While we’re on the subject of religion, we should take a good look at what goes on today in some parts of the world with respect to Christianity and the continuing persecution of its adherents. North Korea, for example, is apparently behaving in much the same way as ancient Romans were when they were burning early Christians or tossing them to the lions. William F. Buckley, Jr. makes note of this issue as he discusses a recent report on that country’s perfidy compiled by David Hawk and referred to by Meghan Clyne of the Chicago Sun-Times:
The report tells, among many other accounts, of a woman in her 20s who was washing clothes in a river. A fellow washerwoman saw a small Bible fall out of her basket and reported her to the authorities. She was executed by firing squad.
That martyr got off lightly. Nine years ago in South Pyongan province, a unit of the North Korean army was assigned the job of widening a highway connecting Pyongyang to the nearest seaport. Demolition of a house standing in the way revealed, hidden between two bricks, a Bible and a list of 25 names: a Christian pastor, two assistant pastors, two elders and 20 parishioners. The 25 were all detained and, later that month, brought to the road construction site, where spectators had been arranged in neat rows. The parishioners were grouped off to one side while the pastor, the assistant pastors and the elders were bound hand and foot and made to lie down in front of a steamroller. As if following a script written in early Roman history, they were told they could escape death by denying their faith and pledging to serve Dear Leader Kim Jong II and Great Leader Kim Il Sung. They chose death.
Ms. Clyne quotes Mr. Hawk’s report: “Some of the parishioners … cried, screamed out, or fainted when the skulls made a popping sound as they were crushed beneath the steamroller.”
What is it about these people, Christians, which is so frightening to the likes of ancient Rome and modern day North Korea? Why are they treated like the worst kind of terrorists?
Click the headline to read Mr. Buckley’s thought provoking column.