Donald Trump (left), Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon (right) Getty Images (left), Reuters (right) Donald Trump spoke on Saturday at an event to congratulate the founders of the controversial Unification Church. The church, whose worshipers are often referred to as the ‘Moonies’, has been widely described as a cult. A former cult member said the group has strong ties to the modern Republican Party. See more stories on the Insider business page.
On Saturday, Donald Trump spoke at a conference hosted by Hak Ja Han Moon, the widow of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the controversial Unification Church.
Reverend Moon founded the church in South Korea in 1954 before moving to the United States in 1971, and it has been widely described as a cult.
Donald Trump was a guest speaker at the “Rally of Hope” event, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of September 11.
-Jim Stewartson, Antifascist, #RIPQ ???????????? (@jimstewartson) September 12, 2021
In his speech, Trump said, “I want to thank the Federation for Universal Peace and in particular Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, a wonderful person, for his incredible work for peace around the world.
“What they have accomplished on the peninsula is simply amazing. In just a few decades, the inspiration they’ve brought to the entire planet is incredible, and I congratulate you again and again, ”Trump said of the couple.
Reverend Moon called himself Messiah and claimed that Jesus Christ asked him to continue his work on earth.
The controversial church, whose worshipers are colloquially referred to as “Moonies,” gained notoriety by arranging mass marriages between strangers.
The group is still active in the world.
Thousands of couples participate in a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheongshim Peace World Center on February 17, 2013 in Gapyeong-gun, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images
In his speech, Donald Trump also took the opportunity to take credit for improving the security situation on the Korean peninsula.
“Looking back today, it’s easy to forget how dangerous the situation was when I was elected,” Trump said.
“Missiles were flying, nuclear weapons were tested and powerful threats were emitted every day. “
“Under my leadership, the United States has adopted a policy of unprecedented force,” Trump said.
Jim Stewartson, founder of anti-disinformation organization The Think Project, wrote on Twitter that the event was “deeply harmful and deceptive.”
This is presented by a who’s who of establishment extremists as some kind of peace mission to unify Korea, ”Stewartson wrote.
“In reality, it is dangerous propaganda that whitewashes a dangerous sect.”
Those who left the group, including one of Moon’s daughters, described being mistreated while at church.
In a blog post, Steve Hassan, a former church member who is now a cult expert, described how the group indoctrinates members.
Hassan added on Twitter that the group had long-standing ties to Donald Trump and the modern Republican Party.
In 1991, Trump reportedly considered selling his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort to Reverend Moon, but the church leader subsequently denied any interest in the property.
-Steven Hassan, PhD (@CultExpert) August 10, 2021
Other GOP figures, including former vice-presidents Mike Pence and Dick Cheney, also spoke at events hosted by the group.
Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, the son of the Moon, campaigned for Donald Trump and attended the Capitol Uprising on January 6.
He also formed a spin-off church called the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church in Pennsylvania, which made MAGA politics a central tenet.
The group worships while carrying AR-15 rifles and owns a 40-acre resort in Texas which they claim is a haven for “patriots.”
Members of the Global Peace and Unification Shrine hold their AR-15 rifles as they participate in a holy marriage blessing at church October 14, 2019 in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. Spencer Platt / Getty Images
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