Posted September. 10, 2008 03:28,
President Lee Myung-bak expressed regret yesterday over certain government officials offending Buddhists in the country.
Certain public servants inadvertently spoke and acted in a way to cause misunderstanding over religious bias. I express my deep regrets over such comments and acts as they offended the Buddhist community, he told a Cabinet meeting.
Regardless of excuses, the chief of the National Police Agency showed disrespect to a top Buddhist monk by having his car searched. So he should apologize for this and convey to Buddhist leaders his intent to prevent a recurrence.
The meeting also approved a revision of the civil servant code to include a provision prohibiting government officials from religious bias in fulfilling their duties.
The revision will penalize officials who are judged to have committed unjust and discriminatory acts or given preferential treatment because of religion.
The president said, With the revision of the civil servant code, all government employees must recognize the importance of religious neutrality and never repeat an act that can bring misunderstanding over religious bias. I hope Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Yu In-chon supervises the matter and educates civil servants with the help of other Cabinet members.
Beyond the revision of the code, I urge Minister Yu to do everything he can to prevent a repeat of religious discrimination. If needed, additional legal and institutional measures should be taken. Its my sincere hope that this measure will evolve into an opportunity for all religious communities and civic organizations to unite and embrace each other.