Certainly the most important event in religion in 2012 is the death of Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, Author of the Divine Principles, and some kind of a god, I suppose, if you believe in fairies and shit and happen to believe in him. Moon was clearly another bipolar psychotic who created a religion based on his own divine superiority and that of his family. It loosely syncretized from varied traditions, but more heavily on Christianity than any of the others. Moon was a classic megalomaniac manipulator, but he arrived at the perfect time and place for building a base for a new religious movement. His overtures to right wing Christianity and the anti-communist movement made him a favored cultural icon in the eyes of U.S. imperialists and South Korean elites—both of whom favored religious nutjobs like Moon and Cho to political movements which may have led Koreans to actually understand their interests. The opening up of the US in 1965 after the repeal of the Oriental Exclusion acts was a boon and a bust for Moon. He gained access to the US, but he never did very well here, and it made him seem like the nutjob cult leader that he was in the eyes of the public. Had he stayed in Korea and focused the movement on that, we’d be talking about Moonies the same way we do about Mormons—as if they are a different form of Christianity. And, if Moon had died at the height of his accomplishments for conversion–and before unseemliness arose to the public eye—he could have easily become a messianic figure. He still may, but I’m betting that the Moonies and the Mormons will be similarly sized movements in the next century—with Moonies holding sway in Asia and Mormons mostly confining themselves to portions of North America. If only someone had crucified him…..