Some young Christians uploaded a video of themselves going to a Buddhist temple and being disrespectful of the premises and of the beliefs that they were built for.
The video [entitled “Conquering Bongeun Temple”] shows several students of a “Praise Academy” pledging their “mission” to get into the temple in southern Seoul, sing Christian hymns inside the sanctuary and speak out about their doctrine. The participants, whose faces were unidentifiable, said prayers out loud and criticized the temple facilities.
The clip showed one saying, “I was devastated to see the scenery of idolatry and idols. They are all useless and harmful.” Another said, “I proclaim that the place belongs to God. I believe that I was sent to reclaim God’s territory.”
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Rev. Choi Ji-ho, who leads AS37, the group that runs the academy, visited the leaders of the temple and the order with those who appeared in the video clip on Wednesday and apologized for their actions.
“They were given the task to sing on large roads, near Gangnam Metro Station. I don’t know why they chose the temple, but it was a terrible and offensive thing to do,” he said. “I didn’t know what they did and moreover, that they would make it so public by releasing video clips. It was ignorant and disrespectful.”
Ven. Myeongjin [who heads Bongeun Temple] said he would accept the apology for the peace and harmony among religions.
Observers said the incident is just one example of outrageous actions performed by some Protestants these days under the name of their “mission.”
Apparently, another group in Daegu has done something similar.
The clip also contains scenes of Protestants giving praise inside the temple. The group also claimed in their video that they are doing whatever they can to resist the government’s support for the Buddhist templestays program and the establishment of a Buddhist theme park.
I think that all Koreans, whether Buddhist or not, should realize that a lot of their heritage is expressed through Buddhist things like temples, statues, etc. Moreover, these are the kinds of things that foreigners come for, and if they truly value their tourism industry, they’ll think about that. The Egyptians, even though they are now Muslim, realize the value of things like the Sphinx and the pyramids, even though they are pagan artifacts.