Korea is still very conservative, and it is arguable that the import of Western religious beliefs hasn’t at all helped. Homophobia is common, and when hearing it from a Korean one should understand it’s a belief many are brought up with. You don’t have to agree with it, and you can question it, but you can’t necessarily change it.
Therefore, being a native Korean, and a devout Christian, it maybe shouldn’t be much of a surprise that someone like Choi Siwon of Super Junior is homophobic. But is he right to share this opinion so openly?
Choi Siwon is a role model for millions of young people, making him something of a voice of his generation. Therefore he should be using that position wisely.
No matter the beliefs Siwon holds personally, given the status he holds he must consider the impact of his words more carefully.
Last week the Super Junior member retweeted the following article:
[By all means read this article to fully understand an extreme religious viewpoint on ‘so-called same-sex marriage’, the best way to form an opinion is to know both sides of the argument]
If you’re not from America you might not be fully versed in what Obergefell is. James Obergefell filed the United States Supreme Court case which ultimately led to the legalisation of same-sex marriage within all states of America, overturning the unconstitutional state-level bans.
The case saw same-sex marriage proved to be a guaranteed fundamental right in both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause within the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Recently a Kentucky County clerk was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, Kim Davis cited her religion as reason for doing so. Hence those of similar religious belief declaring their support for her actions, and objection to the Supreme Court ruling.
Siwon isn’t American, of course, and there is no such laws in South Korea. [Wikipedia has an easy to read list of LGBT rights in South Korea]. So, given his societal standing, why does he need to make comment, even if it is through retweet?
For one reason. Because religion, in Siwon’s case, blinds his rationality and intelligence, and it is a regular occurrence.
When discussing his acting career and asked about being offered a sexually ambiguous role, he replied:
I will respectfully refuse any such offers. While I respect all genders, I do not wish to acknowledge homosexuals as I have been taught that God created Man and Woman with specific characteristics and duties. I realize that with globalization, there are many [entertainers]who do not share my views. There are those who are value-oriented and those who are success-oriented. However shouldn’t an actor deliver an image to his audience through roles he chooses to portray, based on his beliefs in life?
If you’ve ever spoken with me about Siwon you’ll have heard the word hypocrite, and this is an example of that.
While I respect all genders stinks of the same discriminatory sentence opener as I’m not racist but.
Siwon used the word respect twice, but how much respect can you show in an answer that includes the strong implication that you believe homosexuality is against the natural order of things.
There is then the attempt to condone his opinion through his profession, including a judgement on others still.
There are those who are value-oriented and those who are success-oriented.
Cha Seung Won is a devout Roman Catholic, married with children and unquestionably masculine, but his performance as Detective Ji Wook and his identification as transgender in High Heel was convincing and moving. This delivers the image of a skilled actor, not a question of his values or own sexuality. Being an actor gives you the chance to play something you are not, with conviction.
But Siwon can hold this belief, no one controls his opinion, and he should not attempt to control the opinions of others. As a role model he is in a position where he can influence the opinions of others, and discriminate against a portion of his audience. Therefore, endorse as much coffee as you like, wear as much Ralph Lauren as you like, but do not share opinions that are based on prejudice.
Plus, if you’re going to hold such bigoted opinions, don’t be a hypocrite. Let’s look at Super Junior for a moment. How many times have we seen Heechul and Siwon kiss?
There’s much question about Heechul’s sexuality [a question no one has the right to ask], but hypothetically were he bisexual or gay isn’t Siwon disrespecting a friend by saying he doesn’t acknowledge homosexuals?
And let us not forget that beautifully homoerotic teaser photo from Mr Simple [left].
Doesn’t kissing Heechul, and dressing in an outfit befitting of a Mardi Gras or Pride Festival float, go against delivering an image ‘based on his beliefs in life’?
Pick a belief and stick to it, but don’t push it on others, don’t offend others with it, don’t discriminate with it.
Siwon might be Korean, he might have been brought up with the openly bigoted views of his father, but as a celebrity known across the globe there is no room for anything but acceptance.
The extreme views of Christianity may not be causing war as other religions are, but they’re still oppressive, so why should we accept a celebrity standing up in support?
Twenty four hours later Siwon removed his retweet and issued an apology in both Korean and English. [Siwon later deleted his apology also, therefore I am unable to include the original posts]
KOREAN: I deeply apologize for many of you who’ve been hurt by the re-tweets I posted today. I re-tweeted a source that has another opinion about legalizing gay marriage. However, I belatedly realized that this was not just a matter of posting a source’s opinion after reading many tweets sent to me. My thoughtless tweets hurt a lot of people, and I’m humbled by the fact that I gave pain to a lot of fans, staff, and everyone else. I would like to communicate and learn more in the future. Again, I apologize to everyone I hurt with my re-tweets.
ENGLISH: I apologize for my inconsiderate choice to retweet Rev.Piper’s tweet. Reason I echoed Rev. Piper’s thoughts was because I wished to voice a plurality of opinions. However, now I realize that my comments were hurtful to those whom I hold dearest: my fans, and their friends and families. I am truly sorry.
My judgment was insensitive, thoughtless, and ill-conceived. I will do my best to learn from my mistakes and reflect on my faith. I thank everyone for their support and understanding
Siwon claims to have retweeted the article to share the ‘other side’ of the argument, which hails back to my earlier point about the best way to form an opinion is knowledge of both sides.
Though consider, had you encountered this article as the opposing side of you opinion would you retweet it without commentary? Would you post or retweet the statement ‘so-called same-sex marriage does not exist’ if you were pro LGBT rights? Odds are you wouldn’t.
Given our knowledge that Siwon doesn’t acknowledge homosexuals we are going to assume that he at least partly agrees with the article.
Though, he has apologised, and hopefully learnt a lesson that is this time not biblical. We can forgive him, because there are simple lessons of morality we can all learn from his religion.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
For if we do not forgive we have cast judgement upon Siwon for too casting judgement – and this would be hypocritical of us.
This is an extended version of the original article featured on the writer’s personal website, to cover Siwon’s apology.
Please note: The thoughts and opinions expressed in this editorial are that of the individual writer alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of UnitedKpop.