Moon front group gets $80,000 in federal money


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Bill Berkowitz
May 14, 2007

Sun Myung Moon front group gets $80,000 in federal money to celebrate Martin 
Luther King Jr. day

Moonies claim credit for MLK's revered status

In terms of interracial issues in the nation of America once again, you talk 
about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The one who has actually brought Martin Luther 
King, a figurehead among the black community within the United States; it has 
been my father's work that's really raised Martin Luther King on the national 
level, to be respected nationally. So in the realm of interracial, you have to 
talk about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. -- Hyun Jin Moon, January 13, 2007

If there was an organization that received taxpayer money and appeared to be 
doing reasonably good things in the community, would you care whether that 
organization was a front group for a powerful political/religious enterprise? 
Would it matter to you that the head of that enterprise had a much broader -- 
some call it an anti-democratic -- agenda, than merely helping out in the 
community? Would you warn your neighbors about the group?

Those were some of the questions facing Connecticut State Senator Bill Finch 
when he recognized that the Bridgeport, Connecticut-based Service for Peace (SFP
- website) was affiliated with the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.

On December 8, 2005, Finch posted the following information on his website:

In its heyday the Moon Organization had literally hundreds of "front groups." 
These groups generally had sunny exteriors with lofty and socially conscientious
goals. Their real purpose was to recruit unsuspecting, idealistic people into 
the Moon web. Before recruits knew it the idealistic goals were gone and they 
were being drawn into Moon's agenda of fundraising, recruiting, weird 
conferences and mass weddings of strangers. This all in the name of a 
pseudo-religion, which demands you reject your parents and embrace Moon and his 
wife as your "True Parents."

The Moon Organization is opening a new front group right here in Bridgeport. 
Service for Peace will locate in the Black Rock Arts Center. Perhaps you saw the
CT Post article touting this group, which will be working to involve the area 
youth with their idealistic mission. Before you or your family members get 
involved check them out. My friend, Steve Hassan, author and self - described 
former "Moonie" keeps a web site where you can check out any group that sounds 
fishy or too good to be true. Steve's website is

A broken clock is right two times a day. Even cult front groups do good work. 
Don't be misled by slick brochures with lofty goals and lots of pictures of 
smiling faces. Those faces year later will be crying over the years of their 
lives wasted serving Moon or other cult leaders.

Be skeptical and forewarned.

It is unlikely that Finch was prepared for some of the responses he subsequently
received. One person responded:

Bill I was at their grand opening and have worked with Charles the head of 
Service for Peace in our Rotary club for a couple years now. Beware of people 
doing good works?I don't see it. The Martin Luther King Inititive seems like a 
good idea that resonates with many people. What should I fear? when do they make
their move? what are the tell tale signs that I'm about to be dragged off to 
some Mooney brain washing room? Bill I've been listening to this rhetoric for 
years and I see very little proof of any wrong doing on these peoples part. Am I
missing something???????

Someone signing on as "Anonymous" suggested that the State Senator's comments 
were "ludicrous": "Who are you to judge a world wide religious movement?" 
Another anonymous poster wrote: "I find it to be a chilling reprehensible 
development when an elected government official supports and sanctions religious
bigotry on his blog."

Diana Vaptzarova, the Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. 
Initiative at Service for Peace in Bridgeport also responded:

Service For Peace is a non-profit, non-religious organization with a mission to 
provide service-learning opportunities to everyone who wants to improve 
themselves and their communities and work for lasting peace. Our service 
programs deepen cooperation between diverse groups and communities and the 
world, leading to lasting change.

Last week, Service For Peace was one of six non-profit organizations nationwide 
to receive a federal grant totaling almost ‹ of a million over three years from 
the National Corporation for Community Service in support of projects for Martin
Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

While organized religion is not my "cuppa tea" and I am not a member of the 
Unification Church or any other church, I believe people have different paths in
their lives and I respect their choices. In fact, I find diversity of race, 
ethnicity, religion, etc. not only intriguing but also enriching. At Service for
Peace, when we choose our partners or employees, we do not discriminate on any 
basis, including that of religious affiliation. As a result we work with a 
diverse group of people from different ethnicities, races, religions and 

Several other responders supported Finch.

Finch wasn't a stranger to Moon enterprises. In 1992, as a member of the 
anti-Moon Coalition of Concerned Citizens, he was opposed to affiliating the 
Bridgeport-based College with Moon, and protested outside a meeting of the newly
constituted board of trustees, the Connecticut Post reported. Led by then 
alderman Finch and fellow alderman Peter Niles, as well as Rabbi Israel Stein of
the Congregation Rodeph Shalom, the protesters said at the time they would 
continue trying to thwart the merger through legal action. (From "Moon group 
members join board," by Debbie Carvalko, Connecticut Post, August 6, 1992.)

And in 1997, then Bridgeport City Council member Finch was quoted in a 
Washington Post report by Marc Fisher and Jeff Leen headlined "Stymied in U.S., 
Moon's Church Sounds a Retreat." ""If you own a college [Moon owns Bridgeport 
University] and want to get somebody into the country, all you have to do is 
call them a student," said Finch, a former UB alumni director who now heads the 
Coalition of Concerned Citizens. "And if you want to bring money into the 
country, all you have to do is call it tuition."

Service for Peace

In December 2005, The Corporation for National and Community Service announced 
it was giving out six grants totaling $500,000 "to support projects across the 
country on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service." Moon's Service for Peace
was given $80,000. A government press release pointed out that Service for Peace
"plans to use its $80,000 grant to make subgrants in several states. The 
organization plans to have up to 70 project sites a year, with between 100 and 
2,000 volunteers at each site on community-focused projects."

According to its website, "The Corporation for National and Community Service 
provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their 
communities and country through three programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and 
Learn and Serve America. Together with USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is 
working to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in 

At its website, Service for Peace says it is "an international not-for-profit 
organization that brings diverse groups together in service in order to cross 
barriers of race, religion, class, creed, or national origin, and address urgent
social needs."

"On MLK Day, January 15th, 2007, Service for Peace partners and chapters engaged
66,562 volunteers in 857 projects in 17 cities in 'Advancing the Dream for 
Peaceful Communities,'" the organization's website reported.

Michael Balcomb, National Director of Service for Peace USA, is a longtime 
member of the Unification Church. He is cited as a co-founder of the Pure Love 
Alliance (PLA), which, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in July 2000, "one cult 
expert described as a 'front' for the controversial Unification Church..." In a 
letter to the London Times dated September 27, 1999, Balcomb wrote to protest 
the "lazily researched" article critical of Moon's operations in Jardim, Brazil:

How odd that Ms. [Gabriella] Gamini [the author of the piece] made time to 
interview several local skeptics, none of whom appear to have even visited New 
Hope, but apart from the farm manager did not bother to talk to even one of the 
hundreds of Unificationists, including myself and a couple of dozen Britons, who
thought the effort and expense of a journey to this distant corner of the world 
was worthwhile.

"Tax documents show that Service for Peace is affiliated with the Collegiate 
Association for the Research of Principles, a Moon group for college students 
founded in 1984," Church & State, a publication of Americans United for 
Separation of Church and State (Americans United), reported in March 2006.

Moon elevates King?
A long-time Moon watcher recently sent me the following e-mail:

Hyun Jin Moon (aka Preston) -- Moon's third son by the current marriage and 
likely heir to the Moon throne -- spoke before a group of Korean officials on 
Jan 13, 2007. He talked about how he felt like the prodigal son coming to Korea,
where he was born, and how he felt more comfortable talking to people of other 
countries who he has spent more time with.

Then he said "...many Koreans have a very negative image of my father which to 
me was hard for me to understand. Especially since, as a Korean man and as an 
Asian, he transcended the color and racial barriers in the most powerful nation 
of America where the most prestigious families as well as leaders of that nation
respect and honor his work."

Hyun Jin insisted that it was impossible to discuss interfaith dialogue in 
America without talking about Moon. And he claimed that "Sun Myung Moon was the 
one who initiated the interfaith movement that is now the basis upon which the 
UN is trying to resolve this peace issue in the Middle East."

Then Hyun Jin talked about how Moon had caused Martin Luther King "to be 
respected nationally":

In terms of interracial issues in the nation of America once again, you talk 
about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The one who has actually brought Martin Luther 
King, a figurehead among the black community within the United States; it has 
been my father's work that's really raised Martin Luther King on the national 
level, to be respected nationally. So in the realm of interracial, you have to 
talk about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Several longtime close observers of Moon's operations have made it clear that 
the $80,000 grant to Service for Peace is merely a drop in the financial bucket.
Far more important to Moon is continuing to gain access to, and build relations 
with, the Black community.

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