The "We Will Stand" event at the Phoenix Airport Marriott
was a $25-a-plate dinner for dialogue on President Bush's creation
of a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
It was designed to bring different religious faiths together.
For some, the keynote speaker, Father Sun Myung Moon became the
Reverend Walter Fauntroy, former D.C. Delegate and pastor at New
Bethel Baptist Church welcomed the gathering with warmth and common
"We've come to praise the Lord. "I am in the habit of
supporting positive action to deal with serious problems in our
country," he noted.
The Arizona Ecumenical Council, which represents 700 Protestant
churches in Arizona, would not have been a sponsor for the dinner
if its leaders had known that Father Moon was a main sponsor, said
the Reverend Paul Eppinger, executive director of the council to
Eppinger stated that he is uncomfortable about such ties but attended
Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Mesa, a member of the Family Federation for
World Peace and Unification stated simply that,
"There are controversies on both sides of the aisle.
"There are people who are worried that churches are going
to overtake the government.
"And churches out there are worried that government is going
to take over churches.
"It's been very clear from the beginning that Reverend Moon
would be one of the speakers," he said. "The invitations
state that. There's been no attempt to conceal that fact at all."
Local speakers included Arizona House Speaker Jim Weiers and Doug
Wead, who lost his bid for an Arizona congressional seat and is
an unofficial adviser to Bush.
Larry Miller, executive director of Arizona Call to Renewal, which
aims to fight poverty, attended a similar event in Washington, D.C.,
in January and said no one tried to convert him.
He was pleased to see so many different groups meeting on behalf
of the important issue of the day.