Thursday, October 31, 2013

"I don’t know if it’s appropriate for a foreigner to judge"

The Korea Times reported the other day that a foreign pastor was protesting homophobic textbooks:
Rev. Daniel Payne of Open Doors Community Church near Itaewon said they would deliver letters on Monday to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as well as relevant lawmakers, after the ministry recommended that two publishing companies — Kyohak Printing and Publishing and Chunjae Education — rewrite material teaching that homosexuals should not be discriminated against.

The move was made after an Oct. 4 meeting between the ministry and 20 Christian lawmakers and religious leaders who oppose same-sex marriage. They argue that the references are an affront to those who believe homosexuality is a sin.

Lee Seung-pyo, the education ministry’s senior supervisor of textbook planning, said the companies will likely be ordered to make the changes if they do not accept the recommendation. The Education Minister holds the authority to revoke the approval of these books for use at schools if publishers refuse to follow the ministry’s direction.
Those Christian lawmakers and religious leaders sure put the 'fun' in 'fundamentalist.' The government response is rather amusing, however.
But Lee of the education ministry wondered if Payne should be involving himself in the issue.[...]

“Every country has its own set of laws in evaluating and approving the education material for books. I don’t know if it’s appropriate for a foreigner to judge how we manage our education. You won’t see us commenting how other countries teach at schools.”
Right, like the ROK hasn't lodged, what, hundreds of protests against Japanese textbooks?

6 comments:

I like Makgeolli said...

I would comment, but, I'd better not as I too am a foreigner.

terryblanton said...

Right, like the ROK hasn't lodged, what, hundreds of protests against Japanese textbooks?

From what I understand, the ROK lodged protests regarding content about inter-Japanese/Korean history and relations, not about something unrelated such as homosexuality.

Miles Snider said...

From what I know, the pastor, as a gay foreigner who happens to have a flock of Koreans while living in Korea, might be able to relate to the issue of homosexuality in Korea just as well (if not better) than the 20 other church leaders the ministry consulted.

terryblanton said...

Right, that was my point. The ROK protests were about inter-Japanese/Korean history and relations, while the pastor's protests are not about inter-US/Korean history and relations.

matt said...

The official said, "You won't see us commenting how other countries teach at schools." Korea regularly comments on how other countries teach at schools, which makes his statement untrue at best and completely hypocritical at worst. Whether the comments are about one topic or another is irrelevant, in my opinion.

terryblanton said...

Right, but from what I understand, the protests are generally about teaching content about inter-Japanese/Korean history and relations.

I think there is a distinction between comments and protests. Comments are an expression of opinions without necessarily an intent or desire to promote them. Whereas protests are active measures taken to try to promote opinions.

I think the topic of the comments or protests is very relevant. There's a difference between when the topic is directly about the history and relations between two countries, and when it's not.