Is Forum Integrity Eclipsed by Moon?

“SCIENTISTS: DON’T HELP MOON—GO HOME!” So read a poster carried by one of fourteen demonstrators in a near-freezing drizzle outside the Sheraton-Boston Hotel. The scene was the day after Thanksgiving and start of the seventh International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), sponsored by Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church.

Undeterred, some 480 top-drawer scientists from more than fifty nations—plus about 180 spouses, 100 observers, and 100 staff members (most of them students from the church’s seminary in Barrytown, New York)—gathered in the grand ballroom for the opening plenary session and Moon’s “Founder’s Address.” Based on the conference theme “The Reevaluation of Existing Values and the Search for Absolute Values,” Moon’s speech was read in English, but copies were distributed beforehand because of Moon’s heavy Korean accent.

The International Cultural Foundation (ICF), a part of the Moon empire that stages scientific functions, planned this conference, for which it spent $500,000—much of that being earmarked for travel and hospitality costs for the participants. Those people involved in leadership roles, including scholars who delivered some eighty formal papers, received “several hundred dollars” each (said to be the going rate at comparable gatherings, according to ICUS secretary-general Michael Young Warder). ICUS board chairman Eugene P. Wigner, professor of physics emeritus at Princeton University, was one of several Nobel laureates who attended.

In a program statement, planners described the purpose of the ICUS as providing an “opportunity for scholars and scientists to reflect upon the nature of knowledge and to discuss the relationship of science to the standard of value.” The format was standard for gatherings of professional academicians, with opening and closing plenary sessions and discussion of scholarly papers. Meetings of the Religion and Philosophy Committee, which were headed by Richard L. Rubenstein, professor of religion and philosophy at Florida State University, attracted large audiences. Panelists included Gabriel Vahanian (Syracuse University), Herbert Richardson (University of Toronto), and Walter Kaufmann (Princeton University). Not serving in leadership capacities, but listed as participants, were Frederick Ferre (Dickinson College), Jack Finegan (Pacific School of Religion), C. Eric Lincoln (Duke University), and author Richard Quebedeaux (The Young Evangelicals, The New Charismatics, and The Worldly Evangelicals).

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Conspicuously absent from conference discussion was any reference to Unification Church theology. A climate of academic freedom prevailed, as demonstrated by the variety of theological positions expressed by conference speakers—ranging from the warm evangelicalism of President Etienne Trocmé of the Universite des Sciences Humaines, Strasbourg, France, to the dour cynicism of a self-styled “atheist Jew” who proclaimed, “I must say that the idea of immortality fills me with the deepest horror.”

At a press conference, several ICUS leaders defended their involvement. Rubenstein, who was attending his third conference, said he had received a large amount of “hostile mail” critical of his participation. He asserted, however, that participation at the conference does not imply endorsement of Moon’s ideology. Daniel Lerner, of M.I.T., chairman of the ICUS committee on the social sciences, made available a form letter addressed to critics, in which he said in part “I have done the work (without fee) because this is the most important world conference of scholars that I know about.”

Moon’s appearance at the conference was his first in the United States since the release last November of a report by the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, which had finished an eighteen-month investigation of the Unification Church. In that report, the “Moon Organization” was charged with violation of certain U.S. immigration, banking, and tax laws, among others. The subcommittee, which was led by congressman Donald Fraser, also charged Moon with attempting to establish his own world government while working under the guise of a religious movement.

K.H. Barney, leader of the anti-ICUS demonstration, concurred with a conclusion of the Fraser subcommittee: Moon uses science conferences as part of his goal of “controlling major institutions in the United States and other key nations and of influencing political decisions and policies.” Barney, whose daughter was a Moonie for two years, worked closely with the Fraser committee. His Ad Hoc Committee of Concerned Parents blitzed members of Congress with 10,000 letters in support of a House resolution requesting that Moon appear before the Fraser subcommittee to answer questions, but the bill died in committee (Moon was traveling overseas in Britain, Japan, and South Korea while the subcommittee was convened).

In an interview, Neil A. Salonen, 33, a former Lutheran who now is president of both the Unification Church and the ICF, denied charges that conference participants were being exploited by Moon in an effort to gain acceptance for his movement. Salonen said that he finds “very offensive” the charges in the Fraser report that the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) had founded the Unification Church, that Moon had been arrested on morals charges, that the Unification Church engages in “brainwashing,” and that Moon has “operational ties” with the KCIA.

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Salonen acknowledges, however, that Moon “would, as any religious leader, like to influence the whole world and everybody in it.” But Salonen says there is nothing “insidious” in this and denies there is any attempt to manipulate people.

Barney and his corps of young protestors made available to ICUS participants copies of that portion of the Fraser report dealing with the Unification Church. At the same time, church officials issued a ten-page rebuttal, in which they charged Fraser and his staff with “intentionally discrediting the Unification Church and its founder, and contributing to an atmosphere of religious bigotry and persecution.” The statement said there was no conspiracy or subversive elements in the church, but that it exists “primarily to share the Divine Principle Revelation with the public.…” They concluded by saying, “The Unification Church is a peaceable religious movement of loyal Americans who love God.…”

A sumptuous banquet on Sunday ended the conference. The Moon-sponsored New Hope Singers International (direct from an engagement at the Kennedy Center in Washington), provided a portion of the evening entertainment. Moon, himself, sang a Korean ballad, and his wife and three of the couple’s eleven children were introduced to the assemblies.

In a brief parting speech, he expressed personal shock over the tragedy in Guyana. At one point he stated, “… one reason that the Guyana tragedy frightens so many people is that it reminds us that we, ourselves, could be destroyed by a madman in a position of power.”


The Ncc
Skipping Out Over Walker

If the National Council of Churches (NCC) doesn’t want Lucius Walker, then the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) doesn’t want the NCC.

That’s the upshot of the IFCO decision last month to dissociate the organization from the NCC Division of Church and Society. Its board of directors was angered by the firing of Walker last November as the head of the NCC division. The NCC executive committee had voted to dismiss Walker on grounds of fiscal mismanagement within the division, citing budget deficits there of $228,000 (see the Dec. 1, 1978, issue, page 48).

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Walker, a black social activist, was the first director of IFCO when it formed in 1967, and he was instrumental in bringing IFCO into the Division of Church and Society two years ago. (IFCO, a coalition of religious and community groups involved in funding a variety of minority and social action programs, has retained its corporate form and tax status, however.)

Walker told the Religious News Service that the IFCO decision to support him expressed disapproval toward “the disengagement of the Council from the social issues which confront us.”

IFCO benefited by its association with the NCC, since it makes financial appeals to many of the same denominations that support the NCC, said Dean Kelley, the acting administrator of the Division of Church and Society. Likewise, the NCC gained by its IFCO link, said Kelley, since IFCO had ties with community groups, minority caucuses, and Third World interests that the NCC otherwise alone did not.

Although the NCC executive committee must give final approval for the IFCO pull-out, Kelley said that most ties would be severed this month. IFCO officials planned to move from NCC headquarters in Manhattan to a Harlem brownstone that has a much lower rent.

Walker’s severance pay from the NCC runs out in March, and the IFCO board has asked him to become its paid executive director after that time. He was considering that offer, and in the interim was serving as a volunteer consultant to the group.

Financial Dealings
Short Cut: Convincing Preacher to Con Man

James Roy Whitby, Sr., a former Southern Baptist pastor and evangelist, is finding himself in deeper trouble with the law these days. He was indicted with four other men last month by a Muskogee, Oklahoma, grand jury on twenty-seven counts of mail fraud and aiding and abetting in mail fraud, eight counts of security fraud violations, and one count of conspiracy with thirteen overt acts.

The indictment further weakens Whitby’s once-firm reputation. While he was director of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Youth for Christ (YFC) organization, he reportedly helped lead singer Anita Bryant—then a Tulsa high school student—to Christ. At one time, the 50-year-old Whitby did a “fantastic job as an evangelist,” said a former associate.

But when the indictment was served, Whitby already was in federal custody in Tulsa. He was convicted last September of defrauding an 83-year-old Tulsa area woman of $25,000 and of the interstate transportation of that money, according to FBI officials in Oklahoma City. Whitby began serving a two-and-one-half-year jail term last November on that charge.

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Federal authorities have been investigating Whitby since 1974. He was arrested nearly two years ago on a complaint that he defrauded a Swiss bank through a bond issue in the name of Gospel Outreach, a short-lived mission agency that Whitby founded in Tulsa. However, that charge was dismissed at the request of federal authorities who were still investigating the case (see the April 15, 1977, issue, page 60).

The recent indictment against Whitby marks the culmination of that earlier investigation; it alleges that Whitby and the codefendants sold more than $4 million in worthless Gospel Outreach bonds to persons in the United States and Europe. The indictment also alleges that prospective buyers were told the bonds were backed by property in New Cuyama, California, which was valued at $6.7 million. However, the indictment continues, the land was worth only $1.5 million and the men didn’t own it. The complaint also alleges that the men offered 9 per cent interest payments on the bonds once every six months. When the first payments fell due, it is alleged, only five dollars were in the Gospel Outreach account in the Case State Bank of Stonewall, Oklahoma. The investors were not paid, and Whitby allegedly began denying that the bonds ever existed.

Whitby has often been a man to take “short cuts,” according to a former associate. He left the Tulsa YFC organization after twenty years in 1968—about the time that YFC headquarters began instituting tighter controls on local chapters, according to international president Jay Kesler (although Kesler said the controls may not have been the reason that Whitby finally left the organization).

According to Kesler, YFC established a chartering process that included the signing of the doctrinal statement used by the National Association of Evangelicals, formation of an interdenominational board of directors, and an annual outside audit. Kesler said that Whitby disagreed with the chartering procedures and felt that YFC was “becoming too centrally controlled.”

After leaving YFC, Whitby became a traveling evangelist. He used the respected Go Ye Mission and its Christian boarding school, Markoma School of the Bible, for a home base. Homer Mouttet, president of the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, mission, said that Whitby worked from there in 1968 and 1969 and was a member of its board of directors.

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However, Whitby was “released” from the Go Ye Mission board in 1972, said Mouttet. “He was dabbling in things that we just couldn’t back,” Mouttet explained. He believed that Whitby’s original motives were “genuine,” but that he got involved in “questionable acts.”

In 1972 Whitby became fully involved with his Gospel Outreach organization; it reportedly was established to help needy people around the world, and, according to Mouttet, was involved in fundraising for religious groups and projects.

Whitby made headlines in early summer, 1972, when he organized a small band of young people for a 1,000-mile, fundraising march from Tulsa to San Miguel, Mexico. The young people collected donations as they went, and enough money was raised for construction in San Miguel of an orphanage, a school classroom, and a dormitory for underprivileged Mexicans.

For a time, Whitby was involved in a mission operation known as the Ethiopian Call, which was organized by Oklahoma physicians. Religious News Service reported at the time that Whitby proposed to raise money for the operation by striking silver medallions of the late Emperor Haile Selassie to be sold for $50 each. Whitby was doing some type of mission work in the Philippines until last April. A friend of Whitby said that Whitby asked him to donate 1,900 Holstein heifers to the Philippines project.

Whitby is scheduled for jury trial later this month in a Muskogee federal courtroom. FBI officials said he faces a maximum sentence of 180 years on the thirty-six counts.

The other men named in the indictment with Whitby were Ray Evan Mason, 46, the former president of the Case State Bank in Stonewall, two Chicago area securities dealers, and Tillman Jackson, a former Baptist pastor from Los Angeles.

With the exception of Case, all of the men have been previously tried and convicted of federal fraud violations, FBI officials say. Jackson was once imprisoned on conspiracy charges in connection with fraudulent transactions of the now defunct Baptist Foundation of America. Whitby’s intercession on his friend’s behalf before a California parole board was instrumental in getting Jackson a suspended sentence.

Friends and former associates of Whitby have trouble explaining how the once-respected evangelist got in so much trouble. “This has been a hurtful thing to some of us,” Go Ye Mission president Mouttet said. “He was an excellent speaker and evangelist. At one time, there were few in the country like him.”

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North American Scene

Black evangelist Tom Skinner has agreed to host “The PTL Club” television talk show once a month, officials of the PTL Network announced. Skinner, team chaplain of the Washington Redskins and director of a wide-ranging ministry to blacks, also will have a one-hour weekly show aimed at inner-city blacks. It will be beamed on PTL’s leased satellite.

Wake Forest University trustees last month voted to remove their school from church control. They deleted clauses from the school charter and bylaws that give the Baptist (Southern) State Convention of North Carolina the right to elect or fire trustees, and removed a phrase stating that they will operate “as an agency” of the convention. The trustees still promised to operate the liberal arts school as a “Christian university” and to maintain communication with the convention.

More than one-half million fewer households watched the ABC network in November than during the previous nine weeks, according to figures released by the A.C. Nielsen Company in its recently completed “sweeps.” Donald E. Wildmon, executive director of the National Federation for Decency, was elated by the figures. He attributed the drop—which he says will cost the network millions of dollars in advertising revenues—to a November boycott of the network that was planned by his group to protest sex, violence, and profanity in programming.

Work began recently on a new hymnal and service book for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The LCMS had created a stir when it withdrew its support of the new Lutheran Book of Worship, which had been a joint project of the LCMS, the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada. LCMS Commission on Worship members say they still will use some materials from the Lutheran Book of Worship for inclusion in their own book.

A woman who was arrested with two others for disrupting services last August at First Baptist Church in Washington was convicted of unlawful entry and of remaining on the premises without authority (see September 8 issue, p. 58). Alice McCormack had spoken her opposition to the neutron bomb during a worship service attended by President Carter. Although he regretted that the matter had to be settled in court, pastor Charles Trentham made no apologies, saying that First Baptist should not be an instrument for protest to the President.


Ernest Holz will succeed the retiring Paul S. Kaiser in February as the national commander (in the United States) of the Salvation Army. Holz has been an officer in the Army since 1940.

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Louise Camp, a California businesswoman and singer, was named national chairperson of a committee to raise $2 million for construction of a Gospel Music Hall of Fame, research library and museum in Nashville. The Hall of Fame will house the international headquarters of the sponsoring Gospel Music Association. Members of Camp’s executive committee include George Beverly Shea and Ralph Carmichael.

Officials of the Evangelical Churches of West Africa Theological Seminary in Igbaje, Nigeria, appointed Nathaniel Olutimayin as principal—the first Nigerian to hold the post. Olutimayin recently finished studies at Dallas seminary.

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