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"Moonies" are disciples of Sun Myung Moon's controversial religious and political Unification Movement, which includes not only the Unification Church but an enormous constellation of civic organizations, including the Washington Times foundation, allied politically with such Washington, D.C. evangelical Christians as Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye and George W. Bush.

Moonies believe that Moon is the Messiah, sent as a kind of spiritual relief pitcher to complete the work of Jesus Christ. In 1978, Moon's group was the focus of a Congressional investigation that alleged widespread fraud as well as ties to the Koreagate influence-peddling scandal; the investigation ended with an admission that it found no evidence whatsoever of any wrong-doing.

Following Moon's release from a prison sentence for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice in 1985, the church requested that disciples no longer be called "Moonies" -- a media-created term that Moon himself quickly adopted and used frequently over the next two decades. In 1979, for example, Moon declared: "A Moonie soccer champion will still be kicking the ball, even if his leg is broken."

Unificationists now rarely call one another "Moonie" and deem the word, when used by outsiders, slightly demeaning (but nowhere near as offensive as a racial epithet such as "nigger").

Unificationists gained a reputation for high-pressure recruitment, and critics charged that they separated vulnerable college students from their families. Rev. Moon called these criticisms nonsense and claimed in 1976 that he had received many thank you letters from parents whose children became closer to them after joining the movement. (In 1977, Moon had a notice posted in all Unification Churches in America, mandating that all members write their families no less than once every 10 days.)

In a move seen by some critics as an attempt to distance themselves from the '70s notoriety of "the Moonies", Moon's groups now prefer to be identified in conjunction with more neutral organizational titles, such as the Family Federation for World Peace.

The Moonie absolute sex organization Free Teens USA met with controversy in 2003 when critics publicized its receipt of half a million dollars from the US Department of Health for an abstinence-only program in public schools that critics claimed concealed its ties to Reverend Moon.


External Links

Fans of the anime television show Sailor Moon call themselves "Moonies". This meaning of the term may be more common on the Internet.