Former Members of Khmer Rouge Converting to Christianity

March 12, 2004

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On March 12, 2004 The Houston Chronicle reported, "The 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime, implicated in the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians from disease, starvation and executions, also preached atheism and sought to eradicate all traces of religion. The ultra-communists converted Buddhist pagodas into prisons, pig sties and armories, tore down Phnom Penh's imposing Roman Catholic cathedral and killed Muslim leaders. Now, they're flocking to Christianity, with supporters saying the ex-Khmer Rouge are acting out of religious conviction and critics claiming that they only want the material help -- foodstuffs and other goods -- that missionaries can provide. 'They're looking, searching for forgiveness because they're full of guilt,' said the Rev. Setan Lee, who heads the evangelical organization Kampuchea for Christ. 'And they found forgiveness in the gospel message of Christ, where other religions have no forgiveness.' The group has converted at least a few thousand ex-soldiers, including several generals, according to Lee, a Cambodian-American who survived the genocide and later settled in Aurora, Colo. About 20 of the organization's pastors were once part of the Khmer Rouge."