The Cult Phenomenon in the United States (1979)/Zorinsky

Senator Dole. Senator Zorinsky?

Senator Zorinsky. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There are, I think, many questions raised by the nonreligious activities of cults that are the legitimate concern of Congress. Where cults commit extortion, hold members through coercion, force them to commit suicide and conspire to kill outside critics -- as happened in the case of the Peoples Temple -- the government has an interest. It is a duty to cult members and the general public alike to protect them from criminal activities.

There is a duty, too, it seems to me, to ask questions about the Unification Church, though I do not wish to imply that it and the Peoples Temple are in any way similar.

The Reverend Sun Myung Moon has committed the massive financial resources of his diverse and far-flung business, political and religious enterprises to acquiring an extraordinary devoted following. Some of these followers are the extreme cases, at least, are little more than automatons.

The Fraser Subcommittee claimed that Reverened Moon is working to create a sectarian unified civilization centered in Korea, corresponding to the Roman Empire.

Parents of the Unification Church members allege that their children have been brainwashed into joining or remaining in the church.

It will be a sad day for this country when individuals who wish freely to enter the Unification Church are prevented from doing so.

But it will be no less sad when members of Congress cannot look into and discuss responsibly made allegations.

There are many other organizations, some political, some religious, too numerous to mention, about which similar allegations have been made.

We hold a profound and sincere belief in the rights of the individual in this country. Where organizations are acting to force their regimens on unwilling parties, either inside or outside, it is the responsibility of Congress to inquire why.

But I caution those here today to be very careful. This is not a completely balanced proceeding. You will not hear enough here this morning, if you have not been researching these questions, to form responsible conclusions from them. A majority of the speakers in a very general sense represent a single philosophy, and there are very serious questions about the limits of the Constitution's guarantee of freedom imposes on government action.

That subject requires greater attention than we have time for today.

Finally, the right to hold unusual and unconventional religious beliefs in this country must be absolutely protected. It would indeed be ironic if after fleeing Europe to escape religious persecution, our Founding Fathers gave birth to a new persecuting and intolerant nation.

Thank you.

Senator Dole. Thank you, Senator Zorinsky.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).