According to one of the sect's websites, the red colour represents power, energy and positivity; the white symbolizes purity and holiness. Adherents are encouraged to display a flag of this emblem alongside national flags; which gives a hint of the organization's political agenda.
The website goes on to explain that the central red disc...
"...symbolizes God, truth, life, and light. Those four elements reach out or radiate from this origin to the whole cosmos in twelve directions. The number twelve indicates the twelve types of human character...
The significance of the symbol, then, indicates that truth (the Principle) is able to spread out in twelve ways. According to Father, the structure of the heavenly kingdom is also patterned after this basic system; i.e., twelve tribes and twelve character types.
The outer circle represents the harmony of giving and receiving action, the principle of the cosmos.
The square represents the Four Position Foundation." (www.unification.net/tradition/tt1-10.html)
The twelve types of human character are undefined but the Principle refers to 'The Divine Principle'; the scripture and main theological textbook of the Unification Church. Father is their messiah, Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012), and the Four Position Foundation is mankind's establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth (www.tparents.org/moon-books/bif1/BIF1-1-101.htm.
None of this conforms to the traditionally accepted understanding of Christianity and from the above it can be seen that 'Father' did not design the emblem to represent a Christian cross. Yet two crosses are clearly evident. The main one is an 'X' shaped pattéed St. Andrew's Cross shown superimposed in the image on the right.
Slightly less obvious is the St. John's Cross in the lower image. These two crosses, however, are incidental in the emblem's design.
The Christian cross represents the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind (see the meaning of the cross). The Unification Church specifically states that Jesus' sacrifice did not save mankind. They concede that Jesus came as the Messiah for that purpose, but his mission failed and the job has been passed to Sun Myung Moon to complete. In stating this, they distance themselves from the fundamental Christian doctrine.
In 1996 a new emblem was designed and a cross can still be seen in the form of a sunburst near the top. (Click any image to enlarge.)
A few years later however, they began a 'take down the cross' campaign following the belief that the cross is a negative image; an instrument of torture and a source of division between people of different faiths leading to 'intolerance'. But this differs from the view of most Christians, who recognize the cross as a visible reminder of God's love for mankind. People of other faiths recognize the cross as a symbol of Christianity but are generally quite happy with their own faith. Attempting to coerce somebody away from their faith, well now that's intolerance.
But going back to the original emblem, it is curious to note that it carries a very close resemblance to the military flag used by the Japanese in the Second World War.
This is most surprising because the Unification Church was founded in 1954, less than a decade after the end of WWII. Until 1945, Japan was the despised occupier of Korea and to use something similar to the invader's military flag in their emblem is about as subtle as an Allied country using the Nazi Swastika.
Moon publicly condoned (in a 2003 sermon) the Holocaust, and just as the Swastika is used today to attract right-wing extremists, the choice of the Unification Church emblem's colours and pattern may have been a ploy to attract conservative Japanese. Imprisoned by the communist North during the Korean War, Moon was fervently anti-communist. (The symbol's similarity to the Wheel of Dharma may have been to attract Buddhists.)
In addition to stationary and publications, the sect's logo appears on a variety of items, from gold wedding rings to gravestones.
The photo of the stone on the left was kindly sent to us by the historian at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (http://sleepyhollowcemetery.org) on the banks of the Hudson River just north of New York. The cemetery is close to Belvedere, the former New York residence of the Father, now used as housing for some sect members.
Several miles away in Kensico Cemetery, the Christian custom of east-facing gravestones is also popular with Asian-Americans. But at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the Unificationist's graves are on a west-facing hillside, opposite to the traditional Christian orientation.
Most Christian denominations agree that the Unification Church is not a Christian religion.
Their doctrine professes a belief in Jesus but they reject the notion that Jesus is Christ and died for mankind. (Islam and Judaism also profess a belief in Jesus and reject the idea of salvation through Christ, and of course, Muslims and Jews do not claim to be Christian.) If the Unification Church does refer to itself as Christian, it is because they regard Reverend Sun Myung Moon as the Christ. Moon had called himself "the Second Coming of Christ" and the "Messiah".
The Unification Church's ambitions include the establishment of a one-world theocratic government, run by the sect. To the envy of the Klu Klux Klan and similar groups, its wealth continues to be amassed, along with owning munitions and weapon making companies1 in Korea and Massachusetts.
The Christian and Unification agendas, like their respective emblems, are worlds apart.