March 3, 2018 12:29 pm -

<> on February 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania.

Remember this story from Thursday?

This wasn’t your average marriage rededication ceremony.

Hundreds of parishioners gathered at a Pennsylvania church Wednesday to exchange or renew their wedding vows — some clutching unloaded AR-15 rifles, according to CNN affiliate WFMZ-TV.

The event was led by Pastor Hyung Jin Moon at the controversial Sanctuary Church in Newfoundland.

Guns were zip-tied at the door and ammunition was not allowed in the church, WFMZ reported.

It said the Wallenpaupack Area School District moved students of a nearby elementary school to other campuses.

… because guns guns guns FREEEEDUM! is more important than school kids.

We couldn’t help but notice the name of the “pastor” overseeing the ceremony. Hmmm…

People across the world were shocked as hundreds of couples carrying AR-15 rifles filled a Pennsylvania church on Wednesday in a mass ceremony where their marriages were blessed and their firearms hailed as divine “rods of iron.”

Across social media and elsewhere, many shared photos of the spectacle in the belief that this was the latest manifestation of U.S. gun culture gone awry – a clear sign, perhaps, that right-wing Evangelical Christianity had jumped the shark. Mistaken captions misidentifying congregants as “Christians” contributed to the sentiment.

Lost amid the bemusement and outrage was the fact that this wasn’t just any church: this was the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary of Reverend Hyung-jin “Sean” Moon, a splinter group from the Unification Church founded by his father, the charismatic cult leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

During the ceremony – dubbed a “Cosmic True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humanity Book of Life Registration Blessing” – Hyung-jin prayed for “a kingdom of peace police and peace militia where the citizens, through the right given to them by almighty God to keep and bear arms, will be able to protect one another and protect human flourishing,” according to the Associated Press.

Bingo! And there’s more…

Advocating for the militant exercise of one’s right to bear arms, he admonished his flock to “use the power of the ‘Rod of Iron’ not to harm or oppress as has been done in the satanic kingdoms of this world, but to protect God’s children.” The phrase “rod of iron” is from the biblical Book of Revelation.

The ceremony was the latest in a long line of publicity stunts by acolytes of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, collectively known “Moonies.” The main branch of the Unification Church, run by Rev. Hyung-jin’s mother Hak-ja Han, denounced the ceremony and claimed that Moon theology is dedicated to “world peace” and not weapons — a dubious claim for the notorious cult.

In a 2016 video posted to Hyung-jin’s YouTube channel, President Donald Trump’s son Eric can be seen speaking at the opening of the Tommy Gun Warehouse in Greeley, PA, a business owned by Kook-jin Moon’s Kahr Firearms Group. Afterwards, Hyung-jin is seen socializing with Eric Trump and assorted militiamen as his wife and church co-leader, Yeon Ah Lee-moon, engages in animated conversation with Eric’s wife, Lara.

In an online invitation to a “President Trump Thank You Dinner,” the Sanctuary Church declares:

President Trump has stepped into his calling as God’s representative. We all have to be serious to do our best to support the providence and help convince Senators that The (Concealed Carry) Reciprocity Act HR38 needs to become law.”

With its bullet crowns, AR-15 honor guard, and outlandish origin story, Rod of Iron Ministries may be one of the most bizarre “Mad Max”-style cults in modern U.S. history. The sect’s sudden appearance on the U.S. public radar is a reflection not only of the country’s gun culture, but of U.S. imperialism’s history of political dealings with corrupt reactionaries and religious extremists across the globe.

The full article, a detailed summary of the history, power, and influence (especially on Washington) of the Moon family’s fascistic, war-mongering cult is one of those articles that you miss at your own risk.

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Dave "Doctor" Gonzo is a renegade media producer, occasional bassist, web developer, and Grammy® voter. He is editor and senior contributor to News Behaving Badly. He has written for American Politics Journal, Alan Colmes' Liberaland (Dave was also a semi-frequent Friday guest on Alan's radio show), and (in print) Audio Review. Dave lives in s fortified compound with doorman in Manhattan's not-so-trendy Yorkville neighborhood.