Posted by: rbbadger | October 18, 2009

Mass wedding

As I saw in the Chosun Ilbo and on The Marmot’s Hole blog, Moon Sun-myung, one of Korea’s more colourful religious leaders conducted one of his famous mass weddings at his university (선문대학교) in Asan, South Chungcheong Province.  In the 1970s, Moon Sun-myung, became very controversial in the USA.  Stories of brainwashing and cult activities followed in his wake.  His religion, known in Korean as Tong-il gyo (통일교) is known as the Unification Church in the English speaking world.  For a long time, his followers were known as Moonies.  I believe that they still are today.

Given that his religion hasn’t been growing much, though it is fabulously wealthy, he has decided to open up his mass weddings to everybody, member and non-member alike.  I do believe that for the members, he still matches them to their spouses.  He is now getting on in years and will be passing over the leadership of his religion to his son. 

Central to the belief system of the Unification Church is the concept of the blessing.  Members believe that Moon Sun-myung and his wife Han Hak-ja are the True Parents of humanity, given that they produced a sinless family.  (The less said about Moon Hyo-jin, the late eldest son of Moon Sun-myung, the better.  He was known for having numerous extra-marital affairs, for abusing his ex-wife (who married him at age 15), and for having numerous alcohol and drug problems.)  Anyhow, those members of the Unification Church who go through the blessing will likewise be able to raise up their own sinless families. 

What perhaps made this mass wedding a bit stranger than normal was the participation of the daughter of Park Chung-hee, Korea’s late dictator president.  Park Chung-hee seized power in a coup d’état in 1961.  Convinced that Korea was going to industrialise come hell or high water, industrialisation really began in earnest during the Park years.  Korean became very industrialised very quickly.  High rises became a very common part of the landscape.  Hyundai, Samsung, LG, and the other big conglomorates really expanded their operations.  They benefitted from very close ties with the president.  Unfortunately, the Korean family suffered tremendously during those years as well.  The government under Park Chung-hee began pushing birth control very heavily during that period.  Now, they are begging and pleading the people to have large families once again. 

Anyhow, Park Geun-ryeung, younger daughter of late President Park, got married in the Mass wedding by Moon Sun-myung and his wife Han Hak-ja.  According the story, her family does not approve of this wedding.  Neither her older sister Park Geun-hye, former chairwoman of the Grand National Party (하나라당), or her brother Park Ji-man attended.  Park Ji-man, has been busted several times for possession of illicit drugs.  Like his younger sister, he recent married someone much younger than him.  Park Geun-ryeung’s new husband is fourteen years younger than she is!

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