This week in history May 16 to 22

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True Father Begins a 17-Nation Speaking Tour in South America

May16, 1995

True Father believed that the unity of North and South America was a providential necessity that would set a condition for the unification of North and South Korea. To that end, he launched CAUSA activities in Latin America during the 1980s and began investing directly in South America during the 1990s. Beginning on May 16, 1995, True Father undertook an ambitious speaking tour of 17 Latin American nations, which included audiences with eight heads of state. In these speeches and meetings he emphasized the region’s “stunning, and abundant, potential.” As he put it: “There are seemingly unlimited natural resources, and the human energies have hardly begun to be tapped. Latin America is a rich, peaceful, natural paradise of grandiose mountains and virgin lands. The mountains, rivers and jungles [hark] back to the original state of creation, the Garden of Eden.” Contemplating “the glory-filled days that await Latin America in the 21st century,” he counseled leaders to “not follow the footsteps of the developed nations,” blindly repeating “environmental errors” and falling into selfish materialism.

True Father hoped to persuade the governments of the Mercosur customs union (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile) to donate contiguous lands for development “as a model for an ideal, international and interracial nation and world.” However, when they did not step forward sufficiently, Unificationists businesses began purchasing vast tracts of land in the South American interior. The assumption was that if the leaders of North and South America, or elsewhere, could not respond to True Father’s vision of unification, they would have to be shown a working model. Thus began the South American providence to which substantial resources were dedicated in the late 1990s.

More events this week in history May 16-22:

  • The Washington Times begins publication (May 17, 1982)
  • The Washington Times celebrated its 25th anniversary (May 17, 2007)
  • Rev. Paul Werner pioneers Austria (May 18, 1965)
  • The U.S. Jury returns the guilty verdict against True Father (May 18, 1982)
  • Clergy and Rabbis sign the Jerusalem Declaration (May 18, 2003)
  • True Father initiates Il Jeung (“One Heart”) prayer (May 19, 1984)
  • True Father enters Heungnam Prison (May 20, 1948)
  • True Parents declare the Day of the Love of God and bequeath Ae Chun candles (May 20, 1984)
  • 118 couples receive the Holy Marriage Blessing (May 21, 1978)
  • Rally for the Declaration of Absolute Values for the sake of Harmony and Unification is held (May 21, 2004)
  • True Father concludes the 2011 World Peace Tour in Las Vegas (May 21, 2011)

The Washington Times Begins Publication

May 17, 1982

05-16-16 WTimes

The Washington Times, a daily newspaper, published its first issue on May 17, 1982. Publishing tens of thousands of papers every morning and having a headquarters located in Washington, D.C., it became the second largest newspaper in the nation’s capital after The Washington Post. True Father spoke of the significance behind the establishment of The Washington Times, saying that he had started a newspaper, a business that even affluent people were giving up on, to save the United States and what was then known as the Free World. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee)

The Washington Times’ 25th Anniversary

May 17, 2007


Under the theme “A Quarter Century of Dedication and Distinction,” The Washington Times observed its 25th anniversary with a gala event at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. More than 1,100 leading figures in politics, culture, and journalism representing 82 nations took part in the celebration. U.S. President George W. Bush, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Polish Prime Minister Jarosaw Kaczynski, and Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa were among those who sent messages of congratulations. Former President George H.W. Bush delivered the keynote address complementing the Times for challenging “what many of us felt was a prevailing liberal bias” and thanked True Father “for his vision in launching this newspaper,” reminding the audience that “without him, there would be no Washington Times.” True Father delivered the Founder’s Address, “A Providential View of the Pacific Rim Era in Light of God’s Will,” which he had originally delivered in Hawaii and, now with True Mother, was delivering worldwide. He noted, “The development of human civilization has completed a circuit of the entire globe and has arrived at the Pacific sphere.” Human history, he declared, “has come to a point in time in the providence at which it should reach completion and fruition through the Pacific Rim region.”

Rev. Paul Werner Pioneers Austria

May 18, 1965

Paul Werner (lower left) at a meeting in San Francisco, circa 1964.

Rev. Paul Werner, his wife, Christel, and their son, Klaus, were among a group of German Unificationists who joined in the San Francisco Bay area under Dr. Young Oon Kim during the early 1960s. In April 1964, the Werners returned to Germany, where they joined Peter Koch who had returned the previous year. On May 18, 1965, Rev. Werner left for Austria, becoming the first missionary going out from Germany. He traveled there alone in a Volkswagen van, which was his “center” for the next half-year. Rev. Werner wrote, “I prayed day and night and fasted most of the time.” With Rev. Werner as driver, his VW van also served to transport True Father across Europe during True Father’s first world tour in 1965. Over time, Rev. Werner won members, established centers and founded the Austrian church. On May 18, 1969, four years to the day after Rev. Werner’s arrival in Austria, True Father asked him to lead the German movement and for Peter Koch to take over leadership of the movement in Austria.

U.S. Jury Returns Guilty Verdict against True Father

The cover of Inquisition, by Pulitzer prize-winning author Carlton Sherwood

The cover of Inquisition, by Pulitzer prize-winning author Carlton Sherwood

May 18, 1982

The Unification Church won a series of court cases in 1982. After several years of struggle, it gained unambiguous legal recognition as a bona fide religion with full tax-emption privileges, public solicitation rights, and access to missionary visas. It also was able to extend civil rights protections to members and successfully press for damages against deprogrammers. However, the church lost the one case that was the most highly publicized, most costly, and that mattered to it the most; this was The United States v. Sun Myung Moon. Tax convictions have been a time-honored way to root out undesirables, and although the review process makes this more difficult to do within the American legal system, there has been a tendency for the politically ambitious to go after unpopular figures. In True Father case, a letter from U.S. Senator Robert Dole to the IRS Commissioner, which called for an audit of the church, led to what Carlton Sherwood termed “the most intensive and extensive criminal tax investigation of any religious figure in U.S. history.”

The odd thing about True Father’s case was that it continued to move forward in the face of so many obstacles. First, the audit of his tax returns for 1973–1975 showed a total liability of $7,300, less than the $2,500 per year required by IRS guidelines for criminal prosecution. Second, three career attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department questioned whether there was any liability at all and signed off on a written memorandum that prosecution was not warranted. Third, the prosecuting attorney had to convene three grand juries before gaining the necessary indictments. Fourth, jury members who, according to the trial judge, met the criteria of  being people who “don’t read much, don’t talk much, and don’t know much” had to sift through over 2,000 documentary exhibits and technical argumentation that glazed the eyes of even trained legal observers over. In the end, neither True Father nor the movement was able to stem the government’s determination to gain a conviction. The trial began on April 1, 1982m and lasted approximately six weeks. On May 18, 1982, the jury returned its verdict against True Father.

Clergy and Rabbis Sign the Jerusalem Declaration

May 18, 2003


May 18, 2003, was a momentous day of the first Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) Holy Land Peace Pilgrimage. U.S. clergy awoke early and left their hotel in busses at 5:30 a.m. to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was fortunate they left at this time because at 6:00 a.m. a suicide bomber set off a blast two blocks from the hotel, killing seven people and injuring 22. All traffic was stopped and had the clergy left any later, they would not have been able to pass. From there, they offered a 30-minute service at the site of Golgotha and then traveled a mile or so to the Potter’s Field, also referred to as the Field of Blood, which, according to Matthew 27, the chief priests purchased with the 30 pieces of silver Judas got for betraying Jesus. Pastors lifted a wooden cross, about six feet high, as they marched down a winding road to the Potter’s Field. At the site, ministers placed the cross in a hole previously dug to its exact dimensions by Israeli FFWPU members. They placed a FFWPU flag, “dated and signed by representative leaders,” on top. The ceremony concluded with participants putting “soil on the cross one-by-one, repenting for the false faith” that was “preventing Christianity and Judaism from achieving reconciliation.”

On that foundation, the 135 U.S. clergy met with a similar number of Israeli rabbis as well as ten imams for a day-long “Conference for Jewish and Christian Reconciliation and Harmony.” The highlight of this was the Jerusalem Declaration in which the clergy and rabbis repented “for the dark parts of our past” and sought “a bright future together.” In reality, it was not easy to obtain the signatures. According to one report, “the main rabbi strongly rejected…signing his name.” In addition, “Some rabbis were upset that the declaration would even be considered.” However, in an unscripted moment, a key rabbi stated, “I will sign it if my Moslem brother will sign it with me.” A leading sheik marched forward and “the three brothers collapsed into an embrace.” One observer recounted, “This opened the floodgates and everyone rushed to the front to sign.”

True Father Initiates Il Jeung (“One Heart”) Prayer

May 19, 1984

True Father initiated the Il Jeung (“One Heart”) prayer association on May 19, 1984. He declared that the sovereignty of God’s true love finally had moved from the individual, family, and national levels to the worldwide level. In order for them to inherit God’s love, he called on Unificationists to establish a tradition of offering prayer conditions. He invited each member of the worldwide Unification Church, according to his or her individual schedule, to offer a prayer vigil from midnight to 4:00 a.m. once each forty days. He also asked each member to make a one-day (or at least one-meal) fasting condition once every forty days and to establish an Il Jeung Fund. These conditions were especially important in maintaining movement solidarity during the period in which True Father was imprisoned at Danbury.

True Father Enters Heungnam Prison

May 20, 1948


After being arrested for the second time in North Korea on February 22, 1948, True Father was charged with being a spy for the South and for disturbing the social order. Some 80 Christian ministers who had lost members to True Father’s group precipitated this action by writing letters to the police. True Father was once again tortured and wrote later, “My body still carries several scars that I received then.” He went on trial on April 7 and was convicted. He wrote in his autobiography, “Many of the most famous ministers in North Korea came to the courtroom and accused me of all manner of crimes.” That day he was taken to Pyongyang Prison where he remained until  he was transported to Heungnam on May 20, nearly three months following his arrest. True Father wrote, “I felt indignation and also shamed before heaven. I was tied to a thief so I could not escape. We were taken by a vehicle on a route that took 17 hours. As I looked out the window a powerful feeling of grief welled up inside me. It seemed incredible to me that I would have to travel this winding road along rivers and through valleys as a prisoner.”

True Parents Declare the Day of the Love of God and Bequeath Ae Chun Candles

May 20, 1984

05-16-16 Ae Chun candles

At 12:54 a.m. on May 16, 1984, True Parents established the Day of the Love of God and created Ae Chun (“Love of God”) candles. This was two days after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review True Father’s petition that his 1981 conviction on tax evasion charges be overturned. On May 20, True Parents declared the day to Unificationists and also bequeathed Ae Chun candles to them. The Ae Chun candles exist as a pair. One is referred to as a “Father” candle and the other, a “Mother” candle. As they represent the harmony and love of the True Parents, the candles are always to be burned together. It was understood that Ae Chun candles should be burned during prayer for a high-level purpose—i.e., national, world or cosmic level. In his prayer to God, True Father said, “Wherever this candle burns, may the family be united, and may that family have peace, connecting with the sovereignty of Your love through this light.”

Holy Marriage Blessing of 118 Couples

May 21, 1978

On May 21, 1978, in London, True Father with Ye Jin Moon (representing True Mother) blessed 118 couples in holy matrimony. Of the 118 couples, 106 were international; only 12 couples were matched with the same nationality. Most of the Germans present were matched with their age-old enemies, the French. The blessing served to launch International One World Crusade activities in Europe. More than 1200 members gathered in London and, soon after, were augmented by two classes of Unification Theological Seminary students who were pioneering Home Church.

Rally for the Declaration of Absolute Values for the Sake of Harmony and Unification

May 21, 2004

05-16-16 Yeosu 01

On May 21, 2004, the Rally for the Declaration of Absolute Values for the Sake of Harmony and Unification occurred at Blue Sea (Cheonghae) Garden, Yeosu, in South Jeolla Province. True Father spoke under the title “The Purpose of True Love, Harmony and Unity Is the Perfection of the Absolute Values of True Families” in front of 13,000 people at the Blue Sea Garden plaza, revealing that a family attains perfection through the absolute values of true love. On this day, 450 participants from seven nations established sisterhood relationships with 450 Korean participants, and those present determined to carry out peace endeavors for harmony and unity through a sibling love transcending nationality and race. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee)

True Father Concludes 2011 World Peace Tour in Las Vegas

May 21, 2011


True Father conducted his final world tour, a World Peace Tour of ten nations in 28 days, traveling 28,000 miles at age 91. He spoke in Seoul, Korea; Madrid, Spain; Rome, Italy; Oslo, Norway; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey; London, England; Geneva, Switzerland; and Berlin, Germany. His final and only U.S. stop was in Las Vegas on May 21. There, he told an international audience of over 3,000 in the Aria City Center that God had great expectations for the long-notorious gaming capital of the world, that it will soon gain a new reputation as a “city of giving.” In support of that, True Parents sponsored a charity slot tournament at the Aria Resort the morning of the event for 300 participants with proceeds from the $500 entry fee going to local charities. True Father envisioned each stop of the tour as an interreligious assembly and representatives of faith bodies were prominent participants.

This Week in History briefly lists significant events in the history of the Unification Church, the lives of the Founders, and world events that are momentous to Unificationists. Most items are marked according to the solar calendar. Items marked “H.C.” correspond to the Cheon-gi or Heavenly Calendar, which is based on the lunar calendar. This instalment covers the week of  May 16 – 22.

Adapted from “Lighting God’s Love in Dark Times” at Contributed by Dr. Michael Mickler, Professor of Church History at the Unification Theological Seminary.