Evangelical Christian Discourse in South Korea on the LGBT: the Politics of Cross-Border Learning

Joseph Yi, Gowoon Jung, Joe Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The US political debate over LGBT rights and religious liberty is shaping a similar contest in South Korea (Korea). Stories of American Christians criminally fined for refusing to service same-sex weddings, or university students and faculty punished for expressing their conservative beliefs, are widely shared in Korea’s evangelical media. The victim narrative, prominent among American evangelicals, teaches their Korean brethren that the expansion of LGBT legal rights and social acceptance endangers religious liberties. The conclusion is that that they must politically mobilize to oppose LGBT demands in Korea, even though the local movement is nascent and weak. There is, however, a second, more complex narrative emerging from the United States. This is one of Christian empathy, including stories of gay Christians wrestling with their twin identities, and of heterosexual Christians providing love and support, rather than condemnation. The empathy narrative has limited visibility in current political debates, but it encourages personal dialogues between gays and non-gay Christians and is a consequential step to understanding and tolerance. Drawing on learning and emulation theories, and conducting an empirical study of evangelical media and gay/heterosexual evangelicals in Korea, we consider the effects of these two American narratives in Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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