GOP Candidate for PA Governor Affiliated with Far-Right Gun Church, ‘Rod of Iron Ministries’ — Here’s an Annotated Sermon by Leader Sean Moon

Pennsylvania State Senator and retired colonel Doug Mastriano has announced his candidacy for governor. And, in keeping with his participation in the Jericho March movement, the Stop the Steal Rally on January 6th, and other appearances at Christian Nationalist events, he kicked off his candidacy blowing a shofar and wearing a tallit. Mastriano’s political fortunes have risen specifically due to his links to Trump and efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but he’s also long been tied to extremist groups. And unfortunately, neither the media nor conservative voters appear to view him as a fringe candidate, as he has a reasonable shot of winning the GOP nomination. An early February poll by the Trafalgar Group, for example, had him in second place with 19.9% of voters—about 4% behind Lou Barletta, with 29% of voters still undecided.

While his participation in nationwide Christian Nationalist groups, and their attempts to overturn the election—he was subpoenaed by the January 6th committee for his plan to send pro-Trump electors to Congress—matter deeply, it’s also important to note that his ties to these groups date back much further than Trump and The Big Lie. One local Pennsylvania Q-affiliated religious group that Mastriano has repeatedly engaged with—with expansionist tendencies and both national and international interests—is “Rod of Iron Ministries.”

Rod of Iron Ministries is a schismatic offshoot of the Unification Church, often called the “Moonies,” led by Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon—son of the Unification Church’s late founder, Sun Myung Moon—who reorganized his ministry around a particular scriptural interpretation: that the “rod of iron” in Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 2:26 is, in fact, the AR-15

The gun church is a messianic movement, planning a kingship when America falls, and has associated itself directly with Trump, QAnon, the “Black Robed Regiment” idea popular in Christian nationalist circles, and, of course, with January 6th, which Sean Moon attended with some of his followers. People like Steve Bannon regularly attend their fall “Freedom Festival”; Eric Trump spoke at the opening of Sean’s brother’s gun store, Tommy Gun Warehouse, in 2016; Lieutenant Governor candidate Teddy Daniels had Pastor Sean bless his campaign for Congress before switching to the race for Lt. Governor. Doug Mastriano is just one of a line of politicians in Pennsylvania who would engage with the church. 

Rod of Iron is expanding its operations outside of Pennsylvania and the internet. They’ve purchased compounds in central Texas—some 40 miles north of Waco, which is relevant to the following commentary—and in east Tennessee. And, with both a gubernatorial candidate and candidate for lieutenant governor attending their events, as well as their interactions with Trump, it’s worth looking into their beliefs. 

What follows is an annotated sermon of Pastor Sean’s from May 27, 2021, in the midst of a period of expansion, and while Mastriano, Daniels and others were actively courting their support.

All annotated words, phrases, and passages are in red. See the corresponding annotation in the right sidebar. – eds

May 27, 2021, Rod of Iron Ministries

Good morning folks, just remember a recap of Habakkuk Chapter 3,1 and this is where he’s warning about Babylon the whole three chapters exist under Habakkuk prophet. Babylon the Chaldeans are coming to destroy Israel. Why? Because they have left God. 

They have turned their back on God. Why? Because they have accepted pedophilia and child trafficking,2 selling their children to the Babylonian culture, which would you, your, families send their daughters to the Temple prostitute, prostitution temples, Asherah,3 in order that they be deflowered, and raped by random strangers,4 this is how wicked and evil the culture had become, that they thought that was good for the children. 

I mean come on folks, this is so ridiculous. And they, that is over (unintelligible) bounds obviously. And Israel was starting to participate. Young people were getting sucked up in this culture. They saw all the Hollywood stars, they saw all the richness and affluence of Babylon,5 they wanted to be like Babylon, they didn’t want to come and understand their God. They didn’t want to live for principles, they want to live for pleasure. Right? This was a big difference. Because this is what we are facing today isn’t it.6 Will America stay as the light of the hill of the world. Light of the hill. Light on the hill. Will it stay with the torch of liberty burning, or will it die fading into the night? 

As Biden is now electing and trying to nominate, you know, the Waco killer,7 who took pictures of himself standing on top of the burnt dead bodies of children, that he said he was going to protect, and that he mur—that they murdered, as the federal agencies,8 they’re not even their enemies, they’re not even… war fighters don’t even take pictures of their enemies that they shot and killed, but this guy took pictures like a psychopath on top of men, women and children that he just murdered with his whole team, his federal teams, took pictures of them as if he were some kind of tough guy, he’s a total psychopath, who would ever do that? 

These are Americans. These are not foreign troops, these are not enemies of our… these are Americans that they murdered. Because they want to exert tyranny. And they want to exert federal power over the states and over the people. And that was a big wake up call for America,9 but the point is America is slipping and sliding into dangerous territory. 

Of course, call your Senators, call your Representatives to stop and block Chipman from getting to be the ATF head because it is again the ATF that did Waco. But, but in the end it’s a greater question, scenario than that, because America is existentially at crisis right now. 

We’ve left God. We’ve become part of this licentious decrepit, degraded immoral culture. You know we have, we have strayed from God’s principles, defending liberty, being accountable and having responsibility, and into a culture that seeks just pleasure and just emotion and good feeling and licentiousness and hedonism. That will bring the country to destruction. And God will allow it to be judged. Just like he did with the Israelites. If we don’t turn from those things. Pray for America today, pray for the President, pray for one another, get training.10 God bless Godspeed let his kingdom come.11


Correction 3/14/22: Some of the details regarding the Branch Davidians and the siege of Waco have been corrected, including the duration (it was 51 days, not 50) and the number of Branch Davidians killed (it was 76, not 74).