September 2004 Church & State | People & Events

U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) has admitted that he arranged for followers of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to get space in the Dirksen Senate Office Building March 23 for the self-proclaimed messiah’s coronation. But, Warner says, he did so unknowingly.

The Washington Post reported July 21 that a Moon operative, Gary L. Jarmin of Christian Voice, a Moon front group based in Alexandria, Va., approached Warner and asked for assistance in getting the room. Warner said he agreed to help only as a courtesy to a constituent and that he was unaware that Christian Voice is related to Moon and that Jarmin is a long-time Moon associate.

Several members of Congress attended the event, during which Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, were dressed in royal robes and adorned with golden crowns. A Unification Church website later reported that the coronation was intended to symbolize America’s submission to Moon and his wife.

Word of the event began spreading over the internet and was the subject of an article by Moon critic John Gorenfeld in the online magazine Salon. After the story captured national headlines, several members of Congress said they were tricked into attending the event and did not know it was connected to Moon or that Moon would be crowned.

Warner spokesman John Ullyot said Jarmin first made the request for the room over the telephone but was asked to put it in writing. Ullyot said Jarmin’s written request never mentioned Moon.

“Nothing in the letter suggests any participation by Rev. Moon or his organization,” Ullyot told The Post. “Senator Warner’s staff approved the event, since Mr. Jarmin is a constituent known to the Virginia delegation.”

Warner did not attend the event, but Gorenfeld noted on his blog ( that Warner has had at least one brush with Moon before. In September of 2002, he sent a letter to Hak Ja Han Moon congratulating her for undertaking a 12-city “peace tour” in North America.

Sun Myung Moon, who seeks to unite the world’s religions and governments under his theocratic reign, told attendees at the March 23 event that dead world leaders have endorsed him through a series of conferences held in the “spirit world.” According to Moon, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin have renounced Communism, Nazism and their evil deeds and endorsed him from the spirit world as the messiah.

Meanwhile, other Moon front groups continue to make inroads in American political life – without most people even realizing it. On July 20, the American Family Coalition, a Moon group, honored a North Carolina couple as the “2004 National Parents of the Year.”

Legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 establishes the fourth Sunday in July as “Parents Day.” The measure was introduced by U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), a frequent Moon ally. At that time, Burton’s office referred all calls about Parents Day to Jarmin’s office.

Jarmin told a reporter for Religion News Service that Parents Day is “only tangentially” related to the Unification Church. Critics note, however, that Moon followers refer to Moon and his wife as “True Parents” and that The Washington Times, a newspaper in the nation’s capital owned by Moon, often covers events related to Parents Day.

Perhaps stung by the controversy over the coronation, the American Family Coalition did not stage this year’s event in a congressional office building. Instead, the ceremony took place at the Washington Times building.