Shincheonji church in Daegu (Yonhap)
Mainstream Protestant church groups -- the National Council of Churches in Korea and the United Christian Churches of Korea -- on Friday asked the government to investigate leaders of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus here.
“The government should clarify facts about the spread of the infectious disease and arrest Shincheonji leader Lee Man-hee and the leaders of its 12 tribes to investigate them,” the two Christian groups said in a joint statement.
The groups stated that Shincheonji has been intentionally and collectively hiding information about its followers. The NCCK and UCCK added that Shincheonji is attempting to buy more time to manipulate its list of followers, which it was asked to provide as Shincheonji has been linked to a disproportionate amount of novel coronavirus cases here.
“This is the worst scheme that endangers the society as a whole,” the NCCK and UCCK said in their joint statement.
The NCCK and UCCK also asked leaders of Shincheonji to officially apologize to the public and provide adequate compensation to victims.
The churches, however, did not blame the followers of Shincheonji.
“COVID-19 is causing extreme hatred and social stigma against Shincheonji followers, which is not healthy. The majority of Shincheonji believers are not only the victims of this incident but also the victims of the religion which is a cult and fundamentally fake,” the two church groups said.
The statement also said that the churches felt guilty for not protecting the people from Shincheonji.
“We consider people’s lives and safety as our most important value so we will fully cooperate in order to improve the current situation,” the church groups added.
The churches emphasized that they are only urging the government to take action.
“We do not have plans to file charges against Shincheonji,” an NCCK official told The Korea Herald.
Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)