Christian minister sends opinion letter with crucial facts about dissolution case to court
First part of an opinion letter to the court concerning the request for a dissolution order against the Family Federation (formerly the Unification Church), written 12th December 2023 by Rev. Haruhisa Nakagawa (中川晴久), Minister of Christian Church of the Lord’s Sheep (主の羊クリスチャン教会), Executive Secretary of Tokyo Christian Theological Institute, President of Japan Christian Theological Institute. He conducted an undercover investigation of the Unification Church in 2012.
Translated from Japanese. Original article.
I am a Christian minister in Isogo Ward, Yokohama (横浜市) City. My activities primarily involve organizing monthly research meetings on medieval theological thought as the secretary of the Tokyo Christian Theological Institute (東京キリスト教神学研究所). Additionally, I contribute to information dissemination through the web-based opinion site SALTY, working with a team of nine pastors and scholars.
I started researching the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (commonly known as the Unification Church) when I was 27, before I became a minister. Now I am 53 years old, so that was 26 years ago. I have continued to observe and criticize the Unification Church from a negative perspective for more than 25 years.
During the first 15 years or so, I researched materials related to the Unification Church, attended meetings organized by the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales (全国霊感商法対策弁護士連絡会 – Zenkoku Benren), which is the leading force on the anti-cult side.
I communicated with Eito Suzuki (鈴木エイト), a journalist from the YaYa Nikkan Cult Shimbun (Almost daily cult newspaper – やや日刊カルト新聞) [an online news outlet], and even participated in support groups for “victims” organized by opposing pastors. Additionally, I conducted undercover research within the Unification Church itself.
I have now decided to submit an “opinion letter” to the court in opposition to the request to dissolve the Unification Church. The main reason is that the information that is being conveyed to the public deviates so much from what I have personally observed. Additionally, there are many aspects not discussed in the government’s dissolution request.
The negative impression of the Unification Church has been amplified and widely disseminated, particularly among Christians, who tend to harbour strong aversion toward unorthodox beliefs. As soon as you speak badly of the Unification Church in sympathy with its critics, you will also get their approval.
I am ashamed to say that I was half inclined to do so, and half calculating that in this way the heretical forces of the Unification Church could be deterred. However, it cannot be considered acceptable that even the government is getting involved in this.
Nationwide, there are “many” pastors opposed to the Unification Church who work actively on the Unification Church issue. However, when we say “many”, we are referring to a specific group of individuals. They represent only a small fraction of the entire Christian community. Regular pastors prioritize their own church work and do not engage with such issues.
Consequently, the dissemination of information related to the Unification Church issue is limited to specific organizations. In particular, we have to rely on information provided by the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales and journalist Eito Suzuki, who is the main writer of the Yaya Nikkan Cult Shimbun.
Notably, information often associated with the Unification Church issue, as known by the public, tends to reflect the opinions of a single group expressed through various channels. Among these channels, the Yaya Nikkan Cult Shimbun considers itself effective in picking on and making fun of organizations it deems as “cults”. Therefore, if we were to accept information directly from them, it would be quite biased.
Despite this, I monitor the Unification Church’s activities by occasionally turning to the YaYa Nikkan Cult Shimbun. Personally, I discount about 30% of their information to account for potential bias. This means that some aspects may appear like black propaganda [propaganda that gives the impression that it was created by those it aims to discredit.]
However, following the tragic incident involving former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, such information has spread widely through television shows and been accepted by the public without much scrutiny.
Nervertheless, I thought that as time went by and the public became sober as reality dawned on them, they would come to realize the excesses of the story and make a major change of course. However, it was unstoppable, and finally even the government got on board, even going as far as to request an order to dissolve the Unification Church.
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