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The dark desire of the extreme right Christianity in Korea and the second wave of COVID-19

  • Post category:Meditation
  • Reading time:6 mins read

August 15th is Liberation Day in Korea from Japanese colonization. This day commemorates the liberation of the Korean Peninsula from the Japanese imperialism. On August 15th, the Japanese Emperor announced the defeat of World War II and declared unconditional surrender. Liberation Day is the day when the wishes of all those who devoted their lives for 36 years under Japanese colonial rules for the independence of their homeland came true. This year’s Liberation Day should have been a day that all people wished for as they were rejoicing in the liberation of their motherland. The expectation is heartlessly broken. The ancestors wished their motherland to become a “reasonable and ideal paradise” nation in the future. With Jeon Kwang-hoon as the center, Sarangjeil Church and Free Solidarity held a meeting at Gwanghwamun square. It was such an irresponsible and dangerous action especially in the time of COVID-19. Even though Many will agree that these actions are stupid things that don’t make sense at all, let’s put aside the condemnation of the malicious behavior that put an unspecified number of people at the great potential danger, we need to see the bare face of the extreme right of Christianity in Korea.

We must be aware of another form of imperialism that is hiding behind a scene of actions of non-sense. The imperialism refers to a policy or ideology aimed at dominating a specific country, group of people, or regions, etc. through the armed forces, political procedures, and the systemic plans in economy. When we hear the word imperialism, it is easy to imagine the guns and swords, troops of soldiers and tanks. However, they are only a mode of existence that imperialism reveals. What really matters is the desire to dominate and the ideas that make it possible. In other words, it is an influence for the purpose of domination. The essence of imperialism is to dominate people’s way of thinking.

Roman imperialism, in the time of Jesus, meant the expansion of the realm, the integration of different races and cultures, and the power to bring everything to under the knees of Imperial regime. The Roman Empire had the most powerful military power of its own time to actualize this desire, had a system to govern and control, and superior technology and civilization to maintain its dominance over the colonies. The power of Roman Empire can be connected to the deep desire of the Tower of Babel story in the book of Genesis. The desire for “the power to make their name stand forever over the world and not to be scattered” is at the heart of imperialism. Jesus was not against the Roman Empire simply because he was born as a colony. He took the imperialist mindset as a problem with the framework of their thoughts. Jesus offered a completely different answer, a way of love, not an imperialist way. It is peace and love, not domination.

In 2020, we are witnessing another form of representation of imperialism on the day of Liberation, which should be the day with full of joy for liberation from Japanese imperialism which is very ironic. The remnants of the pro-Japanese faction who served in the Japanese imperialism and those who support anti-communism and military dictatorship formed the extreme right forces in Korean society. Such extreme right forces naturally exist in the church as well. The extreme right forces that exist in the church, which are also called New Light Movement, naturally revere the imperialistic way. Because that is the desire they agree on and the way that desire could be fulfilled. That is why, ironically, who are self-identifying as Christians choose or prefer the imperialistic methods as the ways to fulfill their ideals. Naturally when they are agitated in that way, they rejoice. In this way, the extreme right Korean Christians praise and admire their Caesar. If their Caesar says the regime of democratic party and president Moon is problematic, they accept it as it is. They believe without thinking if their Caesar says that somebody from the current government intentionally spread COVID-19 in his church to make them down with terror. They agree without hesitation if the Caesar says that the elections were fraudulent. They also took it for granted when their Caesar blasphemes the death of the previous presidents who are deceased and to advise the current president not to commit suicide as the previous presidents did. They respond with saying ‘Amen’ to the fake news that their Caesar proudly announced, the whole Republic of Korea is dedicated to North Korea by the current president.

Can you see it? There is something more important to them than COVID-19. Many people told me that the people who attended the Gwanghwamun square meeting are not understandable with common sense. In order to understand them, we must understand the desires of imperialism and the way the extreme-right Christians in Korea pursue the scrofulous desires. For those who follow the depraved imperialistic desires, the pandemic is not a great threat as many people did in black plague pandemic in Europe in 14 CE. They might think the COVID-19 is only the collateral damage for a great goal. That’s why it does not sound very strange to me. I am even feeling envious of their honest revealing of the imperialistic desires without filtering.

Jesus told people, ‘give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God’. The distinction between a way imperialist and the way of God was a very important teaching that Jesus gave through his ministry on earth. Is Gwanghwamun square’s assembly Caesar’s? Or is it God’s? One thing is for sure. Those who follow the imperialistic way are not Jesus’ disciples. I am concerned with the Christians, whether they are belonging to extreme right, who have become slaves to imperialistic desires. This morning with heartbreaking mind, I am praying for them. I hope and pray for them to realize that the beliefs that they firmly believe and do not doubt of are not the ways of Christianity.

related news article from The New York Times