Candlelight Revolution drags down President Park in South Korea

Recently South Korea has undergone one of the greatest political changes throughout its history. A third of the population voluntarily participated in this national movement, called Candlelight Revolution, for three months. Their disappointment in political leaders resulted in an unexpected large-scale civil resistance and eventually collapsed the ruling regime led by Park Geun Hye. This drastic scandal urges us to ask how religion is related to such socio-political change through candlelight revolution, especially in terms of religious background of Park’s regime, religious participation in candlelight revolution, and candlelight itself as a religious symbol in Korea. For example, Park was a college student of Korean Presbyterianism, raised under the religious influence of her mother who was Buddhist, and then has been protected by the family of a Protestant minster who had been a Korean shaman. Although her religious background is very complicated and unknown, it is necessary to understand a religious aspect of candlelight revolution. Some conservative protestants have supported the maintenance of Park regime, while most of religious people seem to believe a social legitimacy of candlelight revolution to collapse Park regime. Above all, candlelight itself is considered as one of the most important religious symbols. It means peace, unity, resistance, purification, sacrifice, and enthusiasm in Korean society, and for this reason adds a sacred and religious authority to a secular and political resistance.

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