love organ. You like to hear this, don't you, sisters?"
In an April 8 address, Moon observed, "If three families do this [sleep naked] in every village we can get rid of all homosexuality."
In other recent controversial statements reported on Moon websites, the Korean evangelist insisted that "the Jews killed Jesus" and argued that race is environmentally determined.
"If you black leaders went to live in the North Pole," he said, "you would become white after a few generations."