Fallout continues from revelations that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was crowned "king of America" at a ceremony held in the Senate Dirksen Office Building in March.
Yesterday, The New York Times ran a story about the controversy, noting, with some understatement, that the royal congressional recognition of the controversial Korean evangelist (and self-proclaimed messiah) is "causing a bit of a stir" in the nation's capital.
"Capitol Hill was in full-blown backpedaling mode, as lawmakers who attended but missed the coronation - or saw it and did not think much of it - struggled to explain themselves," read Sheryl Gay Stolberg's story.
One of the more creative explanations by an attendee came from U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.). Bartlett said seeing a large gold crown placed on Moon's head was no big deal because, after all, people proclaim themselves royalty all of the time.
"I remember the king and queen thing," said Bartlett. "But we have the king and queen of the prom, the king and queen of 4-H, the Mardi Gras and all sorts of other things. I had no idea what he was king of."
Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn was quoted in The Times story. Lynn told the paper he is not impressed with lawmakers' "flimsy excuses," adding, "You had what effectively amounted to a religious coronation in a government building of a man who claims literally to be the savior."
In Utah, meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City that he did not attend the event and did not help organize it - even though his name was listed on invitations as a member of the event's "host committee."
One piece of information remains outstanding: Who helped Moon get a room in a Senate office building? Under Senate rules, only senators can reserve rooms. At least two senators attended the event, but both say they were tricked into showing up and insist they did not arrange the room for Moon.
One blogger made an interesting comment yesterday: U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, approves all requests to reserve rooms. Lott must know who booked the room for Moon. It's time for him to share that information with the American people.