Sunday, September 18, 2011

Facebook exchange: Right-wing Christians in Singapore

Had another of those interesting Facebook exchange where I accidentally scratched beyond the gentlemanly surface of an acquaintance to discover the unexpected.
[Note to self: Why do I keep getting surprised that I count amongst my acquaintances/friends both right-wing and left-wing religious and non-religious folks? I like diversity in my friends, but I have to consciously remind myself to be tolerant and accepting of that diversity, especially when a shocker turns up.]
Anyway, below is the exchange on my FB wall for the record. And perhaps for further thoughts in future.


WD: Sigh, another right-wing religious Christian in Singapore who does not separate her work-role in multi-cultural Singapore from her personal religious practice.

WD: I find it strange that in Singapore, the descriptive phrase "right-wing religious" is almost always followed by the word "Christian"; much like in USA where the word "terrorists" is almost always preceded by the word "Muslim". 2 sides of the same coin.

LKM [Singapore-based acquaintance whom I know personally and had volunteered together with previously]: Not sure what right-wing or left-wing means, but I do not see why Christianity has to be dragged into a decision to cancel an event last minute ? It's a person's individual decision on a matter, isn't it ?

WD: @ LKM : I believe it is within your ability to Google for the meaning of "left-wing" and "right-wing".
Christianity in Singapore is highlighted above for a few simple reasons.

1. It is mentioned in Mr Brown's post that the individual involved based her decision on her interpretation of her Christian faith. From her decision, one would conclude that she decided that her faith is above the fact that it is an event held for the public (including non-Christians) and it was done using public funds (not her church's funds). Mr Brown pointed out this individual's trespassing of personal religion into a public matter.

2. In recent years in Singapore, there is a growing voice of such Christians who lobby policies based on their faith -- policies that will be applied to non-Christians alike. E.g. 377A. E.g. Sex education in schools should not teach about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transexuals. E.g. Abstinence to be the only method taught for preventing unwanted pregnancy in sex education in schools. In that sense, I respect the Muslims in Singapore more. At least the Syariah Court laws are applied only to Muslims, and they do not lobby for such laws to be applied to the non-Muslims.

3. I am pointing out the double-standard in Singapore media and social norms. When an individual or a group do or advocate something (that non-believers would not agree to) using Islam as a cover, they are often labeled in the press as "Muslim terrorists" or "Muslim extremists". When an individual or a group do or advocate something (that non-believers would not agree to) using Christianity as a cover, we have people like yourself (and sometimes even the press) brushing the matter off and claiming that it's "a person's individual (or a specific group's) decision on a matter" -- a matter that would affect those not of their religion. This double-standard is a form of discrimination. I say, either consistently associate both groups as extremists of their respective religions or drop the religious label from both groups.
WD: p.s. "people like yourself (and sometimes even the press) brushing the matter off". Some of these people who brush the matter of may be doing so because of their personal discomfort with their shared religion being used/abused by the individual/group as his/her/their "reason" for their decision.

LKM: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16 NKJV)

LKM: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:16, 18-27 NKJV)

RW [another Singaporean acquaintance now based in Canada. RW probably does not know LKM personally.]: I think this is a sensitive topic. For some Christians they have to live their lives according to Christ regardless of the situation, which includes making tough decisions they think is for the better good. I think there are far more important things to correct in the world than this sort of issues.

WD: @ LKM : Your entire reply holds no meaning to me for I am not of your faith. Go preach elsewhere.
@ RW : Yes, it is true for some their lives have to be according to Christ regardless of the situation. In which case, they should refrain from putting themselves in public service positions in *secular* governments making decisions based on their personal faith and demanding that those not of their faith obey rules specific to their faith -- that is not respecting the multicultural and multi-religious reality of Singapore. They have failed epically to apply what they learnt from the Civics and Moral Education in school and they are disrespecting the Singapore pledge "regardless of race, language or religion". That is the crux of my point. There are more and more such Christians in Singapore.

@ RW : " there are far more important things to correct in the world than this sort of issues."

Not so if you're a non-Christian and having this "I am right because my God is right and you're wrong because you non-believers worship the Devil or are led by the Devil" rubbed in your face every now and then. Just look at LKM's reply to my point. Nothing based on humanity. Nothing logical. Nothing about justice. Nothing about equality. Zilch. Pure religious bigotry.
LKM [whose comment I subsequently deleted because it does not further understanding in the issues discussed]: That's why things are so simple, just trust God and obey, and leave everything else to God's sovereignty, it really is that simple.
[Note: Another of those, if you cannot win an argument logically, just quote god.]

WD: ‎@ LKM : Please do not preach here. Your god is yours and yours alone. Nothing to do with me. I have deleted your last comment and will not hesitate to delete further comments that is not constructive to deepen understanding of the issues discussed.

LKM on his own FB wall: A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart,“ There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1 NKJV)
[Note: I won't respond to LKM's FB wall post. I respect his freedom to his express his opinions on his tuft.]

WD: Religious bigotry is bigotry, regardless of which religion it comes from. Such people will cry foul and religious persecution if they experience the similar discrimination from others who are [Edit: non-believers or] believers of another religion.
In the case of right-wing Christians in Singapore, it is ironic that they do not recognize that they have broken their own biblical rules through their words and actions.
WD: Jesus of Nazareth: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12, see also Luke 6:31).
"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn." — Talmud, Shabbat 31a
WD: Every day, I am thankful that I am here in Canada. Religious bigotry is unlikely to be tolerated here.


  1. Whether right/left wing christians, i'm annoyed at their preaching to entice people to convert.

    Recently nus has a case whereby the christian group has overstepped its 'advertising'.

    City Harvest church & its pastor Kong Hee case investigation results till date not resolved.

    Group of christians/buddhists in parliament of the dominant party in sinkieland worship $$.

  2. Hi Xianlong,

    I agree with you that their preaching is annoying, especially when I meet an ignorant and yet pushy door-to-door evangelist. I'm not a Christian but I read and re-read a children's bible many times as a kid. [It was a gift. And for some years, it was 1 of 3 colourfully illustrated English book we had as my family was poor.] So I know the biblical stories pretty well. When the evangelists spout BS about why thanks to their god, I am blessed that they are at my doorstep to bring the message of salvation to me, I would politely talk about "Jonah and the Whale" [Matthew 12:39-41] and/or "Healing the Roman Centurion's servant" [Luke 7:9-10]. You know what? Many a times, I got the "blur" look, as if they don't know what I'm talking about. So I told them, go back and read/check your bible before coming again. It used to be only the evangelist Christians who do it, but since the 2000's the new-age evangelist Taoists (many originating from Taiwan) also use the same "marketing" strategy.

    Actually, what irks me most is not the evangelists' ignorance which can be fixed easily if they are truly sincere about understanding their religion better. What irks me most is their "religiously justified right" to impose their value system on me.