Sunday, January 16, 2011

Religions Existing In Peace

At the winter solstice,  a group of men dressed in military uniforms entered a Buddhist Temple, interrupting their prayer service.  They were demonstrating against the Buddhists. It  was considered a terrorist attack by many religious groups and condemned. The Peace Weekly and The Catholic Times reported on the support the  Buddhists received from many Christian groups.

Fundamentalist Protestants have entered the grounds of a Buddhist temple in the past, disrupting  their service but later apologized for their actions; this left a bad impression on many in society. The Buddhists have had trouble with the present government because of what they feel is the President's Protestant bias. The government did cut a  subsidy that was going to the Buddhists for their temple-stay program, and they then refused  to accept  anything from the government. They will also boycott any participation with the government in the future.
Representatives of ten Christian associations strongly supported the Buddhists, signing a statement that expressed their feelings on the recent incident at the Buddhist temple. The statement included the demand that the government show how public power was being exercised in this situation and asked that those who were responsible apologize for their actions and be punished.

In the statement, they pointed out that this problem exists not only between religious groups but between many sectors of the society. When we add the discord between religions to the discord we have in Society how can religion be shown as needed?

Korea has a history of harmony between religions and this kind of behavior is an embarrassment. No government or political party should be allowed to interfere with a simple matter of faith practice.

In the words of the Peace Weekly editorial: "Discord between religions comes when we do not attempt to understand  the other as different and are not open to the other. Religious groups should work together, before things get worse, to help to solve the problems we face. It's not only important to have public statements but also important, within the world of believers, to respect one another and to encourage one another to communicate and be educated in the peaceful ways of living with others. If those who have a religion continue to worry the citizens of the country, it is not only an embarrassment. We lose our reason for being."