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Enough with pastor Jun Kwang-hoon’s conspiracy theories

Enough with pastor Jun Kwang-hoon’s conspiracy theories

Posted August. 22, 2020 07:48,   

Updated August. 22, 2020 07:48


South Korea added more than 300 COVID-19 cases Friday, a week after the country saw over 100 new cases on Aug. 14. Sixteen cities and provinces across the country, excluding Jeju, saw new COVID-19 patients Friday, with new confirmed cases reaching 324. With only 25% of hospital beds left for critically-ill patients, the country could fall into a public health crisis once the incubation period for the participants of the Aug. 15 rally in Gwanghwamun is over and new cases spike after the weekend.

It is regrettable that pastor Jun Kwang-hoon of Sarang Jeil Church, where cluster infections emerged after the church had had prayer meetings violating the country’s quarantine guidelines, is raising conspiracy theories every day. Pastor Jun issued a statement on Thursday while he was being hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday, arguing that the government is forcing the church and the organizations that participated in the rally to be tested for COVID-19 in order to raise new cases. He issued another statement and held a press conference Friday and argued that his church became the target of bioterrorism. The church is hampering the timely implementation of quarantine measures by refusing to submit the list of congregation members and disappearing after tested positive for COVID-19.

The non-cooperation by the pastor and the church is not only a violation of the Infection Disease Control and Prevention Act but also against the Christian spirit that teaches people to sacrifice oneself at a time of crisis. Pastor Jun should take the lead in containing the spread of COVID-19 by persuading his church members rather than provoking division with his absurd conspiracy theories.

For its part, the government is also responsible for the recent COVID-19 spike since it designated Aug. 17 as a temporary national holiday to boost domestic consumption and issued discount coupons to be used for dining and traveling despite a potential second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also stigmatized Sarang Jeil Church and the participants of the Gwanghwamun rally as the only culprit behind the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases in the metropolitan area when it already lifted the ban on small-scale church gatherings on July 24. Apart from the misconduct made by pastor Jun and churches, the government should acknowledge and apologize for its failure in implementing quarantine measures. At the same time, it should stop all the buck-passing and politicking and concentrate its focus on containing the spread of COVID-19 by persuading the churches and rally participants.