About 50 prominent South Korean religious leaders issued a joint statement declaring the Presbyterian pastor Rev. Jun Kwang-hoon as a “public enemy” with sacrilege and criminal activities, as concern and controversy are coming from his hate speeches and anti-government activities.
The event was hosted by the Christian Federation of Anti-Corruption and Sponsored by Pan-Religion Association. In the statement the religious leaders “denounce Rev. Jun for the sins committing social conflict and division” due to his remarks including “God, if you mess around, I’ll kill you.”, “Islam and homosexuality are diseases,” and “Women say Satan’s words.”
“Tell a young female believer take off her panties and say, ‘I want to sleep with you.’ If she accepts, she is a believer. If she refuses, she is a shit,” said Rev. Jun in a training program for pastors to explain a way to distinguish a “true” follower of church.
Criticism against Rev. Jun from the religious world was triggered when he said, “Those who believe Buddhism should go to prison or uninhabited island.” In his inaugural speech as President of the CCK in February, he stated that his major task is to “block homosexuality, Islam and Anti-discrimination law.”
Back in October 2019, calling the South Korean President Moon Jae-In “a son of bixxh”, Rev. Jun has led an anti-government demonstration and insisted that President Moon is a spy and there are 500,000 followers of North Korea to “drive the country to ruin” by taking it away from the United States. After the event, he added, “Hallelujah. The most pleasant time has come. Time to collect offerings.”
Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist and the director of Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) as the largest international organization studying new religious movements, noted that “the activities of the CCK and Rev. Jun Kwang-hoon are causing international concern. In addition to their radical political activities, the CCK and Rev. Jun are spreading religious intolerance in Korea and abroad through hate speech and discrimination against groups they label as ‘heretic.’”
“Worse, they support violence against members of these groups, such as Shincheonji and others, who are kidnapped and submitted to ’deprogramming,’ an illegal forced conversion program trying to compel them to renounce their faith,” he added.
The rise of Rev. Jun traces back to his winning the presidential election of the Christian Council of Korea (CCK). Founded in 1989 after a series of control on church under dictatorship, the CCK has represented the majority of Christian (especially Presbyterian) churches of South Korea with millions of members and dozens of denominations.
Under the sponsorship from the military dictatorship since the 1970s, many Korean churches and later the CCK have been the forefront of conservative political activism. The CCK has exerted its influence in elections based on its members, labeled members or denominations not belonging to the CCK as “cults”.
“The growing concern of the CCK and Rev. Jun is coming from the question the Constitution of South Korea that mandates the separation of religion and state. Over the political activism the Western media pointed out, Rev. Jun’s anti-social, anti-religious, and anti-national remarks and behaviors are something to be called a “public enemy,” said Ven. Hyewon, South Korean Representative of World Buddhist Summit.
Exposing the wrongdoings of Pastor Jeon Gwang-hoon, a Public Enemy to the Nation and Religion
We, religious leaders, have a crucial mission to follow of the will of heaven and guide all believers to a righteous path of co-existence and harmony. A word spoken by a religious leader has a profound impact on the mind and spirit of the faith’s followers. Hence, we walk on the path cautiously, paying close attention to our speech and behavior to be exemplary at all times. However, the recent actions of the president of the Christian Council of Korea (hereinafter referred to ask the CCK), Pastor Jeon Gwang-hoon, has made himself a public enemy garnering many denunciations for disrupting the foundation of the nation and rules and regulations in the religious society.
As Pastor Jeon committed unforgivable sins as a believer with his irrational speech and behaviors that denied the foundation of religion, the religious world condemns his actions as a crime. We hereby clearly declare the accounts of his wrongdoings as a person who practices religion, and urge him to repent before the Creator and make an apology before the public.
Crime 1: We expose the anti-religious comments and actions that create disorder in the religious circle and disregard the foundation of religion
While having a rally before the Blue House, he said as a representative of the people gathered, “God, freeze. If you mess with me, I will kill you.” Including this quote, he has not been hesitant to utter blasphemous words toward the Creator he worships as a religious leader. To speak of killing the Being that is the source of religion, our teacher and parent, is an act of disrespect and an immoral sin in not only Christianity but also in all religions. Furthermore, he is acting as if he is in the position of God and that a single word from his mouth is capable of sending souls to hell by saying that anyone who did not take part in his rally would have their names removed from the book of life. This is to overturn and disrupt the order in religion by attempting to make himself the center of the religious world.
In particular, the Christian Scripture, the Bible, the one who tried to take the seat of God was called Satan. Pastor Jeon has demonstrated through his actions that he is carrying out the actions of Satan as he tried to raise his seat above that of God. Also, would there be anyone he respects when he says that he can kill the God he believes in? Listening to his comments reveals that there is an absence of fundamental elements of religion, which are love, respect, and humility, in him. Thus, he has shown to the world who he actually is—a false believer.
Crime 2. We expose the anti-social speech and behaviors that bring about religious fatigue.
Being a religious leader comes with a high level of responsibility to serve as the symbol of conscience and virtue, someone who is revered as a role model to the human society with a high sense of morality.
However, Pastor Jeon had uttered shameful sexual harassment comments on multiple occasions which led to public shock and anger. For instance, he described you can check a female congregation member’s faith by seeing if they are willing to go naked when told to do so by the pastor. Also, he spoke misogynic words referring to women as those who speak the words of Satan.
All of his controversial remarks are under the limelight even more as they come from a religious leader representing Christianity in Korea, and this news is spreading through the media to different parts of the globe. As a result, people are experiencing religious fatigue, and believers are becoming an object of ridicule and embarrassment just by the fact that they practice religion. As the news covering these baneful comments is spreading rapidly worldwide, it is tainting the national and religious image and authority.
Crime 3. We expose the anti-peace comments and conduct that gave rise to conflict and disorder within the religious society.
All religions have the mission to embrace humanity with love and guide them to peace based on their teachings.
However, Pastor Jeon’s extreme words and actions have caused rifts in Korea.
He has instilled hatred in Christians against neighboring religions by speaking things against Buddhism and ran a campaign to garner 10 million signatures from those who oppose Islam. Also, he is treating those who go against his religious teaching as people carrying epidemics by arguing that homosexuals should be quarantined like people suffering from leprosy. These are anti-peace deeds that spark even social conflicts.
A religious leader who needs to lead people toward harmony and coexistence has been fueling discrimination, hatred, and profanities under the name of religious teaching. Justifying such actions and inciting people to join are evidently wrongdoings that need to be rooted out.
Believers committing even one of the crimes above would be an unforgivable sin that would turn the whole world against them.
Hence, we, the religious leaders, urge the followings:
Pastor Jeon Gwang-hoon must repent his blasphemous comments, recant what he said, and apologize before God and all believers.
Religious organizations, denominations, churches, and congregation members that belong to those of Pastor Jeon Gwang-hoon are considered to be carrying the same mindset and thus, the same anti-religion entities. Hence, such organizations should expel Pastor Jeon from their group, and all believers must leave the CCK immediately as it has turned a blind eye to the profanities uttered by Pastor Jeon.
Religious leaders must denounce until the end regarding such anti-religious behaviors to ensure that there is no room for corrupt religious leaders to stand by not condoning or tolerating injustice and iniquities.
The Interfaith Leaders Alliance for Prevention of Corruption has hereby declared the statement to expel from the religious society Pastor Jeon Gwang-hoon, who holds the presidency of the CCK despite his corruption of violating both heaven’s and the earth’s law.