Why are Newsweek's new owners so anxious to hide their ties to an enigmatic religious figure? - 2014-03-31
By January 2013, Anne and Caleb had left San Francisco and returned to China. They were living in Beijing, and Caleb was working as a translator. Like other former members I interviewed, they saw the Community as being in decline.
But when news came, in August, of IBT's purchase of Newsweek, that perception changed. Community members saw the deal as a potent sign of Jang's power, and some former members I spoke to wondered if it meant his teachings might have merit after all. Suddenly, people who had agreed to speak to me on the record changed their mind.
Their concern was not unreasonable. The Community is litigious. "We have to punish them," Jang said of his critics, according to the transcript of an August 2008 sermon in Korea. "We have many organizations so if they compensate, they should compensate a lot. After one is over, another organization will sue them again so all their lives they will be sued." He has been true to his word: Community ministries have legally threatened or sued at least five people who have written about or come out against the group. And after Ted Olsen and Ken Smith (who provided me with some documents and introduced me to Susan Chua) wrote about Jang in Christianity Today, the Jang-founded Christian Post published a story headlined "Christianity Today Writer Ken Smith Is Founder of a Company Fined for Deceptive Business Practices; With Child Porn Ties." The Post didn't address Olsen and Smith's claims about Jang in that story, and didn't disclose the Post's association with the pastor. Instead, it targeted Smith, outlining how Zango, a company Smith cofounded, had produced software that some users later used to distribute pornography. Smith wrote that he took the article to imply that he was "all but a purveyor of child pornography."