- Donald Trump spoke at an event on Saturday to congratulate the founders of the controversial Unification Church.
- The church, whose worshipers are often referred to as the ‘Moonies’, has been widely described as a cult.
- A former cult member said the group has strong ties to the modern Republican Party.
On Saturday, Donald Trump spoke at a conference hosted by Hak Ja Han Moon, the widow of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the controversial Unification Church.
Reverend Moon founded the church in South Korea in 1954 before moving to the United States in 1971, and he has been widely described as a worship.
Donald Trump was a guest speaker at the “Rally of Hope” event, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of September 11.
—Jim Stewartson, anti-fascist, #RIPQ ️ (@jimstewartson) September 12, 2021
In his speech, Trump said, “I want to thank the Federation for Universal Peace and in particular Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, a wonderful person, for his incredible work for peace around the world.”
“What they have accomplished on the peninsula is simply amazing. In just a few decades, the inspiration they have brought to the entire planet is incredible, and I congratulate you again and again,” Trump said of the couple.
Reverend Moon called himself Messiah and claimed that he had been asked by Jesus Christ to continue his work on earth.
The controversial church, whose worshipers are colloquially referred to as “Moonies,” gained notoriety by arranging mass marriages between strangers.
The group is still active in the world.
In his speech, Donald Trump also took the opportunity to take credit for improving the security situation on the Korean peninsula.
“Looking back today, it’s easy to forget how dangerous the situation was when I was elected,” Trump said.
“Missiles were flying, nuclear weapons were being tested and powerful threats were emitted every day.”
“Under my leadership, the United States has adopted a policy of unprecedented force,” Trump said.
Jim Stewartson, founder of anti-disinformation organization The Think Project, wrote on Twitter that the event was “deeply harmful and deceptive”.
This is presented by a who’s who of establishment extremists as some kind of peace mission to unify Korea, ”Stewartson wrote.
“In reality, it is dangerous propaganda that whitewashes a dangerous sect.”
Those who left the group, including one of Moon’s daughters, described being mistreated while at church.
In a blog post, Steve Hassan, a former church member who is now a cult expert, described how the group indoctrinates members.
Hassan added on Twitter that the group had long-standing ties to Donald Trump and the modern Republican Party.
—Steven Hassan, PhD (@CultExpert) August 10, 2021
Other GOP figures, including former vice-presidents Mike Pence and Dick Cheney, spoke at events hosted by the group.
Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, the Moon’s son, campaigned for Donald Trump and attended the Capitol Uprising on January 6.
He also formed a derivative church called World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church in Pennsylvania, which made Political MAGA a central principle.
The group worships while carrying AR-15 rifles and owns a 40-acre resort in Texas which they claim is a safe haven for “Patriots.”