During November and December this year, New York Times and other leading press reported with the headlines “Ban Coercive Conversion,” and shared the events of Gu Ji-in, a young woman who passed away while being forced to go through the process. Gu Ji-in, a precious, bright soul that was taken from us too soon, was the victim of an anti-democratic religious coalition formed by coercive conversion education pastors, and the target of a witch hunt. Who will console the pain that 150 victims of coercive conversion in Korea have experienced? How can they be compensated? What about Ji-in’s life, what could repay that loss to her friends and family?
Freedom of religion is an absolute, fundamental right specified in the constitution of the Republic of Korea. In addition, protecting and respecting human life is a tremendous value that is also recorded in the universal declaration of human rights and must not be disregarded. Trying to change one’s religion through illegal methods is already unconstitutional, but the principle of protecting and respecting life is not only the basis of religion, but a social standard and basic human characteristic.
However, the CCK is trying to hide the truth, not only by neglecting the law and looking the other way, but by supporting its affiliated pastors’ illegal activities. As the New York Times has already conveyed, the CCK coercive conversion education pastors are wolves in sheep's clothing that have eluded criminal punishment by using victim's family members, and take advantage of them in order to make money like a twisted business.
It is stated clearly in HWPL’s Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) Article 8, titled “Foster Religious Freedom,” “States should activate and participate in systems to enforce and protect fundamental human rights, eliminating discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, and should refrain from and prohibit the usage of religion by governments, groups, or individuals in order to justify or to incite acts of violence against others.”
Furthermore, HWPL has already vehemently protested against the CCK, which has abandoned its function as a religious organization, and its affiliated pastors for conducting anti-nation, anti-society, and anti-peace acts that violate human rights. The CCK must to be disbanded for throwing the Korean people, as well as the international community, into chaos, and the pastors who took part in coercive conversion must receive the proper punishment for their actions.
We have to take part in revealing the truth with clear judgment more so than anyone else. Truth always prevails.