Buddhist Groups Plan to Fight Christian Bias in Lee Gov’t

July 4, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Hankyoreh


Buddhist groups, which have complained that the government of President Lee Myung-bak is more partial to his Christian religion, have decided to take action.

In a meeting with some 20 groups held at Jogyesa, the main temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, in Seoul’s Gyeonji-dong on July 3, they decided to take action against what they say is the government’s tendency to favor Christian groups. Since the inauguration of President Lee, Buddhist groups have felt a sense of alienation because Lee appointed a number of Christians to posts in the Cabinet and at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, or the Blue House. The decision came after the government excluded big temples from inclusion in “Algo Ga,” its new transportation information system.

The Buddhist groups plan to take an active role in Buddhist services set for July 4 in front of City Hall and Jogyesa, a move expected to have an influence on the candlelight demonstrations.

In a statement released the same day, the Buddhist groups said, “Government officials, who have to function as public servants, have carried out the activities of missionaries or forced people to believe in their religion by exploiting their official posts. These are unpatriotic acts that undermine national harmony, split public sentiment and trigger disputes among different religions. We will deal sternly with government officials who have been partial to a certain religion to keep the principle of separation of church and state, which is clarified by Constitutional Law Article No. 20.”