Give Us Back Our Religious Freedom And Honor

(19, February 1996)

The HSA-UWC or Unification Church, Philippines has been unfairly portrayed and maligned by some irresponsible government officials and the media. This statement seeks to clarify and refute the various erroneous, unsubstantiated, and baseless reports and misperceptions.

1. Nature of the Holy Blessing - The Holy Blessing Ceremonies have been held since 1960.The most recent ceremony, composed of couples numbering up to 360,000, was held last August 25, 1995. These are religious rites in which the officiators, Rev. & Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, or their representatives, give their benediction or blessing upon the couples who pledge to love each other eternally. This ceremony is the core of the Unificationist faith and religious tradition. It is the most sacred sacrament of the Church. In this ceremony, no marriage is being contracted.

2. ILLEGAL MARRIAGE - The International Holy Blessing at the PICC on January 23, 1996 was not a marriage ceremony but was merely a religious rite in which the couples made their commitment and pledge to marry and love forever. The legal marriage may be effected after 40 days or up to 3 years based on the mutual preference of the couple. When the formal union takes place, the usual licenses are obtained according to the laws of each country. These ceremonies have been taking place in the Philippines in the past; it is only now that their legality has been questioned.

3. WHOLESALE WEDDING TO KOREANS - While the majority of the couples who participated in the January 23, 1996 Blessing Ceremony were Korean-Filipino couples, others were Filipino couples, or Filipino-International couples, and the rest were previously married Filipino couples who desired to renew their marriage vows through the Blessing Ceremony. During the 1992 Holy Blessing, there were 800 Filipino-Japanese couples who participated.

4. MAIL-ORDER-BRIDES - International Holy Blessings, as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, have been held since 1960 with the largest number of 360,000 couples blessed in August 25, 1995, composed of participants coming from 160 countries. People join the movement voluntarily; part of our belief is that the Reverend Moon can match them with a life partner. These unions are taken in a holy and religious context as part of our religious faith, and could never be referred to in a business context as the Mail-Order-Bride allegations.

5. ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT - Members who joined the Church or who participated in the Blessing Ceremonies have been attracted by the precepts of the Unification Principle of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, as advocated by the Church. The Principle teaches the path towards becoming a perfected individual, fulfilling an ideal true family based on marital fidelity, and achieving world peace and Gods Kingdom of Heaven on earth. As such, the allegations of recruitment of Filipinas as workers to be domestic helpers overseas or prostitutes is obviously preposterous.

6. FINANCIAL ALLEGATION OF USD $2,000 FEE. - There is no compulsory requirement for membership fee or tithing in HSA-UWC. According to the personal volition of each member, he may desire to follow the Biblical tradition of tithing or donations. At the time of the Holy Blessing , it is a voluntary tradition to give thankgiving donations for the purpose of defraying the expenses related to the event.

7. INSTANT AND ABANDONED BRIDES- The various reports about instant" and abandoned brides are, as usual, misperceptions of uninformed individuals. It is true that some of the couples met personally only for the first time, but they had already received the photos of their fiances and had been corresponding by letter and by phone before that time. After the Blessing Ceremony, the unions are not consummated immediately but subjected to a period of waiting and getting to know each other, as well as attending advanced seminars on moral values. The Korean men returned to Korea after the Holy Blessing in order to make preparations for future family life with their Filipina fiances.

8. MATCHING-BLESSING-MARRIAGE - Only single persons can apply to be paired with a future spouse by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who has that unique God-given gift of matching, based on the complimentarity and compatibility of the partners, enhancing the couples peace, welfare, and happiness. A matched person may reject the recommended partner, which is seldom. If the pairing is accepted, the relationship leads to courtship, blessing, marriage, and an ideal family. Reverend Moon' s matching of couples stems from a long Asian tradition of arranged marriages now applied in a religious context.

9. BID HOLD DEPARTURE ORDERS - The Bureau of Immigration and Deportations (BID)claims of illegal activities by the Unification Church that led to the unjust hold orders of the PICC Blessing participants and the actual off-loading of 58 Filipinas bound for Seoul is based on unverified, unsubstantiated, and baseless information. The human rights of the affected victims have been violated.

10. EXPLOITED FILIPINA IN SEOUL - A certain Aida Santos claimed to have been recruited by Jun Felimon and reported sexual exploitation by her husband. This person gave a report to the Philippine Embassy in Seoul but failed to physically present herself until now. There is a case of a Filipina member who unceremoniously left the Churchs center in Seoul after she could not be married legally because she falsely applied as a single unmarried individual. She even has a child. Because she was advised to return to the Philippines to settle her legal bind, she just disappeared. If she became a prostitute after her disappearance, that is her own decision.

11. NO BRAINWASHING OR EXPLOITATION OF RURAL ILLITERATES - Media reports about a registered nurse brought to BID by Jaime Tadeo explicitly contradicts the accusations of exploitation of peasants daughters. Most of the Churchs members are educated, as the registered nurse. Nobody is exploited by the Church. Members join voluntarily depending on their desire for closeness to God and adherence to Gods commandments. No one is brainwashed. Members join because they feel that their aspirations for peace, for their welfare, and for their happiness can be attained by exercising and embracing Reverend Moons Divine Principle.

12. FALSE ACCUSATIONS - Critics, detractors, and enemies of the Unification Movement have throughout the years perpetuated ridiculous accusations, such as connecting the Movement with the C.I.A., the K. C.I.A., the Children of God, the Yakuza and many others. There is not a single indication of these connections, but the vilification persists.

13. VILIFICATION CAMPAIGN - The vilification campaign goes on without let-up, now having erupted in the Philippines. The Unification Movement, with its millions of members and supporters in 163 countries and its global activities in academe, culture, youth, world peace, media, religion, moral reform and economic development can hardly be regarded as a cult. The pejorative name given to Unificationists as Moonies manifest the unfair maligning done by the Movements detractors borne out of jealousy or religious bigotry.

14. BANNED Church - The Unification Movement is welcomed in all countries except in Singapore which has also banned several other legitimate groups for one reason or another. HSA-UWC is a bona fide, religious organization registered in the Philippines by SEC. There is not an iota of clear evidence to show that any illegal activity has ever been committed, therefore, the call for banning of our movement would constitute a direct violation of our religious freedom and human rights. In fact, the Holy Blessing Ceremony for 3.6 million couples in 1997 will be held in Washington D.C. upon the invitation of the City Mayor.

15. MESSIAH AND TRUE PARENTS - Reverend Sun Myung Moon has been criticized for claiming to be a modern Messiah (meaning anointed or saviour based on the Jewish term MOSCHIAH and Greek term CHRISTUS) and for declaring himself and his wife to be True Parents (or ideal parents, as God envisioned. Adam and Eve before they committed original sin.) Reverend Moon explicitly declares that God wants all people to become Messiahs and True Parents. This is the revelation he received from Heavenly Father for the achievement of world peace and the establishment of Gods Kingdom on earth and in Heaven.