Did atheist N. Korea's leaders really say they'll "pray" for Kim Jong-il?

Why have his successors called for three minutes of prayer at the end of his official mourning period?

BY: Rob Kerby


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basketball and drawing cartoons in Switzerland, where school staff and friends reportedly remembered a shy boy who liked skiing.

Until 2010, this was one of the only known photos of Kim Jong-un

Meanwhile, a website that champions the cause of North Korean Christians indicates that three minutes of prayer at the end of the mourning period may, indeed, be the intent of the government. However, the prayers will not be directed to God.

North Koreans practice “Juche,” which began as idolization of the nation’s founder, Kim Il-Sung, according to the website NorthKoreanChristians:

Today, Juche is no longer just an ideology, but a full-fledged religion that worships Kim Il Sung as god, and his son, Kim Jong Il as the son of god. In 2005, David Hawke, the respected human rights investigator, interviewed 40 North Korean escapees about religion in North Korea. Here are some of their responses about North Korea’s religion:

“Juche is the only religion North Korean people can have.”

“We learned that there were two lives: one is the physical life and the other is the political life. We were taught that political life was forever along with the leaders and the Party. Therefore, I believed that my political life was more important than my physical life.”

“According to party covenant, Article 1, section 1, all North Koreans are required to worship Kim Il Sung with all our heart and might, even after his death. We have to venerate the pictures and status of Kim Il Sung.”

“We must hang Kim Il Sung’s pictures. The pictures indicate that Kim Il Sung is god, as we hang the pictures for the purpose of reminding ourselves that we depend on him.”

Other escapees from North Korea told Hawke:

“Hanging portraits of Kim’s family is compulsory for every household.

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