Protestant Priest Urinates on and Defaces Buddhist Shrine

Vandalized Buddhist painting

The Buddhist painting vandalized with the word ‘jot‘ [dick]

Vandalism of a Buddhist temple by an enraged priest this last month has resulted in strong criticism of Protestants in South Korea. The man who, until recently, served at a church in the same province as the temple, was captured on security cameras writing graffiti on Buddhist wall paintings and urinating on the temple shrine. While the man acted alone, the vast majority of online reaction connected his behavior to the entire Protestant church and condemned its influence.

While Protestants in South Korea have a loud voice and have become a political target in recent years, they only constitute around 18% of the population. Koreans also make a strong distinction between Protestants and Catholics, who make up 11% of the population and support different political causes and organizations. However, large numbers of prominent politicians, including the founder of the Republic of Korea, Syngman Rhee, and current President Lee Myung-bak have been very active in their churches, leading to criticism that Protestants have undue influence on the whole country.

In particular, Buddhists feel that they have been subject to discrimination since the current president entered office. A 2008 protest by Buddhist organizations against Lee Myung-bak’s government attracted thousands of monks.

From Newsis:

Priest Defaces Paintings in Daegu’s Donghwa Temple, even Urinating

According to recent reports, a protestant minister in Daegu defaced and urinated on the altar and wall paintings of a Buddhist temple.

Sources at Donghwa Temple say that a Mr. Seong entered the inner courtyard at around 5:00 in the afternoon of August 20th. Ignoring signs indicating that the courtyard parking spaces were only for employees, Seong parked his car in the very front of the lot.

Seong looked around the temple sanctum for around 30 minutes, glaring at the statue of Buddha and ripping apart eight prayer books. During this time, monks and visitors were praying inside the building.

Seong then moved to the Sanshin shrine, where he used a marker to write insults on the portrait of Buddha and wall paintings. Seong proceeded to urinate in the bowls and incense burners located next to the shrine.

Security cameras located around the temple recorded all of Seong’s actions. The temple made a complaint to the police on the following day. Ten days after the complaint, the police arrested Seong.

In a confession to police, Seong stated “I belong to the A church and am a pastor with the B association of the Protestant Church of Korea. I defaced the Buddhist texts because they are filled with false words.” Explaining the circumstances surrounding his outburst, Seong said “After having an argument at my sister’s home in Daegu, I drove my car to the temple and committed the crime in a fit of anger.”

The final police report mentioned that Seong had been ordained in 2005 and until recently had been working as an assistant pastor at a church in Gyeongsang Province, a position which he quit prior to him defacing the Buddhist temple.

The police stated that “the crime seems to have been committed without premeditation, rather it was the result of the perpetrator’s hatred of Buddhism…We are looking into all of the details of the incident.”

They added “the current laws do not include any additional consideration for crimes against a religion, so after an additional investigation we have decided to charge the suspect with destruction of property and trespassing.”

A spokesperson for the temple commented, “this blasphemy insults and gives psychological harm to Buddhists…While such incidents happen every year, they have grown especially severe under the current government administration.”

Stunned, the spokesperson added “while the police are addressing the incident as a destruction of property and have requested an appraisal of the value of the destroyed books, portrait, and wall paintings, I don’t know how to put a value on such cultural artifacts.”

Describing the perpetrator, the temple spokesperson said “the police are claiming that the man shows signs of mental illness, but how could someone like that be able to drive himself to the temple? In order to prevent reoccurrence of such crimes and for the sake of religious harmony, they should punish this man severely in a way that serves as a warning to others.”

In 2010, Donghwa Temple was subject to another religious insult when a local Protestant organization took pictures of themselves stepping on the floor of the temple and uploaded it to their homepage. The incident drew criticism from all corners that Protestants were undermining religious harmony.

In addition, it is also known that in recent years there have been numerous anti-Buddhist acts across the country and within Jogye temples and Busan area temples that were committed by Protestants.

urinating on Buddhist shrine

Security camera footage of the priest urinating on the shrine at Donghwa Temple

Comments from Daum:


Gae-dok, Daegu… there’s nothing you can say [Note: Daegu is part of the Gyeongsang area, which has a stereotype of being full of violent, ignorant people]

민심은 천심:

So those gae-dok pastor saekki aren’t so right in the head after all… filthy saekki! You wrote “dick” on the portrait…makes me want to spit.. It seems as if the crime was committed out of hatred for Buddhists??? Ke ke ke I’m filled with rage against gae-dok!!! Especially when I look at the brother of Elder Lee Myung-Bak…!


This is going to make me bring a bible in to the bathroom and use it whenever I run out of toilet paper


A pastor with an inferiority complex about Buddhism. A guy like him, who forgets where he came from, how his ancestors for hundreds of years were Buddhist or nonreligious, is going to get some divine punishment for sure.


Why would you do that…??? This pastor is ‘Gae-dok Style’…!!! [Note: pun on ‘Gangnam Style’]

어둠의 신화:

haha ssibal pastor, that’s all the gae-dok knows how to do


Gae-dok saekki… it’s like all they think about is money and women~! They have no idea how to be considerate or work harmoniously…! It’s obvious that the singers who perform with a crucifix dog collar around their necks are brainless~~!


“While such incidents happen every year, they have grown especially severe under the current government administration.”!!! They only just got more serious this year…they were always pretty serious..


Protestant saekki seem to be so selfish and elitist, we should make them all go somewhere and live with each other. Or just sending them to Japan could also be good.. for some reason it seems like they would get along well with the jjok-bari..


I’m stunned and at a loss for words, ever since Lee Myung-bak came to power the Protestants have been running wild


You think acting like that is going to get you into heaven??? Aigo~~~


What are you doing Buddhists? On Sunday morning you should throw a grenade into a church, then pray for them.


A tragic event.


God has thrown mankind away.


Well if lack of faith leads to hell and Jesus leads to heaven then what does ‘dick’ mean? Things like this make it impossible to call them anything but gae-dok. Pastor, why ‘dick’? of all things why ‘dick’?


If one’s own religion is important.. then someone else’s religion must also be important.. how could such a person become a pastor?? They should revoke that guy’s ordainment.. He’s a disgrace to protestants.. it’s just such a shame…


Protestants respond to articles like this with just one sentence, ‘the actions of a minority’. They’re a ‘cult’. Are you sure you’re not just a cult yourself ke ke It’s true that in order to save Korea gae-dok must disappear.


Now I understand why the commies killed all the Christians.. trickster garbage..


I really hate gae-dok… Stop coming up to me and trying to convert me so irritatingly on the street.. the only thing I feel is disgust… As soon as I see the pamphlets it’s ‘believe or go to hell’, ‘no matter how good of a person you are, if you don’t believe in Jesus then you will burn’


Q: why are you so noisy in the street and on the subway?
A: That was a cult.
Q: Was Am-Song-Wang fun? [Note: Am-Song-Wang is a card game that involves biblical figures]
A: That was the work of a minority
Q: Why did you go to Afghanistan and get kidnapped?
A: That was a minority group.
Q: Why did those pastors sexually abuse people?
A: That was a minority group.
Q: Why did you cut the throat on the statue of Dangun?
A: That was a cult.
Q: Why did you destroy the Buddhist shrine?
A: That was a minority group.
Q: Why do pastors pass down their power to their family members?
A: That’s just a minority.
Q: Why did you protest with gas cans in front of Seoul City Hall?
A: That was a minority group.
Q: Why did you support Lee Myung-Bak for election in your churches?
A: That was a minority group.

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