Rev. Hyung "Sean" Jin Moon, a South Korean-American pastor has been accused of illegally using the decades old trademarked “Twelve Gates Mark” symbol of the Unification Church. The lawsuit against Rev. Moon was filed on Monday in the U.S. Middle District Court in Harrisburg by the Unification of World Christianity (also known as the Family Federation of World Peace). The plaintiff claimed that he had stolen the symbol for his own church, World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, to support his rather radical gun-centered theology. The plaintiff asserted that the political and religious ideologies on which Rev. Moon formed his cult were demeaning, and were worried it might degrade the reputation of the unification church among the masses – when it strikes them that the sanctuary is in fact, just a splinter group of the church.
“Family Federation is in no way affiliated with Sanctuary Church", says Rev. Richard Buessing, president of Family Federation USA. "While we respect every individual's right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and other constitutional rights, we oppose violence and do not use weapons in any of our religious ceremonies. Rev. Moon Hyung Jin Moon has disregarded his father's teachings regarding the importance of true love and reconciliation in addressing the problems of the world."
The red Twelve Gates Mark gives the appearance of a gleaming sun inside a square and a steering wheel. The symbol has been used in practice by the unification church since the past 5 decades, as the lawsuit claims. In contrast to this, the symbol which Rev. Moon uses is a derivative of the original – using a similar gleaming sun design but with a gold paint, with weaponry surrounding it. The Unification movement or Unificationism was officially established under the name Holy Spirit Association of the Unification World Christianity (HAS-UWC) in Seoul, South Korea by Rev. Moon’s Father Sun Myung Moon. The church was granted a U.S. patent for the symbol in 2009, 3 years prior to his death. ‘Moonie ‘ is a term used for anyone who is a member of the Unification Church.
The plaintiff, in the filing requested the judge to order Rev. Moon to stop using the symbol, simply because of the contrast in principles both parties functioned on. The sanctuary exaltedly teaches that ‘rod of iron’ which means ‘Word of God’ as discussed in the Book of Revelation is best exemplified with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle or a weapon of similar potency. The defendants however, replied to this by stating that they too bred on the ideas laid down by Sun Myung Moon and had every right to use the symbol.
Rev. Moon was the chosen heir to the church, but when his father Myung Moon died in 2012, he and his mother openly started expressing signs of non-compliance. He was eventually taken down as the international president of the family federation of world peace. Eventually, he started his own church in 2013 in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania which came to be known as the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church.
A major altercation was brought upon the sanctuary church when Rev. Moon interviewed Paul Mango, a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor. Rev. Moon was attired in a golden crown of bullets with an AR-15 resting on the table in front of him. The interview highlighted some discussions made on how schools were permissive fortifications where teachers promoted ‘homosexuality’ and ‘transgender’ political agendas and that colleges preached Sharia law. And of course, Mango who was seen responding in compliance of what Rev. Moon believed in, blew his shot at the GOP primary elections.
In news that gained national attention, the sanctuary church held a marriage vows renewal ceremony and asked participants to bring their AR-15 rifles. This was considered extremely offensive, especially in light of the fact that the Parkland, Florida shootings that killed 17, had occurred only days back (which also involved an AR-15 rifle). Preceding this, there was also a thank you dinner with President Donald Trump organized by the Wayne County Church involving the same AR-15 rifle.
Besides the whole argument around the issue of carrying arms in church, the bigger concern for America right now is to rework its law concerning the ownership of weaponry. If a person has got a clean criminal background check, buying a gun in the country is as simple as going grocery shopping.
A total of 199 mass shooting incidents have been reported in America as of July 30,2018. If the strings on who can buy a gun aren’t pulled soon, the numbers are on an upswing.