UC Not Dangerous

 Unification News for February 1997

Before the Boston Globe Published the Hassan Article

This is the correspondence Peter Ross had with the Boston Globe before the article was published.

TO: John Koch, The Boston Globe
FROM: Peter D. Ross
DATE: January 9, 1997

I appreciate that you called to confirm you are writing a profile on Steve Hassan-his life, his book, and his activities. You did tell me that the impetus to do so was because someone-and I assume it was Mr. Hassan himself or his publicist-sent you a copy of Mr. Hassan's book. I can reasonably deduce that Mr. Hassan's book was forwarded to you for this very purpose. I cannot entirely know the criteria by which you then deemed Mr. Hassan and his book worthy of mention in the Globe. However you stated that the issues raised in his book were factors as was the fact that Mr. Hassan has garnered a certain public notoriety through his appearances on national television. I appreciate your invitation to submit my perspective on Mr. Hassan for your reference and while you encouraged me to be "pithy" I will endeavor to do my best. In this regard, I thought it best to confine my comments to three areas: Mr. Hassan's theories about "mind control"; his illicit activities; and the nature of his association with the Unification Church.

Repeatedly Repudiated

Mr. Hassan is not an innovator or a new-thinker in propounding his theories about "mind control." Harvey Cox has stated that the allegation of brainwashing and mind control in this context is simply "a more psychologically acceptable way of expressing what was expressed previously in other ways. The brainwashing version of the evil eye myth holds that 'these people' are the victims of prophets, spell-binders, witches, or hypnotists." Hassan's theories are otherwise almost entirely derived from the work of two discredited scientists: psychologist Dr. Margaret Singer (University of California) and sociologist Dr. Richard Ofshe (University of California). Mr. Hassan also refers to Dr. Robert Lifton's book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. This work examined the techniques practiced by the Chinese Communists to politically indoctrinate their POW captives in an effort to alter their political beliefs. It is a real stretch to apply such theories to religious conversion.

The theories advanced by Drs. Singer, Ofshe, and Mr. Hassan have been consistently repudiated by the Federal Courts, the established scientific community in America, and the established religious community in America. Hassan's theories can best be characterized as "junk science."

* The Federal Court decision in U.S. v Fishman (San Francisco, 1990) not only repudiated the theories of "mind control" as advocated by Hassan and his ilk, but the court refused to recognize its proponents as acceptable expert witnesses.

* These same theories of "mind control" have been rejected by the American Sociological Society and the American Psychological Society as "negative value judgments in scientific garb." These pre-eminent organizations advocated this position in an amicus brief filed in Molko, Leal v HSA-UWC. Not only did these professional organizations reject the conclusions of their errant colleagues, they went further and stated that the very methodology relied upon to support such theories have "been repudiated by the scientific community."

* In a brief filed in the same case by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), Americans United For Separation of Church and State, The American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., and The Southern California Ecumenical Council, the religious community repudiated the notion of "mind control" as an "attempt to reduce conversion to a psychological pathology." These groups attacked the theories of mind control and brainwashing as "pejorative characterizations of religious conversion proffered in the guise of scientific objectivity."

It is interesting to note that when Steve Hassan gave a presentation on deprogramming and exit counseling to Russian scholars in Moscow a couple of years ago, these scholars noted that what he was advocating was what the KGB had tried to do to them for years!

Brief Association

Mr. Hassan was in the Church for only two years before being forced to sever his relationship with the Church by his family. There is no mention in his book of him ever making a clear decision to join or indeed to leave. At best, he was a mere trainee, someone who had a significant experience during a brief association.

* Mr. Hassan claims in his book and public utterances he was deceived, that he was never told he had unwittingly become involved with the Unification Church. This is not true. Rev. Wayne Miller, who until recently was the Director of the Manhattan Unification Church, taught Hassan his first introductory lectures on the Divine Principle. Wayne has signed an Affidavit stating that Hassan was told before his first lecture that what he was about to hear were the teachings of the Unification Church of the Reverend Moon.

*Mr. Hassan claims that he quickly rose to the ranks of being a top leader in the Church with ready access to the Founder. This is also false. He never ascended higher in the ranks of the Unification Church than a young trainee in a small Church center in Queens. The President of the American Unification Church at that time has previously made a sworn statement that Mr. Hassan was never an assistant director of the Unification Church at national headquarters or a director of the Church's student organization, CARP, at Queens College, nor did he hold any other official position.

* Mr. Hassan has used a series of personal notes, referred to as "Master Speaks," to ridicule and misrepresent the teachings of the Church and its Founder. Mr. Hassan has been repeatedly challenged by the Church for his intentional misrepresentation and mischaracterization of these materials. What Mr. Hassan refers to as literal and verbatim "translations" have been reviewed by linguistic experts and determined to be simultaneous paraphrases of what the "translator" believed Reverend Moon to have stated. Hardly definitive. Recently Mr. Hassan removed these materials from his Home Page when challenged by the Church.

* As a former associate of the Church, particularly one coerced to sever his affiliation, Mr. Hassan's public and inflammatory claims about his experience with the Church can most accurately be characterized as "apostate atrocity tales." Throughout the history of religious bigotry false, exaggerated, and incredulous stories have been disseminated to evoke fear, hysteria, and hatred of new and persecuted religious communities. Similar to many other victims of coercive faith-breaking, Hassan went on to become a self-proclaimed "expert" on the Unification Church. While many people join the Church everyday throughout the world and others leave for all sorts of reasons and get on with their lives, Mr. Hassan has make his apostasy a career and his primary source of income. Whatever the true nature of his inability to forget and leave the Church behind, he has no legitimate justification for a twenty-year vendetta against the Church. As the Eagles sing: "Get Over It!"

* Mr. Hassan's ill-will towards the Unification community is evident in his persistent use of the pejorative term "Moonies." This term was first coined by hostile detractors of the Church who knew full well the impact of the suffix "ie" and its informal, disrespectful, and derogatory register. After an effective effort to sensitize the public of its dehumanizing and harmful effects, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, ABC News, Nightline, Reuters, Oxford Publishing Company, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York Civil Rights Coalition among others, have all affirmed the pejorative and unacceptable use of this epithet. Though having been so notified, Mr. Hassan continues to perpetuate the term for his own designs.

Unlawful Activities

Soon after his own coerced renunciation of the Unification Church, Mr. Hassan was an active participant in abusive and unlawful "deprogrammings." The Unification Church legal office has sworn statements from two Unificationists, both of whom incriminate Steve Hassan in their unlawful imprisonment and abusive attempted faith- breaking. One, is that of Arthur Roselle who has stated in his affidavit that he was kidnapped, beaten, held against his will, and treated like a prisoner of war at the hands of violent captors. Mr. Hassan was an active participant. In an attempt several years ago to clean up his past, Hassan asked Arthur Roselle to commit perjury and renounce his former affidavit. By doing so, he not only re-opened an otherwise dated incident, but he has increased his criminal culpability by soliciting another to commit perjury and by his attempts to obstruct justice. And why? So he can try and fool the public that he is a good guy, just trying to help people out.

In the words of John Sweeney, former president of Citizens Freedom Foundation (one of many defunct "anti-cult" groups) Steve Hassan "is really greedy." According to Sweeney, Hassan claims to be able to walk into a room and freeze a cult member by looking him/her in the eye and to then get the person to follow him! Hassan is happy to charge thousands for his work, according to Jeremiah Gutman, New York attorney and former president of the ACLU.

Does Television Legitimize?

For all of my statements above, I have clear and irrefutable evidence. And so perhaps you may ask, if all of this is so, why has Hassan appeared on such programs as Nightline ? Incidentally, on Nightline, he went off and unilaterally attacked Arianna Huffington for allegedly belonging to one of Steve's 2,500 cults (ask him to name them all!), spent time railing against Jehovah's Witnesses, and then in his usual chicken-little mode warned a shocked Ted Koppel that we are all vulnerable!! As we say in Ireland: "you can only bring Steve somewhere twice and the second time to apologize."

I do not believe that his 15 minutes of fame legitimizes him, his theories, or his activities. His public-speaking programs consistently attract the smallest of audiences. His appearances on radio, television, and in tabloid magazines, perhaps say more about the contemporary premium placed on entertainment by these media forms. It certainly should never be interpreted as a measure of the credibility and legitimacy of who Mr. Hassan is and what he does. For he is far too easy to caricature: a nattering nabob of negativism; a quack dispenser of snake oil; a jester who is animated by the click of a television light; a congenital liar who hasn't met a tool of false propaganda he couldn't use; and the chicken-little of those who feel that new religions are to be feared. But don't take my word for it. As

I mentioned, John, there are objective and eminent authorities who can also provide you with a less irreverent account of Mr. Hassan. I mention two:

1. Marvin Bordelon, Executive Director, American Conference on Religious Movements. Telephone: (301)770-2821.

2. Dr. Gordon Melton, Director, Institute of American Religion. Telephone: (805)967-2669

While I am satisfied that you use any of this material, either paraphrased or as a direct quote, I do ask for the opportunity to respond to any particular allegation Mr. Hassan may make about the Unification Church, its Founder and members, that is not covered in these materials.

Again, I can only wonder why it is you deem it fit to extend the imprimatur of The Boston Globe to further serve Mr. Hassan's penchant for self-promotion. I recognize that the debate about "cults" in religion raises many issues. None however are novel or unique and the lessons of history can assist in their resolution. The bonafide scholastic community has consistently refuted the rantings and ravings of hate-mongers who attempt to debase the dialogue. The religious community has been unequivocal in their condemnation of the activities of Hassan and his ilk. So too should the press critically examine the claims and objectives of sloganeers and night-riders, like Mr. Hassan, who serve no other objective than to undermine the democratic, constitutional and civic protections afforded religion.

Follow up

TO: John Koch, The Boston Globe
FROM: Peter D. Ross
DATE: January 13, 1997

I want to remind you of my invitation to you to interview those who have suffered personal injury as a direct consequence of Steve Hassan's illicit activities. I was prompted to first make this suggestion by way of a voice-mail to you last Friday for two reasons:

1. Your statement to me that you have spoken with people in the Boston area who appreciate Mr. Hassan's work. Whatever their personal experience, it is fair to suggest that you speak with those who have a contrary personal experience.

2. Your characterization of some of my previously-submitted comments regarding Mr. Hassan as "ad hominem." I will not apologize for my comments nor indeed defend myself further by claiming moral justification - "he has spoken falsely about an entire community for twenty-plus years and therefore I can say such-and-such." No, my defense is the facts and a reasoned interpretation of those facts, for an "ad hominem attack" normally refers to an unbridled personal attack that is not otherwise grounded in reason. Mr. Hassan's personal and professional character deficiencies are manifested in his public utterances, published writings, and abusive activities. They are discernible to those who dare to exclaim that the emperor has no clothes!

Unification News for February 1997

Attack on Religious Liberty

The season for religious liberty has once again come. It brings fresh hopes for greater religious acceptance and an end to the previous winter of oppression and persecution. The U.S. State Department's recently published annual report on human rights cited several countries for having committed violations of religious rights. Among others, China was cited for its persecution of Catholics while Germany was cited for having intimidated and harassed the Church of Scientology. The United Nations too has shown increasing concern over the plight of those who suffer because of their religious beliefs. The plague of church burnings in America has been halted. With the demise of the Cult Awareness Network, the American media has lost its agent provocateur for cyclically publishing accounts of those claiming to have spent months with aliens from outer space who did to them what was done to Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker (?) in Mars Attack.

But while religion can begin to bathe in ever-warming suns, religious bigotry takes more than a season of good-will to weed out and toss on the chaff pile. It knows no season and merely suspends activity until like a parasite, it finds its next host. Having returned from Brazil last fall with an exotic tick on board (just below my ever- disappearing navel), I know the concern for all the potential maladies one wee tick can wreak.

For older members of our community in America, the name Steve Hassan resonates with images of a tick. Like all parasites, the tick - or in this case Steve - has no life without the host. Waiting in the grass for a potential host to pass by, he affixes himself, gorges himself, then falls away bloated. And Steve's preferred host is a compliant journalist or a TV hostess. And so this month we want to bring to your attention a recent report published in the Boston Globe. Our purpose in doing so is not to draw more attention than is needed to the tick but to expose the conduct of the host.

Of concern here is the serious misconduct of Boston's pre-eminent daily newspaper. Of even greater concern is what was exposed of the Globe's propagation and perpetuation of a culture of contempt towards the Founder, our Church, and our entire community, by the most senior members of its editorial staff. To expose, protest, and redress this culture of contempt is the purpose for bringing this matter to your attention. It is one thing for the small-minded individual bigots of this world to vent their stuff. It is an entirely different matter when institutions of society - government, academia, religion, the theater, the media - grant license to such bigotry. Events of the past few years alone show us that our society does have troubled souls who need little or no provocation to react angrily and resentfully to their own bitter life experiences and wreak real and tragic harm to others in reprisal. We ourselves have witnessed the bombing of our Church center in France when the government conducted one of its witch hunts. We have seen the destruction of our Church center in Brazil after the media had incited the mob. We have seen the desecration of our most cherished rite - the Blessing - by government agents in the Philippines. Closer to home we have seen church property burned to the ground just a few hours from New York City when associates of groups like the American Family Foundation turned a zoning meeting into a three-ringed circus of malevolence. We have learned of a pregnant mother kicked and stomped in Manhattan while her assailant shouted "Moonie."

It is our obligation to protest when influential newspapers like the Boston Globe betray standards of responsible, fair and objective reportage and repeatedly subject our Church, our Founder, and our community to contempt thereby exposing us to foreseeable risk of harm.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Our task then is to do more than merely protest. We must educate with the truth those who are ignorant and afraid and we must strive to dispel reckless stupidity with reason and civility. Please carefully review these materials and responsibly support our endeavors. To restore does not mean to ignore.

Unification News for March 1997

What The Boston Globe Did Not Want You To Know

Readers will recall from last month's UNEWS the free publicity the Boston Globe extended to Steve Hassan on February 4 of this year. We thank you all for your many letters to the various parties in Boston. Despite our protests the Globe "stands by" this prejudiced report. Yet, it was a report in which the Globe very selectively accounted for the integrity and credibility of Steve Hassan's activities. In this regard, we wanted to provide our readers with one more piece of information that the Globe did not want you to know:

In a decision dated March 28, 1996, Justice Christina Harms, a presiding judge in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, ruled that Steve Hassan's testimony could not be introduced on the basis of being expert testimony. After reviewing the decision of the federal judge in U.S. v. Fishman (see last month's UNEWS) Justice Harms ruled:

"The Court found in that case [Fishman] that the theories regarding brain washing, if you will, or mind control or cults that the experts wanted to testify to, were not generally accepted within the scientific community. And those experts, and in particular the expert, Doctor Singer, in the Fishman case, that expert had a Ph.D. in Psychology, something more than Mr. Hassan has. He has a Master's Degree.

I am persuaded by the findings and the reasoning in Fishman that similarly Mr. Hassan's views or theories published or as explained from the stand on what is a cult and what is not a cult and how mind control or thought control or brain washing or the like fit into that, is not sufficiently accepted within the applicable scientific community to constitute an area of expertise. And so to that extent, I reverse my ruling, I reconsider and I vacate my qualification of him as an expert in cult and mind control."

This decision is all the more remarkable when one recalls that it is the State of Massachusetts alone that licenses Steve Hassan to hold himself out as "a mental health professional," and Steve is only authorized to do so within the limited confines of Massachusetts. Why did the Globe not report this fact?

As reported elsewhere in this edition, in the intolerance and folly that follows the efforts of advocacy journalists and corrupt editors to impose their values upon their readers, censorship, the arch-enemy of a free press, runs buck naked around the editorial department.

Unification News for July 1999

International Scholars Meet to Discuss Minority Religions

by Chris Corcoran—NYC

An assembly of more than 100 scholars and members of new religious movements (NRMs) gathered in June for their 13th annual four-day conference to discuss the theme, "Religious and Spiritual Minorities in the 20th Century: Globalization and Localization."

Sponsored by the Italian-based academic forum called CESNUR, the conference's main purpose is promote the rational and scientific study of NRMs. Due to this scholarly approach, the emotional hysteria which often accompanies discussions about NRMs was largely absent, freeing the participants to have a thoughtful and provocative exchange of ideas.

As one who has tried over the years to keep abreast of what the academic community writes about the Unification Church, I was pleased to finally meet face to face some of the prominent scholars who helped defend our church from the vicious and illegal onslaught of the anti-cult crowd. I met and talked with the sociologists Eileen Barker (The Making of a Moonie) and David Bromley, professors James T. Richardson, J. Gordon Melton and George Chrysiddes (The Advent of Sun Myung Moon) and the forensic psychologist Dick Anthony, among many others.

Many of these scholars were instrumental in helping our church and other NRMs win key legal battles to do with the "brainwashing" theory. Dick Anthony is the leading scholar called as an expert witness in these types of cases and it was his scientific analysis which destroyed the pseudo-science of the anti-cultists such as Margaret Singer and Steve Hassan.

The conference was held at the beautiful Bryn Athyn College of the New Church, which is located in Pennsylvania and owned and operated by the Swedenborg church. Each day began with a plenary session, followed by a variety of smaller break-out sessions. Dr. Andrew Wilson of the Unification Theological Seminary presented a paper entitled, "The Globalization of Marriage Blessings in the Unification Church." He explained how the marriage blessing has changed from a members-only sacrament to a now readily available, mass phenomena.

James A. Beverley, a professor at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto who has made a lifelong study of the UC, delivered a insightful paper entitled, "Paper Wars: The (Washington) Post vs. The (Washington) Times on Sun Myung Moon." He completely discredited a 1997 three-part series The Post ran on the UC just prior to the RFK Blessing, listing ten reasons why the article was biased, inaccurate and malicious.

Other papers delved into a diverse spectrum of thought, from neo-pagan Wicca to how the Internet is affecting new religions.

I thought it was very wise of the conference to allow several anti-cult activists to have a forum. Although it seemed that ninety-nine percent of the conferees were against the policies and actions of the anti-cult movement, allowing them a forum was a starting point for further dialogue. Herb Rosedale, chairman of the anti-cult group the American Family Foundation, and Priscilla Coates, a founding member of the old Cult Awareness Network (now defunct), both gave presentations. While most of the participants were polite toward them, an air of restraint was present and one or two members of NRMs did lash out at them verbally.

It was clear from what was said at the conference that Europe is currently in the midst of religious liberty crisis. In France and Germany in particular, the state has sponsored studies and passed legislation restricting the civil rights of members of NRMs. Lacking the historical tradition of religious freedom which we enjoy in America, Europe appears to be on the threshold of turning back the religious freedom clock to the days of the 1930s, when the ideas of fascism swept across the continent.

Similarly, Russia and many of the former Soviet Union countries are experiencing a wave of religious intolerance as their economies continue to stagnate. While NRMs in America have made significant legal gains in the last decade, many nations seem to be going in the opposite direction.

(For more about CESNUR, see //www.censur.org)

Stranger in an Even Stranger Land: Report on an Anti-Cult Conference

Dan Fefferman
April, 2000
Washington, DC

In my capacity as director of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom, I decided to attend the annual conference of the Leo J. Ryan Foundation in Stamford Connecticut. Headquartered in Bridgeport, the LJRF makes no bones about its ties to the now-defunct Cult Awareness Network, which was put out of business by a lawsuit that tied it to an illegal deprogramming conspiracy. LJRF even bills itself as the renewed "Cult Awareness Community." Its current president is Priscilla Cole, who formerly ran the Cult Awareness Network, and several other CAN stalwarts can be found on its rolls.

Of course, it’s no coincidence that the group—named for the Congressman who was gunned down in the Jonestown massacre in 1978—has its headquarters in the town where the Unification Church is well known for its role in bailing out the financially troubled University of Bridgeport. LJRF’s executive director is Julia Bronder, an embittered former UB employee and UC critic.

Human Rights, but for Whom?

The title of the LJRF conference was "Human Rights and the New Millennium." This too may be no coincidence. Our own International Coalition for Religious Freedom (ICRF) sponsored a series of international conferences in 1988 entitled, "Religious Freedom and the New Millennium." Indeed a common thread running through the LJRF presentations was that "freedom of thought" is an even more fundamental human right than freedom of speech or religion. And since cultists can’t—by definition—have freedom of thought… Well, more on that later.

I have to admit that the conference was well run and well conceived to support its organizers’ purposes. I did feel a little out of place at times, especially with people who assumed I was an anti-cultist like themselves. One former UC member was so happy to see me, until I informed her that I was "still in." Another guy angrily accused me of being a private investigator hired by Scientology to harass participants and spy on them. Talk about bad vibes! But the majority of the organizers and participants I met were courteous, if cool, once they learned who I was. Below are some highlights. While many other groups other than the UC were dealt with, I’ve concentrated on what relates specifically to our work.

Accolades from the Adversary

Not to brag, but several speakers made reference to ICRF. They mentioned our four conferences and the cities in which they were held—Washington, Tokyo, Berlin, and Sao Paulo. They grudgingly praised our web site (www.religiousfreedom.com), and the "impressive array" of speakers whose papers we have posted there. A featured luncheon speaker, Prof. Stephen Kent of the University of Calgary, used the ICRF as a primary example of the way in which American new religious movements (NRM’s) are able to influence the American government and academic community. He admitted that ICRF has become an influential participant in the international human rights debate. Another speaker bemoaned the fact that ICRF had been able to get current and former congressmen, government officials, leading academics, and prestigious human rights leaders to join with us.

A special breakout session was devoted to the Maryland Task Force on Cult Activities which we’ve reported on previously in Unification News. The panelists—anti-cultists Ron Loomis, Denny Gulick, and Franz Wilson—declared the Task Force’s Final Report as a victory for their side. These men and other anti-cult activists on the Task Force were later given a special award for their efforts to create and influence the Task Force. The speakers acknowledged ICRF’s opposition to the Task Force, but naturally downplayed our effectiveness in blocking the anti-cultists’ aims. For example, they did not mention the fact that the state’s official task force on "Cult Activities" decided not even to use the word "cult" in its final report. Nor did they mention that one of its members, panelist Franz Wilson, interrupted UC member Alex Colvin’s testimony during a formal task force meeting and threatened him with violence.

Panelist Ron Loomis of the American Family Foundation avowed that the panel’s "agenda" was that "you should go back and attempt a similar effort in your state." But he warned about getting too much press in the beginning. "The best way to do it is locally," said Loomis, because national campaigns attract too much attention from NRMs and civil liberties groups. "Politicians are chicken," he complained. (In Maryland the legislation creating the Task Force was pushed through with almost no opposition voices raised, because our side did not find out about it until it had already passed the lower house and was on a fast track to pass the Maryland Senate. Four previous efforts by anti-cultists to pass similar legislation had failed when both sides were heard.)

Washington Times Targeted

The Washington Times and the WT Foundation were also major targets of LJRF speakers. One session was devoted exclusively to "Following the Money Trail in the Moon Movement." Led by Rev. Fred Miller, the session complained about the continued success of the Washington Times and its influence in conservative political circles. Miller seemed particularly upset by the success of the WTF’s American Century Awards. He named several high level political leaders who honored True Father Moon on that occasion. Miller was visibly disappointed by Jerry Falwell’s presence.

Another focus was George W. Bush. Several speakers mentioned him, believing that Rev. Moon must be a major financial supporter of Gov. Bush, if not directly then through his father. They are hoping to find evidence that UC money is ending up in Bush’s campaign treasury. They also bemoaned the fact that New Yorker seems to be a highly successful financial enterprise and that it has become a Ramada franchisee. Miller even reported on a meeting between himself and Ramada officials in which he sought unsuccessfully to influence them to end the relationship.

The anti-cult movement had been seriously discredited in the 1980s because of its association with deprogramming. It lost several major court cases, and also lost credibility among its mainstream funding sources. Now, however, it appears to have found a new "Sugar Daddy." Bob Minton is a reputed multimillionaire whose primary hobby in life is fighting against "cults." His main passion is attacking Scientology. However, he is also rumored to be a major funding source for the LJRF. Minton was a keynote speaker at this year’s conference, although he seems to have few credentials other than the green kind. He publicly announced that he had purchased 2,000 copies of former deprogrammer (now exit counselor) Steve Hassan’s new book, "Breaking the Bonds," which retails for 24.95. If you do the math, that’s a nice little contribution, and it doesn’t count any other donations to Steve’s new "Freedom of Mind Foundation" non-profit group.

No Hassle with Hassan

Speaking of Steve Hassan, I had several conversations with Steve during the conference. I’ve also been corresponding with him through e-mail. Notice the distinction I made in the above paragraph between "deprogramming" and "exit counseling?" Steve is adamant about making this distinction because deprogramming involves force and exit counseling does not. I think he has a point. I asked if he would be willing to put his opposition to forced deprogramming in writing to the Japanese Christian churches who—sometimes using his earlier books on "mind control" as their justification—are reportedly involved in forced kidnapping of hundreds our UC members. He agreed to do so. The letter says, in part:

"[An anti-cultist minister in Japan] told me this morning that sometimes, albeit infrequently, a family might hold their adult child against his/her will, and then a minister might be invited to speak with them. In my opinion, no minister should get involved in something like this as a matter of policy--even if the cult member requests a meeting in writing…

"I want this letter to stand as a public record that I think that any approach to help cult members should be one of love, compassion, and positive communication, not force. Otherwise, kidnapping or involuntary detention will invariably be traumatic… In fact, there was always another way that would have been less traumatic."

In return for his writing the above-mentioned letter, Steve asked me to clarify to the world community of Unificationists that he is not involved in holding people against their will. I think Steve is sincere in this, although he is certainly wrong in many of the things he says about the UC, Rev. Moon, "mind control," and NRM’s in general. Steve is a former deprogrammer, not a current one. What he does now is called "exit counseling," or in his current parlance "strategic interaction" to "break the bonds of mind control."

Now some of you will ask, "But isn’t what Steve does still really faith-breaking based on religious intolerance?" And I’d have to say yes. He gets paid by people who disapprove of other people’s religion (usually family members) to talk them out of it. And he also writes books and speaks out wherever he can trying to convince people of the need for the service he provides. But technically speaking it shouldn’t be called deprogramming unless force is involved. I’m hoping that since Steve wants UC members to avoid speaking in the present tense about things he did in the past (namely deprogramming), he’ll do the same and stop speaking about things we did in the past as if they were going on today. Watch this space.

Perhaps the most disturbing presentation of the LJRF conference was made by Jim Seigelman and Flo Conway, authors of the book "Snapping," which was instrumental in forming the anti-cult movement’s ideological basis in the late 1970s. Their presentation was entitled "Church vs. State," and it called for a new interpretation of the First Amendment that recognizes "freedom of thought" as the most basic human right, even more basic than freedom of speech or freedom of religion. (Another featured speaker, Stephen Kent of the University of Calgary eerily entitled his presentation "Human Rights vs. Religious Freedom.") Keep in mind that Conway and Seigleman and their cohorts, including exit counselor Steve Hassan, clearly argue that members of the minority religions they call "cults" do NOT have freedom of thought, because the cults have robbed them of it.

Seigelman actually called religion "the Achilles heel of American democracy." And Conway stated that "freedom of thought must be added to the first amendment." The both supported what they call a "judicial initiative" that will establish a "right to freedom of thought" in the same way that a "right to privacy" or a "right to have an abortion" has been established.

But if you unpack the Owellian newspeak, this type of "freedom of thought" simply stands the First Amendment on its head. Instead of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or abridging the free exercise thereof," Conway and Seigleman appear to say that "The Courts shall interpret the law so that anyone who joins an unpopular religion shall be declared incapable of exercising freedom of thought." The legal and political implications of such a doctrine are staggering.

At its closing banquet, the LJRF gave Conway and Seigelman its highest honor, the Leo J. Ryan Award. The first person they thanked and credited as a pioneer in "this work" was not other than the father of deprogramming himself, Ted Patrick.

Europe's Sect Wars: A Cure Worse than the Disease

by Dan Fefferman-Washington, DC

A wave of legislation, investigations and outright discrimination against religious minorities is sweeping across Western Europe today.

The cause of the current fear of "sects" is complex. Part of it, no doubt results from concern that the tragedies of the Solar Temple and Aum Shinreko not be repeated. Part of it is due to organized lobbying efforts of the anti- cult movement coupled with sensationalized media accounts. And part of it seem to been rooted in old patterns of intolerance of things new, foreign or different. Whatever the causes, the new European Sect Scare is widespread, and it's for real.

German Sectophobia

The German government seems to be at the center of the European anti-sect hysteria. especially with regard to the Church of Scientology. The government has officially placed the Church and its members under police surveillance. Scientologists are banned from joining the ruling Christian Democratic Party. They are even forbidden to become dentists. Literature published by the Christian Democrats caricatures the church's religious symbol by transforming it into a skull-and -crossbones.

It's not just the Scientologists that receive the brunt of German intolerance. A pamphlet published by the Christian Democratic Youth, entitled "InSects: No thanks!" features a cover illustration of a huge fly swatter squashing a variety of mosquitoes and other in-"Sects." Among those sects singled out by the ruling party's youth arm to be treated as vermin are Jehovah's Witnesses, Unificationists, Hare Khishna adherents and Scientologists.

The German government went so far as to publish at taxpayers' expense a booklet attacking the Unification Church and has placed the church's founder, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, on the Schengen Treaty list, effectively banning him from entry into most European nations. The church won a court order preventing distribution of the booklet after it demonstrated some of the government's claims to be patently false. Meanwhile, the Dutch government took the unusual step of stipulating that Reverend Moon is welcome to visit the Netherlands, despite Germany's listing him as an undesirable.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance has taken a strong interest in the German situation and has recently concluded a fact-finding tour. A report will be forthcoming.

France A French Parliamentary report published in 1996 listed no less than 172 dangerous "cults" in France. Although the report has no official legislative power, it has nonetheless been quoted as authoritative in several court cases and has resulted in widespread consequences for members of minority religions. Observers report a "severe anti-minority-religion climate" has resulted from the report and media coverage of it.

A member of the Jehovah's Witnesses was fired from a public school after years of honorable service apparently for no other reason than that he was a member of one o the listed groups. At least one bombing has been linked to this atmosphere of hate. Shortly after a Paris newspaper responded to the Parliamentary report with a headline to the effect that "Something Must Be Done" about the cults, the headquarters of the French Unification Church were bombed.

Despite the protests of a number of French Catholic bishops, the Report even includes a Roman Catholic theatrical group on its list of "dangerous cults." The troupe, Office Culturel de Cluny, has been denied the use of public theaters for its shows and is reportedly nearly bankrupt as a result.

The French Ministry of Youth and Sport now employs anti-cultists to speak to youth organizations and athletic groups about the evils of minority religions, and Time magazine reports that there are plans to fund hundreds of offices nationwide to educate young people against organizations on the List.

Critics say the French report is riddled with unsubstantiated rumors and false information. According to an analysis by the academically-oriented Center for the Study of New Religions (CESNUR), the French Report "was completed without reference to any number of easily acquired resources that could have corrected the misleading information utilized by the commissioners."

Following a recommendation in the Report, the government has now established a national Observatory of Cults, with two extreme anti-cultists reportedly appointed as "experts."

Reports on a Rampage

The poor scholarship evident in the French Report has not stopped it from setting a trend for other countries in Europe. In Belgium, a parliamentary commission on cults released its report on April 1997. It outdoes even the French report both in sheer numbers of "cults" listed and in the types of organizations it considers dangerous-among them the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Seventh Day Adventists, Quakers, the Amish and (believe it or not) the YWCA.

The Report, which was adopted by the Belgian Parliament minus its embarrassing list, recommended that "mind control" be made a crime punishable by law. It also stated that a US Hasidic group, the Satmars, was engaged in kidnapping Christian children-a charge which would be ridiculous if it were not eerily similar to previous patterns of European anti-Semitism.

In Switzerland, the city government of Geneva has recommended making "mind manipulation" a federal felony crime, funding anti-cult groups, and creating a government body to oversee cults.

Austria too has published a list of dangerous "sects." Children of minority religions hear their teachers in public schools ridicule their parents' religious beliefs and practices and face derision by classmates as a result. Listed groups are not allowed to incorporate or own property. In effect, they must operate as underground organizations.

In Greece, the special status of the Orthodox Church results in severe limitations for minority groups. Smaller religions complain that they are denied official status and cannot legally hold meetings, conduct worship services or own property. Non-Orthodox children are required to attend Orthodox religion classes in public schools. Until recently, attempting to convince a person to change his or her faith- even with that person's permission-was a criminal act. In addition, any new place of worship could not be opened without the approval of the Orthodox bishop. The European Court of Human Rights, however, has declared these two laws void.

Pan-European Actions

Both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe are considering actions to control minority religions. The European Parliament has voted to investigate "sects" across all of Europe. The Parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties has appointed a Rapporteur to prepare a draft report on cults. Whether the Committee will live up to its name is another question. {The EP draft report turned out to be fairly responsible. However, it faces an amendment process in which it can be substantially altered.}

Meanwhile, the Council of Europe, comprised of representatives of all European nations, approved in May a recommendation that each country create a cult oversight body and draft appropriate anti-cult legislation. Although the Council is a purely consultative body with no juridical authority, it is considered to be very influential among Europe's smaller nations.

Conclusion Europe today is witnessing a widespread trend toward controlling minority religions. While fears of a repeat of the Solar Temple and Aum Shenriko tragedies is understandable, European legislators apparently did not adequately consider the consequences of various governmental reports on the liberties of innocent people who hold unconventional religious beliefs. Could this be another case where the cure does more harm than the disease?

This is reprinted from the newsletter of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom. ICRF is still looking for correspondents who can help develop a religious freedom information network worldwide. We especially need help for Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the smaller nations fo the former CIS. IF you can help, please contact us at ICRF@aol.com.

Testimony of Dan Fefferman on Cult Activities

Submitted to the Maryland Task Force to Study the Effects of Cult Activities on Public Senior Higher Educational Institutions
June 7, 1999

My name is Dan Fefferman. I currently serve as Executive Director of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom (ICRF) in Tysons Corner, Virginia. I am a member of the Unification Church a former National Director of Witnessing and Education for the Unification Church of America and a former National President of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principle. I speak today as a representative of the ICRF, and do not officially represent the Church or CARP. I hold a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master Diploma in divinity from the Unification Theological Seminary.

Legislative Mandate

The chairman of this Task Force has expressed his commitment to fairness, integrity and balance in these proceedings, and I take him at his word. In this context, I believe it is necessary to examine the legislative mandate that created the Task Force in the first place. It will be a real challenge, in my opinion, to create fairness and balance in the context of this mandate.

First, I question whether it is appropriate for any State Legislature in the U.S. to use the term "cult" in mandating an investigation such as this. The term clearly has pejorative connotations and tends to favor established religions over smaller and unpopular ones. Not only does this violate the U.S. constitution’s prohibitions against religious establishment, it also goes against international conventions to which the U.S. is a signatory. To cite only one of these, I point to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the right of religious belief, association and speech. The U.N.’s Human Rights Committee in 1993 specified that:

Article 18 is not limited in its application to traditional religions… The Committee views with concern any tendency to discriminate against any religion or belief for any reasons, including the fact that they are newly established…
The Maryland Constitution, of course, also guarantees freedom of religious belief and expression. The State of Maryland can be justly proud of pioneering efforts in the field of religious freedom. It would be a shame if our State now became a pioneer in the other direction.

Beyond the constitutional issue, I would also point to the manner in which the State of Maryland went about the process of creating this Task Force. At hearings before the Maryland House of Delegates on the subject, nine proponents were heard, zero opponents were heard, and one person was heard who identified himself as having "no position." I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, that there are qualified experts in the field of civil liberties, religion and psychology who would strongly oppose the resolution creating this Task Force. Moreover there are plenty of parents who accept their children’s membership in this groups, as well as members and ex-members who would oppose the idea that their groups are "dangerous." Apparently very little if any effort was made to contact them. I believe it would not be out of order for this Task Force to make this point in any report it submits to the governor.

Moreover, well-meaning though the Task Force leadership and staff may be, the Task Force has already behaved in a way that violates the rights of religious minorities. Specifically, it has asked System institutions whether any "cult" members are employed as resident assistants. To answer this question, institutions must inquire into the religious affiliations of its employees with the clear result that supposed "cult" members could suffer negative consequences. In responding to the Task Force’s questionnaire, one System institution, namely the Baltimore County campus, rightfully requested an advisory from the Attorney General’s office about the constitutional permissibility of such an inquiry. Yet when the Assistant Attorney General appeared here at the Task Force’s last meeting, he was not asked to give such advice. An audience member asked him about the subject and he replied that he could give such advice only at the request of the chair. I submit that it would be very important for this Task Force to hear from him about the question of its constitutional limits.

I believe the Task Force is very close to engaging in a form of religious McCarthyism, creating a "cult scare" that could do serious harm. I know several members of the Unification Church -- a group named by Mr. Ron Loomis in his testimony before the Task Force as a dangerous "cult" -- who are employed by the University System in teaching and other positions, and some of them have expressed concern to me regarding their careers. I put it to you, Mr. Chairman, that however well meaning it may have been, the Task Force’s behavior has already put pressure on members of a religious minority at the Maryland System, in such a way that may constitute a violation of civil rights laws. I am not a lawyer, however, and I do not expect you to take my word for it.

In this regard I call on the Task Force to consult with legal experts in the field of constitutional law and religious liberty. There are many public advocacy groups in this area who could help you -- Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Rutherford Institute and the Joint Baptist Committee to name only a few.

A Stacked Deck?

I also have concerns about procedure and the make-up of the Task Force. The chairman last week stated that the hearings would proceed in a manner analogous to a court trial, with the prosecution going first, and the defense getting a chance in subsequent hearings. Fair enough. But in a courtroom, a defendant has the right to impeach the objectivity of jurors before the jury is seated. No such opportunity was given to the groups in question here. In fact, two of the fact-finders on the Task Force are identified as parents of "cultists" or former "cultists." No defense attorney nor any impartial judge would allow such jurors to be seated in a trail. With due respect, I must particularly object to the behavior of that the Chairman of the Committee on Outside Resources, Mr. Franz Wilson, who arranged for last meetings parade of anti-cult witnesses. The Task Force has still not called any witnesses who are experts on religious freedom and no representatives of the groups in question themselves. Last week’s open session at which the public may testify on a first come, first serve basis does not balance the record. Moreover, when my associate, Mr. Alex Colvin, expressed concern over the use of the pejorative term "Moonie" Mr. Wilson responded that he didn’t care because "the Unification Church is a hateful and deceptive organization." Not only is this a possible case of religious harassment, but I submit it is certainly a demonstration of extreme prejudice on the part of Mr. Wilson. I call for the dismissal of Mr. Wilson from his position as chair of the Committee on Outside Resources and for his removal from the Task Force. To create more balance, I recommend he be replaced by a parent who, rather than opposing his child’s commitment to a new religion, approves of it.

I further urge the other members of the Task Force to recognize that although there are ardent opponents of new religions on the Task Force, there are currently no known ardent proponents of these groups. If the Task Force is like a court, then you are like a jury in which several members had made up their minds to hang the defendant before the trial even began. The group dynamics of your deliberations will be affected by this imbalance and you need to be aware of this. This was already demonstrated last meeting by the fact that, at the close of the meeting, several members congratulated the Task Force for the "balance" it had achieved thus far, when the chairman himself had to admit that one side predominated.

Getting back to the courtroom analogy, I would point out in a courtroom a defendant has the right to confront his accusers. This Task Force has accepted testimony from three self-described ex-cultists who declined to name the groups with which they were identified. How can such charges be answered? I strongly caution the Task Force from reaching any generalizations or conclusions from this very questionable anecdotal "evidence." I further point out that only one of the three gave evidence of "cult" activity at a Maryland System campus. One of the others had already graduated (from a non-System school) when she got involved in an unnamed human potential group. A second was already a member of an unnamed "cult" before entering college when she was converted to a more orthodox Christian group at Bowie State. It was only then that she decided that her former religion was a "cult." Both her former religion and her new one remain unnamed. In other words, the committee has been able to produce only one witness who was recruited by a "cult" at a Maryland System school. That "cult" too remains unnamed. It may also be noted that these witnesses appeared to be coached, both before and during their testimony, by Prof. Denny Gulick.

Cults as Religious Minorities

Although there has been an attempt to claim that religious groups are not specifically targeted by this Task Force, no one would deny that the majority of those groups in question, if not all of them, are indeed religious groups. I submit to you that the groups called "cults" are for the most part really religious minorities of a generally benign nature. The Task Force needs to be aware that its recommendations could have a chilling effect on the exercise of the religious freedom of these minorities. Rather than a "cult awareness" approach, I would like to see the Task Force adopt a program to celebrate religious diversity, in which all groups, not only the large established ones are included. Surely if the university can encourage racial diversity and sexual diversity, it could also encourage religious diversity. As Mr. Loomis offered himself as a consultant on cult awareness, I would be happy to consult with the University on a program to celebrate religious freedom and diversity. My organization, the International Coalition for Religious Freedom, last year sponsored four international conferences on religious freedom in Washington, Tokyo, Berlin and Sao Paulo. Participants included a Nobel Prize laureate, two former heads of state, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, several former U.S. ambassadors, heads of well known human rights organizations, legislators, religious leaders, scholars, lawyers and journalists. Unlike Mr. Loomis, I am not looking for a fee for this service. (for more information see www.religiousfreedom.com)

Mr. Chairman, last week I raised an objection to the use of University resources to distribute the pamphlet "Friends Are Everywhere." This pamphlet, created by a Lutheran campus minister with the help of Mr. Loomis, cautions students to beware of "new ideas" and tells the tale of young woman seduced by a "group" into dropping out of school. In my view, the provision of this pamphlet by the University to campus ministers of established denominations so as to discourage students from investigating their competitors’ "new ideas" is a clear violation of the principle of separation of church and state. Such a pamphlet might be acceptable in Germany, where Lutheranism is a state religion supported by public funds. But in the U.S., the state may not act in a way that favors certain religions over others. Rather than recommending that the University beef up such unconstitutional projects, I call on the Task Force to recommend that this project be discontinued immediately.

By the way, this pamphlet is very similar -- almost identical in fact--to other pamphlets created with Mr. Loomis’ help on other campuses, such as the University of Southern California. The Task Force might want to take a look at whether the testimonies in this pamphlet really come from actual University of Maryland cases, or whether terms like, "College Park" were simply inserted for convenience. After all, wouldn’t want the University to be practicing "heavenly deception." Nor would we want the University to be acting as an unwitting "front group" for the anti-cult movement.

Front Groups

Speaking of front groups, perhaps we ought to unpack this term a little. Mr. Loomis alleges that there are literally thousands of Unification Church front groups. But a look at the actual list -- which I can provide if the Task Force is interested--makes this allegation laughable. It includes a well known daily newspaper in Washington DC, a University in Connecticut, The Unification Theological Seminary, several nursery schools started by church members, a number of private businesses and sole proprietorships, and even a few names of individual persons. It seems that anything a Unificationist creates, whether it’s a music group, a real estate company, a law office, a fishing business, a school, a training facility, a church, a farm, a newsletter, or a web site is to be considered a front group. I said this was laughable, but it is also a very serious matter if one considers the potential it holds for religious discrimination. I know of several church members who have suffered financial consequences from efforts by anti-cultists to expose their private businesses as "fronts" for a "Moon" conspiracy to take over the world.

As far as I know, there are only three groups on Mr. Loomis’ list of any relevance here. One is the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, another is the Pure Love Alliance, and a third is the Women’s Federation for World Peace. Neither CARP nor PLA is currently active at any Maryland System school to my knowledge.

For reference, CARP is a well established 501C-3 educational organization with headquarters in New York. It does own a property adjacent to the campus, near the corner of University Blvd and Aldelphi Rd. However, as I say, it is not currently active on campus. CARP has distinct purposes and practices from the Unification Church, but shares with the Church the fact that it was founded by Reverend Moon and it educates students about his teachings. Its relationship to the UC is analogous, for example, to the relationship between the Catholic Youth Organization and the Catholic Church, or the Hillel Foundation and Judaism. Also, as an educational organization, it receives fewer tax-benefits than does the Church. To call CARP a "front group," is simply to put a negative label on it. However, the question of deceptive tactics does deserve some consideration, as does the question of whether it encourages students to drop out of school.

CARP is proud of its association with Reverend Moon as does not hide them. It would be against CARP’s national policy to bring someone to an off-campus weekend workshop without informing them of the connection between CARP and Rev. Moon. If the University becomes aware of such actions by CARP members, I am sure the national office would like to know about it. However, I do NOT think it is ethically or otherwise necessary for every CARP member to inform people they meet on campus of CARP’s connection before inviting the person to a lecture or event. I would object to an attempt by the University to regulate this issue by requiring CARP to mention Reverend Moon or the UC on every piece of literature it distributes.

The Pure Love Alliance is a single-issue educational group started by CARP members and others to popularize the idea of sexual abstinence and chastity among young people. It does not focus on Unification doctrine or Rev. Moon and does not serve to recruit people into the Unification Church. Although it is not currently active in the Maryland System, I expect it will become active there in the next couple of years. I hope the University community will welcome this much needed effort. Pure Love Alliance is no more a front group than are the pro-life coalitions started by Catholics or the groups founded by Buddhists to protest human rights abuses in China.

The Women’s Federation for World Peace is an educational and service organization which has NGO (non-Government Organization) status at the United Nations. Among its other activities, it has recently sponsored several public talks on University System campuses. Last April it sponsored a talk by Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon. The event was well covered by the Diamondback. In recent years WFWP has sponsored or co-sponsored similar talks by Mrs. Moon and other members of the Moon family on the campuses of Bowie State University, Towson State University and the College Park campus. Attendance at these talks ranged from about 300 to 1500. It would be difficult to understand how an organization sponsoring a talk by Mrs. Moon or other persons with the name Moon could be considered a deceptive front group. In terms of recruitment, there was an invitation given at some of these talks for people to attend the International Marriage Blessing at RFK Stadium in 1997 and other similar events. (Also at Bowie State, there were two or three follow-up meetings on campus.) I have no statistics as to how many people attended marriage Blessings or if any other them joined the Unification Church. However, I should point out that membership in the Church is no longer a requirement to participate in the Blessing ceremonies and that, in fact, most participants were not UC members.


The new religious movements of the 1970s are now well into their second generation. Soon, second generation NRM members will become significant minorities on Maryland University campuses. For example, there are several hundred Unificationist teenagers currently residing in Maryland. Unificationists are a highly educated group compared to national averages and they tend to aspire to higher education for their children. I expect that more than one hundred young adult Unificationists will enter the Maryland State University System in the next few years, and many more as we reach the second part of the next decade. I do not know the numbers for other groups, but I would urge the Task Force to keep this general demographic trend in mind. In addition to protecting students who might be victimized by cult "behaviors," you also need to understand that these second generation NRM members have sensitivities and rights that need to be carefully respected and protected.

Consider the following stories, of which the first two are factual and the third is hypothetical.

1. A boy comes home from school in tears. His mother asks what the matter is. He replies, "The other kids were making fun of me. They called me a Moonie!." The mother answers, "well, you know, dear, we are members of the Unification Church, and some people call us Moonies." The boy cries out, "I am not a Moonie! I am not a Moonie!!!"
2. A teenage girl attends a psychology class in an Anne Arundel County public school and hears a presentation against "cults," in which behaviors such as "love-bombing" and "heavenly deception" are criticized as methods of bringing a person under "mind control." The teacher proceeds to explain that the "deceptive cult" practicing these behaviors is the Unification Church. She calls the group "Moonies" and equates its founder with Adolf Hitler.
3. A university freshman arrives at the College Park campus and receives a pamphlet -- "Friends Are Everywhere"--during orientation week. It warns of dangerous groups practicing deception and mind control. At lunch he overhears a group of students talking about which groups the pamphlet was talking about. "Oh, you know," one of the students says, "the Moonies, Scientology, Hare Khrishna," groups like that. "Well you wouldn’t catch ME joining one of those cults," says another. Later, the freshman fills out a university questionnaire in which he is asked his religious preference. Privately, he’s a Unificationist, but he decides to leave the line blank. He has effectively been driven into the closet by the System.
Speaking of the term "Moonie," I also need to put it on the record that the Unification Church considers this term to be hate language. The New York City Civil Liberties Commission has declared it a pejorative term, as have several national media groups, and it is listed as an inappropriate term for usage by the Associate Press stylebook. I call on the chairman to ban its further use in these hearings and deliberations. The Task Force should also consider whether terms such as "Moonie," and "cultist" be considered a hate crime, and whether disciplinary action ought to be taken against students and University officials who use such epithets.

Loaded Terms

What about that "behaviors," that Mr. Loomis and Dr. Gulick want you to regulate and warn against? They tell you for example about the Unificationist term "absolute obedience." They paint pictures of mindless zombies dropping out of school to sell flowers on the street. But what of the vows of obedience that Catholic clergy take? Can you criticize one and leave the other untouched? And are you aware that, while Rev. Moon does promote "absolute obedience" that he also teaches the concept of "Conscience before teacher, Conscience before True Parents, Conscience before God." Do you know that he teaches there are three stages of obedience: unquestioning obedience, questioning obedience, and intuitive obedience? That absolute obedience is not synonymous with unquestioning obedience? Or that intuitive obedience sometimes requires a person even to go against the advice of one’s leader, including Rev. Moon himself? No. Of course you don’t know this. Mr. Loomis and Dr. Gulick did not tell you this. After all, they would not want to complicate things for you.

And for the record, although I think a religious devotee has a perfect right to drop out of school and sell flowers on the street if he chooses to, such is currently not the case with the UC. I do know people who dropped out of school temporarily to devote themselves to church activities during the 1970s. However, many of these later returned to school and many now hold advanced degrees. Some did not return to school but are living happy and productive lives as UC members. Others became disillusioned and left the church. Among those that left there are some who are bitter and regret leaving school, while others feel it was the right decision for them at the time. Of course, those who have been "deprogrammed" or "exit counseled" tend to be among the group that is bitter. Again, I caution the Task Force about generalizing. Thus far you have heard from only one type of ex-member. An important new study has just been published on this phenomenon: "The Politics of Religious Apostasy," edited by David Bromley of Virgina Commonwealth University.

Speaking for myself, I joined the UC in 1968 while on leave of absence from the University of California at Berkeley. Shortly after joining, I returned to the University, achieving much better grades than I had earned before joining. My parents were favorably impressed with the improvement in my character and performance after joining, although they were concerned about the fact that I had become a believer (they are not religious.) Several years later they were approached by anti-cultists and told all kinds of horror stories in an attempt to have me "deprogrammed." I am happy to say that they did not succumb to this pressure and that we remained close until the passed away a few years ago.

I caution the Task Force not to take the word of anti-cultists about the beliefs and practices of any religious group. Instead, I urge you to consult recognized academic experts in the fields of sociology of religion, theology, the history of religion, and psychology. Also, when allegations are made concerning the "behaviors" of specific groups, the groups themselves ought to be so informed and invited to defend themselves.


The first law of medicine is "do no harm." This would be a good principle for the Task Force to keep in mind as it moves toward the creation of its report. In Europe today the cult scare has resulted in very serious problems including:

Parliamentary lists of dangerous "cults" and "sects"
The banning of members of a religious minority (Church of Scientology) from major political parties
Discrimination against "sect" members in housing, education, finance and employment
A government ministry to "fight against" sects in France
State education programs that educate children against their parents’ religions
An atmosphere of religious intolerance against new and smaller religions
I earnestly hope the Task Force will not become a first step toward a wave of what I call "Sectophobia" in the United States.

However, there is reason to be concerned. The Task Force thus far has called far more anti-cult witnesses than scholars of new religions or experts on questions of religious liberty. Today’s open session is a step in the right direction, but far more work needs to be done to balance the record. Moreover, the composition of the Task Force and its legislative mandate are seriously weighted against newer and smaller religions.

Nevertheless there may be reason for hope. The German Enquette Commission to Study Sects and Psycho-Groups, after nearly two years of study, came to the conclusion that no generalizations could be made about such groups and that the term "Sect" should no longer be used. The Task Force would do well to report a similar conclusion about "cults" in Maryland institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately the record of such commissions is not a good one. Witch hunts rarely come to the conclusion that witches are not a problem.

I do not mean to say that no religious groups or high intensity political movements have behaved unethically or dangerously. But there are already state laws and university regulations that govern such behaviors. And old American wisdom saying goes, "If it aint broke don’t fix it." If any fixing needs to be done, it would be in the area of ensuring that the religious freedom and sensitivities of religious minorities on Maryland campuses. My specific recommendations are:

1. The Task Force should include in its report a discussion about whether its legislative mandate was constitutional and whether fair and balanced public hearings were conducted in the process of its creation.
2. The Task Force should seek advice from the Attorney General about the permissibility of asking System institutions about the religious affiliations of its employees, specifically whether it acted improperly by requiring such information in its questionnaire.
3. The Task Force should seek testimony from scholars of new religions, constitutional law and psychology relevant to the questions at hand. It should recognize that the current record is strongly balanced in favor of anti-cult witnesses.
4. The Chairman should dismiss the Chairman of the Committee on Outside Resources from the Task Force for his inappropriate behavior and extreme prejudice. He should be replaced on the Task Force by a parent who favors his/her child’s involvement in an NRM. The Chairman should take personal responsibility to ensure that outside resources are sought which are truly objective and balanced.
5. The Task Force should recommend that the University System create a program to promote religious freedom and to celebrate religious diversity, giving special attention to the rights and sensitivities of religious minorities.
6. The Task Force should recommend that the anti-NRM pamphlet "Friends Are Everywhere" no longer be distributed by the University, because this pamphlet unconstitutionally uses State resources to put certain smaller and newer religious groups at a disadvantage against the larger established religions.
7. The Task Force should not recommend any orientation program for freshmen or other educational effort which tends to favor established religions over newer and smaller ones.
8. The Task Force should recognize the right of religious believers to form associations and single issue advocacy groups without labeling such activities as "deceptive" or identifying these associations and groups as "fonts" for "dangerous cults."
9. The Chairman should ban the hate-word "Moonie" from being used in these proceedings.
10. The Task Force should be careful that in considering regulating "behaviors" it not be seduced into attempting to control constitutionally protected speech, association and belief. It also needs to consult scholars and theologians about the meaning of such "behaviors" in a religious context, rather than relying on the interpretation of anti-cult advocates.
11. The Task Force should recommend that the term "Moonie," "cultist" and similar epithets be considered hate language and that students and University personnel using such language be subject to disciplinary action.
12. The Task Force should seek testimony not only from "apostate" members of "cults," but also from ex-members who have not joined the anti-cult movement, as well as from current members.