Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Pure Love Studies Major at Sun Moon University

The role of colleges and universities is to encourage intellectual growth as well as teaching job skills and academic disciplines. Total ideologies, because they are closed systems of thought, impede creativity and seek to create and maintain followers. Thus, the goals of true institutions of higher learning are at extreme odds with authoritarian groups. This is why colleges and universities run by absolutists are viewed with disdain by serious scholars (e.g., to no surprise, Pat Robertson's Regent University law school is viewed as "tier four").

I have written about Moon's financial support for the University of Bridgeport and Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. I knew a little bit about Moon's colleges in South Korea. It was only today that I learned that the Unification-owned Sun Moon University in South Korea has two campuses "catering to more than 8,500 undergraduate students and 500 postgraduate students."

I'm not familiar with Sun Moon University's reputation as an institution of higher learning but one thing I learned is that one can major in "Pure Love Studies." In Unification theology, "pure love" between men and women is a necessary precondition for the establishment of an uncorrupted lineage of Moon couples who will become the vanguard of a forthcoming Perfect World. To become a student in the Department of Pure Love (yes, that's what they call it), one has to be admitted to the university and pay between $7500 and $10000 in tuition A Unificatonist explains the process of being a Pure Love major:
In 1999, he established the first Pure Love Studies Major at Sun Moon University. It is not only to educate the youth about the values of purity, but to help them actualize a culture of pure love, so they can make a world where people can live a life of pure love. The students are also nurtured to become leaders who can spread these values and messages and to help educate and guide world leaders in this endeavor.

In order to do this, it first guides the students to substantiate these values by helping them realize the importance of a life of purity. They also receive training and practice throughout their 4 years of study. After graduating, they will go overseas and become Pure Love Missionaries for 4 years, educating and spreading its message and also assist Peace Ambassadors to help realize a world of peace where true love can be actualized.

In a world where self-individualism is becoming rampant, the message of purity hasn't always been received with great fanfare. Mishuku Nikkuni, a senior in pure love studies, admitted, "Sometimes it's hard because not everyone agrees with our thought. Of course there are those that oppose us like lesbians and extreme feminists."

Addendum: Moon originally had grand plans for higher education in the United States. In the Fraser Committee's report, Moon is quoted as saying, "Once we can control two or three universities, then we will be on the way to controlling the certification for the major professions in the United States."

1 comment:

Kenneth Gordon Neufeld said...

The Pure Love Studies Major may be likened to a major in Dialectical Materialism at the University of Moscow back when Communism was widespread. It is a purely ideological degree loaded with jargon and words with special meanings that are to be understood one way by insiders and another way by the general public. I was once a member of the Unification Church (now the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification) from 1976 to 1986, so I am familiar with this kind of doublethink and doublespeak. "Pure Love" to a follower of Sun Myung Moon has a very special meaning. Yes, it does mean maintaining chastity until marriage, but in Moon's theology, the only kind of marriage which is acceptable to God is one that Moon has specifically blessed. As well, when Unificationists rail against "individualism" and "selfishness" (and Moon is fond of accusing the Western world of these sins in particular), what they really mean is that individualistic, selfish people dare to think that they have a right to decide for themselves what is right or wrong in the matter of sexual behavior. Unificationists, on the other hand, want to impose (and would impose by force if they had the power) their own particular beliefs about sex. Moon has often expressed the wish to punish anyone who engages in behavior he considers aberrant or lascivious. The irony, of course, is that Moon has not exactly been an icon of Pure Love himself, having been accused of running a sex cult in the 1950s in Korea (a rumor Unificationists deny, but which has strong evidence supporting it), and having admitted to his former daughter-in-law that he had had extra-marital affairs "for Providential reasons".

During my time in the Unification Church, I was a student of the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York from 1978 to 1980. This institution was set up to create leaders for the Unification movement at a time when Moon thought he was going to convert Americans wholesale to his teachings. Later, Moon acquired the University of Bridgeport (which had become financially insolvent) probably with a view to turning it into an American version of Sun Myung Moon University, but he has likely found this plan unworkable. The University of Bridgeport's President is Neil Albert Salonen, who was President of the Unification Church of America in the late 1970s and who holds no advanced academic degree.