Op-Ed: "Religion Continues to Haunt the Lee Administration"

August 11, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Chosun Ilbo


The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism has demanded an apology and an answer from the government for leaving out Buddhist temples, including major ones such as Bulguk, Baekyang and Bongeun temples, on a website called the Educational Geographic Information System, operated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, which shows the locations of schools and surrounding areas. The site shows even small churches and cathedrals. It is a repeat of a similar incident in June involving a transportation information site run by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, which also omitted information about Buddhist temples.

At the end of last month, Buddhists protested against the police search of a car carrying the Ven. Jigwan, executive chief of the Jogye Order. Police stopped and searched Jigwan’s car right in front of the Jogye Temple downtown. One official with the order said he asked police to respect the Buddhist leader, but police ignored the pleas, saying the monk must be searched and opened the car’s trunk. Police say the search was part of efforts to arrest the inciters of mad cow protests, who are demonstrating at the Jogye temple. There is nothing wrong in principle with that account, but it is questionable whether police would have used the same approach with a Catholic cardinal or a pastor of a prominent Protestant church.