Friday, February 7, 2020

All Have Dignity: Made in the Image of God

A few years ago the movie Public Enemy was popular in Korea. Brave detectives punished wicked men who cleverly searched for the loopholes in the law. These criminals on the high ground were celebrating their easy life of leisure when finally they received their well-deserved punishment, a relief to many who had despaired of justice. A lawyer writing in the Eyes of the Believer in the Catholic Times begins his article with these words.

But the problem is not so simple. Good and evil are often not so easily distinguished. Not uncommon to ignore the rule of law, like the police in the movie and achieve justice with abuse and violence resulting in other evils.

Even now, if you go to certain areas of Seoul you will find placards asking for the release of the past president Park Geun- hye who they maintain is unjustly in prison. Although the Constitutional Court has declared that she is a criminal they refuse to accept the judgment, but rather make the judges the criminals.

Most Japanese think that during the Japanese occupation the comfort women and workers were not forced and believe that Korea is being absurdly unreasonable. During the Crusades we have the Christians and Muslims praying to their God to destroy the other. In the Second World War, we have the English and German soldiers showering each other with bullets and praying to the same God for victory.

Who is good and who is evil? It is impossible to establish absolute and objective standards because each has different ideas and different understandings. Even in the same family, husbands, and wives, parents and children have different thoughts and understandings bringing about family squabbles. So what are you going to do? Gender, class, geography, political orientation, religion, and nationality make this world a constant struggle. We are all different and destined to argue with each other.

Nevertheless, through history, many teachers of religion have gained insights that transcend the limitations of the individuals, and have continued to make institutional efforts to reduce the pain of conflict among individuals and groups.

In that sense, the Constitution is the fruit of an institutional effort to rationally reconcile different "thoughts" and "interests." Article 10 of our Constitution declares that "all citizens have dignity and value ​​as human beings." No more than a declaration of principle, it is the highest standard that everyone and the nation must follow. 'Even though each one has different ideas and interests, everybody is dignified and valued without exception.'

The wicked one in "Public Enemy" kills his mother for money, but according to the declaration, the man has dignity and value as a human being. Communists, people saying crazy things, the proud, chaebol families, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians the Cults and their followers have dignity.

In fact, the phrase 'of all citizens' Article 10 of the Constitution should be changed to read 'everyone' and the contents of this article should be defined as Article 1 of the Constitution—a higher concept than the declaration that "Korea is a democratic republic." Everyone's acknowledgment of "the dignity of all", is the basic starting point in reducing conflict.

The Constitution is the norm that embodies this Declaration that 'Everyone is Dignified' the basic principle of a country. Therefore, it is clear that someone who denies these constitutional principles is wrong.

The wise teachers of religion, over the centuries, have shown us the way beyond conflict experienced by our individuality. Each personal entity has to go beyond the fence of the individual 'I' to the other 'I's in love and compassion for we are all the children of the same Father.