The controversy between Sony Pictures and North Korea has brought the dictator-ruled nation back into the spotlight, and in an editorial released Thursday, the CEO of Open Doors USA describes Christians' torturous living conditions in the oppressed nation.
David Curry, the head of Open Doors USA, an organization that aides persecuted Christians throughout the world, emphasizes that North Korea is a horrible place for believers to live and highlights that 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps.
"Christians in North Korea face unimaginable pressure in every sphere of life," Curry said in his editorial titled "North Korean reality not funny for Christians" that was published in USA Today. "Forced to meet only in secret, they dare not share their faith even with their families. Anyone discovered engaging in secret religious activity may be subject to arrest, disappearance, torture and even public execution."
He further explained that Christians' family members could receive punishment from the government even if they're not believers themselves.
Curry also noted that Open Doors' World Watch List provides Christians with information on the countries with the highest level of persecution for believers throughout the world. North Korea has earned the top spot 12 years in a row, and that doesn't appear to be changing in 2015 thanks to the Kim Jung Un regime which is mocked in the recent film "The Interview."
"The very nature of the Kim regime, it's suppression of outside ideas, control over its people and restriction of outside visitors is what keeps the West from gaining a clear picture of North Korean oppression and persecution," Curry added.
"That's the reason North Korea isn't leading the nightly news or making headlines every day. But though there is no video footage to live stream from the work camps, the persecution of Christians that happens every day in North Korea is very real."
Despite heavy persecution, the Christian faith continues to flourish in the nation, according to Curry, who explained how North Koreans risk their lives every day while sharing their faith. He views their faith as an inspiration to Western Christians.
"Their faith serves as an inspiration to many Western Christians who enjoy freedoms their North Korean counterpart have never known, freedom to worship openly, freedom to read the Bible publicly and freedom to celebrate Christmas and other faith-filled holidays," he said.
Curry also compared the recent threats made to Sony regarding "The Interview" and how North Korea's attempts to suppress the film's release to the way it tries to discourage Christianity.
The film was originally scheduled to release on Christmas Day of last year, but had issues due to a hack to Sony's infrastructure which leaked other movies and information about upcoming releases. The hackers then made threats to Sony stating that if the movie was released there would be terrorist attacks at the theaters that chose to show it.
Despite threats, several theaters decided to show the movie, which has generated a significant buzz thanks to the incident.
The movie has angered the North Korean government since it features two tabloid reporters, played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, who are hired to kill the country's dictator, Kim Jung Un, during an upcoming interview. Upon learning about the film's content, threats were made.
"The Interview" is available online through several on demand sites and is playing at select theaters throughout the U.S.