Scott Wagner, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, claims he does not agree with the views of a radical cult, but he was caught on tape telling them he does.
Scott Wagner, the Republican nominee challenging Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania, is struggling to distance himself from a local anti-gay, pro-gun cult called the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary.
The group's pastor, Hyung Jin Moon, gave the invocation at a recent Wagner campaign event in Pike County. Wagner's spokesman later insisted he "does not want to be associated with Mr. Moon in any way," and that his appearance at the event was "unsanctioned."
But the campaign event was held at Tommy Gun Warehouse, which just happens to be owned by Moon's brother, Justin Moon, CEO of Kahr Firearms Group.
And Wagner certainly wasn't trying to distance himself from the group at the event itself, when he told one of the cult's members, "I think that 98 percent of what you believe in, I believe in."
Shot: "Scott does not support Hyung Jin Sean Moon or his beliefs," spox Andrew Romeo said.
Chaser: @realScottWagner to member of Moon's church asking Wagner to come on Moon's show: "98% of what you believe in, I believe in." Want to try again, @andrewromeo33? cc @julianrouth pic.twitter.com/rGK0t3VcRb — Zach Hudson (@zach_hudson) July 10, 2018
The cult's leader is the son of the late religious leader Sun Myung Moon, a right-wing Korean-born businessman whose congregations held him to be a messianic figure and whose Unification Church was known for controversial mass marriage ceremonies.
The younger Moon operates out of Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, and refers to himself as "the second king." He claims public schools are indoctrinating children "into the homosexual political agenda," that colleges promote Sharia law, and that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger wanted "to exterminate black people."
The group also has a fascination with guns.
Moon and his followers wear crowns made of bullets, and they routinely use the AR-15 in religious ceremonies, alarming locals. One such ceremony, held shortly after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, prompted a nearby elementary school to cancel classes as a safety precaution.
Wagner's private flattery of the cult comes after he attacked his primary opponent, businessman Paul Mango, for sitting for an interview with Moon in early January. At the time, Wagner's spokesman said that interview proved Mango would do or say anything to be governor but that Wagner "will be willing to stand up to folks he disagrees with regardless of political consequences."
Once Wagner was actually faced with a chance to do that, however, he apparently had other ideas.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.