Christianism, Singapore

Tan Tarn How: The churches are silent

02.23.10 | 11 Comments

Tan Tarn How, policy researcher in the Institute of Policy Studies, tells TODAY:

“I don’t think you should have complete freedom of speech on Internet, even though it is very hard to police. The existence of these things (hate videos and speech) is problematic. But if its roundly condemn by society, especially institutions and opinion leaders, there is a vaccine against the virus of hate speech. The opinion of society is very critical, not just of individuals but opinion leaders and institutions. Unfortunately, it seems churches are keeping silent on this. This has become Buddhist criticising Christians, but rather should be Christians criticising this pastor. This would be a more potent weapon against such talk. It is a failure that media do not go out and talk to churches and seek their responses. Of course, the Buddhists will be angry.

I want to another point. Unfortunately, it seems to get the small guys and let the opinion leaders relatively free with an apology. The right approach is, if he is an opinion leader, he ought to be more severely dealt with than if he is just a small individual. The opinion leader has more influence. I think the pastor is let off too lightly.” [Emphasis mine; read more of Tan Tarn How’s views here and here.]

The above interview was given by Tan Tarn How to TODAY in the wake of the first part of the Rony Tan saga (featuring the anti-Buddhism/Taoism remarks) but I think what he said applies to the Rony Tan vs Gays incident too — the churches are way too silent.

It is time for moderate Christians to stand up and disavow themselves from all the infactual insults made by Rony Tan against the Buddhist, Taoist and gay people of Singapore. Then and only then can the healing begin.

In Singapore’s fight against terror, moderate Muslims were encouraged to speak up and distance themselves from the likes of Osama bin Laden and Jemaah Islamiyah. That has proven to work very well (I think).

Of course I’m not saying here that Rony Tan is like Osama or JI, but the principle remains the same — when a small group of people hijack the faith and make the headlines for all the wrong sorts of reasons, then it’s time for the silent majority to speak up and say, “We do not accept this. This sort of behaviour is incompatible with our faith.”

That time has come. Will they?

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