I’m not sharing this to propagate gossip. There’s enough of it – both in the secular and sadly, christian community as well. But, when I read this news of a famous Korean actress and her lover being “sentenced” this morning, it really intrigued me because even after living in Korea for several years as an adult and doing pastoral ministry for couple years in my birthplace referred to some as the Land of the Morning Calm, I had absolutely no idea that adultery was “illegal” and a crime. I enjoy following Korean films when and IF they’re available here in the States but I don’t follow pop culture in Korea especially since my reading capacity is elementary.
In addition, you know that I’ve been posting thoughts and stories about government, politics, religion, morality and how they all engage together. Simply, the question I keep coming to is,
“What is the government’s role in legislating morality?”
I vacillate back and forth regarding the government’s role and constantly feel conflicted. I agree that adultery is “damaging to the social order” in addition to the clear damage to the SOUL. For the record, I acknowledge that your assessment and/or criticism that I have inconsistent views about the government’s role have weight. And there are days when I just think we should run everything by LAW all over again. Why? Because all of us have such an undeserving and under appreciated entitlement to freedom and grace.
What do you think of the above and below?
Regarding the story below [BBC News], everyone loses in a situation of adultery and splitsville but it’s incredibly sad and painful to see how in most cultures, the blame and shame is placed on the woman. I find this to incredibly ironic in contexts such as the Confucian culture where much revolves around the hierachy and patriachy of men and in conservative Christian contexts where men are supposed to be the clear leaders. If a marriage fails in that context, why do we then choose to blame the wife or the whole marriage? I’m being too simplistic, right?
One of South Korea’s best-known actresses, Ok So-ri, has been given a suspended prison sentence of eight months for adultery.
She admitted the offence and the court suspended the sentence for two years.
The trial took place after Ms Ok failed to get the constitutional court to overturn the strict law that makes adultery a criminal offence.
In her petition she said the law was an infringement of human rights and amounted to revenge.
According to the BBC correspondent in Seoul, John Sudworth, the scandal has kept South Korea’s tabloid newspapers and internet chatrooms buzzing for months.
‘Damaging to social order’
South Korea is one of the few remaining non-Muslim countries where adultery remains a criminal offence.
A person found guilty of adultery can be jailed for up to two years.
More than 1,000 people are charged each year, although, as in this case, very few are actually sent to jail.
The law has been challenged four times, but the country’s top judges have always ruled that adultery is damaging to social order, and the offence should therefore remain a crime.
In this case, Ms Ok was sued by her former husband, Park Chul.
She admitted having an affair with a well-known pop singer, and blamed it on a loveless marriage to Mr Park.
The 40-year-old actress sought to have the adultery ban ruled an inconstitutional invasion of privacy, and in a petition to the Constitutional Court, her lawyers claimed the law had “degenerated into a means of revenge by the spouse, rather than a means of saving a marriage”.
But the adultery ban was upheld, and judges in Seoul have now given her an eight-month suspended sentence, and her lover a six-month suspended term.
“I would like to say I’m sorry for stirring up such a controversy,” Ms Ok said after the court judgement.
According to a survey carried out last year, nearly 68% of South Korean men and 12% of women confess to having sex outside marriage.
The Anti-Adultery Law:
- Enacted in 1953; initially applied only to married women
- Constitutional Court upheld the law in 1990, 1993, 2001 and 2008
- But the judges’ support for the law has gradually declined. The law’s repeal would require backing of six of the court’s nine judges – in the last case, five judges backed its repeal
- Hundreds of people are charged under the law every year, but only a few dozen are jailed
- Supporters of the law claim adultery undermines the social order, and say the law protects women’s rights in marriage
- Its opponents claim the law is often abused as a means of revenge or securing greater financial divorce settlements; and say in reality those who suffer under the law are most often women