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Rev. Moon Helped to Make Me a Better Human Being

Rev. Moon, Sun Myung Moon, Helped to Make Me a Better Human Being

Rev. Moon Helped to Make Me a Better Human Being 


Dr. Morton A. Kaplan
Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science, Emeritus, The University of Chicago

"I know who the real Reverend Moon is..."

Reverend Moon’s greatest contribution to peace lies not in any specific thing he has done but in the heart that has guided his activities. I have been intimately connected with some of his activities for more than twenty-five years: The International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, the Professors World Peace Academy, and the World and I. Initially I was attracted by the character of the activity and the quality of the participants. However, I had initial doubts stemming from the stories about Reverend Moon that were widely circulated but that I learned were false.

Because of my association with those closest to Reverend Moon and through my own interchanges with him, I know who the real Reverend Moon is. He is a man with an immense heart, a heart with room to love all human beings, a heart big enough to love sinners who injure him. It is this great heart that drives him 21 hours each day to build activities for a better world. It is this heart that leads him to bring thinkers from all the disciplines and arts into great collegial enterprises. It is this heart that inspired him, because of the need to support an anti-communist policy, to build a great newspaper in a city, Washington D.C., that many thought could support only one newspaper. And it is this same heart that turned him into a partisan of the new Russia that emerged from the ashes of the old while most anti-communists were unable to distinguish between communists and Russians.

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Reverend Moon's understanding that the future of Russia was central to world peace became manifest at the first international conference of PWPA in Korea in 1983. When I proposed a conference on "The Fall of the Soviet Union," he was enthusiastic. 
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When he then made a public prediction that the Soviet system would collapse in five years, even I was astounded. He then funded munificently the conference that was held in Geneva in 1985 in the absence of which we could not have charted the reasons for the coming downfall and the importance of responding positively to the new Russia. 
When many invitees refused to attend because of the title, Reverend Moon was steadfast in urging that the title be retained. At the same time Reverend Moon supported a smaller conference in 1985 in which I proposed the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Eastern Europe and to which the Soviet Union sent an official representative despite the claims of both liberals and conservatives that it would not. This likely played a role in freeing Eastern Europe. Again, this could not have been done without Reverend Moon's support and inspiration.

Peace Magazine  
When Reverend Moon proposed The World & I while in Danbury prison, I saw the magnificence of the ambition but doubted the practicality of the enterprise. A magazine that would cover every aspect of human activity, that would be educational, and that would explore the implications of morality was too grand a goal. When the first issue was put together, there was no backlog of articles and the issue was no better than acceptable intellectually. I felt that if we had a monthly schedule, even this limited quality would decline. Therefore, I asked Mr. Joo to go to Korea to tell Reverend Moon that we had to cut back to a bimonthly or, even better, a quarterly. Mr. Joo returned with a message from Reverend Moon: “Tell Mr. Kaplan that he does not have enough faith.” What happened afterwards was not a genuine miracle, but it came close. The magazine became better and better, month after month. Those who read it often call it the best magazine they have ever read. With the accompanying Teachers' Guide, it is used in thousands of schools to compensate for the inferior educational materials available to students. It is also now on the Internet where all articles going back to its origins in 1986 may be accessed. And teachers are beginning to collect its articles into books that will be used as texts.

A Great Man
Reverend Moon’s heart has produced conferences and organizations of religious leaders from all the major and legitimate faiths of mankind, despite the tensions that exist among them. I have serious personal doubts about the direct contributions most religious leaders will make to peace. But I do not doubt—especially at a time when the hate-filled pseudo-religions of people such as Osama bin Laden do so much damage—that bringing religious leaders together into common endeavors is an important step toward peace, for only when religious leaders help to inspire their followers and congregations to work toward a better and more just world will we reduce the violence and misery that characterize our present world. When I was chairman of ICUS for the first time, peace was in the title on the conference. At that time, almost all peace research that was available from scholars would have made peace less likely. I put together an excellent conference that ignored topics on peace. Reverend Moon looked at the tiles in the papers, noted the absence of papers on peace, asked me if that was right, then appointed me chairman of the next conference. Only a great man with a great heart could have called my failure so gently to my attention, for I could have organized good papers on the subject. That great man helped to make me a better human being.

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