Creating the Internal Enemy: Opportunities and Threats in Pro and Anti-LGBT Activism within South Korean Protestantism

Authors

  • Hendrik Johannemann Freie Universität Berlin

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33182/ijor.v1i1.1073

Keywords:

pro and anti-LGBT activism, South Korean Protestantism, opportunities and threats, contentious politics, movement-countermovement dynamics

Abstract

In recent years, South Korea has experienced significant mobilization against LGBT rights, mainly emanating from conservative Protestant forces. This anti-LGBT mobilization has been attributed to the need to create an “external enemy” as a means for covering up internal scandals. This study examines how the Protestant anti-LGBT movement creates an “internal enemy”, too, by fighting against pro-LGBT activism and attitudes within its faith. Applying the contentious politics and movement-countermovement frameworks to the study of religious conflict, the article uncovers the mechanisms at work in the complex interactions among anti-LGBT, moderate, and LGBT-affirmative actors. The analysis of five cases – heresy trials against a pro-LGBT pastor, conflicts at Christian universities, vilifications of a progressive Christian online newspaper and a church association, and the controversy around a moderate junior pastor – shows that perceived and deliberately created threats play a productive, opportunity-like role in religious contention over LGBT issues. Longstanding religiopolitical cleavages come to the fore, too, involving conflictual relations with state actors external to Korean Protestantism.

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Published

2020-11-22

How to Cite

Johannemann, H. (2020). Creating the Internal Enemy: Opportunities and Threats in Pro and Anti-LGBT Activism within South Korean Protestantism. International Journal of Religion, 1(1), 23–43. https://doi.org/10.33182/ijor.v1i1.1073