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Democrats criticize Paul Mango for 'homophobic and extremist' interview

| Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, 2:42 p.m.
Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango, left, appears in a video interview with Hyung Jin Moon, the “second king” of an assault rifle-wielding Christian sect headquartered in Eastern Pennsylvania.
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Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango, left, appears in a video interview with Hyung Jin Moon, the “second king” of an assault rifle-wielding Christian sect headquartered in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango appeared this month in a video interview with Hyung Jin Moon, the "second king" of an assault rifle-wielding Christian sect headquartered in Eastern Pennsylvania, to talk about his campaign for the Republican nomination.

About two-thirds of the way through the 37-minute interview , Moon, seated behind an AK-style rifle and wearing a camouflage jacket and a crown, said parents are afraid to send their kids to public schools for fear of liberal indoctrination.

"They're getting indoctrinated into the homosexual political agenda, they're getting indoctrinated in the transgender agenda," said Moon, the leader of the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pa. "Saying that their emotion — that they can choose how they feel, based on how they feel, their gender, which is totally against the Bible, it's totally against biology."

Mango, 58, an Army veteran and retired Pittsburgh health care consultant from Pine Township, nods along in the video before steering the conversation to the burden of property taxes that fund education in the state.

Moon later calls Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger "one of the most racist, racist, eugenicists in the history of American politics," saying she "wanted to go into the black neighborhoods, take over the preachers, and use them against their own, the black communities. She literally said she wants to exterminate black people."

Mango responds by saying Moon is pointing out "the inherent contradiction of liberal progressivism," before winding down the conversation.

The video was posted to YouTube on Jan. 10 in an installment of Moon's show, "The King's Report."

A Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokeswoman called Mango's appearance on the show an attempt "to gain the support of the most right-wing, extremist sectors of the Republican Party to get through the primary.

"This is the most recent evidence that Paul Mango is moving as far to the right as possible," communications director Beth Melena said in a statement. "Paul Mango's homophobic and extremist interview is proof that he is not fit for public office."

Mango, a wealthy political outsider who said his campaign had $5.5 million in the bank at the end of 2017, is running against Pittsburgh attorney Laura Ellsworth, state House speaker Mike Turzai, R-Marshall, and state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York, in the May 15 primary.

Mango didn't respond to interview requests made through spokesman Matt Beynon.

"Paul does not agree that schools are indoctrinating our kids," Beynon said in an email. "However, Paul does believe that our culture has eroded and has become more and more intolerant of traditional family values. It is a huge problem when people of faith are attacked for holding to their religious principles."

Beynon didn't address the Planned Parenthood comments. Some conservatives, including former presidential candidates Ben Carson and Herman Cain, have leveled claims of racism and eugenicism against Sanger, who died in 1966.

People accusing Sanger of being racist often point to a 1939 letter in which she wrote, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."

The fact-checking website PolitiFact said that while Sanger supported the eugenics movement, "substantial evidence shows that she was not racist and in fact worked closely with black leaders and health care professionals," including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W. E. B. Du Bois and Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council of Negro Women.

Moon is the son of Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon, founders of the international Unification Church in the 1950s. The church, with followers often called "Moonies," is known for its mass wedding ceremonies.

Hyung Jin Moon started his own branch of the church in Newfoundland after disagreements with his mother, according to a blog of the New York-based Unification Theological Seminary. Church leaders are often pictured with assault-style rifles, and they are required at some ceremonies, according to the church's website.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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