Just a question, but does the Korean government actually recognize freedom of religion? Is one free to reject Confucian beliefs, for example, and is this freedom explicitly recognized in any critical legislation?
Because this news report passed on by KimcheeGI suggests you may forfeit your rights to own property if you aren’t a good Confucian. Well, actually, if you fail to be a good Confucian after promising to be one:
A son who failed to mow the grass around the graves of his ancestors and properly show respect to his ancestors will forfeit his rights to a valuable patch of land as punishment, a court ruled yesterday.
The Seoul High Court said yesterday that 55-year-old Huh Jin-heon should not be allowed to inherit the land he was due as the eldest son of his family clan.
Who was the angry relative? His 78-year-old father, Huh Hyeong-du.
The father accused his son of neglecting his duties, such as performing ancestral rituals and caring for their graves. In Korea, the eldest son of the main family in the clan customarily inherits the clan’s property…
The father said even though the son in 1999 made a written pledge that he would perform ancestral rituals, he failed to do so and so the real estate of the clan should not be given to him.Was it because he’d failed to follow the agreement, though, or because he’d failed to perform the duties ascribed to him by Confucian law?
I suspect both came into play here, but I would hope if he’d not signed a contract, that the claim against him would not have gotten far. Far be it from me to tell a nation’s justice system what to do, but I’ve known plenty of Koreans who feel those “Confucian duties” are not compatible with their religion (especially Protestants), and more importantly I’ve known Koreans who did not mow the unkempt grass near their ancestors’ graves, but instead stomped it down old-style.
I guess I just get antsy when I see religious (or semi-religious) practices entering into legal rights and decisions.