[EDITORIALS]An Unhelpful Religious Intervention

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[EDITORIALS]An Unhelpful Religious Intervention

Religious organizations cannot exist apart from the real world. Since religions are the only salvation of corrupt reality, the actions of religious leaders should always be aimed at the development and harmony of our society.

It was disappointing, then, to read the statement announced Friday by leaders of eight religious organizations, including the Chogye Order, Sung Kyun Kwan, Won Buddhists, Chondogyo, the National Council of Churches in Korea and the Christian Council of Korea.

Kim Dong-wan, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea, proposed and composed the statement, which emphasized that "Taxation is the duty of the people and no one can avoid such duty."

The statement raises a question: If the press protested against the recent government measure to collect back taxes only because they are press companies, would the people support such a protest?

It is an obvious principle in a capitalist society that press companies should pay taxes based on the law; they are profit-making businesses like any other. We have never denied that principle. Furthermore, regarding this round of back taxes, press companies have the right to take measures guaranteed by law such as filing complaints and pursuing litigation. Such procedures will determine the legality of the government measure. Most of the press companies are following such legal procedures and none of them protested against the government action because they believe they should not pay taxes. If the religious community believe that the press is protesting only because they are the press as the statement indicated, their position is nothing more than distorted prejudice against the press.

Although the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea did not join in the statement, the name of Bishop Michael Pak, the president of the conference, was included in the statement as if the Catholic bishops had endorsed it. We wonder why the religious leaders resorted to padding the number of supporters of the statement.

Under the current circumstance in which media tax investigations have become the eye of the typhoon in our society, it is important that religious leaders exert strong efforts to resolve the situation. We hope that they will help establish a foundation to achieve development and harmony in our society.
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