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Saturday,May 30,2020
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Korea, Theocratic Nation Or Secular Nation?
The demonstration and dissension against the Government have been common in our contemporary history. In this time, however, they are extraordinary, which are against the Religious deviationism from the President. Actually the Governmental Religious deviationism is not a special case, but this Government is no match for it. Such a distinction made a multitude of the Buddhists, over 200,000 from various parts of the country.(Aug 27th, 2008)
  President Lee has promised to correct their faults with remorse, and the Buddhists' accepted it. It looks like an end of this historical resistant happening. It should be, however, the speculative turning point; what is an image of our future?
  We can easily find the answer of the question above on the Constitution of the Republic of Korea. It says, “The Republic of Korea shall be a democratic republic” which , ‘Article 1’, has never been changed so far. This Article authenticates that Korea is a ‘secular’ nation. There is nowhere the ideology of National secralization on it, that is why Korea is not a theocracy.
  Further, Article 11 says, “All citizens shall be equal before the law, and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic, social or cultural life on account of sex, religion, or social status.” Nevertheless one elementary school students who are not church-going, are on stress to go to church.(What on earth is the difference between the sexual harassment and the religious harassment? They are the same in illegal!)
  It is, of course, reasonable that President Lee has his own belief, but he is not an evangelist, is the PRESIDENT. The demonstration against the Governmental religious deviationism is derived from that the numbers of evangelists are trying to widen the Christian influence being indented to the Governmental power. In my opinion it would be started from the President Lee.
  We have lots of divisions; regional, ideological, economical, and even ‘South and North’ etc. In our context, religious trouble is the problem of not only Buddhists, but also all Korean, especially for our descendants.
  India that is not also theocracy just like Korea could be a good example for us. Although their constitutional guarantee, they are falling to ruin because of the conservative Hindus who wants to make India of their own without any permission of religious freedom. Furthermore Islamic resistance is getting harder. Being connected with religions the numerous terrible terrors are happened in this year. These disasters look like getting harder and harder. Where is the peace, speculations, and diversity of India? How about us?
  During a trip in India last summer, a Newspaper photo showed a crowd of monks gathered around the City Hall, and I prayed for peace of Korea, especially religious peace. The future of Korea is up to the wholesome citizens. Our citizens should understand the present problem is not just for Buddhists but for all, and make Korea a democratic secular nation, not theocracy.

Kim Ho-Sung  hosung@dongguk.edu

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