Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What Kind of Nation Do South Koreans Want?

Korean citizens for a period of 6 months with candle light processions were asking for a change. To whom did the nation belong? Our political leaders were selected by the people to run the country but the impression given was not what the citizens expected. The result was the people regained sovereignty of the nation and removed the president. The head of the committee in a diocese working with the poor begins his article in With Bible magazine with the above words.

What the Christians were asking was not greatly different from what many of the citizens desired in politics, economy, culture and society.

First of all a country without discrimination. Some are known and some are unconscious. Divisions make for discrimination. Separation of labor and management, male and female, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, those who live in Seoul and those in the country, believers and non-believers, conservatives and liberals, the healthy and the sick, young and old, married and single, the charming and the unadaptable.

This makes for conflict and division. We all dream of a nation where all are respected, all treated fairly before the law. The high and the low all treated the same. The way parents comfort their children, that is why we call our country our homeland.

Secondly, we want a land free from danger. Families of the victims of the Sewol tragedy were the center of the processions. If it was only their pain and the injustice they experienced they would not have been at the center. It was not their personal hurt but the corruption, injustices, and irregularities in society and not their personal desire for compensation. They didn't want this kind of tragedy to happen again. The reason that safety took a back seat was the value placed on time, money, comfortableness. In other words, it was financial interests, efficiency, and the easy way, that came before the value of life.

Thirdly, we need a level playing field for all the citizens to benefit. When only certain levels in society benefit we have problems. Those who are the weakest need support and concern. When we give 'one' to the strong and 'one' to the weak this is an injustice for the strong will gain more and the weak will lose what they have. The principle of equal opportunity needs to be operative where the strong remain strong and the weak are helped. When all are considered citizens and given opportunities to live the good life, we have a healthy society.

He mentions 12 principles for reform that Pope Francis recommends for the Vatican government: individual responsibility, pastoral concern, a missionary spirit,  clear organization, improved functioning, modernization, sobriety, subsidiarity, working together, catholicity, professionalism, gradualism.

He concludes the article with a quote from first Cor. 9:22~ "To become all things to all men."What kind of country do we want to live in? It was the same yesterday, today and will be tomorrow. The country that God wants us to have is what people desire.

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