During their lifetimes, Thomas Jefferson" and James Madison opposed theocratic government, arguing frequently that union of church and state crushes religious liberty. But in death, the two men have apparently had a change of heart - at least according to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church.
The church recently ran a two-page ad in the Moon-owned Washington Times, asserting that 36 U.S. presidents - from George Washington to Richard Nixon - endorsed Moon during a series of "spirit world" conferences
The advertisement, which ran Sept. 3, reprints brief testimonies from each president. It asserts that the statements were collected between June 8, 2002, and Aug. 1, 2003, at a branch of Sun Moon University in Chung-Nam, Korea.
Moon longs to merge the world's religions under his church and establish himself as supreme religious and political leader of the globe. Jefferson and Madison, according to the ad, have no problem with that plan.
"People of America, rise again," Jefferson is reported to have said. "Return to the nation's founding spirit. Follow the teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Messiah to all people, who has appeared in Korea. There is no inconsistency between our founding spirit and his teachings. Well-known presidents and kings from history are excited by the greatness of his philosophy of peace."
Madison was allegedly equally enthusiastic about the Korean evangelist and far-right operative.
"There is something that people must fulfill for the sake of their eternal lives in the spirit world," the author of the Constitution is recorded as saying. "All the people of America must follow the teachings in the Unification Thought and Divine Principle of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who is the returning Lord in this age and the Messiah."
Madison went on to note that he had "studied Divine Principle and Unification Thought several times here." According to the advertisement, the "spirit world" event was chaired by Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Franklin D. Roosevelt offered the closing prayer. The presidents, the ad claims, endorsed a six-point "Proclamation of Resolution."
Point Three reads, "We resolve and proclaim that Rev. Sun Myung Moon is the Lord of the Second Advent, the Messiah, the Savior and the True Parent." Nixon then led "Three Cheers of Eternal Victory."
Nixon's prominent role as Moon cheerleader at the event is perhaps not surprising. He and Moon collaborated in the physical world. During the Vietnam War, Moon created a pro-war front group, American Youth for a Just Peace, to counter anti-war protests on college campuses. During the Watergate fiasco, Moon ran newspaper advertisements demanding that the American people forgive the president.
Although the appeal was unsuccessful, Nixon met with Moon in the White House Feb. 1, 1974, to show his gratitude.
In other news about Moon:
A Moon front group sponsored a conference in Seoul in August calling for reunification of the Korean peninsula.
The event, sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, attracted 1,500 attendees, including some 900 college students, many from the United States, reported the Moon-owned United Press International.
Moon led attendees in signing a "Seoul Peace Declaration" that called on all religious groups to cooperate "as an essential foundation for peace, security and human development worldwide."