December 04, 2022

North Korea’s irreconcilable relationship with Christianity

Long persecuted, Christians in the North now have ‘official’ churches, catacomb networks

The fate of Kenneth Bae (also known as Pae Chun-ho), arrested and detained in North Korea, has attracted much attention in recent days. From what little is known about his arrest earlier this year in North Korea, it appears that Bae was involved in North Korea’s catacomb church. He seems in fact to have used his visits to the North to do missionary work, and therefore he was indeed engaged in what North Korean authorities would deem “subversive activities.”

Of course, the North Korean Constitution, like the constitutions of other Communist states, claims that it’s citizens have religious freedom. Article 68 states as much, albeit with an important caveat: “Citizens shall have freedom of religion. This right shall be guaranteed by permitting the construction of religious buildings and the holding of religious ceremonies. Religion shall not be used in bringing in outside forces or in harming the state and social order.”