0220 Statement of Shincheonji Church of Jesus Regarding the Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures and Fake News
Statement of Shincheonji Church of Jesus Regarding
the Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures and Fake News
20 February 2020
Respected citizens of Korea,
We at Shincheonji find it deeply regrettable that confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from Daegu Church of Thaddeus Tribe, Shincheonji, contributed to the increase in the number of confirmed cases.
Shincheonji Church of Jesus nationwide, including its Headquarters, has been actively cooperating with local governments and disease control authorities while prohibiting worship services, meetings, evangelizing activities, etc. in church and related buildings. Between 18 to 21 February, all of the Shincheonji church buildings and annexes will be sprayed with disinfectants including the Thaddeus Tribe’s Daegu buildings and currently, the disinfection is underway. Shincheonji will continue to provide full cooperation in carrying out the measures the responsible authorities carry to combat the virus spreading.
Despite such endeavors being made, it is deeply concerning that there has seen a series of cases where rumors and falsified information concerning Shincheonji are proliferated through media. Such fake news are colored with the bias that long-established Protestant churches in Korea created in an effort to defend the privileges they enjoy within the religious circle.
It has been common for Christian media in Korea to cover groundless contents that slander against the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. However, the situation has been worsening as non-religious media outlets are quoting and using the fake news the protestant community in Korea has spread to misrepresent Shincheonji as a cult for religious reasons.
A case in point is how Shincheonji had no choice but to accommodate all congregation members in a limited space as the church had been rejected building permissions solely on the basis that it is Shincheonji. However, news are saying that it is a “unique service style” of Shincheonji to give service on the floor and that this is “the main factor that led to the spreading of COVID-19.”
In particular, certain media outlets selected interviewees from the established Protestant circle, who have spearheaded the efforts to smear the image of Shincheonji for decades and distributed news with provocative headlines saying Shincheonji is “secretive,” “its members hide the fact that they attend Shincheonji,” and that “some members are in hiding.”
The people behind such slandering are the main culprits of coercive conversion programs that involve abduction, confinement, physical assault, and even death of the youth and the old purely because they joined Shincheonji.
Against the COVID-19 crisis that we face as a nation, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus is exerting utmost efforts to prepare and implement the most appropriate measures. We ask those who distort and misrepresent Shincheonji from the standpoint of privileged religious groups while neglecting the essential facts of the crisis to stop.
Prevention and control of infectious disease are crucial matters that directly link to the health of all the citizens as well as social anxiety and concern. Shincheonji Church of Jesus will continue to adhere to the guidelines of public health authorities to provide assistance for thorough survey and diagnosis, and fully cooperate to receiving treatment, being hospitalized, and going into self-quarantine in accordance to the results of the diagnosis and epidemiological survey to curb further spreading of the virus as much as possible.
All congregation members will offer sincere prayers to God, pleading for a swift end to the COVID-19 outbreak.
20th of February, 2020
Shincheonji Church of Jesus