Progressive Protestant groups are staging a hunger strike to demand the country’s largest Protestant association be disbanded over a long-running vote-buying scandal.
A network of 16 Protestant groups, including the Christian Alliance for Church Reform (CACR) and the Christian Ethics Movement of Korea, began their four-day fast yesterday at the Korean Ecumenical Building in Seoul.
Some 50 members of the network taking part in the protest say the Christian Council of Korea (CCK) is captivated by greed and power.
Thanks to the CCK the Korean Protestant Church has been “subjected to severe criticism and branded the most corrupt Church” in the world, they said in a statement yesterday.
Last February, Reverend Rhee Kwang-sun, a former CCK president, confessed he had bought votes during previous elections for the top post in the association.
His admission came while accusing the current president Reverend Kiel Ja-yeon of bribing voters during the last election in December 2010.
Calls for reform within the CCK have been rising within Protestant circles
The conservative CCK has a membership of 69 Protestant denominations and 18 other organizations.
Reverend Nam O-sung, the CACR secretary-general, said today that they have tried various means to pressure the CCK to reform but “it has not responded.”
He said the images other Protestant Churches who have nothing to do with the scandal have also been tarnished by the scandal.
Reverend Kiel, meanwhile, also issued a statement yesterday, saying that there has been nothing illegal in the way the CCK has been run. He called for an end to the “groundless slander” being leveled against his association.