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FALWELL DEFENDS JESSE JACKSON
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon (was) honored by an ecumenical group of clergymen. The Rev. Moon received an award for his work in support of traditional family values. (Moon actually sponsored this event.)
The world's faiths arose to cultivate the human spirit, and "that is why religions tell us to fast, to serve others, to be sacrificial," said Rev. Moon, who described the family as the school of peace and God's love.
"It is possible for humankind to receive a great blessing through the rededication of marriage ceremony centered upon God's ideal of family," he said.
The prayer event, "America Come Together," was one of the largest and most diverse… religious gatherings of clergy and lawmakers in memory.
Amidst a three-hour program of prayers by Christian preachers, a rabbi, a Muslim imam and a Franciscan layman, Rep. Danny K. Davis, an Illinois Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, read a resolution that he and Rep. Philip M. Crane of Illinois, a Republican, will introduce next week in Congress calling on the nation to "dwell in unity and one accord." Imam Hassan Qazwini, director of the Islamic Center of America, said that "all praise is due to Allah" and urged prayers for "children in Palestine," or the West Bank, and Iraq, against which the United States continues its economic embargo.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., brought greetings from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, with whom he spoke late Thursday about his acknowledgement of a 20-month-old daughter he had fathered with an aide in the Washington office of his Rainbow-PUSH Coalition.
"He asks your prayers," said Mr. Falwell. "He apologizes, he takes responsibility and makes no excuses, points no fingers at anyone else, and that's all a man can do. It's not a time to put our foot on the neck of anyone who is down." His remarks were greeted with scattered "amens" and emphatic assertions of "that's right."
The prayer luncheon was sponsored by the Washington Times Foundation (and) the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church and the founder of The Washington Times, asked for prayers that Bush would gain the "respect of all Americans and the people the world over."
Mr. Wead, who had been religion liaison in the Bush administration from 1989 to 1993, also introduced what he called "seven of the top 10 television evangelists in America today." They included Paul Crouch, founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and Kenneth Copeland, both of whom made brief remarks. "We are here, in a larger sense, to honor an office, an office God has used to bless our nation and virtually every nation on earth," said Mr. Crouch, speaking of the presidency.
Rabbi David Ben-Ami, chairman of the American Forum for Jewish-Christian Cooperation, spoke of the common Jewish and Christian heritage. "The Torah is my and your holy Scriptures," he said, reading from the Old Testament on God, nations and leadership. "This noon, this is my congregation."
Moon, a North Korean native who founded the Unification Church, was introduced by Washington Times Editor in Chief Wes Pruden, who praised Moon for his fight against communism despite imprisonment and persecution, and for founding the Washington Times as a secular newspaper.
The Rev. Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., and host of the popular "Hour of Power" telecast, marveled at the "myriad" of different religious groups praying in the same room and complimented each for its own "spiritual pilgrimage."
"Many of you had reason not to accept this invitation because of, 'Who else will be there?'" Mr. Schuller said. "And yet there is an overriding unity. And the only way I can explain it in my theology is the Holy Spirit and that Jesus Christ has really diversified His investment portfolio."
In introducing Rev. Moon, Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of the Washington Times, paid tribute to the Rev. and Mrs. Moon, whom he described as "old friends" and to Rev. Moon's vision of a secular newspaper in the nation's capital to cover the world, and promised that "armed with editorial independence and that vision, we will always be faithful to the values that bind God's children together."
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