You will be thrilled to learn that NAD president Dan Jackson is alert and responding to the threat of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to nuke the island of Guam. Yesterday, Jackson issued this statement:
On behalf of the entire North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I would like to let our members and the citizens on the island of Guam know that our concern and prayers are with you. We take solace in the words of Mark 13:7: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed"; and Matthew 28:20 “And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Please know that the people of the Seventh-day Adventist Church love you. We know that God is present in trying times, just as He always has been and will continue to do so. We join you in praying for the governments of the United States and North Korea to find a peaceful solution to their differences.
I would like to ask all of our 1.2 million members in the division to join in a special prayer of solidarity for those living in Guam and Micronesia. The Guam-Micronesia Mission is an important part of our North American Division family and during times like these we need to come together in support of our family. Please pray for the members of our churches and the pastors who minister to them; pray for the student missionaries and volunteers who work in the schools and clinics throughout the mission; and pray for the more than 400,000 people living in the mission territory.
We put our faith and trust in God, knowing that He is our eternal Shepherd, Protector, and source of strength.
Daniel R. Jackson
President, North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The operative language is: “We join you in praying for the governments of the United States and North Korea to find a peaceful solution to their differences.” Their differences? So, this is just two “governments” with “differences” and we just need to pray that they’ll find a “peaceful solution”?
This is the language of moral equivalence. Dan Jackson seems to believe that the United States and the People’s Republic of North Korea are two equivalent polities, either of which could be at fault in the present crisis, and both just need to cool down their rhetoric and find a peaceful solution.
The reality is very, very different.
North Korea a Slave State
North Korea is a slave state—by far the most repressive regime on earth. A 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry report on human rights abuses in North Korea said, “The gravity, scale and nature of these [human rights] violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” There is no freedom whatsoever in North Korea; no economic freedom, no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, and no freedom of the press. All must zealously toe the line laid down by Kim Jong-un and his inner circle of toadies and sycophants, or find themselves in a death camp.
According to the U.N., “state surveillance permeates the private lives of all citizens” to root out any hint of disapproval of the regime. Virtually all social activities are controlled by the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea. The people are denied access to any external media, including foreign films or even soap operas. Access to television, radio, and the internet is severely restricted, and all telephone calls are monitored. Technology has made it easier for the regime to monitor media, and the regime is enforcing harsh punishments on those who access foreign media.
North Korea’s Gulag
There are approximately 200,000 political prisoners in North Korea’s prison camps, where they are subject to torture, starvation, rape and random murder. Many prisoners are interned for nothing more than watching a foreign soap opera or holding a religious belief, such as Christianity, while others are incarcerated for having a family member deemed politically undesirable.
A 2012 United Nations inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea highlighted the unspeakable and widespread atrocities being carried out in the camps, including a mother who was forced to drown her own baby. A former security official described the methods used to execute prisoners: detainees were forced to dig their own graves and were then killed with hammer blows to their necks. He also witnessed prison officers strangling detainees and then beating them to death with wooden sticks.
Women "disappeared" after being raped. “After a night of 'servicing' camp officials, the women had to die because the secret could not get out. This happens at most of the political prison camps.”
Those who try to escape these prison camps are murdered in front of the other prisoners: "They were brought to a stage after they were badly beaten, tied to wooden stakes, and shot three times in their head, chest and feet.”
The regime arrested an American college student, Otto Warmbier, for allegedly attempting to take a propaganda poster home as a souvenir. For this heinous crime, they sentenced him to 15 years’ hard labor, then tortured and abused him and sent him home to his parents brain-dead. He died a few days later.
North Korea’s Economic Mess
The regime decrees where people must live and work. Those considered politically loyal are given better housing and more favorable locations, with only the most loyal being allowed to live in the capital, Pyongyang. Those who attempt to migrate internally within the country are subject to arrest and forcible transfer.
As you might guess, this type of controlled economy has cratered, just as all “centrally planned” socialist or communist societies eventually fail. The mismanagement of the centrally-planned, socialist economy led to a man-made famine from 1994-1998 in which some three million people (out of a total population of 22 million) died from starvation, or malnutrition-related diseases.
Never was there a better laboratory comparison of the results of communism versus capitalism than the Korean peninsula, on which one nation/linguistic group is divided into a starving, poverty stricken north and a bustling, wealthy south. The contrast can be seen in night-time satellite photos, which show the southern half of the peninsula lit up by electric lighting, and the northern half mired in medieval darkness.
North Korea Represses Christianity
North Korea is like ancient Rome in having a cult of emperor-worship. The personality cult began soon after Kim Il-sung took power in 1948, and was greatly expanded after his death in 1994, by Kim Jong-il. Other countries have had cults of personality, but the pervasiveness and extreme nature of North Korea's personality cult surpasses that of even Stalin or Mao Zedong. The regime promulgates the belief that Kim Il-sung created the world, and that Kim Jong-il controlled the weather. The regime continuously encourages the people to worship the Kim family as gods.
According to the 2014 U.N. report, North Korea considers Christianity to be a “particularly serious threat, since it challenges ideologically the official personality cult.” Hence, those caught practicing Christianity are subject to severe punishments. The North Korean regime destroyed over 2,000 Buddhist temples and Christian churches for fear that they might detract from the god-like worship of the Kim dynasty.
No Moral Equivalence
The bottom line is that the North Korean regime is a rogue regime far outside the pale of the civilized family of nations. It cannot be compared to a rational, functioning nation with a responsible government. There is every reason to believe Kim Jong-un would carry out his numerous and repeated threats to attack with nuclear weapons the United States and its territories when he attains the ability to do so, which he soon will absent American intervention. The notion that there are just some “differences” between “the governments” of two equivalent states is utterly un-tethered from reality, and a badge of ignorance and/or contempt for the United States.
There is no moral equivalence whatsoever between the United States and North Korea, and to hint or imply that there is, as Dan Jackson has done in his Guam statement, is a moral outrage. Such a comparison should disqualify Jackson from continued employment by tithe-paying Adventists, and more so from the high office of North American Division President.
A truly Christian prayer would not be that the “the United States and North Korea find a peaceful solution to their differences” but that the North Korean regime cease to exist, that the Korean peninsula be united under South Korean rule, that Christianity be preached throughout the peninsula, and that the waking nightmare in which north Koreans have been forced to “live” for three generations finally end. I could join Dan Jackson in that prayer. I cannot join him in his prayer, because this is not a case of two "governments" with "differences," but an intensely evil outlaw regime that desperately needs to be destroyed, and a far better nation that has the means to destroy it, if it can but rouse itself from decadence and summon the necessary moral fiber. Dan Jackson's prayer is based upon the lie of moral equivalence and, to be perfectly frank, is really just an impertinent, back-handed slap at President Trump.
Time for Jackson’s Long Train of Abuses to End
This is not Dan Jackson's first outrage. He never misses an opportunity to alienate American conservatives. He has promoted an open-border immigration policy, he has promoted “black lives matter,” he said David Asscherick deserved a “spanking” for helping to draw attention to Darwinism at La Sierra, etc. It seems as though he wakes up every morning trying to devise ways to annoy American conservatives (and yet I am quite sure he wants us to continue paying tithe).
Worst of all, he continues to promote female ordination in defiance of the General Conference Session vote, and is giving aid and comfort to the rebel unions in North America who insist on continuing to ordain women in defiance of the Session vote. The goal of female ordination—and eventually equal numbers of men and women in ordained ministry throughout North America—is evidently more important to Dan Jackson than General Conference votes, regular order in church government, or unity in the church. I could put up with Jackson’s grating Leftism if only he were not determined to impose a destructive feminism on the SDA Church in North America.
I can see no way forward for Adventism in North America while Dan Jackson remains in office. Dan Jackson, please resign!