[Note: This blog post is reprinted from the August 29, 2006 edition of Scoobie Davis Online]
It's great news that FBI Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Warren Steed Jeffs is now in custody. The cult leader of an offshoot of Mormonism controlled his members' lives with an iron fist. However, what got him in trouble with the law was his matchmaking between adult male members and underage female members as well as his own personal sexual misconduct.
Let's compare Jeffs' conduct with another cult leader: Sun Myung Moon. Like Jeffs, Moon controls the lives of his followers with an iron fist. Also like Jeffs, Moon--in at least one instance--arranged a "marriage" between an adult male and an underage female--an arrangement involving his own son. In the early 1980's, Moon brought a Korean national, Nansook Hong, into the United States for the purposes of an arranged marriage with his cocaine-addled son Hyo Jin who was abusive and gave her genital herpes.
There were some problems with this arrangement:
1) Moon brought Hong into the United States under false pretenses (which constitutes immigration fraud and is grounds for Moon's deportation).
2) Hong was only 15 years old when she was to be betrothed to Moon's son. By arranging this illegal marriage, Moon engaged in the crime of rape as an accomplice--the exact crime that got Jeffs in trouble (it is also a crime involving moral turpitude--another ground for deportation). The shocking account of Hong's life in the Moon family is recounted in her book In the Shadow of the Moons: My Life in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Family.
Unlike Jeffs, who is looking forward to the rest of his life in an orange jumpsuit, Moon has received plaudits from former president George Bush--Moon is "the man with the vision" according to Bush the Elder--and had a crown placed on his head in the Dirksen Senate office building in a ceremony attended by many of this nation's leaders.
Why the disparity in treatment of these two lowlifes? Certainly a large part of this disparity can be explained by the fact that Jeffs didn't make unreported contributions of billions of dollars to the Republican Party. Moon has dumped between two and four billion dollars into his media empire--which serves as a mouthpiece for the Republican Party (Paul Krugman was spot on when he referred to Moon's Washington Times as the Bush administration's "de facto house organ").
What's more, Moon didn't even have to use his own money. Moon has been able to collect billions of dollars--mostly in Japan--employing "spiritual sales" schemes--in which gullible families are bilked out of their life savings in exchange for rescuing their departed loved from hell (no, I'm not making this up). The upshot is that a few billion dollars to the GOP means the difference between facing a possible life sentence and being crowned the "King of the Universe" in a U.S. government office building. God bless the Republican Party.