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.
Moon is the son of the late Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the politically engaged Unification Church who created the right-wing Washington Times newspaper. Sean Moon’s brother owns a gun-manufacturing business.
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.”
As Right Wing Watch noted last fall, Trump adviser Steve Bannon addressed a festival organized by Rod of Iron where he warned that “the left” would try to steal Pennsylvania and the presidency from former President Donald Trump by using mail-in ballots. Vice reported that Christian nationalist Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, positioning himself for a run for governor, was “recently billed as a special guest” at another Rod of Iron event.
The rhetoric and teaching of church leader Hyung Jim “Sean” Moon, who was at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, “have grown even more radical and militaristic” recently, according to Vice. Vice reports:
“The internationalist Marxist globalists are trying to start a civil war here, so that they can bring in the U.N. troops and Chi-Com Chinese military to come in and destroy and kill all gun owners, Christians, and any opposition, i.e., Trump supporters,” Moon said matter-of-factly in a recent sermon. “We are in the death of America right now, and that’s why, of course, God is allowing for our expansion.”
On January 3, his church sent out a notice to members. “Some federal agents operate as a criminal cartel and are in the process of stealing this presidential election,” the notice read. “We need to prepare and train for the fight.”
“It’s obviously better if we can use our rights to freedom of speech, assembly, to seek redress of grievances,” it continued. “Otherwise we will have to fight physically, with many dying.”
Three days later, when Trump fans gathered in Washington, D.C., Moon posted a video to Instagram from outside the Capitol, amid the insurrectionist mob, running from clouds of tear gas with his wife and brother.
Since then, Moon has warned his followers that the Biden administration intends to force Trump supporters into re-education camps. One of those followers attacked police officers in Westchester, New York, last month; investigators found he was in possession of a list of people “to kill,” Vice reported.
As Right Wing Watch reported in October, Moon has plans, and even a written Constitution, for the future “United States of Cheon Il Guk.” The constitution’s preamble states, “Cheon Il Guk, The Kingdom of God (and/or Heaven), a sovereign and actual nation does not yet exist in this world, but is the long awaited culmination of the End of Time as prophesied in the Biblical Scripture.” The preamble ends with Moon asserting a kingly and messianic role he says he inherited from his father, Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon:
Now as I, Hyung Jin Moon, take my rightful place as King of the Second Kingship of the Kingdom of God, Cheon Il Guk, as the Crowned Successor and Representative Body of the Cosmic True Parents of Heaven and Earth and full Inheritor of the Kingship of God, with all the authority endowed in me by my Father, Sun Myung Moon—The True Father, Messiah, Lord at the Second Advent and King of Kings, hereby declare the following Immutable and Unchangeable, “Constitution of Cheon Il Guk,” that shall NEVER be abridged or added-to, in their enumerations.