Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, is currently seeking to strengthen his movement’s ties with black churches, an effort meeting with mixed success.
In the San Francisco Chronicle (March 13) Don Lattin reports that Moon’s recent 49-city tour of the U.S. is showing a new interest in building a coalition between black churches and his movement, now going by the name the Family Federation of World Peace. Although some black church leaders have gravitated to Moon-backed social organizations (such as CAUSA) since the 1980s, Moon’s recent involvement with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan during last year’s Million Family March and his current tour show a new effort in this direction as he seeks religious unity.
Lattin reports that at an Oakland meeting, black leaders and other clergy defended Moon against charges that he is a dangerous cult leader as they cited his leadership on moral and social issues.
The independent news service Alternet (March 13) reports that Moon has recently surrounded himself with black church leaders, such as Dr. Tony Evans, head of the Texas-based group, The Urban Alternative, and confident of President George W. Bush, as well as with Christian right leaders including Jerry Falwell. But the effort to draw black leaders into the Family Federation’s new ecumenism has run into some roadblocks, reports David Crumm and Alexa Capeloto in the Detroit Free Press (March 13).
In Detroit, a pair of nationally known African-American leaders denounced Moon and his organization for claiming their support of his crusade. Prominent ministers Eddie Edwards and Frederick Sampson claimed they were listed as co-sponsors and supporters of the Detroit crusade when they had no such involvement. The FFP later apologized for using their endorsements.
The pair, plus television minister Glenn Plummer also criticized Moon’s theology claiming he is a new messiah.