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Monday, April 05, 2004

Praying to "save the nation"

Seeing images like this from Korea makes me feel uneasy about formally having the same faith as these people. As I'm in practice a typical non-practicing non-believing Euro Lutheran Protestant member of a state church, I'm not having troubles of conscience, but after the both of my two longer stints in Korea I was determined to denounce my church membership. Very few of Korean protestants are Lutherans, but I was still not comfortable belonging to this category of kidokkyo, meaning formally "Christian" but in practice "Protestant." (Especially the narrow-mindedness of some kidokkyo-people, going as far as burning temples, is disgusting.) Have I resigned from the church membership? No, the weight of tradition and habit is not that easy to get rid of...

This photograph is from a Hankyoreh article on a prayer meeting held by The Christian Council of Korea (한국기독교총연합회). The title of the meeting was Kuguk kidohoe, "Prayer meeting to save the nation"; this kuguk (救國) is familiar also from earlier citizens' movements, when it was used for example in anti-authoritarian proclamations. Seems that there's a bit of the same idea behind this prayer meeting, "saving the nation from its leaders."

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