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ICC Note:

The Huffington Post is calling North Korea’s regime a “de-facto religion,” and for good reasons. Kim Il Sung, the founder of the regime was raised in a Christian family and integrated many concepts from the Christian faith into their government. A Korean history scholar says that “the unconditional loyalty it demands of the citizens—has ‘evolved into a functional equivalent of religion.’” Religion, on the other hand, is often seen as competing for citizen’s loyalty. The North Korean regime even promises its citizens a type of immortality through their loyalty. Because of this competition with religion, North Korea severely oppresses other religions. The CIA reports that “Autonomous religious activities [are] now almost nonexistent [in North Korea.] Government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom.” The religious that are in North Korea are usually too afraid to engage in religious activities, and severe consequences often follow for those who do. Tens of thousands of North Korean Christians are being held in their labor camps. Christians once comprised roughly 25% of North Korea’s population, now there are few left.

4/28/2017 North Korea (Huffington Post) – On Tuesday, the highly insular North Korea conducted a massive artillery drill to mark the foundation of its military as tensions with the United States continued to escalate.

Like many aspects of North Korea’s political and economic systems, its military came into being under the late president Kim Il Sung. Born into a Christian family during a time of Japanese colonial rule in Korea, Kim rose to power with a vision of an isolated, almost hermit-like independence for his fledgling country.

It was under Kim that the political ideology of “juche” ― a guiding philosophy that places commitment to the state above all else ― took hold in the 1950s and solidified in subsequent decades.

Juche’s pervading influence on civic life explains why freedoms of any sort, including religion, are scarce in a nation that treats its current and past leaders as heroes of mythic proportion.

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