The Daily Mail is reporting that that the Christians are being killed for their involvement with South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook who was arrested last year for allegedly trying to establish underground churches.
Last week, Jung-wook held a press conference at which he apologized for committing “anti-state” crimes and appealed for his release from North Korean custody. Not only was his request refused, but 32 others are now set to be executed along with him in a cell at the State Security Department.
The country is also continuing to hold Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who was leading a group on a tour of North Korea in 2012 when he was picked up and later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. In poor health, Bae was hospitalized last summer but has now been transferred back to prison.
The world was shocked and horrified last month when the UN and Amnesty International released reports detailing the unspeakable treatment of prisoners in North Korea’s prison camps. An estimated 200,000 people are being detained in the camps, a number which includes 70,000 Christians arrested because belief in Christ is illegal.
There seems to be no end to the brutality of the current regime. Jong-un ordered the execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek last December after being accused of plotting to overthrow him. Because the country employs a “guilt by association” policy, dozens of Jang’s family members, including children and grandchildren, were also rounded up and condemned to death.
This is in addition to at least six other high-ranking members of the military who have been put to death since 2012.
Even more horrifying was the public execution of members of a female music group, which included Jung-Un’s former girlfriend, who were machine-gunned for watching pornography and posing in the nude.
In 2013, as many as 80 public executions are said to have taken place in the impoverished country.
Unfortunately, the world community has thus far been unable to stop the violence, which has caused even more suffering upon a nation where only the privileged few are permitted to with more than the barest necessities. This is why so many are turning to religion.
“There are hundreds of underground churches across North Korea,” missionaries say. “North Koreans who have lost hope in their future are attracted to religion” because they are desperate for solace.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins is denouncing the planned executions of the Christians whose only crime was to bring Bibles into the country, and criticizes the Obama administration for doing so little to help.
“Obama administration officials have yet to come to the Christians’ aid. For the President, who insisted just last month that religious freedom is a ‘universal right,’ the silence is particularly deafening,” Perkins said.
“While we wait for the administration to defend the human rights it says it supports, please join us in praying for these brave men and women, who know, as Psalm 48:14 tells us, ‘For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end’.”
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