Father Valiant in Face of Tax Charges
Sun Myung Moon
October 22, 1981
As more than 5,000 supporters rallied outside the Federal courthouse in New York City, Father entered a plea of not guilty to charges of income tax evasion and was released on personal bail.
A lengthy Federal grand jury investigation resulted in an indictment on October 15 against Father and Mr. Kamiyama for failure to pay personal income tax on church funds in the early 1970’s. Father returned from Korea to the United States on October 21 and appeared in court October 22 for a brief arraignment. No date has been set for the trial. According to previous agreement between the government and the defense lawyers, Father was released on a personal bail bond of $250,000 and Mr. Kamiyama on a $100,000 bond. The agreement stipulated that Father remain in the country, except for one trip to a conference in Korea in November.
According to a fairly sympathetic New York Times story the following day, Father “smiled broadly, raised his arms in a gesture of greeting to the spectators and walked across the room to greet the prosecutor’s hand and then waved a finger at him, as if admonishing a naughty child.”
Many friends of our church have spoken out in Father’s behalf. Upon leaving court, Father addressed a rally, protesting that the charges are a result of religious and racial bigotry. The text of his speech follows:
Father’s Public Speech on October 22
My dear friends, I am deeply moved and touched by your support. As soon as I heard the news in Seoul, Korea, I flew back to New York, half way around the world, to face this historical trial. I must tell you that I am innocent. I have nothing to hide. My life is an open book.
I am not afraid of the trial; on the contrary, I welcome it. I know that through this judicial process, justice will be done and the truth will prevail. I shall vindicate not only myself but also the millions of people who are suffering because of this unfair government persecution.
I have respect for and confidence in the United States judicial system. I have confidence in the judge and jury who will work on this case. America is still the best country in the world to let justice be done. I look forward to facing my adversary, my accusers face to face. My conscience is clear. God is my vindicator. However, I forgive my adversaries if God finds them to be guilty instead of me. I also have full confidence and respect for the American system of a free press. I trust that they will convey the unbiased truth to the world. The American media will not be fooled but will see this case as the baseless charge which it is.
As I have often said, I love America as I love my own country. Many years ago, on a Korean mountainside I began to beg God to allow this nation to fulfill her providential destiny. Years ago, when I came to America for the first time, I stood on majestic Fifth Avenue. I literally burst into tears. I reflected on the first weary handful of Pilgrims who stood on the shore of the Atlantic and dedicated this land to God. I wept when I saw what had become of that dream. On that very day I resolved to strive to bring America back to God. God Almighty is my judge that for ten years I have given my heart and soul, my blood and sweat for this great nation.
The Unification Church called upon our people around the world to contribute millions and millions of dollars to this end. In 1972 we began a costly evangelical campaign from state to state, culminating in the Washington Monument Rally of 300,000 people on September 18, 1976. In the case of the Unification Church, America was a recipient, not a giver. In spite of severe financial hardships, our worldwide membership persevered to support that crusade in America. They did so only because they loved this country and view America as the chosen nation with a providential destiny.
Today I stand before you, accused by this nation. I gave my all to America. I took nothing away from this country. I misused not one penny, in the tradition of Jesus, who taught the way of first thinking of others. If that is a crime, I would welcome the verdict. That was the same burden that Jesus Christ had to bear. He loved the people of Israel, he loved the people of the world, he loved God with all his heart. For this he was condemned, and for this he was nailed to the cross. If loving America and serving people with all my heart is a crime, then I will really have picked up my cross.
Today I came back to America not just for my own vindication. I came back as a representative of all those who have suffered government injustice, racial prejudice and religious bigotry. These are the real enemies of America. Today I declare a war against these enemies. I will fight till my last breath for religious liberty and the rights of minorities and the oppressed. We must win together, so that our children can live in a land of true freedom and true equality, what Dr. Martin Luther King called the Promised Land.
I would not be standing here today if my skin were white and my religion Presbyterian. I am here today only because my skin is yellow and my religion is Unification Church. The ugliest things in this beautiful country of America are religious bigotry and racism. God is color blind. White, black and yellow are beautiful brothers. All religions of the world today reflect only different faces of the same God, our Father.
Do you know that we, the Unification Church, are the only church in America which has been forced to pay taxes on church property? We are paying eight million dollars in New York State alone. This unjust burden breaks our church’s back. On the other hand, other churches pay not a penny. Why are we singled out? Simply because our name is Unification Church and the founder happens to be Korean.
President Reagan said in a campaign speech, “When the basic rights of any group are threatened, it is not only one religious group that suffers, it is the entire nation.”
My dear brothers and my dear friends, today we prepare to meet any challenge. Let us make this day a day of unity, a day of new commitment. In this fight we are not alone, God Almighty is with us, millions and millions of people around the world are with us. The Unification Church is an oppressed minority in America, but with God on our side we are a majority. This is a new day for minorities. We are beginning a new fight. Today I am not sad or unhappy or even tired. Today I am creating a new minority alliance for civil rights. Our zeal moves the heart of God. Let my determination and conviction to win this struggle become a beacon to the whole world. I thank Almighty God that He gave me the opportunity to fight this great battle and champion this cause.
Dr. Durst’s October 15 Statement to the Press
The assassination of President Sadat, the attempted assassination of President Reagan and the Pope, and now the attempted assassination of Reverend Moon and the three million members of the Unification Church! The indictment issued today, having no merit and no substance whatsoever, is a direct attack on the Unification Church, which with the Catholic Church, is the latest religious group to be singled out by the government for harassment and vilification. Who is next?
Every lawyer we have consulted with emphasizes that false charges have been made against Reverend Moon only because he is a controversial religious figure. Lawyers pursuing this indictment are looking for cheap headlines, not justice. The United States has often abused its religious and racial minorities, and this abuse has continued and culminated against the Unification Church.
Reverend Moon is being charged with failing to pay income taxes on monies held in his name on behalf of the Unification Church. His holding title to church property in this manner is no different than the procedure followed by other religions, for example, the Catholic Church.
The very same bank account in Reverend Moon’s name, now being charged as a source of taxable income to him, was described by the Securities and Exchange Commission in their previous investigation as: “a depository for a Church fund” belonging to the international Unification Church movement. This description by the Securities and Exchange Commission is accurate, and is inconsistent with the charge that Reverend Moon owed personal taxes on the interest earned by this money.
Reverend Moon, in holding this money and in all of his other activities, acts on behalf of our Church. Not one penny was used for Reverend Moon’s personal purpose. Just as some in the community seek to discredit the Unification Church as a religion, the charges now made by the government disregard Reverend Moon’s status as our spiritual leader.
The money and property in his name was ours, the interest which the money earned was ours, and the indictment of Reverend Moon is therefore an indictment of us. We look forward to the opportunity to vindicate ourselves in the face of this latest government attack.
Ronald Reagan spoke about getting the government off our backs; he didn’t tell us he was going to put it around our necks. This is no attack against Reverend Moon, it is not even an attack against the Unification Church, it is a fundamental attack on all religions in America. We will fight this indictment with all of our strength and with all of our allies, and we will continue to speak up loudly against injustice.