WASHINGTON ó Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia was listed as a co-sponsor of a Capitol Hill gathering at which the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was literally crowned as mankind’s Messiah, but Bishop said he not only didn’t sponsor the event but didn’t attend.
The banquet honoring Moon and his wife was held March 23 in the Russell Senate Office Building but just came to light this week, leaving several lawmakers, including Bishop, scrambling to deny their involvement or explain that they had been misled about the event’s nature.
Bishop, a Democrat who had received a “peace award” in February from a group affiliated with Moon, was listed on the invitation for the March coronation as a “congressional co-chair” of the event.
But Bishop’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Hoelzer, said his office has no record of the invitation that sponsors of the event, The Washington Times Foundation and the International Interreligious Federation for World Peace, said was sent. House members and senators are often asked to lend their names to events, but Hoelzer said Bishop never agreed to such an arrangement with the sponsors.
The daily Washington Times newspaper is owned by Moon. The federation is also affiliated with his Unification Church.
“We get hundreds and hundreds of invitations. It must have gotten lost in the mail,” Hoelzer said.
Bishop, a Baptist, in no way supports Moon, she said. “He has said Jesus Christ is his savior. He does not in any way accept Rev. Moon as his Messiah,” Hoelzer said.
Moon, speaking at the event that several lawmakers did attend, proclaimed himself mankind’s “savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.” He said, “Hitler and Stalin have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons.”
Gold crowns were placed on Moon’s head and the head of his wife, with help from Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.),.
Davis told The Chicago Reader that the crowning of Moon as the Messiah was not much different from many of the civic ceremonies he attends in his role as a congressman, such as when a Boy Scout achieves Eagle rank.