North Korea: Christian Persecution as Severe as Nero’s Rome, Experts Say
Christians in North Korea are facing persecution that is likely "on par" with the level of persecution that the Early Christian Church faced under Roman emperor Nero, a prominent human rights activist said during a Capitol Hill briefing Wednesday.
Convened by the religious freedom advocacy group International Christian Concern, activists and a North Korean defector extensively detailed the grave human rights abuses Christians and all others who live under the rule of the Communist Kim regime endure, and urged lawmakers to support a resolution to re-authorize the North Korean Human Act of 2004.
In addition to speeches from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., during a morning introduction at the Rayburn Office Building, human rights advocates with years of experience in dealing with North Korea outlined how the Kim regime has nearly wiped out Christianity in the closed-off, isolated nation.
"As the tragedy of Korean separation continues after almost seven decades, one remembers ... that the northern half of the Korean Peninsula was once of the cradle of the Korean Presbyterian Church," Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea who has led in the publication of at least 24 reports and books on the Kim regime's human rights abuses, said during a panel discussion with other human rights experts.
"Prior to the Communist takeover, the capital city of Pyongyang used to be known as the 'Jerusalem of the East,'" he continued. "In North Korea, Christianity was once a way of life with two churches on the same street corner [being] a common sight."
Scarlatoiu explained that it was in 1946 when the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea forced the closure of churches with congregations that did not meet a predetermined required number of people.
It was in 1962 that then-leader Kim Il-sung told the regime's security agency that "we cannot move toward a common society with religious people," Scarlatoiu said.
(Smith, “North Korea: Christian Persecution as Severe as Nero’s Rome, Experts Say,” ChristianPost Online, 5/25/17).