From its beginning, the church wholeheartedly embraced former President Donald Trump and incorporated Trumpian culture war and conspiracies into its rhetoric. Moon told VICE News in late 2019 that he believed God was working through Trump to rid the world of “political satanism” (for example, the “deep state” and “the swamp”) and restore Eden. Through his gun-centric, MAGA-friendly outlook, Moon has been able to establish some fringe political alliances. Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon spoke at a recent event hosted by the church. Pennsylvania state senator and “Stop the Steal” organizer Doug Mastriano was also recently billed as a special guest at another church event.
A pro-Trump, pro-gun religious sect run by Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon has bought a nearly $1 million property in Texas as a place for its “patriots” to prepare for coming war with the “deep state,” Vice’s Tess Owen reported Thursday. The sect’s name—“Rod of Iron” ministries—and their habit of brandishing assault weapons as part of their worship service reflect its leaders’ interpretation of a passage from the biblical book of Revelation that says Jesus will dash his enemies to pieces with a rod of iron.
If the name seems familiar, Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, is the son of the late Sun Myung Moon, who started The Washington Times, and the Unification Church. His brother owns a gun-manufacturing company.
The purchase of the compound and its state purpose bring to mind the 1993 siege of a fringe religious compound in Waco, Texas, that ended in a fire that killed scores of people. Moon himself invoked that incident in an Instagram video posted Thursday. Moon wore a crown made of bullets and a vest declaring himself part of the “Black Robed Regiment” while repeating false right-wing claims that David Chipman, Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, had posed for a photo in the ruins of that compound, which he called an example of federal tyranny.
“America is existentially at crisis right now,” Moon said on the video. “We have left God. We’ve become part of this licentious, decrepit, degraded moral culture. We have strayed from God’s principles. … That will bring a country to destruction, and God will allow it to be judged, just like he did with the Israelites.”