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Criticizing North Korea’s Stalinist tyranny should not be hard, either for its brutal repression of the North Korean people, or its routine external terrorism and military provocations. The most recent outrage of course was North Korea shelling of Yeonpyeong island, killing 4 South Koreans, wounding many others, and setting off international alarms that North Korea may ignite another major war against its much freer and more prosperous southern neighbor. But the Religious Left has not been able to find its tongue on this dangerous aggression. Left-leaning U.S. churches seem to have been completely quiet, while the Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) is remaining aloof and ever striving for an unholy impartiality between the democratic victim of an attack, and the assaulting dictatorship.
In a 255-word statement, the WCC’s chief, a Norwegian Lutheran, managed carefully to avoid even implied criticism of the North Korean attack. Mostly relying on the passive verb tense or citing abstract forces so as to avoid faulting North Korea, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit was very concerned about the “escalation of tensions” in Korea, one of many “incidents” stretching back to the Korea war 50 years ago, whose promulgator, in typical fashion, the Religious Left never specifically names. The WCC is courageously “unequivocal” in opposing any “use of force and military power” that may distract from the “Korean people’s aspiration for peace and reconciliation.” According to Rev. Tveit, the most recent “violent incidents” evince how “unresolved divisions” threaten peace. The WCC chief implored “both North and South Korea to refrain from actions that exacerbate the tensions,” as though South Korea were equally prone to shell North Korea, sink North Korean ships, or assassinate North Korean leaders. Resting on this fiction, the WCC wants both North and South Korea to “demonstrate the genuine will to return to peace negotiations that will lead to peaceful co-existence and mutual respect, and to engage in a new process of confidence-building measures at the earliest possible date.”
Well, it’s nice the WCC did not, in more typical fashion, try to blame the U.S. for the latest conflict. But when the Religious Left is not faulting America, the best it can do is pretend that everyone is equally dangerous, or blame impersonal situations for mystically inciting violence. To actually condemn or even imply misconduct by a communist, or other repressive anti-Western regime, is simply emotionally or psychologically unacceptable for nervous left-leaning church elites. Would the Korean Peninsula be less dangerous without a massively armed, communist prison camp regime in the north? The Religious Left will never say. Instead, it demands “reconciliation,” as though urging two quarreling family clans to quit their irrational, decades-long feud.
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