SOURCE: Unification Church of Georgia

Unification Church of Georgia

December 14, 2011 14:45 ET

Freedom Rider Stumps for Human Rights on Capitol Hill

Student Leader Reports Rights Abuses in Japan

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - Dec 14, 2011) - The student body president of Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) in Lawrenceville briefed 12 congressmen at their offices on Capitol Hill Tuesday and received their good wishes for his 2,300 mile bike ride across America that kicks off Dec. 15, 2011 at the State Capitol of Georgia.

Mr. John Seijin Tranberg of Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Tuesday, called on the Hon. Rob Woodall of Georgia's Seventh Congressional District to advise of continuing human rights abuses against his fellow believers in Japan. "Congressman Woodall showed great interest in the bike ride we are calling Tour de Cause, and he told us it was good that we are gathering public awareness of religious persecution of Unificationists in Japan," John Tranberg said Tuesday. All 12 Congressmen, representing states from Georgia to California, expressed support for persecuted religious people the world over and showed their support by signing Mr. Tranberg's route map and posing with him for photographs. "Faith, Freedom, and Family, is the theme of the cross country cycle ride," Mr. Tranberg told the lawmakers.

Georgia State Senator Donzella James will join Mr. Tranberg at a press event at the Georgia Capitol Rotunda at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Mr. Tranberg, 22, the student body president of GGC, and Joshua Wildman, 21, of Los Angeles, are embarking Thursday on a 2,300 mile cycle tour to protest religious persecution of minority religions everywhere and Unification Church members in Japan in particular. The duo starts at the GGC campus in Lawrenceville earlier Thursday and will stop at the Gold Dome. Several Atlanta women donning Kimonos will attend the press event to show support for Japanese women victims of persecution.

"I applaud the 'Tour de Cause' of these two bike riders, which may move the authorities in Japan to enforce the guarantee of due process under the law enshrined in their own constitution," Sen. James has written in a statement.

Tranberg and Wildman are both second-generation Unification Church members whose mothers are Japanese and whose fathers are American citizens. Their goal is to raise public awareness of the fact that since 1966 more than 4,000 Unification Church members in Japan, and many members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, have been abducted and confined for months or years of psychological harassment in an effort to break their faith. Some have been raped or tortured. Hundreds are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to journalists covering the issue in Japan.

A certified Japanese psychologist will also attend the press conference to answer questions about treating victims of PTSD. Mr. Katsuya Tsukakoshi of Tokyo says he has counseled more than 200 Unificationists who were abducted and harassed but who returned to the Unification Church. Of these, approximately 20 need professional remediation.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Doug Burton
    Media Relations HSA UWC
    Unification Church of Georgia
    Phone: (202) 203-9883