Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cult of the AR15 Assault Rifle
The “Rod of Iron” ministry in a tiny Pennsylvania town sparks alarm

Sean Moon, handsome, buff, intelligent and personable, is at times an earthy preacher delivering the Sunday sermon in sweats, using the word “pissed” and referring to himself in third person not as Reverend Moon, but as “The King.”
At other times, as in a series of his videos, he wears a crown of bullets behind his “Rod of Iron,” an AR15 assault rifle.
“The center of the kingdom of God is the crown and land ownership and GUNS! The AR15 assault rifle, the rod of iron - it’s the center of the kingdom!” he yells, pounding fists on the table in one of his videos. “It is the center of Christianity… It’s the center of Jesus’ own vision for his kingdom!” He then begins to dehumanize potential detractors who would likely consider him theologically deviant, namely clergy, by calling them "glitter bugs," “stupid idiots,” and "pieces of trash."
If Reverend Moon believes his own rhetoric, that he is indeed a king and the son of God incarnate, then a person clearly out of touch with reality is beginning a militia in the heart of the Poconos. 
Dehumanization is a theme that continues in another video where he shows himself indoctrinating children into militia activities. A piece of meat hangs from the ceiling of a garage-like space, and as though fireworks were taking place, the children ooh and ahh as Moon slashes the meat with a weapon. In another scene he is shown effectively teaching a youngster how to cut a person’s neck open using a martial arts blade.
In his book Less Than Human, Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others, David Livingstone Smith argues that “Dehumanization weakens our inhibitions against behaving cruelly toward our fellow human beings... It acts as a psychological lubricant, dissolving our inhibitions and inflaming our destructive passions. As such, it empowers us to perform acts that would… [otherwise] be unthinkable.”
An event held recently by Moon caused upheaval at a local grammar school, forcing a letter from school officials to children’s parents citing the “nature of the event” for the relocation of children to other campuses, the nature being an invite for 600 of Moon’s followers to bring their “Rod of Iron” AR15 assault rifles to the ceremony. The circumstance garnered a strong showing of Pennsylvania State Police observers.
“It is not a blessing of guns,” said church front man Timothy Elder in response to public opinion several days before the event, “It is a blessing of people.” True enough for those who believe Moon endowed with spiritual noblesse. More than 100 exclusively heterosexual couples showed for the occasion, many of whom carried AR15 assault rifles, all of whom wore crowns.
The ceremony was a strange mix of religious custom and pageantry. Festooned in a large filigree crown and purple cape emblazoned with Unification Church insignia, Moon processed into the congregation. Close behind, dressed in the same accoutrements but carrying a gold-colored AR15 assault rifle, followed “The Queen”. The Star Spangled Banner blazed from speakers. At one point in the ceremony a loud cheer went up, assault guns aloft.  
What people are drawn to a religious organization fairly obsessed with the assault rifle. Do they feel isolated or conflicted about their natures? Do some feel ineffectual to begin with, motivated by anger? Joseph Szimhart, a mental health professional and nationally respected specialist in cult information, intervention and education, believes not. He says to keep in mind that groups like Moon’s want deployable agents, so anyone who is very imbalanced or too fanatical right away will either be abandoned or kicked out. “For the most part, people are attracted to three things with any cult: self-improvement, world improvement, or a transcendent idea. Everyone is vulnerable to entertaining these ideas,” explains Szimhart. “In general, the average cult member is an average citizen that slowly gets radicalized while adapting to a new social system that becomes self-sealing. Those that remain [in a cult] do so while adapting to increasing demands over time.”  
During the ceremony all cult members bow to their “King,” Sean Moon.
A self-proclaimed messiah, Korean billionaire Sun Myung Moon founded the Unification Church, known to detractors as “Moonies.” During the ceremony, Sean Moon parroted his father Sun Moon’s teachings, saying of his father’s birth, “Christ returned in 1920,” then claimed his father was the word of God incarnate, the third Adam, and both man and God. Sun Moon claimed he and his wife were The True Parents of humanity, their thirteen offspring The True Children. In a sermon Sun Moon once boasted, “The whole world is in my hand, and I will conquer and subjugate the world.” He died in 2012.
The Unification Church religion is a mashup of Christianity, Confucianism, megalomania, and anti-communism. Accusers have long charged the group with kidnapping and brainwashing, incriminations denied by cult leaders, but reports by defectors are strikingly similar in their allegations. One persistent complaint is that lower members of the religion were expected to bring in $100 dollars a day from selling trinkets on the street or they would not be permitted to sleep.  
The level of hypocrisy in the leadership of this group is staggering. 
The youngest son of the Moon family, Sean was born in Tarrytown, New York, as a prince in the Moon clan, and is considered by followers to be as holy as his father. San Francisco based film director Teddy Hose, son of Moonie-member parents, shares his memories of growing up in a house owned by the cult near to the Moon family estate. “Sean Moon would stop by as a kid to terrorize the second generation kids. He'd lock them in a closet until they cried, made them fight each other for his pleasure, and fart in a room and command the kids to smell it up. Parents and guardians could do nothing because they saw him as spiritual royalty.”
After graduating the suave Hackley School, Sean Moon attended Harvard Extension School, and earned a Master of Theological Studies, which is lay training in theological studies, from Harvard Divinity School. In 2009 the senior Moon crowned him as his “heir and successor” in several ceremonies both in Korea and New York.  
Another of Sun Moon’s thirteen children, Justin Moon, a proud member of the Unification Church, began the gun manufacturing company Kahr Arms in 1993. With a 5 million dollar loan from his father, who was famous for preaching world peace, Justin developed and produced small, highly concealable handguns that fire large, deadly ammunition; some inner-city emergency physicians blame those guns for a drastic rise in fatal shootings.
Justin Moon’s Kahr Arms relocated from Rockland County, NY, to Pike County, PA, a short drive from the Unification Church in Newfoundland. Kahr Arms’ adjoining gun shop and outlet, Tommy Gun, welcomed Donald Trump’s son Eric to speak for its 2016 grand opening.
With the death of Sun Myung Moon his organization splintered, one portent of which was spearheaded by Sean Moon. The Young Jin Moon Charitable Foundation, a non-profit established in 1999 with assets of 9.2 million, financed by Kahr Arms, bankrolled the 2013 purchase of a former Catholic church in Newfoundland, PA, where Sean Moon conducts his activities.
During his blessing ceremony with AR15’s, Sean Moon claimed all forms of political Satanism will cease on the face of the earth. In a press release prepared for the event, he stated, “When the Communists took over [North Korea] he [Sun Myung Moon] was imprisoned and sent to Hungnam prison where people were worked to death.” Nevertheless, Sean Moon reports that he attended the 2011 funeral of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, paying his respects directly to the succeeding tyrant, Kim Jong Un. Following the death of Sun Myung Moon, Sean Moon visited communist North Korea again, this time receiving official condolences from the brutal, xenophobic Kim Jong Un. Moon, who preaches strident anti-communism, brags about being allowed to travel directly from the South Korean capital of Seoul to the North Korean capital of Pyeongyang, passing directly through the demilitarized zone by car.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society, has designated “Rod of Iron” ministries a hate group, stating the Unification Church’s ideology is racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic. 
Moon ignored numerous requests to discuss his “Rod of Iron” ministries. In a written statement he remarks, in part, “Christians… are being persecuted and even killed because of their beliefs in many countries around the world… The right to self-defense with a firearm is not only an American right; it is a human right… Only God gets to define what his kingdom is and how it will be ruled. It will not be a ‘welfare state’… In the Book of Revelation, Christ speaks repeatedly of ‘ruling with a Rod of Iron’… In the same way, each of us is called to use the power of the ‘Rod of Iron’ [AR15 assault rifle] not to harm or oppress as has been done in the satanic kingdoms of this world, but to protect God’s children.”