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Title Moon Organization - Report on the Protest Against Moon Mass Wedding Festival
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Report on the Protest Against Moon Mass Wedding Festival November 28-29, 1997 For several weeks before the Moon mass wedding, there has been a whirlwind of activities to alert the media. Despite a serious shortage of money and manpower, I feel we were largely successful at bringing to the media s attention a more realistic picture of Moon s group. According to reports, the Moon group spent some 9 million dollars. The Washington Post did an extensive series November 19, 23,25,28,29, 30 (see http://www.washingtonpost.com). The two principle journalists were Marc Fisher and Caryle Murphy. On November 28th and 29th, 1997, John S., Cathryn Mazer and her mother, Cynthia Lilley, Craig Maxim and his wife Rosa, Councilman Bill Finch from Bridgeport, Connecticut joined me at a press conference and picket outside the RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.. Moon failed to fill the RFK stadium despite giving out tickets for free (wonder how the people who spent $70 felt?) and Whitney Houston refused to sing citing sudden illness . Despite the fact that she notified the Moonies 2 hours before her performance, the Moonies didn t announce it until after the concluding fireworks. Of course, Whitney was the bait to lure many local residents to come to the event in the first place, so Moon knew if people were told, there would probably be a mass exodus. I am grateful to the1000 former members in Japan (as well as others) who wrote to Whitney Houston and begged her not to sing. Unfortunately, the Moonies got what they wanted out of her (luring people to the stadium) and get to keep their over one million dollars which they would have paid her. Still, they didn t get any footage of her and got bad press too. Camilia Anwar Sadat, daughter of Nobel Peace prize recipient Anwar Sadat, canceled her $15,000 keynote speech when she met with me in Boston and learned the truth about the Moon organization. She admitted that she had given three other speeches for the Women s Federation for World Peace but said that she never understood what lay behind the facade until now. She was then offered $100,000 by the Moonies not to withdraw, but she said that she would never violate her principles and let her name be used to legitimize a group that harmed people. Ms. Sadat earns her living by giving speeches and due to an expensive brain operation 2 years ago to cure her severe epilepsy (no medical insurance), it was a great sacrifice to turn down the money. I was moved to tears by Ms. Sadat and thanked her on behalf of all of the former members and families who have been hurt by the Moon group. The Post reported in their article on the 29th that the Moonies handed out a fake photograph at their conference of Ms. Sadat giving an award to Mrs. Moon. While numerous personalities didn t come to the event (Whitney Houston, Lou Dobbs- CNN, Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, a former congressional delegate for the District, Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister, DC Mayor Marion Barry), none of them had the courage to speak out except Ms. Sadat. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as well as Maureen Reagan, daughter of the former president, took the money and appeared for Moon. The press conference on Friday, November 28th was well covered. Unfortunately, we didn t have a video camera of our own to record it and we didn t get a list of all of the attendees. I know that CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Conus were there as well as the major networks, NBC, CBS, and ABC. The following people spoke with me: John S. (former 4 year leader In CARP -a collegiate recruiting front of Moon s, married in last mass wedding, and who left the cult January 97); Cathryn Mazer and her mother, Cynthia Lilley (Cathryn was the subject of two NBC TODAY show stories that aired in November 1993 and February 1994. The first show had footage documenting how the Moonies had split her up from her family and interviewed her as a Moonie. The second show was an interview with Cathryn in which she explained mind control and some of her troubling experiences in the cult; Craig Maxim (former member whose mother is still in the cult. Craig was brought into the cult at age 12 by his mother and has had many first hand experiences with Moon). Bill Finch, a Connecticut politician and alumni of the University of Bridgeport, who has championed the fight against the Moon buy out. We focused our comments on two main issues. One, how the Moon group is anti-family (except his own True Family ) and has systematically cut people off from their loved ones if they weren t positive and second, on mind control- how the Moonies use their 3,7,21, 40 day indoctrination workshops to instill phobias, teach thought-stopping, and to create cult identities. John S. talked about how he wasn t allowed to go home for over 3 years, despite his repeated requests. Stacey also talked about how he was coerced to participate in the mass wedding, the beating with the wooden bat (the indemnity stick) and how he passed out from the pain. Craig Maxim showed a cult manufactured and sold coffee mug that says I am a Moonie and I Love (symbol of a heart) It!!! He explained how the members and leaders have always used the term, Moonie, and exposed the fraud of their attacks against the media and critics for using the term. Indeed, there are speeches on the Moon web site which speeches by their own leaders using the term Moonie in a positive sense! The major Japanese networks all asked for in depth interviews with us. The Japanese have a much clearer understanding of the harm of the Moon organization, due to the Spiritual Sales law suits against the Moonies there. Tens of thousands of Japanese citizens were conned out of hundreds of millions of dollars by the Moonies there. Recent court decisions have upheld the Moon organization s criminal guilt. The day of the mass wedding, we gathered in the lobby of the Holiday Inn, had a cup of coffee and muffins and watched outside as brides and grooms left the Hyatt across the street. Bill Finch called to us and we grabbed our protest signs and ran outside and were filmed. Twelve of us arrived around 8 am at RFK Stadium. It was cloudy and cold. We went to the main gate. I was carrying a sign that read I and an Ex-Moonie and I Love it! on one side and Deception is Not of God on the other. I was approached by a young woman who said she was a blessed child - meaning that her parents were members and she was born into the group. She grabbed the sign out of my hands, ripped a piece off and put it in the garbage can to the cheers of about 75 young members. I said to her So this is the superior love you show. She later came over to me an apologized, although I fully understand the hatred the group has instilled into members to believe that I am Satanic. Stadium security arrived and told us we were on Stadium property and told us to go across the street to picket. Once we were across the street, the DC police promptly told us to move to a less central (and visible) spot and asked for my permit. I explained that I telephoned two weeks earlier and spoke with the police, who told me to call the Mayor s office (which I did) and they told me to call the Stadium (which I also did). I asked all three individuals if I needed a permit and I was told that if it was a small group of protesters, it was unnecessary. The police proceeded to put up a yellow plastic tape around the area in which we we stood. The tape read Crime Zone Do Not Cross and told us to move out of the area because we were in a police zone. They threatened to arrest us if we didn t leave. In the meanwhile, media people kept coming over to interview us. A few Moonies came over too. The Washington Post reported (11/30/97) the contact I had with leader Philip Shanker. I challenged him to a public debate with three Moon representatives and three former members. I said that we should let the public make up their own mind who is telling the truth. He took my business card and promised to call me, saying he was interested in speaking with me privately. I said to Caryle Murphy of the Post, I wish I had a dollar for every UC representative who says on the media that he wants to speak with me and then never follows up. We were later joined by several Fundamentalist Christians, and a gay activist, who wanted to express their disdain for the Moon event. It was clear that there were many people who were showing up for the free show and who didn t know anything about the Moonies. I quickly ran out of handouts. We gave out many interviews in those hours, and by 11:30 a.m. most people were already inside and we were cold and tired. I found out later that Whitney Houston had canceled her appearance. I have since given a number of follow-up interviews as have the others. The media gave the event very little coverage outside of Washington D.C.. We will have to wait and see what the many different magazines will write in coming weeks. I wish to thank everyone who participated and want to invite everyone to contact me if they wish to be active in exposing dangerous cults in the future. Steven Hassan 12/4/97