Former House Speaker shocked by Kishida administration being swayed by decades long vicious communist campaign
Extract from a special pre-recorded message presented 31st January at the International Religious Freedom Summit 2024 in Washington DC, by senior American politician Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives. He delivered his presentation during a conference luncheon sponsored by The Washington Times Foundation and the Universal Peace Federation on the last day of the summit.
I can’t tell you how important I think it is that we recognize the threat all around the world to religious liberty as we see people killed in places, in Africa, in India, as we see repression in China. But particularly today, this special luncheon helping Japan overcome its religious freedom crisis is very timely and very important.
I’ve been working a great deal on the issue of what’s happening in Japan, and it’s really very shocking and very surprising. The Japanese had had a long tradition since World War II of honoring religious liberty, of enforcing the rule of law, and of respecting the conscience of individuals.
And yet now there’s a real effort to dissolve the Family Federation […] The government now has spent over a year in deep investigations, and after that year of investigations, they’ve not found a single crime that justifies going after the Family Federation.
But the political pressures and the dishonesty of the Communist Party of Japan and the dishonesty of the lawyers who made a living out of some 20 years of attacking the Unification Church, and then the Family Federation, all of those risk overriding the rule of law.
When the Prime Minister announced on 18th October 2022 that the Unification Church could not be dissolved because there’s no breaking of a criminal law, I sort of began to relax. Yet the very next day, he said maybe we can use civil settlement cases to try to dissolve them.
Now, there’s no provision for civil settlement to be a cause for dissolving. It has to be criminal. And the Prime Minister himself has admitted that there is no such criminal case.
My team did a lot of research on this, and we take it very seriously. As many of you know, my wife Callista was ambassador to the Vatican. She’s taken on religious liberty around the world as one of her major projects.
What we discovered was that the dissolution effort was really started by the Japanese Communist Party, which as early as 1978 began attacking the Unification Church because the Church‘s God-affirming message was directly contrary to the atheistic beliefs of the Japanese Communist Party to end free speech and to end freedom of religion.
Unfortunately, some elements of the media have joined in and at times have been I think very, very biased, something we also understand here in the United States.
But there was a brilliant article in RealClearPolitics [independent, non-partisan American media company] that Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook and Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett wrote that explains that this is a very alarming moment for all of us who believe in religious liberty, because Japan is one of our greatest allies. (More on their article.)
It’s been a bulwark in the Far East of standing for freedom, for the rule of law, and for constitutional behavior. And that’s why I think so many of us are now engaged in real concern for the future of Japan.
Everything that Callista and I have done, working with the Family Federation and its various associates, working with the Universal Peace Federation and working with The Washington Times, have been aimed at promoting the value of faith for all communities.
I’ve been astonished to be in meetings where literally people from over 100 countries representing virtually every religion on the planet come together peacefully to share their mutual right to approach God on their own terms. I believe this is central to the whole cause of freedom, the core value of being able to approach God without interference, it really underlies all freedom.
A government which can block you from approaching God can block you from anything.
I’m calling on ambassador Rashad Hussein, the IRF ambassador at large, to continue the good attention he’s already given this issue to alert Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and to shine a very bright light on Japan.
We have to make sure that the Japanese government understands that this is a key test of the future of Japan, a key test of the future of religious liberty.
And that to close down an organization as a deliberately political act of retribution is a profound undermining of the very basis of freedom.
And I so much appreciate all of you being involved in this important ’cause.
Featured image above: Newt Gingrich at the special luncheon 31st Jan. 2024 at the 4th International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington DC. Photo: Screenshot from live transmission.
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