A controversial anti-LGBT pastor who once urged his followers to bring guns to church has turned his attention to delivering invocations at campaign rallies for Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor. Wagner and his campaign say the pastor sneaked in because he knew the owner of the venue.
Pastor Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon made his way into the public eye in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February, when he instructed his followers to carry AR-15-style rifles into their Pennsylvania church and wear crowns of bullets. (The church was labeled an “anti-LGBT cult” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)
A spokesman for Wagner told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the pastor wasn’t invited and didn’t get permission from anyone to speak. He also noted that the venue that hosted the event, Tommy Gun Warehouse in Greely, is owned by the pastor’s brother.
“Scott does not support Hyung Jin Sean Moon or his beliefs,” spokesman Andrew Romeo told the Post Gazette.
The pastor’s brother told the paper Wagner knew where the event was being held and should have known that the pastor would be in attendance. The chair of Wagner’s county committee, Chris Decker, told the Post Gazette that they didn’t know Moon’s brother owned the store and that no one knew Moon would be giving the invocation.
Moon’s interest in the race began in January, when he hosted had then-gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango as a guest on his YouTube show. Mango’s opponents — including Walker — immediately used the appearance to attack his credibility..
In audio released by the American Bridge PAC, a Democratic advocacy group, a voice identified to the Post Gazette as Moon's brother, invited Moon to “come up here and give his invocation, and get God’s blessing for the event."
Moon introduced Wagner as the “future governor” of Pennsylvania, and thanked God for the “power of the Holy Ghost" in propelling him to victory. Wagner is currently down in the polls by over a dozen points.
Cover image: Reverend Hyung Jin Moon, the church's pastor and the son of the late Sun Myung Moon, participates in a ceremony at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania on February 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. Spencer Platt/Getty Images.