For many people across the globe this is the most wonderful time of the year but for some Christians the period, usually marked by celebration, is soured by religious leaders driving their own political agendas.
The trend of church heads wielding their influence to interfere in matters of the state remains alive throughout the world and is a phenomenon with which Africans are all too familiar.
“What is becoming increasingly problematic is how such movements threaten to distract worshippers from the true meaning and redemptive purpose of the birth of Christ and the Christian faith,” a representative of the Human Rights Association (HAC) for the Victims of Coercive Conversion Programs said.
During this time of peace and unity, a populist pastor in South Korea is leading a conservative revival in the name of Christianity blaspheming God. Pastor Jeon Kwang-hoon, the Chairman of the Christian Council of Korea (CCK), among other things, is calling for the resignation of the President of the Republic of South Korea. He claims that is “an order from the Lord”. The CCK is an umbrella group of conservative churches.
Many Christians say that Pastor Jeon committed the sin of blaspheming God and the Holy Spirit when he recently spoke against God saying, “If you mess around, I will kill you,” and other similar remarks.
According to a representative of the HAC, “President Jeon Kwang-hoon claims that he has been anointed, and even asserting that the entire country of South Korea centres around him, and that he will kill God if things do not go his way.” He also explained, “Such assertions expose his heretic beliefs that use religion for power and oppose God. The CCK – a political organization masked under religion – must be shut down immediately.”
“We are afraid that our country – South Korea – will be pointed out and blamed by the whole world as a country of the devil, because of Jeon Kwang-hoon, the president of the CCK. The whole world is speaking out against Jeon Kwang-hoon’s ludicrous and blasphemous comment,” some Korean church members are saying.
The HAC emphasized, “Pastor Jeon’s words are the words of the CCK. The true identity of the CCK is finally exposed.”
Other Christians are outraged by Jeon’s interference in state affairs and have labelled him “a son of vipers.” The National Council of Churches in Korea have condemned him for generating “mass hysteria” among his followers with false information, according to the New York Times. He has been blacklisted and is currently unable to leave the country on six charges of sedition, violation of donation collections regulations, forming an anti-national organization, and organizing a crime group, among others.
In Africa many thousands of believers have gathered during the past year to call for an end to the CCK as it misrepresents the principles of the Christian faith and pushes political agendas in South Korea. Many young students have pleaded on behalf of the organization’s victims who endure hate speech and violence at the hands of the CCK.
As Christians commemorated the birth of Jesus Christ, the HAC says, “religious leaders must pave the way for unity and embrace people of all faiths, genders, nationalities and cultures, instead of sowing division.”