M. Sahm Suh (University of Chicago)
Since 2004, a group of evangelical activists has appeared in the public scene as an important part of the ‘New Right’ movement in South Korea. This created a cause célèbre, since they were previously known as progressive Christian activists whose ministries had been informed by Liberation-Minjung theology and Saul Alinsky’s Community Organizing movements. In recent years, however, these ex-liberationist activists have not only fiercely mounted criticism against their past comrades for being captives of bygone socialist ideologies, but have also proactively participated in reviving and reforming conservative causes. Seeing their political conversion as an act of transgressing the conventional left-right divide, this paper attempts to explore how their conservative turn has taken place over the last two decades based on archival research as well as the interviews the author conducted in 2010 and 2011.This paper will shed a light on the inherent tension between faith-based and socialist-oriented socio-political activism as well as the efficacy of generational identities in individuals’ political choices.