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L O C A L  N E W S


Unification leader finds many fans in Winston

By John Railey
JOURNAL REPORTER

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon had many members of a large crowd shouting words of agreement last night as he stressed the need for families led by men and a rainbow family of mankind led by God.

"I have been labeled many things; one of them is brainwasher. I think I brainwashed you well enough in this short time period," Moon, 81, joked early in his sermon at Adams Mark Winston Plaza Hotel.

Moon, the founder of The Washington Times newspaper, established the Unification Church in his native Korea in the 1950s. The church, which scholars say mixes Christianity and Buddhist ideas, is known for conducting mass weddings. Moon also attracted attention for legal problems in the mid-1980s. He served 13 months in federal prison for income-tax evasion.

His supporters, including local ones who are black, white and Hispanic, call him a persecuted visionary with a powerful message of love for one's family and love for mankind. "I've been watching this movement, and I've seen no one encouraging anyone to take poison," said the Rev. Stanley Gravely of the Church of Faith, Hope and Love in Kernersville. "I see a message of love, a message of hope.

"I see a quest for world peace. If this is a cult, then I'm proud to be a part of the cult of love that stands for true unity," he said.

Gravely was one of about 300 residents, ranging from members of the Nation of Islam to members of the Wesleyan Church, who came to see Moon. He spoke as part of a 50-state, 51-day "We Will Stand" tour.

Organizers hope to tear down racial and religious barriers, and sponsors include the American Clergy Leadership Conference and Moon's church.

The organizers frown on divorce and promote family values. They stress restoring the community and renewing the nation. They're in their planning stages now, they say, and have yet to embark on shared projects.

Delivering his sermon through an interpreter, Moon talked of a lesson he'd learned while visiting "the spirit world": selfish and greedy people "don't get up in a good place," and humble servants achieve a "much higher place in the spirit world." He suggested that serving God means strong families made up of marriage between one man and one woman who have a God-given duty to produce children.

Such strong families, he said, can end what he called the social ills of homosexuality and drug abuse. Husbands bring "the seed of life from God" so the wife "can stand as a container, or warehouse or storage house," he said.

"I love women," Moon said. "Please don't get mad at me. It may be my age. But we have to get to fundamentals."

God created women to bear and raise children, Moon said. "Why do you think God gave you such broad-cushion-like hips, for your own sake, to sit anyplace comfortably? No, for your children."

Husbands, Moon said, should be responsible to their families and in control of their wife's bodies. "God created it, but God assigned somebody to be in charge," he said.

Moon also stressed the family of mankind. "We have to tear down the boundaries among religions ... so that we can build one grand family under God."

During a news conference before Moon's sermon, several supporters praised Moon and his cause.

"The time is up for Satan and we're waging war," said Willie Muhammad, an area minister with the Nation of Islam.

Last night's stop was the only one in the state. The tour is scheduled to end April 16 in Washington.

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