Christians More Dangerous Than Nuclear Weapons? North Korea Says, “Yes”

Christians More Dangerous Than Nuclear Weapons? North Korea Says, “Yes” July 20, 2019

His name was Otto Warmbier.

I feel the need to keep putting this out there. In fact, it currently serves as my Twitter handle.

Otto Warmbier isn’t the focus of this particular piece, however. I mention him only as a reminder of just one of the brutal atrocities that can be attributed to North Korea. I would also remind my readers – particularly any Trump-supporting Christians – that our president is still carrying on a passionate love affair with the bloodthirsty leader of the hermit nation.

Warmbier is one, but there are so many others.

I’ve often reminded my audience that by every estimate, North Korea and the Kim regime stand as the most oppressive and dangerous government for Christians in the world.

Not even Islamic nations have the same blood on their hands.

There’s a new documentary out there titled, “Humanity Denied: Religious Freedom in North Korea.”  On Thursday, the film, produced by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission was shown at the Senate Dirksen building. It was part of the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, with a panel of experts on hand to discuss how dire the situation for Christians in North Korea is.

“The situation in North Korea is absolutely dire,” said Olivia Enos, a policy analyst in Asian studies at the Heritage Foundation, noting that credible reports consistently rank North Korea as the worst place in the world for Christians and anyone of any faith in terms of oppression and human rights violations.

The 2014 Commission of Inquiry Report by the U.N., she noted, explains that North Koreans who escaped to China yet were repatriated were asked two questions, namely, if they had any contact with South Koreans or if they interacted with any Christian missionaries. If they answered yes to either of those questions they faced severe repercussions like torture and imprisonment.

“This is emblematic of what it’s like to be a Christian inside North Korea.” she said, adding that “it’s very telling how the Kim regime conceives of religion in general.”

Enos points to history, with Christianity serving as a force in toppling other Communist regimes in the past. Because of this, the Kims, who will cling to that dictatorship at all costs, see the Christian faith as a threat that must be stopped.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American pastor, who was held hostage in North Korea from 2012 to 2014, was told by the North Korean government that the missions teams he had been leading into North Korea for years were a plot to overthrow the Kim regime.

And probably most powerfully, the North Korean authorities who held him told him that if one of his people came to North Korea and started an orphanage, leading just 10 children to Christ, those ten would take root, multiply, and threaten the current power structure of the nation.

That’s an astonishing statement, and we know it’s also quite true.

“They said ‘we are not afraid of nuclear weapons … we are afraid of someone like you bringing religion into our country and use it against us and then everybody will turn to God and this will become God’s country and we will fall,” Bae told the dozens gathered at the event.

Bae was informed that he was probably the most dangerous American criminal they had ever had since the Korean War. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, and was then sent to a North Korean labor camp. He was ultimately released in 2014.

I’ve written before about the Christian faith of Kim Jong Un’s grandparents, who even served as missionaries.

Also of note is the fact that the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, was once called the “Jerusalem of the Far East,” due to the thriving Christian population there.

Now, what Christians remain in North Korea are either underground, fearing for their lives, or already locked away in one of the torturous labor camps within the country.

When Bae would talk about Jesus with North Koreans they would ask him if Jesus lives in Korea or China.

“North Korea is not a country where Christians are being persecuted; it is a country [where] Christianity has been eliminated, the total elimination taking place. And if you’re Christians, they’ll kill you, they’ll kill your parents.”

The official creed of the North Korean regime is called Juche, which means “self-reliance.”

The name of Jesus was erased from the North Korean public in the 1960s, as part of the Juche philosophy.

Atheism, humanism, Communism, but no Jesus and no hope.

Bae suggests that this was done in response to John 14:6.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ “ (AMP)

That’s far too much reliance on an omnipotent God, and not a fallible government of men.

The Korean-American pastor is the author of the 2016 memoir Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea. Today he leads the Nehemiah One Million Prayer Petition Campaign, an effort to mobilize intercession for the North Korean people.

During his time in the labor camp and after he got to know the prison guards he realized that despite the deep brainwashing they had endured, they were not so different from him. They just happened to have been born in North Korea.

Jesus and the Good News are the hope that cannot be allowed in an otherwise hopeless regime.

So what has to happen to end up in one of North Korea’s grueling labor camps?

“Individuals can be sent to these prison camps for something as simple as having read the Bible, having watched a South Korean drama, listened to K-pop. These are average, ordinary things that we as Americans take for granted,” she said.

No definitive estimates exist on how many people have died inside North Korean political camps but some believe the number ranges from 400,000 to many millions, Enos elaborated.

And Bae estimates there are still 25 million people in the region who have never been allowed to hear the name of Jesus.

Bae’s work involves sending aid and Bibles in bottles of rice sent down the river into North Korea and helping North Koreans escape, including those trapped in sex slavery in China.

“We need to get ready when North Korea opens up. If the North Korean regime suddenly falls, are we ready to have enough Bibles to let them know what is truth and how they can find truth?” he said.

It is a worthy effort, but one that comes with risks for both those delivering the Bibles and those receiving them.

Still, Bae believes, and has set a goal of printing and delivering 1 million Bibles, in order to put one in every household in Pyongyang. He feels that North Korea is on the verge of collapse, and when it does, having the Word of God present with the people will serve as a blueprint for rebuilding and growing a society of free and hopeful Christ followers.

Until that time, however, Christians in North Korea remain the hunted and the persecuted.

 

 


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Politics Red
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jeff Duffy

    The god of the bible didn’t like it when people united, gathered in one place, built a city and lived in peace and love. No. He destroyed them because he’s the god of mass-murder under the name of “love.” And that’s how mass-murder started since known human history. The man-made god chose a group of people and discrimination and hate started.

  • Michael Weyer

    Good to see you back, Susan, was concerned on long absence between posts. Sure the Trumpites refusing to admit his recent “send her back” comments were blatant racism is giving you more material for future writings.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    You sound as twisted as a North Korean Kim-supporter.

    The God of the Bible is nothing like what you claim – rather what you claim sounds more like the stereotypes that Satan has led the Atheists and his other Christian-haters and false-prophets / false-teachers to believe.

    The God of the Bible is loving, truthful, gracious, kind and wise. Following his teachings would make man truly wise, tolerant, peaceful and productive. Unfortunately, once a society of Christians gets a certain amount of success, the envy, hatred and greed of Satan’s Atheists and infiltrators cannot stop themselves from trying to subvert the work of others to their own gain.

    We are seeing that carried out in the US today as the Socialists and Humanists and other Atheists are attempting to ban Christians from the government of the greatest country in the world – a country that was made great by adherence to Christ’s teachings and is now being destroyed by abandoning Christ’s teachings.

  • Michael Weyer

    Wow, someone read a far different Bible than I was taught in CCD and high school.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I too have missed you Susan. Please keep writing.

  • JASmius

    God told those people to spread out across the planet. They disobeyed, and lived in rebellion and idolatry. That was the point of the Tower of Babel – to, as Satan put it, “climb the Holy Mountain and become like the Most High”. When the Tribulation begins, what will the Antichrist do? Figuratively “gather the people in one place, build a city, and live” in rebellion and idolatry. Almost as if there’s a pattern throughout all of human history, of which blasphemy like yours is an obnoxious undercurrent.

  • RebeccaSusanWright

    Sorry, guys. I got outside work counseling at a prison. Basic training has been a real bear, but my hope is that now that I’m done, I’ll have a more consistent writing schedule.

  • Annemarie

    Glad you’re back, Susan. And the point about having Bibles in every home as a regime collapses is very interesting. A stable point while everything outside is chaotic.

  • Michael Weyer

    Glad it wasn’t something serious, good luck to you.

  • RebeccaSusanWright

    Indeed.

  • Bill Bray

    Thanks for bringing us up to date on the worsening religious crisis in North Korea where Juche religionists insist on using the North Korean government to wipe out all other religions including Christianity, it is doomed to fail and meanwhile millions of innocent victims will suffer the horrors of Juche anti-Christ religion.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Is this perhaps why our cities (especially the inner cities) seem to be the source of the cultural rot and anti-Christian values that are corroding our society ?

    Is Satan perhaps attempting to get mankind to again concentrate in cities where they can build skyscrapers to the glory of mankind (modern-day towers of Babel) while ignoring the natural reminders of God’s design and benevolence that God has placed throughout nature and that are more dominant in more rural areas ?

    By making the portions of mankind that live in cities totally dependent on items imported from outside the cities for food, for clothing, for housing, for transportation (which in turn is dependent on electricity or fossil-fuels), is not every one of our cities turning into a modern-day Babel where those that can control the importation and distribution of resources required for life are able to demand that others treat them as gods ?

  • chemical

    I take a few issues with this article: I’d classify Juche as a religion, and the Kims are worshipped as demigods in North Korea. I’d argue that the oppression of Christianity there is more to discourage North Koreans from talking to foreigners than it’s viewed as a serious threat to the Kim regime. The Kim regime may view missionaries as a Western plot to overthrow them, and Kenneth Bae gave them evidence that this is the case. One thing that’s consistent with North Korea is that they severely punish anyone who has seen media not produced by the regime itself. Even if Christianity does catch on in North Korea (which I don’t see happening any time soon), the regime will just switch its narrative that God installed them as supreme dictators for life, and made them demigods, much like the old European kings and emperors of the day did. It won’t even be hard for them, considering that they maintain an iron grip on all media.

    North Korea is nowhere near collapsing. Due to political and military considerations, China props up North Korea enough to prevent that. Remember, we’re allies with South Korea and have military bases there. China wants the Kims in power and opposes a unified Korea because it means US military bases on the Korean-Chinese border. In other words, China is using North Korea as a shield to protect themselves from the USA.

  • chemical

    If by “Satan”, you mean “the economy”, then maybe I’d agree.

    Since he’s been elected, Trump has been kicking his own supporters in the teeth (i.e., rural areas) considerably harder than us city folks, so it makes sense to move to a city for economic opportunities.

    …is not every one of our cities turning into a modern-day Babel where those that can control the importation and distribution of resources required for life are able to demand that others treat them as gods ?

    Funny, I think this way about rural America. You rely on us — you need our factories and heavy industrial areas to produce your tractors, irrigation systems, fertilizers, etc. that you need for farming. Ditto for other industries that take place typically in rural areas, like mining and logging. Rural areas also disproportionately use more money for welfare than urban areas, too (again, because Trump is hurting them), and also use more fuel and resources per capita (because we can build efficient subways and are less reliant on cars, which are built in cities, to get around). And you get outsized representation in Congress, due to the way the Constitution is set up! But please, let me hear more about how you’re persecuted, because someone said happy holidays when you walked into a grocery store.

    Our refusal to treat you like the gods you think you speak for does not mean that we are demanding to be treated like gods.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Well, being an Atheist, you’d have no real respect for the Power of the Word of Christ.

    …Neither did Julius Ceaser who likely made much the same prediction you just did.

    …And Stalin (who attempted to wipe out Christianity from the Soviet Union).

    …And so many others….

  • mudskipper

    You wouldn’t want the populations of the cities to disperse and fan out across the countryside. It would mean the destruction of farm and ranch land and all those “natural reminders of God’s design and benevolence.” Instead of hating on cities, you should be grateful for people who are willing to live in high density settings.

  • mudskipper

    Since Julius Caesar died nearly 50 years before Christ was born, I suspect he made no predictions about the Power of the Word of Christ.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Your history has proven to be flawed in the past. I disregard your comment here since you were not present at the time.

    In any event, if it really bothers you that much, you can substitute whichever Roman Emperor was in power during and after the life of Christ.

  • mudskipper

    Whaaaat? Did you really just say you’d disregard what I said about Julius Caesar death because I wasn’t present for it?

    That is some serious denialism there.

  • 92JazzQueen .

    Good to see you back and of course this regime would see it like that.

  • Alpha 1

    Et tu, Iesus?

    -Julius Caesar, seeing Jesus of Nazareth among his assassins.

  • chemical

    I disregard your comment here since you were not present at the time.

    Well, I was there, and mudskipper is right. “Oh, but that would make you over 2000 years old, chemical!”, you might say. You weren’t there, so I can disregard any comments you make about it. After all, you’re the one who believes in the inerrancy of a book that describes people living for 900+ years in it, so what’s an extra 1100 years tacked on to the end of that?

  • Jørgen

    And Stalin was trained as a priest. (He tried wiping out all sorts of things, but wasn’t especially interested in Christianity). If one want to be completely correct, he during the second world war allowed religion into the public sphere again and up to his death religious membership was growing, not shrinking.
    The truth can destroy any good argument.

  • sometypeofguy

    Show me an atheist without regard for the word of Christ and I’ll show you a whole culture full of professed Christians with even less regard for it.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Since there is no such thing as a “Christian without regard for the word of Christ”, what you’d be pointing to is just more Atheists without regard for the word of Christ.

    By definition, Christians are those that follow Christ. Those that do not even attempt to follow Christ can only be Atheists claiming to be Christians — those that Christ warns we should be wary of and never to follow lest they lead Christians from the path of Christ.

    … Such are most of (if not all of) those self-proclaimed “Christians” that defend Trump as some sort of emissary from God.
    … Such are those that quote the Bible out of context to attempt to justify their deviations from Christ’s teachings.

    … For the path of righteousness is a narrow, lonely and sparsely traveled one while the road to perdition os crowded and well-paved.