Rev. Moon’s Divine Principle is a feculent breeding-ground for anti-Semitism.
“Rev. Moon appears to be embarked on a … course of seeking to reinfect the spiritual blood-stream of mankind with his cancerous version of contempt for Jews and Judaism.”
A VIEW OF THE UNIFICATION CHURCH
Presented by Rabbi A. James Rudin
Assistant National Director of Interreligious Affairs, The American Jewish Committee
at the American Academy of Religion Convention, San Francisco, California,
December 29, 1977
Even as the Unification Church has every right in our pluralistic society to present its claims within the religious marketplace of ideas, so do we have every right to examine and analyze those claims in the light of our own studies, experiences, and faith commitments. I deeply believe that a religious movement must be judged not only by what it teaches but also by what it does; the deed is just as important as the creed. The Unification Church is no exception.
My paper will thus examine two aspects of the Unification Church:
1) Its specific teachings about Jews and Judaism and
2) the impact and results of the Unification Church’s teachings upon a significant number of its members.
In my study, (“Jews and Judaism in Reverend Moon’s Divine Principle,” The American Jewish Committee, December 1976 – see below) I assert that “my systematic analysis of this 536-page document (Divine Principle) reveals an orientation of almost unrelieved hostility toward, the Jewish people, exemplified in pejorative language, stereotyped imagery, and sweeping accusations of collective sin and guilt. Whether he is discussing the ‘Israelites’ of the Hebrew Bible or the ‘Jews’ as referred to in writings of the New Testament period, Reverend Moon portrays their behavior as reprobate, their intention evil (often diabolical), and their religious mission as eclipsed. There are over thirty-six specific references in Divine Principle to the Israelites of the Hebrew Bible—every one of them pejorative.” Three examples citing collective faithlessness make the point: “The Israelites all fell into faithlessness” (p. 315), “All the Israelites centering on Moses fell into faithlessness” (p. 319), and “The Israelites repeatedly fell into faithlessness” (p. 343). (Emphasis added)
Unification Church supporters claim that such references actually reflect the Hebrew Bible and present a fair description of early Israelite communal life. For me, it is a limp and highly defensive argument. In all cases of alleged Israelite errors and stubbornness, the hope of redemption and atonement was always present. The Hebrew Bible credits the people with the ability to repent. Divine Principle seeks to discredit the ancient Israelites in order to transfer God’s heritage to another people. Incidentally, the words “faithless” and “faithlessness” nowhere appear in the Hebrew Bible.
In similar fashion, Divine Principle records some sixty-five specific examples and references reflecting the attitudes and behavior of the Jewish people towards Jesus and its role in his crucifixion—again, every one of them is hostile and anti-Jewish. A few examples will suffice: “…due to the Jewish people’s disbelief in Jesus, all were destined to hell” (p. 146), …“we can see that Jesus’ crucifixion was the result of the ignorance and disbelief of the Jewish people…” (p. 145), “As a matter of fact, Satan confronted Jesus, working through the Jewish people, centering on the chief priests and scribes who had fallen faithless, and especially through Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus” (p. 357), “Nevertheless, due to the Jewish people’s rebellion against him, the physical body of Jesus was delivered into the hands of Satan as the condition of ransom for the restoration of the Jews and the whole of mankind back to God’s bosom; his body was invaded by Satan” (p. 510). The last two statements, linking the Jews to Satan, go beyond even the infamous deicide charge—“Christ killer”—that has been hurled for so long against the Jewish people.
Apologists for the Unification Church claim that the Divine Principle passages dealing with this controversial subject have only indicted the “Jewish priests and leaders,” not the people. Yet the record speaks otherwise: the “Jewish people” in their collectivity are implicated time and time again in Divine Principle. The four examples cited here are illustrative of many other selections.
The anti-Jewish thrust of this theological document carries forth into an interpretation of Jewish history and of the current status of Jews and Judaism. There are nearly thirty such references and all are hostile, generally reflecting the worst aspects of traditional Christian displacement theology, and viewing the persecution of the Jews across the ages as punishment for their sins. Thus “Due to the Israelites’ faithlessness, the Jewish nation was destroyed” (p. 431), “God’s heritage has been taken, away from the Jewish people” (p. 519), and the “chosen nation of Israel has been punished for the sin of rejecting Jesus and crucifying Him” (p. 226). Reverend Moon brings the readers up to modern times:
Jesus came as the Messiah; but due to the disbelief of, and persecution by the people he was crucified. Since then the Jews have lost their qualification as the chosen people and have been scattered, suffering persecution through the present day. (p. 147)
Indeed, Moon declared in 1971 [in Master Speaks on February 14, 1974], “By killing one man, Jesus, the Jewish people had to suffer for 2,000 years. Countless numbers of people have been slaughtered. During the second World War, six million people were slaughtered to cleanse all the sins of the Jewish people from the time of Jesus,” In Moon’s linkage of the Nazi holocaust to the Jewish rejection of Jesus we have the total obscenity, the wicked result of a system of indemnity gone wild. This statement is a murderous update of the ancient malevolent deicide charge.
But there is more. Last December, the New York Times carried a full page advertisement signed by Reverend Moon in which Moon notes that if only the Jews had been members of the Unification Church they would have been spared Hitler’s actions. So, even in their death, the 6,000,000 slaughtered Jews are treated as theological pawns to be moved about on a Unification Church chessboard.
Thus, in Divine Principle and in other Unification Church documents, we are confronted with over 130 examples of an unrelenting litany of anti-Jewish teachings. Nowhere in Divine Principle does Reverend Moon acknowledge the continuing validity and authenticity of Jews and Judaism. From Abraham until the present day, Jews are seen as a people devoid of any genuine faith and spiritual qualities. “The inner contents are corrupt” (p. 532), Moon says of Judaism. He depicts the Jewish people as collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus as allies of Satan. Jews have been replaced by a “second Israel” (who, interestingly enough, must soon be replaced by the “third Israel,” the followers of Reverend Moon). Furthermore, the Jews have lost God’s “heritage” and are still being “punished” for their many sins. The Unification Church’s basic teaching document is a feculent breeding ground for fostering and fomenting anti-Semitism.
The Unification Church’s response to my charges of anti-Semitism blandly noted that “Because there are almost no Jews in Korea, there was no danger of a careless phrase (sic!) abetting anti-Semitism as it might in other countries…” I believe I have shown that the anti-Semitism in Divine Principle is more than a “careless phrase,” and a total insensitivity to the Jewish people is patently clear in this tepid defense. Apparently it is all right to malign a group that does not dwell in one’s midst.
One must ask why the Unification Church has the need to transmit such hostility and anti-Semitism. In its announced attempt to build a new religious order, the Church states that “When a brighter light appears, the mission of the old one fades. Today’s religions have failed to lead the present generation out of the dark valley of death into the radiance of life, so there must now come a new truth that can shed a new light.” (p. 10). But as a student of religious history, and as a Jew, I must ask “What does the Unification Church intend to do, first, in a theological way and, then, in a political way with those religious communities who have seen, the “brighter light” but who have chosen to remain faithful to their “mission of the old”? Historically, Jews and Judaism have often stood alone against many of the world’s “brighter lights,” and many times the price for such action was death. That is why I, unlike some other observers of the Unification Church, am appalled and deeply concerned about the extant anti-Semitism in the Church’s teachings. Although it claims to wish to unite the human family in love and truth, the Unification Church continues to transmit in its sacred text and in other writings the same teachings about Jews and Judaism that have historically resulted in expulsions, pogroms, and murder.
Surely, we have the right to demand that the Unification Church, which professes a “New Adam,” a new life, not teach the same pathological untruths that earlier forms of Christianity did. If the Unification Church truly seeks to heal the human family, then its first obligation is to prevent the spread of anti-Semitism in all its forms. What is needed now is a complete revision of Divine Principle that eliminates every vestige of anti-Jewish teaching. No religion can bring harmony and peace to the world if its own soul is corrupted and filled with the poison of anti-Semitism.
And what about the non-Jewish world that does not accept the “new light” of the Unification Church mission? Does the Unification Church, which uses the principle of religious pluralism to justify its right to exist itself, allow for pluralism of belief? The statements of Reverend Moon are not encouraging. In an article in the New York Daily News of November 30, 1975, it is reported that Reverend Moon made the following statement at a private gathering:
So from this time … every people and organization that goes against the Unification Church will gradually come down or drastically come down and die. Many people will die—those who go against our movement.
[Sun Myung Moon, Master Speaks February 14, 1974]
So much for the creed of the Unification Church; now let us look at the deed. What is the impact of the teachings of the Church on its members? How are the ideals of improving the world, of uniting mankind, carried out in the concrete actions of the Church and its followers?
I am convinced that the Unification Church uses dishonest recruiting techniques, hiding behind nearly seventy front groups, of which “Collegiate Association for the Research of Principle,” “Creative Community Project,” and “New Education Development Systems, Inc.” are three of the best known. Recruiters never identify themselves with Reverend Moon or the Unification Church until the potential member has already made a commitment. By the time the recruit realizes what he is really involved in, he is often so confused and disoriented from intensive weekend retreats, long seminars, sleeplessness, constant frenzied activity which is tightly supervised, non-nutritious food, and “love-bombing” that he may not have the will or strength to refute the demands of the group at that point. The skillful Unification Church members play on the recruit’s guilt, forcing him to renounce and remove himself from his past life, including job, school, and family. They weaken his identity, then, with strong guilt-oriented and approval-oriented sanctions, remake his identity according to Unification Church theology and role models.
After his initiation the new recruit is frequently put to work in what is called a “Mobile Fund-Raising Team [MFT].” He may work up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, collecting funds from the public, carrying out what is termed “heavenly deception” upon a generous and unsuspecting public. The new Unification Church member usually lies by stating that the collected funds are for various social welfare projects when, in fact, the large amounts of money go directly to Reverend Moon’s New York City bank to support the Church’s many real estate and media operations. Much of it goes also to support an increasingly luxurious life style for Reverend Moon and his chief aides, while the new Church members live in almost abject poverty, without privacy, often, without adequate medical or dental care, and without proper nourishment. Berkeley psychologist, Dr. Margaret Singer, has interviewed over 250 former Unification Church members. Her most shocking finding was the “psychological turning off of the hormonal process.” She has seen “repeated cases of menstruation ceasing in women and of men’s beards ceasing to grow.” Dr. Singer concludes: “These young adults have narrowed down their thought processes, constricted their vocabulary …and wouldn’t let their negative feelings show because of extreme pressure from those around them.”
The Unification Church’s theology and ideology has produced some disturbing actions among its members. Ellen Galligan remembers her MFT speeding across Michigan on a remote highway where one might pass another vehicle perhaps only once an hour. One early morning they passed an accident and they saw a “person flagging us down. Another man was standing there with blood all over his face. Our driver woke up our team leader, who said, ‘Don’t stop. Keep on going.’ You see we had to drive the whole night to get to the city the next morning for fund raising, and it was more important to keep going. There was never any concern about other people. I guess we just considered it was indemnity for salvation for them.”
In case after case, it is clear that the Unification Church’s zealous preoccupation with raising money transcends every other activity, even one of stopping on a lonely highway to assist an injured person.
Tony Gillard, a former Church member, “worked the ghettos. I would go in a migrant camp and take the last dollar from a poor family,” he says. “I did the same thing on Indian reservations.” Gillard, a black, was once brought before Rev. Moon for special praise because of his outstanding fund raising ability. “The Unification Church had its ‘house n*gger’”, Gillard notes, and he now considers the Church racist.
The record of forced separations of parents from children, monitored telephone conversations, intercepted mail, and even the threat of violence is now too well documented over and over again by former Church members to be dismissed as the usual “sour grapes” that any former group member may feel. The following story has been repeated by other Church members.
A CARP leader became involved in a serious automobile accident because of sheer fatigue (a common condition among many members). Faced with the possible loss of his legs and a serious operation, the Unification Church “Family” felt it could no longer tend to the young man’s needs. The Church called his parents, the “agents of Satan,” and they came to help their son. The Unification Church’s theology of love and caring apparently does not translate itself into the real world of accidents, illnesses, and medical operations.
Why do I deal with specific names and cases? What do they have to do with the cosmic theological claims of the Unification Church? I believe a clear pattern has emerged that shows the Unification Church, in its actual practice, to be an organization that is obsessed with raising money by means of “heavenly deception”, and through the efforts of thousands of drone-like members.
Earlier in this paper I called for the Unification Church to completely revise all its teaching materials in order to eradicate every vestige of anti-Semitism. I have two additional proposals to make. I urge that the Unification Church open its financial records to the general public and submit them to an independent audit so that the Church’s members, as well as others, can clearly learn how the Unification Church’s funds are raised and how they are spent. Only in this way can it begin to gain the credibility it so obviously and desperately seeks. Only in this way can the serious questions of fiscal integrity be resolved. If the Unification Church seeks to participate in our pluralistic religious society, these basic steps of openness and candor are absolutely necessary. Anything less than total public disclosure will only fan the flames of doubt and suspicion, and will prevent the Unification Church from gaining the sense of public legitimacy it craves.
I would also urge that a high level “blue ribbon” commission be appointed to investigate fully the many charges of human rights violations carried out by the Unification Church against its members. Such an independent commission would be composed of academic, legal, medical, and religious leaders who would undertake a comprehensive investigation of the Unification Church’s recruiting and educational methods and practices, as well as the Church’s treatment of its members. Even as we profess our deep commitment to the cause of human rights throughout the world, so, too, we must be just as vigorous in our own land in this struggle. If the Unification Church is, in fact, violating the human rights of any of its members, and if it is using coercive measures, then immediate legal remedial steps must be taken. If the alleged violations are not taking place, then I would be among the first to call for a cessation of the charges and counter-charges that are currently swirling about the Unification Church. Such charges, if false, do a grave disservice to all parties concerned.
As I indicated earlier, the Unification Church is free to proclaim its version of religious truth. It is free to press its claims and its doctrines. It is not free, however, in our society to perpetuate and transmit any form of anti-Semitism to its members. That grotesque pollution of the human spirit will continue to erode the Unification Church’s foundation. It is also not free to collect sums of money in America without any public accountability or disclosure. Such a closed system as currently practiced runs counter to the spirit of our open, and pluralistic society. Finally, the Unification Church is not free to violate the human rights of any potential or actual members. This is totally unacceptable, and it flies in the face of the Church’s professed doctrine of justice, love, and compassion, thus undermining the theological basis of the Church,
In Divine Principle we read: “Today’s religions have failed to lead the present generation out of the dark valley of death into the radiance of life, so there must now come a new truth that can shed a new light.” (p.10) That is the claim of the Unification Church, but I am deeply convinced that no new truth can emerge from a group whose teachings foster anti-Semitism, whose financial dealings are hidden from public view, and whose methods and style violate the human rights of others.
PDF document: A View of the Unification Church by Rabbi A. James Rudin (1977)
Sun Myung Moon:
“Our motto this time is for each of the fundraising teams to earn $12,000.00 a month, a high goal….If I mobilize 1,000 members, each earning $10,000.00, then we will make three million dollars a month, which is a usable sum. I will train the fund-raising team to make at least $3,000.00. When I mobilize 10,000 members, it means $30 million in a month. Then we can buy Pan American Airlines, and the Empire State Building. We shall buy Ford Motor Company, not to speak of the Empire State Building. That’s possible. …
In order for us to be able to do this would you prefer to sleep seven hours instead of six? (No.) We are used to sleeping, for instance, six hours. Would you prefer to sleep for seven hours or five hours? (Five.) Would you prefer to sleep four hours or five? (Four.) Would your prefer to go to work without sleeping? (Without sleeping.) I don’t want you to die so I will let you sleep barely enough to sustain your life.”
From Master Speaks MS-452, 9/22/74, Tarrytown, New York, September 22, 1974,
Where We Are Situated Now.
Below is a December, 1976 report by Rabbi A. James Rudin,
Assistant Director Inter-religious Affairs Department
Introduction by Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum
National Inter-religious Affairs Director American Jewish Committee
THE PERIL OF REV. MOON
There are several levels of significance implied for the American people, and, especially for the Jewish community, in this study of the basic text of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s movement—the first systematic study, to our knowledge, that has been published of the “sacred scriptures” of Moonism.
The first is that Rev. Moon is contributing to a theologically reactionary mentality whose traditional fixations on anti-Semitism have been repudiated in recent decades by virtually every major Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, and Evangelical group and leader—from Vatican Council II, the World and National Council of the majority of enlightened Christian leadership throughout the world who are laboring to uproot the sources of the pathology of anti-Jewish hatred which culminated in the Nazi holocaust. Rev. Moon appears to be embarked on a contrary course of seeking to reinfect the spiritual blood-stream of mankind with his cancerous version of contempt for Jews and Judaism. On this level, therefore, this document is published as a clinical diagnosis intended to expose the Moon infection in order that both Christian and Jewish leadership will be vigilant to the need for combatting any effort of Rev. Moon and his followers to enter the mainstream of American religion and culture with his horrendous baggage of bigotry.
A second consideration is that we are now dealing not only with an ersatz spiritual phenomenon but one that has potentially serious political implications as well. The recent revelations that Rev. Moon and his Unification Church are allegedly involved as a front group for the South Korean Intelligence Forces in this country who are charged with illegal lobbying and bribery raise the serious issue of whether Moon’s anti-Semitism is intended to be used for the ideological objectives of his political backers. If that is the case, then the American people must be alert to the emergence in the Moon phenomenon of an ideological campaign whose antecedents trace back to the Nazis and to Stalinist Communism. Those totalitarian movements consciously and cynically employed anti-Jewish hatred as a major vehicle for realizing their apocalyptic goal of undermining the Biblical and democratic values of Western civilization. The troubling question cannot be evaded: why are Rev. Moon and his political backers resorting to the Nazi model of exploiting anti-Semitism for ideological purposes? Every American Congressman, Senator and public official who is approached by the Moon movement ought to be alert to this ideological land-mine of fanatical hatred when courted for support by Rev. Moon and his backers.
And finally, this document is intended for the consciences of Jewish young people who, most incredibly, have been enticed or seduced to become a “Moonie.” It has been estimated that nearly thirty percent of the Moonies today are Jewish young men and women who have been subjected to this latest form of totalitarian brainwashing. During the Korean war, 1951-53, the Communists captured 3,778 American soldiers and subjected them to psychological coercion which involved, first, a “mind-conditioning” phase in which the American prisoners were intensively persuaded to hate their own country, and, second, a so-called “suction” phase in which they were taught that life was superior under Communism and they should spread the gospel of Communism. Whatever the psychological or sociological reasons for their attraction to Rev. Moon’s movement, at some time in their search for personal meaning Jewish youth must confront the evidence of this document whose central message is that they are being asked to find salvation in a “third Messiah” whose gospel is the hatred for and destruction of their own people, their religion and culture, their very families. In the face of this understanding of what Rev. Moon is really teaching about Jews, a continued involvement in his movement can be nothing other than an exercise in self-hatred and self-debasement. Surely, young Jews and Christians have other, more humane alternatives for finding meaning for their existence and self-fulfillment.
JEWS AND JUDAISM IN REV. MOON’S DIVINE PRINCIPLE
by Rabbi A. James Rudin
“The Rev. Sun Myung Moon is a Korean-born (1920) religious leader who moved to the United States in 1973. Since then, his teachings and beliefs have received extraordinary attention in the western world as he embarked upon a widespread and highly visible campaign to gain new members for his Unification Church. It has been a campaign filled with bitter controversy, including a Congressional investigation of Rev. Moon’s tax-exempt status and an acrimonious court case that was instituted by the parents of a new convert to his church. In the past three years nearly 30,000 Americans, most of them under thirty years of age, have flocked to Rev. Moon’s banner and have become active and committed members of the Unification Church. Rev. Moon claims a worldwide membership of over 600,000.
While public attention has been focused on many aspects of his movement, very little has been said about his—and the Unification Church’s—attitudes and beliefs regarding Judaism and the Jewish people as reflected in Divine Principle, the basic text of Rev. Moon’s movement.
The work has gone through several revisions and enlargements since it was first published in Korean nearly 20 years ago. This study is based on the 1974 English edition, published by the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1611 Upshur St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
A systematic analysis of this 536 page document reveals an orientation of almost unrelieved hostility toward the Jewish people, exemplified in pejorative language, stereotyped imagery and sweeping accusations of collective sin and guilt.
Whether he is discussing the “Israelites” of the Hebrew Bible or the “Jews” as referred to in writings of the New Testament period, Rev. Moon portrays their behavior as reprobate, their intentions as evil (often diabolical), and their religious mission as eclipsed.
There are over 36 specific references in Divine Principle to the Israelites of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)—every one of them pejorative. The “faithlessness” of the Israelites is mentioned four times on a single page (p. 330).
Moreover, the accusation is leveled collectively:
“The Israelites all fell into faithlessness” (p. 315).
“All the Israelites centering on Moses fell into faithlessness” (p. 320).
“The Israelites repeatedly fell into faithlessness” (p. 343).
In similar fashion, Divine Principle records some 65 specific references to the attitudes and behavior of the Jewish people towards Jesus and their role in his crucifixion—again, every one hostile and anti-Jewish. Thus, not only were the Jewish people of Jesus’ day “filled with ignorance” (p. 162), “rebellion” (against God) (p. 359), and “disbelief” (p. 146 et passim), but they “betrayed” (p. 453), “persecuted” (p. 155), and “derided” Jesus (p. 135), finally “delivering him to be crucified” (p. 200). Rev. Moon goes even beyond the infamous deicide— “Christ killer” charge against the Jewish people. In two separate instances in Divine Principle (pp. 357 and 510), the founder of the Unification Church specifically links the Jews with Satan in bringing about the death of Jesus:
As a matter of fact, Satan confronted Jesus, working through the Jewish people, centering on the chief priests and scribes who had fallen faithless, and especially through Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus.
Nevertheless, due to the Jewish people’s rebellion against him, the physical body of Jesus was delivered into the hand of Satan as the condition of ransom for the restoration of the Jews and the whole of mankind back to God’s bosom; his body was invaded by Satan.
The anti-Jewish thrust of Rev. Moon’s writings about the ancient Israelites and the Jews of Jesus’ time carries forward into his interpretation of Jewish history and of the current status of Jews and Judaism in our own time. There are some twenty-six pertinent references in Divine Principle. Once again, in tone and in substance, they are viciously anti-Jewish, reflecting the worst aspect of traditional Christian displacement theology, and viewing the persecution of Jews across the ages as punishment for their sins. Thus, “The Jewish Nation was destroyed” (p. 431); due to “the Israelites faithlessness, God’s heritage (has been) taken away from the Jewish people” (p. 519), and “the chosen nation of Israel has been punished for the sin of rejecting Jesus and crucifying Him” (p. 226). Rev Moon brings his teachings up to modern times.
Jesus came as the Messiah; but due to the disbelief of and persecution by the people he was crucified. Since then the Jews have lost their qualification as the chosen people and have been scattered, suffering persecution through the present day. (p. 147).
The sole mention of the Nazi Holocaust is found on page 485.
Hitler imposed the strict primitive Germanic religious ideology by concluding a pact with the Pope of Rome, thus founding a national religion, and then tried to control all Protestantism under the supervision of bishops throughout the country. Therefore, the Catholics as well as the Protestants were strongly opposed to Hitler. Furthermore, Hitler massacred six million Jews.
It is true that many of Rev. Moon’s most virulent teachings about Jews and Judaism have their parallels (if not their sources) in a tradition of Christian anti-Jewish polemic which stretches from the early Church Fathers to the Oberammergau Passion Play. St. John Chrysostom (d. 407 C.E.) wrote of the Jewish people: “Of their rapine, their cupidity, their deception of the poor … they are inveterate murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil … they are impure and impious …” Tertullian (d. 222), another Church Father, attempted to refute Judaism, especially the permanent validity of the Mosaic covenant. St. Justin (d. 165), one of the first Christian leaders to link the Jewish people with the crucifixion of Jesus, wrote: “The tribulations were justly imposed upon you, for you have murdered the Just One.” St. Hippolytus (d. 235 or 236) taught that Jews will always be slaves because “they killed the Son of their Benefactor.” Origen (d. 254), echoed the deicide and punishment theme: “We say with confidence that they will never be restored to their former condition. For they committed a crime of the most unhallowed kind, in conspiring against the Savior of the human race. …” Chrysostom believed the rejection and dispersion of the Jews was the work of God, not history: “It was done by the wrath of God and His absolute abandon of you.” A fourth century Christian historian, Sulpicius Severus, wrote: “Jews are beheld scattered through the whole world that they have been punished on no other account than for the impious hands which they laid on Christ.”
All of these themes—the “faithlessness” of Israel, the abrogation of the Covenant, collective guilt and punishment—come together in the Oberammergau Passion Play, which is presented every ten years in Germany. Thus, Jesus is represented as renouncing Judaism:
“The Old Covenant which my Father made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has reached its end.” (1970 version, pp 41 f.)
In the Bavarian pageant, the Jewish crowd cries, “Drive him with violence that we get on to Calvary. … On, drive him with blows…. He deserves crucifixion…. (1970 version, pp. 106 and 109.) The so-called “blood curse” is clearly directed at the entire Jewish people:
“Chorus: Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
The blood of His Son will yet avenge on you the Lord.
People: His blood be on us, and our children!
Chorus: Be it then upon you, and your children”
(1970 version p. 99)
These and many other examples attest to the anti-Jewish sources in Christian tradition from which Rev. Moon has obviously drawn. But in recent years, Christian church leaders have made vast efforts to come to grips with this anti-Jewish legacy, to repudiate its most negative and hostile elements, and to affirm the ongoing validity of God’s covenant with the Jewish people.
Thus, the Roman Catholic Church in its Declaration on non-Christian Religions (1965), affirmed that responsibility for Jesus’ death could not be laid to the Jews of his time or to the Jews of today, and asserted: “… the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from Holy Scriptures.” The Lutheran Council in the USA, representing three Lutheran bodies, advised in 1971: “Christians should make it clear that there is no Biblical or theological basis for anti-Semitism. Supposed theological or Biblical bases for anti-Semitism are to be examined and repudiated.” The twelve-million member Southern Baptist Convention resolved in 1972 “… to work positively to replace all anti-Semitic bias with the Christian attitude and practice of love for Jews, who along with all other men, are equally beloved of God.” The newly-revised Book of Confession of the Presbyterian Church in the United States affirms:
We can never lay exclusive claim to being God’s people as though we have replaced those to whom the covenant, the law and the promises belong. We affirm that God has not rejected His people, the Jews. The Lord does not take back His Promises.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, in 1971 guidelines, declared: “The Jewish people is not collectively guilty of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, nor of the rejection of Jesus as Messiah. The Jewish people is not damned, nor bereft of its election. Their suffering, dispersion, and persecution are not punishments for the crucifixion or the rejection of Jesus. …”
These are among the many indications of a growing sense of responsibility among Christian leaders to teach positively and fairly about Jews and Judaism. It is profoundly unfortunate that these developments find no echo and no acknowledgement in Rev. Moon’s teachings. Having drawn upon the most anti-Jewish elements in Christian tradition, Rev. Moon has totally ignored the conscientious efforts of Christians to correct them.
Moreover, the Holocaust, when one-third of the Jewish people was murdered by the Nazis, is gratuitously mentioned by Rev. Moon, and nowhere in Divine Principle do we find any calls for repentance or for self-examination in the face of six million dead. The United Methodist Church, in a 1972 statement, expressed “clear repentance and a resolve to repudiate past injustice and to seek its elimination in the present.” But not Rev. Moon.
Two leading Christian bodies, the National Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York are sharply critical of Rev. Moon’s teachings.
A working paper prepared by the Faith and Order Commission of the NCC asserts that many principles of the Unification Church differ substantially from accepted Christian theology and the Commission finds serious fault with Rev. Moon’s major beliefs:
Divine Principle contains a legalistic theology of indemnity in which grace and forgiveness play little part. The central figures of providence fail even when they are not believed—a vicarious failure is certainly not central to Christian affirmation. That is, Christ failed because the Jews did not believe in Him and put Him to death. That is double indemnity indeed, and its penalties are continuing anti-Semitism and the requirement that another savior come to complete the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Jorge Lara-Braud, a member of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the Faith and Order Commission’s Executive Director, and Dr. William L. Hendricks of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort North were the principal authors of the working paper.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has warned its priests about “acute dangers” that the Unification Church presents for believing Christians. “It is important to bear in mind that several points of Rev. Moon’s teaching are in direct conflict with Catholic theology, and therefore render his movement suspect for Catholic participation,” Father James L. LaBar, an official of the Archdiocesan Communications office, said in a letter to pastors.
When referring to Jews and Judaism, we are confronted with over 125 examples of an unremitting litany of anti-Jewish teachings. Nowhere in Divine Principle does Rev. Moon acknowledge the authenticity and integrity of Jews or Judaism, either ancient or modern. From Abraham until the present day, Jews are seen only as people, devoid and emptied of any genuine faith and spiritual qualities. “The inner contents are corrupt” (p. 532.) The Jewish people are depicted as collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus as allies of Satan. They have been replaced by a “second Israel” (who interestingly enough, must soon be replaced by the “third Israel”: the followers of Rev. Moon.) Further, the Jews have lost God’s “heritage” and are still being “punished” for their many, many sins.
Rev. Moon’s Divine Principle is a feculent breeding-ground for anti-Semitism. Because of his unrelieved hostility towards Jews and Judaism, a demonic picture emerges from the pages of his major work. One can only speculate on what negative and anti-Jewish impact Divine Principle may have upon a follower of Rev. Moon.”
THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE
165 East 56 Street, New York, New York 10022
The above text was published in:
Rev. Sun Myung Moon by Chong-sun Kim (1978) pages 101-109
The original edition can be found here:
Rev. Sun Myung Moon by Kim was also republished in its entirety in
The Unification Church: Views from the outside
edited with an introduction by Michael Mickler (Garland, 1990)