In their effort to make themselves important, the leaders of the World Council of Churches occasionally come out with some very strange statements. Today, it has to do with North Korea, where General Secretary Sam Kobia has gone for some reason or another. The press release on the visit says:

In a recent meeting with a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) visiting Pyongyang, North Korean president Kim Yong-nam said a significant impetus to solving the nuclear weapons stand-off in the region would be for North Korea and the U.S. to meet “face-to-face with each other”.

Kim is one of the three principal leaders of North Korea along with Kim Jong-il, the Supreme Leader, and Kim Yong-il, the Premier. Kim Yong-nam is often described as the de facto leader since he often represents the country on state visits around the world and in the signing of treaties on behalf of the DPRK. [Emphasis added.]

The only place Kim Yong-nam has ever been described as the de facto leader of North Korea is right here, in this press release, and he is so referred to because that makes the WCC delegation look more important, as if they had visited with the real leader of the country, rather than just a flunky who takes his marching orders from the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Of course, it may be that the writer simply doesn’t know the difference between de jure (“in law”) as opposed to de facto (“in fact”), but that seems unlikely.

More from the release:

During his meeting with Kobia, Kim talked about how the North Korean government has assisted over the years in rebuilding churches that were destroyed during the Korean War and the bombing of Pyongyang by the U.S.

He invited the WCC to continue its relationship with the Korean Christian Federation through ongoing visits to the country.

There’s no indication that Kobia didn’t swallow this hook, line and sinker. The fact that the North Koreans have “rebuilt churches” says nothing about whether they are actually being used as churches, which is in a way beside the point. The fact is that North Korea persecution of Christians is among the world’s worst. Open Doors has ranked the DPRK as the worst offender among nations for seven years in a row. Voice of the Martyrs says “Government-organized religious activities exist solely to provide the illusion of religious freedom. North Korea is the worst perpetrator of persecution against Christians in the world….Christians must practice their faith in deep secrecy and are in constant danger, though many continue to stand strong under relentless persecution. The government considers Christians to be a stability threat, and they are hunted all over the country.” And yet there is nothing in the press release to indicate that Kobia expressed any concern whatsoever this continuing and pervasive persecution. Instead, all he seemed to want to talk about was Korean reunification and nuclear weapons:

Commenting further on the nuclear weapons situation of North Korea, Kim said the solution was to denuclearize the entire region. Creating a nuclear free Korean peninsula was “one of the last instructions from the Great Leader”, former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, who is called the “eternal leader” of North Korea and died in 1994.

Kobia said the position of the WCC is that “those who have nuclear weapons should get rid of them and those wanting them should no longer seek them”.

A nice thought, until you realize who he’s dealing with: a regime that has repeatedly lied about the scope and even existence of its nuclear weapons program, one that continues to rattle sabers in the direction of South Korea and Japan, and one that has spent who knows how much money developing those weapons while millions of its own people starved to death. Put it all together, and I think one could easily conclude from this press release that 1) the WCC doesn’t care about Christians being persecuted, at least not by Communist dictatorships; 2) that it is extraordinarily naive when it comes to some of the world’s most evil people; and 3) that it has learned absolutely nothing from the prior damage to its reputation accrued from its previous record of glad-handing Marxist totalitarians.

In other news, the sun came up today…