Both President Bush and his father have expressed their support for a group of mostly black church leaders that endorses the practice of throwing the cross into the trash – literally.
According to an online column by John Gorenfeld, the American Clergy Leadership Conference sponsored a nationwide “Tear Down The Cross” day for Easter 2003 during which pastors led ceremonies where traditional sanctuary crosses were tossed into dumpsters. Over 100 crosses reportedly were trashed.
Writes Gorenfeld, “This [cross removal], movement leaders said, cleared the way for a new age and second messiah.”
Last week, the movement’s leaders presided over a Washington prayer breakfast featuring messages of thanks from both Bush presidents.
Though ACLC’s website says part of its purpose is to “promote through fellowship the unity of the body of Christ,” it also aims to “foster cooperation and understanding among all religions.” That cooperation is evidenced by the involvement of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church who was dubbed the king of peace at a coronation ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building earlier this year.
The organization also works closely with both Muslim and Jewish clergy.
Two sponsors of last week’s breakfast, the International and Interreligious Federation of World Peace and the American Family Coalition, are both affiliated with Moon.
“One series of photos found on Moon’s website, but purged after receiving unfavorable attention earlier this year from evangelicals, shows Massachusetts preacher John Kingara taking down the cross from his church, hauling it behind the old brick building and hoisting it into a dumpster,” writes Gorenfeld. “Another shows a ritual in Israel disposing of the cross in the earth.
Pastor John Kingara of Worcester, Mass., throws his church’s cross in the dumpster.
“Kingara, embracing the ACLC’s new gospel, declared in remarks found in the Unification News, ‘The fact that the cross is a symbol of division, shame, suffering and bloodshed prove that it is not of God but Satan.’ He continued, ‘On this 18th day of April 2003, we are beginning a new history. Pastors, please, help me to bring the cross down, because it is not of God but the devil.’”
Moon was the keynote speaker at the Washington breakfast last week.
Writes Gorenfeld: “In Moon’s teachings, God himself is shedding tears over mankind’s obsession with the cross, which prevents us from recognizing the real ‘returning lord’: Moon himself. It’s no secret. This is something he’s patiently explained to many audiences of congressmen and former Republican presidents over the years, in Washington pageants that hardly ever make the news.”
The columnist says Bush sent a “warm letter” of support presented at the breakfast by a state senator, in which the president and first lady sent best wishes to the sponsors — and thanked them for rallying his “armies of compassion.”