First you fondle your gun, then you worship it as your god

A Moonie splinter cult is now buying up property and using AR-15s as church accoutrements. These are not good neighbors.

Moon’s congregation, Rod of Iron Ministries, also known as The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, is a gun-centric spinoff of the much larger Unification Church, founded by his late father, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah and businessman whose followers were famously known as “Moonies.” The younger Moon, who also goes by “The Second King,” split from the main church amid a dramatic falling-out with his mother about who, between the two of them, was the rightful heir to his father’s empire.

In 2017, Moon founded his church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, siphoning off hundreds of followers from the main congregation who were willing to make the seemingly radical leap of incorporating high-powered rifles into their spiritual life. He did this with the backing of his older brother, Kook-jin “Justin” Moon, the CEO of Kahr Arms, a gun manufacturing company headquartered nearby. In recent years, he’s made headlines for recreating the mass wedding ceremonies that his father’s church was famous for, with the addition of AR-15s.

I think a good part of the problem here in America is that we have a constitution that says you have freedom of religion, which is interpreted to mean that churches have complete freedom from any kind of regulation, rather than that individuals have freedom of conscience. Similarly, despite the word “regulated” in the amendment that allows people to keep and bear arms, we have interpreted that to mean we get to go crazy with guns. The constitution doesn’t say anything about capitalism, but similarly the parasites have decided that a “free market” implies a total absence of constraint.

Oh, well, we all know how this will end up.

(In case you’ve forgotten your trashy pop culture, that’s a scene from Beneath the Planet of the Apes, where the mutant humans worship a nuclear missile they want to use to destroy the world.)


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    I have a sick, sinking feeling that the fascist terrorist groups of the future are going to call themselves “churches,” thus creating a constitutional quagmire where trying to fight them would be declared a violation of the First Amendment (especially by our current SCOTUS).

    I mean, we allow obvious grifts like Mormonism and Scientology to hide behind the Free Exercise Clause, why wouldn’t we give these thugs the same protection?

  2. nomaduk says

    I resent the word ‘trashy’. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was awesome and, along with John Carpenter’s The Thing, had one of the best, most wonderfully depressing endings in cinematic history. (We can overlook the initial plot contrivance required to get James Franciscus to the same location as Charlton Heston.)

  3. Rich Woods says

    Of course I haven’t forgotten my trashy pop culture. I wish I could forget the bizarre psychic mutant silliness that was crammed between two excellent films.

  4. Silentbob says

    Actually – and I know the point of this post was not really to talk about a movie from 1970 :-) – “New Atheists” should at least appreciate the mockery of religion a decade before Life of Brian.

  5. PaulBC says

    Silentbob@5 Movies aside, science fiction has had fun with religious themes for a long time. I am not sure of the oldest instance. Julian Huxley’s The Tissue Culture King from 1926 is pretty old. Arthur C. Clarke’s The Nine Billion Names of God (1953) has different twist, since the prayer actually works.

    These two stories are dated both in technology and cultural outlook, but they spring to mind. Any other examples? Any from film? I bet there is something even in a 1950s B-movie, though I can’t think of it.

    Are we supposed to assume they gold-plated the missile or that it really looks like that?

  6. Scott Simmons says

    “He did this with the backing of his older brother, Kook-jin “Justin” Moon …”
    Ah, so these are the ‘kooky Moonies’.

  7. says

    Quote from the movie Zardoz staring Sean Connery:
    Exterminators : The Gun is good! Zardoz : The Penis is evil! The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots Death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals.

  8. PaulBC says

    Ray Ceeya@8 That sounds like a principle Thanos could get behind. On the other hand, it’s a bit easier to block the evil life seed than those pesky bullets.

  9. nomaduk says

    PaulBC@6: Are we supposed to assume they gold-plated the missile or that it really looks like that?

    It’s meant to be a cobalt casing, which really should be bluish-silver, like nickel. Encasing a hydrogen bomb in cobalt would theoretically result in fallout containing radioactive cobalt-60, and would contaminate a vast area for about a century or so. Maybe the gold plating was added later, along with the A-Ω on one of the fins. (Not a really accurate rocket design, but, hey.)

  10. birgerjohansson says

    Soo…the Church of Thanos?
    Crom- the god of Conan- had more style. My favv is still Gozer; he did not need weapons of any kind to potentially wipe out humanity.
    “With the addition of AR-15s”
    and maybe daggers in a belt. The outfits will need a darker color, preferably black.

  11. davidc1 says

    @5 I think the bestest film that mocks religion is the 1963 film Heavens Above ,from an idea by Malcolm Muggeridge .
    Who later got religion in a big way ,introducing mother theresa to a wider world .

  12. PaulBC says

    davidc1@13 Bedazzled (1967 with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, not the wholly unnecessary remake) is one of my favorite religious comedies, though it’s more tongue-in-cheek than mocking. This is one of my favorite scenes. “I’m gettin’ a bit bored with this. Can we switch places?”

    (I was just checking for other reasons and this was not inspiration for Kate Bush’s “deal with God” at least not according to an interview.)

  13. birgerjohansson says

    They really should wear an italian fez instead of crowns. I don’t see if they are wearing belts, but just in case… “Gott mit uns”.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Marty Feldman made a film about a megachurch. It was not one of his best films, but it captured the hypocrisy nicely.

  15. PaulBC says

    birgerjohansson@16 “Gott mit uns”.

    I don’t see any mittens, just very creepy gloves. ;)

  16. fentex says

    Long time since I saw it but I don’t think the worshippers, in Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, wanted to use the bomb – they didn’t even know what it was. Taylor, who did, decided to use it because he hated the world he found himself in.

  17. fentex says

    Hmm, my memory is returning. Maybe the mutants did want to use the bomb as they were attacked by apes and first the astronauts tried to stop them until Taylor fell into despair. I’m going to have to go watch this again.

  18. PaulBC says


    I’m going to have to go watch this again.

    Or you could work on a plot-line that you prefer to the original. I mean, there’s not a lot at stake unless you’re going on Jeopardy and they have a Planet of the Apes category.

  19. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    I love watching how conservatives all converge on the same weird shit. It’s almost like they march in lockstep to what everyone else says!

    @22: No, no, no, John. Not the same. The Sikhs responded to a real legacy of religious oppression and helping other groups against it by militarizing, and they still have an ethos that strongly emphasizes peace (though the Sikh warrior ethos has gotten more deeply entrenched I will agree). The Moonie assholes are worshiping at an altar of oppression, not resistance to it.

  20. davidc1 says

    @14 Yeah the original is best .Heavens Above is a bit more of a pop at the church of England ,and English society in general.