A church in the town of Newfoundland, Pennsylvania was packed on Wednesday with congregants brandishing AR-15 rifles as members of their flock were married or renewed their vows. See the gallery below to get a view of the insanity.
The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church, led by Hyung Jin Moon, urged his followers to bring unloaded semiautomatic rifles to Wednesday's commitment ceremony. Many also wore crowns, some of which were crowns made of bullets.
This bizarre offshoot of Christianity is obsessed with these kinds of firearms, which they see as the “rod of iron” mentioned in Revelation 2:27. According to Revelation, the rod of iron is what Jesus will give along with “power over the nations.”
Alright, so how the heck did all this start? Well, here is a brief history of this bizarre, gun-obsessed cult.
Hyung Jin Moon is the son of Sun Myung Moon. Sun Myung founded the Unification Church in 1954 in South Korea. Besides the Bible, the followers of the Unification Church also revere Sun Myung’s book, the Divine Principle, which has been released in a few different versions over the years. Sun Myung Moon claimed to be a messiah, and told his followers that he had a vision of Jesus on Easter Sunday when he was 16 years old. Jesus apparently told Sun Myung that he would finish the work that Jesus had started.
Then Sun Myung Moon took his church to the United States in the 1970’s and his cult quickly gained a large following. He gave speeches in arenas like Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium while he and his church gained more and more media attention. Critics of Moon and his cult took to calling his followers “Moonies.” Meanwhile, with all the money he earned from his church, Sun Myung became quite the businessman, founding the Tongil Group, which still supports the church in various ways to this day.
Sun Myung and his church also became deeply connected to Republican and right-wing politics. Moon was able to gain a huge amount of political influence, and built up a network of powerful right-wing organizations. He forged an alliance with every Republican president from Ronald Reagan until his death in 2012.
After Sun Myung Moon died in 2012 there were some squabbles among his many children about which way to take the church. And that brings us to Hyung Jin Moon. Hyung Jin’s church is a splinter church from the original Unification Church and in his new church they really love their semiautomatic rifles. The Moon family in general has been more and more pro-gun in recent years. I am sure that has nothing to do with one of Sun Myung’s children, Justin Moon, founding Kahr Arms, a small arms manufacturer which is under the umbrella of Tongil Group.
This church easily acts as a microcosm of the current state of American politics. They have heavy GOP ties, conservative Christian values, and they LOVE guns. Oh, and this week's festivities apparently included a "President Trump Thank You Dinner" on Saturday.
What would Jesus do? Apparently he would shred you to ribbons with a semiautomatic rifle. Peace be with you…