In September 1975, we founded the Unification Theological Seminary
in Barrytown, New York, which is located north of New York
City. The faculty was hired on an interreligious basis, and we had
professors representing Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Eastern
Orthodoxy, and Oriental philosophy. When they lectured about their
own religions, our students asked them very difficult questions. The
classes always became forums for intense debate. When all the religions
were put together and debated, they began to break through the incorrect
concepts that they had about each other and to better understand
each other. Gifted young people finished their master’s level education
at our seminary and entered the doctoral programs at Harvard, Yale,
and other leading U.S. universities. Today they have become people
capable of leading the religious world on a global scale.
In 1974 and 1975 I was invited to speak on Capitol Hill. I spoke in
front of members of the House of Representatives on the topic “One
Nation Under God.”
I addressed the congressmen in the same manner as I had the young
people on the street, saying, “America was born through God’s blessing.
This blessing, however, was not for Americans alone. This was God’s
blessing for the world, given through America. America must understand
the principle of this blessing and sacrifice itself in order to save
the world. To do this, there needs to be a reawakening that lets America
return to its founding spirit. Christianity, which has been divided into
dozens of denominations, must be united, absorb all religions, and open
a new future for world civilization.”
I was the first foreign religious leader to be invited to speak by
the U.S. Congress. After I was invited for a second time, many more
people became interested in finding out about this man Reverend
Moon from Korea.
The next year, on June 1, 1976, we held a celebration at Yankee Stadium
in New York City to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary
of America’s independence. At the time, America was not so peaceful as
to have the presence of mind to celebrate its anniversary. It was feeling
the threat of communism, and its young people were living lives far
distant from the desire of God, engaging in such things as drugs and
free sex. I felt that America was seriously ill. I went to the celebration
feeling as though I were like a surgeon cutting open the heart of a New
York that lay sick.
On the day of the celebration, torrential rains came down, and a
strong wind blew the decorations all around the field, but no one tried
to get out of the rain. The band started playing “You Are My Sunshine,”
and everyone in the stadium began to sing together. They were singing a
song about sunshine, even as they were being soaked by the rain. Their
mouths were singing about sunshine, but their eyes were crying. It was
a moment when rain and tears were mixed together. Then, incredibly,
as I went to the stage to speak, the sunshine broke through the rain
clouds. It was as if God had heard their singing.
I did some boxing when I was in school. You can hit a good boxer
with many jabs and still find that he is not affected. If you can land a
solid upper cut, however, even the strongest boxer will be shaken up. I
was counting on landing a solid upper cut on America. I felt that there
needed to be a much larger rally than what had been held up to that
point so that the name “Sun Myung Moon” would be indelibly carved
into America’s mind.
Washington is the capital of the United States. In a place that is a
straight line from the Capitol, there is a tower called the Washington
Monument. It is an obelisk, shaped like a sharpened pencil standing on
its end. A large grassy area extends from the monument to the Lincoln
Memorial. This area represents the heart of America. I set a plan to hold
a large rally in this place.
To hold a rally there, however, we needed permission from the U.S.
government and the U.S. National Park Police. Most U.S. officials did
not like me very much. I had previously put ads in newspapers calling
on the people of America to forgive former President Richard Nixon,
who had been pushed into a crisis because of the Watergate incident.
This view was very unpopular. So now the U.S. government kept turning
us down, and it was not until forty days prior to the event that we
were finally able to receive permission.
Our members, too, suggested to me that this was too ambitious a
plan and that we should not go forward. The National Mall surrounding
the Washington Monument was an open park in the middle of an
urban area. There were not many trees—just a wide expanse of grass.
If the crowd were small, it would be obvious for everyone to see. To
fill such a large area, there would have to be hundreds of thousands
of people. Our members wanted to know how this could be possible.
Prior to this, only two people had held large events on the National
Mall. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had held a rally for civil rights on the
steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and Rev. Billy Graham had held a large
gathering there. So it was a place with a lot of symbolism. This was the
place that I was challenging.
I prayed without ceasing for this rally. I wrote the speech that I was
to deliver four different times. A week before the event, I still had mixed
feelings about what I should say in my speech. Finally, three days before
the event, I completed the text. Generally, I don’t speak from prepared
texts. I made an exception in this case, because of my concern that the
event go well. I knew this was going to be a particularly important event,
though I wasn’t quite certain in what way.
I will never forget what happened on that day, September 18, 1976.
People started coming to the Washington Monument from early in the
morning. Some three hundred thousand people gathered. It was impossible
to tell where all these people had come from. They had all different
colors of hair and skin. All the races that God sent to earth gathered
on that day. It was a rally on a global scale that does not require any
I stood in front of the gathering and declared, “God prepared America
for two hundred years. This is the time for awakening. America must
accept her global responsibility. Armed with Godism, she must free the
communist world and at last build the Kingdom of God here on earth.”
The speech was interrupted many times by shouts and applause.
Newsweek, in a year-end pictorial review of the major events of 1976,
carried my photograph and referred to me as part of the revivalism of
the 1970s. On the other hand, an increasing number of people were
beginning to look at me with caution and fear. To them, I was nothing
more than a strange magician who had come from the East. I was not a
white man they could place their faith in and follow. The fact that I was
saying things that were somewhat different from what they had heard in
their churches made them feel very insecure. In particular, they could
not allow a situation in which young white people were showing respect
to and following an Asian with slender eyes shaped like a fish. They
began spreading rumors that I had been brainwashing innocent young
white people. This group that opposed me gathered in the background,
behind those who were shouting their support. I knew that another
crisis was about to befall me. I was not afraid, however, because I was
clearly doing what was right.
America is widely known as a country of freedom and equality,
where people of all races come to realize the American dream. In fact,
however, there is a great deal of struggle stemming from racial and
religious discrimination. These are chronic illnesses that are embedded
deep within America’s history, and they are therefore much more
difficult to cure than the social diseases such as immorality and materialism
that arose out of the affluence of the 1970s.
About this time, I often visited African-American churches in an
effort to foster ecumenical harmony. Among black leaders there were
some who, in the manner of Dr. King, were working to do away with
racial discrimination and bring about God’s world of peace.
Some of these ministers had images hanging in their basements
of slave markets that had existed for hundreds of years prior to being
outlawed. One such image was of a black man being burned alive while
hanging from a tree. Another was of black men and women stripped
of their clothes being looked over like merchandise by potential slave
buyers. And yet another was a black baby crying as it was being taken
away from its mother. One could hardly believe that human beings were
capable of the barbaric acts depicted so clearly in those images.
“Wait and see,” I told a gathering in Chicago on October 24, 1975.
“Within the next thirty years, there will be a president of the United
States who was born into an interracial black and white family.”
The prophecy I made that day has now come true in America with
the inauguration of President Barack Obama, who spent much of his
adult life in Chicago. This prophecy did not come true on its own.
Many people shed their blood and sweat to do away with the struggles
between the races, and those efforts have now finally blossomed.
Surprisingly, a number of ministers of established churches in
America came and brought their congregations to the Washington
Monument rally. They decided that my message transcended denominations
and that I was inspiring young people. I called on people to
transcend differences of denomination and religion, and those words
were realized at this rally. The Washington Monument Rally was a
miracle. Three hundred thousand people attended, making this among
the largest gatherings ever on the National Mall.