Religious cults and US presidential politics
by Wayne Madsen
The death of Unification Church leader and self-proclaimed “messiah” Sun Myung Moon closely on the heels of the nomination of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as the first non-Christian US presidential candidate has re-focused attention on the involvement of religious cults in American presidential politics.
Romney’s Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and Moon’s Unification Church are not based on any of the fundamental precepts contained in the biblical New Testament but both sects have gained a powerful foothold inside the American body politic. Although the Mormons and “Moonies” claim to be Christians, the World Council of Churches and the US National Council of Churches have steadfastly denied membership to both cults because they have refused to recognize the basic tenets of Christianity, namely the New Testament gospels.
The Mormons rely on texts that are not recognized as Christian, namely the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These texts are the product of the imagination of the founder of Mormonism, a New York con artist named Joseph Smith who based the founding of his religion on translations of “reformed Egyptian” hieroglyphs found on golden plates. The plates have never been recovered.
The Unification Church is as bizarre as Mormonism. Sun Myung Moon claims to have been the new Messiah but in reality he obtained his start-up funds from the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA). Moon was a cog in the wheel of CIA mass psychological mind control operations under the umbrella of the MK-ULTRA program, the same program that gave impetus to the Church of Scientology created by L. Ron Hubbard and the suicide cults of the People’s Temple of Reverend Jim Jones, the Order of the Solar Temple, and Heaven’s Gate.
The Mormons and Moonies have much in common with regard to their political agendas. Both stress anti-communism, American nationalism, and anti-Islamic bellicosity in their rhetoric. Both are favorable toward Israel and Zionism.
The Mormons and Moonies are also wedded closely to the Republican Party. The Christian evangelical Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant religion in the United States, has attempted to convert Mormons to Baptist. The Baptists published a book, Mormonism Unmasked, which attempts to expose the Mormon church as a non-Christian cult.
The Baptists have also labeled Mormonism as a “false religion” and “theological cult," even as Romney has gained the endorsement of a number of Southern Baptist conservative Republican politicians who don’t seem to care that Romney’s religious beliefs run counter to the very tenets of their own church and its pastors, which claim humans once lived on the Moon, Lucifer is Jesus’s estranged brother, God lives near a fictional planet named Kolob, and Adam from the Book of Genesis is a divine god.
The Moonies also believe in patently un-Christian tenets, including the divinity of its Korean founder, Reverend Moon. The Washington Times, which is read and believed widely by conservative Republican political circles in Washington and beyond and is owned by the Unification Church, did not report that Moon died at the age of 92 in South Korea but that he “ascended” into heaven. Although it printed such religious drivel as news, the Washington Times is a recognized media source in Washington, maintaining permanent reporters at the White House, Congress, Pentagon, and having employees serve on governing bodies of the National Press Club.
Its sister organization, United Press International, also owned by the Unification Church, continues to exist as a global wire service, its reports picked up by a number of newspapers and web sites around the world. The Unification Church’s other media outlets include The Middle East Times (based in Cairo), Zambezi Times (based in Lusaka, Zambia), newspapers in Uruguay and Canada, and a textbook publishing company in Russia.
The influence of the Unification Church on past Republican presidents is part of the historical record. George W. Bush, a self-described “born again Christian,” maintained close links to Moon, Bush speechwriter David Frum, a noted neocon, came up with the term “axis of evil” for Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address but it seems likely that Bush, heavily influenced by the propagandists of the rabidly anti-Pyongyang Washington Times, decided North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was Satan reincarnate. Years before North Korea announced it was restarting its nuclear enrichment facility at Yongbyon, The Washington Times splashed front page headlines about North Korea being a threat while other major newspapers and wire services treated the sensationalistic reports as a non-story or more probably, plain disinformation masked as “intelligence reports” and “leaked” by anti-Clinton Pentagon officials. However, Moon’s and the Unification Church’s influence over Bush scuttled the Clinton administration’s policy of maintaining a diplomatic dialogue with North Korea.
Romney insists that he would govern as president without allowing his Mormon beliefs to color his decision-making. But if the earlier influence of the Moonies over Bush are any indication, Romney’s past as a bishop of the Mormon Church, coupled with the Mormon’s track record of nepotism involving Mormon family members and friends and the dubious business practices of the Mormon-heavy investment firm of Bain Capital, points to a Romney foreign and domestic policy not only influenced by many re-tread neocons from the prior Bush administration but dominated by a number of Mormons placed into key policy-making positions.
In fact, after an earlier reluctance by the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency (NSA) to hire Mormons, these three agencies and others now value the fact that many Mormons gained foreign language fluency as a result of their missionary work abroad and due to the restrictions of the Mormon Church, Mormon recruits easily pass security investigations because of their abhorrence of alcohol and drugs.
America’s acceptance of religious cults as mainstream religions can only spell major problems for American foreign policy with a Romney administration.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist, author and columnist specializing in intelligence and international affairs. He is the author of the blog Wayne Madsen Report. In 2002 he suggested to the Guardian newspaper that the United States Navy had aided in an attempted overthrow of Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. In 2003 he said that he had uncovered information linking the September 11 attacks to the government of Saudi Arabia as well as to Bush administration. In 2005, he wrote than an unidentified former CIA agent claimed that the USS Cole was actually hit by a Popeye cruise missile launched from an Israeli Dolphin-class submarine.