Cho has often earned criticism for remarks some consider political grandstanding
By Lee Seung-jun
Religious leaders and politicians are drawing criticisms for what observers are calling inappropriate statements regarding the earthquake.
The Sunday edition of the Internet newspaper News Mission reported Yoido Full Gospel Church senior pastor David Yonggi Cho as saying, “The earthquake makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning.”
In an interview the newspaper, Cho responded to a request for comments on Japan’s difficulties following its largest earthquake in recorded history by saying, “Japan sees a lot of earthquakes, and I think it is regrettable that there has been such an enormous loss of property and life due to the earthquake.” He went on to say, “Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning to them.”
“I hope that this catastrophe can be turned into a blessing and they take this opportunity to return to the Lord,” he added.
Cho also said, “We in Korea look at Japan and think that at this juncture, more than a physical earthquake, it is in need of a holy spiritual earthquake.”
Cho plans to depart for Japan on Monday to participate in an assembly on Tuesday and Wednesday to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the founding of its Japan branch, the Full Gospel Tokyo Church.
Internet users have issued harsh words of criticism toward Cho’s statements. A user identified as “Pine0007” wrote, “A religious leader should not be linking the massive earthquake in neighborhood Japan with issues of religion and idols.” Another user identified as “Nicesuhchung” wrote, “He should not be doing this.”
Meanwhile, Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo provoked displeasure from Internet users by writing on his Twitter page Sunday that “More than 2,500 people are dead or missing and over 10 thousand out of contact due to the major earthquake in Japan. A nuclear power plant is exploding. I thank God and our ancestors for keeping the Korean Peninsula so safe.”
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