[FOUNTAIN]Think before throwing stones

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[FOUNTAIN]Think before throwing stones

Jesus Christ was passing through town. In the town square, villagers were surrounding a frightened woman. People said she was a sinner who committed adultery. People called her names, and picked up stones and threw them at her. Jesus stepped in.

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," he said.

The villagers winced at this comment and left the square one by one. But there was one woman who would not stop throwing stones. She even gathered the stones other people left behind. Jesus, who was watching her with a troubled look, finally said: "O.K. That's enough, mother."

The above is a joke based on a Biblical anecdote recorded in the Gospel according to St. John.

Among Catholics, Mary the mother of Jesus is considered a woman of purity. But none can meet her standard.

"I may have something to feel ashamed of before God, but I do not have anything to feel ashamed of before people," said Chang Sang, president of Ewha Womans University, whose nomination for prime minister was rejected last week by the National Assembly.

In fact, despite several controversies, she seemed to have no legal irregularities. "Nobody here can say he or she is innocent," she said. Her bold claims probably came from her self confidence. But she had to give in facing the withering attacks.

The "Korean-style" public hearing, which focuses more on evaluating one's morality than capability, brings to mind the Seogyeong system under the Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon Dynasties (1392-1910). Seogyeong is a system under which the king was required to obtain approval from Daegan or the office of audit and appeal.

In Joseon, the nominee submitted records of four generations of ancestors both on his father's side and on his mother's side to Daegan. For some posts, nominees were required to submit records of four generations of ancestors on their wife's side too.

The ancient supervisory agency looked first into whether there were sons born out of wedlock or criminals whose rights were not reinstated among the ancestors. They also examined the behavior of the nominees themselves.

Whoever claims absolute moral purity would not be free of sin if we look closely into his family line. That is why we should not judge a person based only on his or her morality. Chang Sang reacted awkwardly to some questions at the Assembly hearing. But she represents many of us.

The writer is a deputy international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Noh Jae-hyun

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