Ignoring North Korea’s Civilian Slaughter

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


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The WCC and other left-leaning Western church groups often like to defer to the National Council of Churches of Korea (NCCK), itself, like the Western councils, far more left-leaning than most church members in its member denominations.  The NCCK likes to boasts of its collaboration with North Korea’s own puppet church council and urge “reconciliation” without having to reference the brutal nature of North Korea’s despotism, which includes persecution of Christians.   But at least with this latest incident, the NCCK did admit it “deplores the North Korean military for using powerful weapons against the civilian community in the most serious incident since the signing of the Armistice in 1953.”  Could not the WCC even said as much?  The U.S. National Council of Churches, usually quick to politically commentate, seemingly has officially said nothing about North Korea’s latest aggression, nor apparently have its leading member denominations.  The London-based Council on World Mission, an international group mostly for Presbyterians, did condemn the “unprovoked aggression and attacks, and [called] upon North Korean military to cease from any further attacks upon the people of the South.”

Liberal Protestants in America were not always so unwilling to offer honest empathy for genuine victims of aggression.  During the Korean War, the U.S. National Council of Churches (NCC) commended the United Nations for “resisting aggression in Korea.”  The U.S. Methodist bishops expressed similar thanks.   In the early 1960’s, the NCC described how North Korea’s communist regime had killed 60 to 80 percent of its Christian leaders. But in recent decades, U.S. church groups like the NCC have been more distressed over “hostile and inflammatory rhetoric” against North Korea.  The NCC certainly cannot be accused of such an accusation, instead preferring a golden silence about North Korea’s atrocities against its own population and its threats against a long suffering and still vulnerable South Korea.

Pretending that Korean tensions are the fault of abstract tensions and misunderstandings for which no one is really at fault, except possibly a manipulating United States, is a long-time tradition for Western church groups like the NCC and the WCC.  The tradition is so revered that even North Korea’s lobbing shells into South Korea cannot disrupt it.  Would a full-scale North Korean invasion, or even a North Korean nuclear strike, bestir such leftist church groups from their aloofness?  We can pray we never find out.

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  • Dean from Ohio

    Let NCC leaders be useful human shields in North Korea, instead of useful idiots for stalinism back here.

    • Alex Bensky

      The surprise is that the WCC didn't blame Israel for tensions in Korea.

      • Jerry

        This time not Israel. But someone else may have a motive to keep the hostility going.
        It could be fear of OU, like EU. Can you imagine the size of Oriental Union?
        One Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and others working together?