WASHINGTON – Rep. Curt Weldon joined other members of Congress and spoke at a Capitol Hill event March 23 that honored the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, whose claims of clairvoyance, tax-fraud conviction, and forays into the newspaper business have made him a political lightning rod and a figure of some ridicule.
Weldon (R., Pa.), in a statement yesterday, said he had appeared briefly at the start of the event at the Dirksen Senate Office Building but had not known Moon would be honored in a ceremony hours later, after Weldon had left.
At the ceremony, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D., Ill.), wearing white gloves, brought Moon an ornate crown, which was placed on Moon’s head. Moon went on to declare himself a “Messiah” who had been sent to Earth to save its six billion people, according to a text of his speech at the event.
“Once I gave my brief presentation, I left the event for the evening, having no prior knowledge that Rev. Moon would be in attendance,” Weldon said in a statement. “I reviewed the text of his speech and viewed the photos of his ‘crowning’ and found them to be equally bizarre and outrageous.”
Weldon was listed as a member of the host committee on a pamphlet put out by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, a Moon-affiliated group that sponsored the event. But Weldon, who gave a five-minute speech on his recent congressional delegation trips to Libya, said he had never agreed to be on the committee nor given the group permission to use his name.
About 300 people, including a dozen members of Congress, attended the event. It has triggered a flurry of interest in Washington, not only because of the peculiar coronation ceremony in a prominent government building but also because of Moon’s remarks.
Moon described himself as “God’s ambassador, sent to Earth with his full authority. I am sent to accomplish his command to save the world’s six billion people, restoring them to heaven with the original goodness in which they were created.”
Moon also contended that “Marx and Lenin, who committed all manner of barbarity and murders on Earth, and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways, and been reborn as new persons.”
Moon, who was convicted of tax fraud in 1982, founded the Washington Times, a major conservative voice in the capital. The newspaper has gained considerable influence in Republican circles.