The purpose of this column is to discuss threats to our First Amendment rights, particularly those protected by the "establishment clause" and "free exercise clause" which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.."
The First Amendment, like the muscles of our bodies, left unused, may atrophy. The idea of self-government presumes that unless we think and act for ourselves, someone else will probably do it for us. Thus, "Free Exercise" is intended as a First Amendment workout, to help sustain our ability to think and act for ourselves.
One would think that the orthodoxies of the Christian Right would clash with the Unification Church of self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon. But amongst the strange bedfellows of politics, there are those who are somehow able to relate to both.
One is former Rep. Mark Siljander (R-MI), who now is running for the GOP nomination for Congress from northern Virginia. Siljander served in the House from 1981-86, but was turned out by the voters, partly because of extremist statements that smacked of religious bigotry. In 1986, for example, Siljander taped a message soliciting campaign support from ministers to "help break the back of Satan." He now says he wants to keep religion out of his campaign.
Nevertheless, a politician's past is often a prologue. Siljander has been a steering committee member of the secretive, theocratic Coalition on Revival (COR) since 1986. In 1990, he was listed as a leader of a COR political arm, the National Coordinating Council (NCC) whose agenda includes the abolition of public schools, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve by the year 2000. The NCC also calls for taking over county governments and the establishment of "Christian"-controlled county militias.
Siljander is slated as a columnist for COR's new journal, Crosswinds. While COR wages war with the "forces of darkness," Crosswinds is to provide a "helicopter view of the battlefield."
COR steering committee members are required to agree with such doctrines as "We deny that anyone, Jew or Gentile, believer or unbeliever, private person or public official, is exempt from the moral and judicial obligation before God to submit to Christ's Lordship over every aspect of his life in thought, word, and deed."
How then to account for Siljander's involvement in political fronts of the ever-controversial Rev. Moon? Siljander spoke at conferences sponsored by CAUSA, a Moon political unit, in 1985 and 1986. These meetings promote the Moon doctrine of "Godism" or "CAUSA ideology."
"Democracy arose out of the lack of absolute values, absolute power, and absolute being," wrote top Moon evangelist Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak in 1983. "When there are no absolutes, the majority opinion is considered the best idea. Godism however, has not been the majority idea...Therefore through democratic elections, people have not selected God's will, goodness, True Parents, or the Messiah. Our goal and purpose is to follow Godism."
The "True Parents," according to Unification Church theology, are Rev. and Mrs. Moon. The Unification Church is the "True Family." Moon himself desires the "subjugation of the American population and government," and "an automatic theocracy to rule the world."
Siljander told the Times of Springfield, Virginia, that he returned his speaking fees when he found out that CAUSA was a Moon group. This knowledge did not, however, prevent his joining the national policy board of the American Freedom Coalition (AFC) in 1987. AFC is another Moon front, formed by the political marriage of CAUSA and Christian Voice. Christian Voice is a political network and lobbying group, on whose advisory board Siljander has also sat.
Many conservatives, however, are wary of Moon. Bob Dugan of the National Association of Evangelicals warned in 1988 of covert Moon control of the AFC, and that "Christian theology...cannot be reconciled with Unification theology." Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation told CBS in 1985, that "All Americans should be concerned" because Moon "opposes the constitutional system of government in the United States of America."
Christian Right candidates usually portray themselves as advocates of "traditional values" or "family values." What does Mark Siljander think about the "True Family" of Rev. Moon? Does the candidate count democracy among the "traditional values?" Virginia voters may want to know.