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Singapore: Netizens angry over pastor’s comments on Buddhism and Taoism

Pastor Rony Tan of Lighthouse Evangelism, an independent church in Singapore with 12,000 members, has already apologized for attacking Buddhism and Taoism in his sermons. Pastor Tan apologized after receiving a call from the Internal Security Department. Despite the apology, the issue remains a controversial topic in the blogosphere.

Part 1 of the infamous video sermon of Pastor Tan

An excerpt from Pastor Tan’s statement of apology

I have received a number of emails from people who have been saddened and hurt by the testimonies of an ex-monk and an ex-nun. I realized that my presentation and comments were wrong and offensive. So I sincerely apologize for my insensitivity towards the Buddhists and Taoists, and solemnly promise that it will never happen again.

When we have received those emails, we immediately removed the video clips from our website. I urge those who have posted those clips on the YouTube to remove them as well.

Like many Singaporeans, Choo Zheng X was angry after viewing the videos

I felt deeply angry when I saw the videos of Pastor Rony Tan deriding Buddhists in his church. A place of worship was used to propagate misinformation and ignorance. A faith of love and acceptance was being used as a vehicle of intolerance.

Other Singaporeans were angry too, so angry that a large number were calling for Pastor Tan to be jailed under the Internal Security Act or the Sedition Act. But I held myself back

But the author is hesitant about using the Sedition Act to punish the pastor

It’s telling that when controversy like this occurs, Singaporeans immediately look to a punitive measure to solve the problem. That’s how simplistic our attitudes towards faith and ethnicity have become.

Sadly, laws like the Sedition Act encourage Singaporeans to take the path of least resistance, short circuit important social dialogue, and retard the process of seeking richer inter-faith/cultural confidence building.

Alvin Phoon warns against using exaggerated legal and punitive actions against the pastor

Bigots of different religions and persuasions squabble all the time. Normally I’m happy to sit back and watch because they make for good entertainment. However, in this case, threatening legal action against one party for making religiously insensitive comments is rash and will bear serious future consequences. Instead of being so adamant on imprisoning a man for mere words that were probably not even well thought out in the first place, why can’t we just take a step back, and move on with our lives? Pile on the humiliation if you must. But remember that the day Rony Tan goes to prison is the day religious tolerance and freedom of opinion ceases to exist.

Shawn Lim wants the pastor to be punished

What they should have done, instead of warning him, was to punish him. Fine him; send him to jail, whatever. If it takes a show of power to prevent this kind of incidence from happening again, by all means, do whatever that is necessary.

So why are the authorities so lenient when what Pastor Rony was clearly out of line with the first rule of religious harmony; which is to show respect for other religions? Do they not realise that a ‘warning’ in an increasingly vocal society is not enough?

dhamma musings does not believe that the current practice of holding inter-religious dialogues in Singapore can promote religious and racial harmony

I doubt that inter-religious dialogue, at least as it is conducted in Singapore, really brings about a change in how the different religions feel about each other. The participants are already respectful of other faiths. The ones who could do with a bit of tolerance – the bigots, zealots, fundamentalists and the evangelicals, won’t come

i.justrealized notes that religion is a sensitive issue in Singapore

Actually the interviewees are quite funny if you watch it with an open mind. One of the interviewees revealed that he had some bowel problems causing blood during defecation. In a moment of fear, he prayed to Jesus and was totally healed.

I should point out that religion is a sensitive issue, especially in Singapore, where the risks of tensions are high. We will not want to jeopardize peace in the process. Singapore has been strict on religious harmony.

In the church I frequented, there is a strong belief that Christianity is the only true religion and all other religions are Satan attempting to bring away people from the Christian God.

Pastor Tan’s lectures were contradicted in several websites and blogs: Half Time Adventurer, sgfrag.net, and the National University of Singapore Buddhist Society.

Facebookers posted comments on Pastor Tan’s facebook fan page. An Arrest Pastor Rony Tan facebook group was also created.

6 comments

  • In Buddhist not believe in dream, why this woman so stupid, may be woman Maras of Buddha, also woman will receive big Karma(big punishment) and she can’t escape what she done

    This is pity, Please anyone can’t understand and not believe in any religions and please don’t blame, every religions are more pure or holy

    For example, she go Christian and she also can receive her karma(action), if she die from this world, she also receive her karma

    This Pastor also receive karma because introduce the other human went to wrong and I don’t know this pastor have mindfullness or not, if he had mindfullness, he is not done like that

    Why he want to blame Buddhist? what Buddha make wrong with him? This is Maras but many human world out to protection of Buddha, now pastor Ex-Buddhist are suffering.

  • TESTBUG

    So… she claims to be english educated, and yet her enunciation is poor beyond belief. If she can’t speak english and can’t understand chinese… what does she speak? Unless malay is her first language then ok.

    And she clearly has no idea about what she’s saying. I say she’s there for people to laugh at.

  • masihi banda

    I saw nothing derogatory against Buddhism in the video. The pastor’s testimony was that Jesus was the only way, the truth, and the life. And no one comes to know God, the Heavenly Father but through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

    In a church setting, the Pastor is called to preach and teach the truth of Christianity not of Buddhism or any other belief system. Anytime a pastor compares the two religions; Buddhism is not going to come on top. I am pretty sure if you reverse the situation the Buddhism will be favored much to the delight of its followers.

    The pastor did the right thing; he is not there to sing praises of Buddha. He is there to educate his congregation to understand and obey the commandments of the Holy Bible: “thou shalt have no other gods before you” that means no Buddha or Mohamad has any place in the life of a Christian. Again the Bible forbids us: “you can not serve two masters” especially the man made philosophy and worship of the image of Buddha.

  • We always recieved news messages from Myanmar people, they are complainted about committees of temple and please see at below.

    Thanks

    Dear Sir and Madam,

    We are Myanmar group in Malaysia; we lived in Malaysia over decade and always went to one of temple in Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur and we were very sad and regreting with the committees of temple because they are using our monks in wrong conception of Buddhist teaching or Buddhist rules. We came to temple to help our monks and respected of our religion.

    That temple is president of name:Yip Kum Fook, that our monks said and he is invited our monks from Myanmar to in charge of that temple but without pay anything to our monks, added he and his not respecting of our monks and sometime he ordered of his people to collected item such as paper, mineral water etc. without inform any words to our monks. In our religious believed we can’t take anything of holy place, if we done we are sin.

    In pervious, our monk said the committees always asked money from him, when our monks gave RM20,000.00 in cash on 2001 to the committees, then committees keep silent, later committees make problem with our monk again and cancelled of our monk Visa permit to stayed in Malaysia, then our monks( Sadayaw Nandiya) go to Australia and our monk not come that temple at long time. “Yip Kom Fook gave our monk notebook computer for to cover of that amount of money our monk said”

    Many local people around temple said, now no more people come to this temple because committees is always make problem and we are heard from local people said: Yip Kum Fook ordered of his people to put fire of Hindu temple at Taman Daya, Kepong because he needed that place to make his business about many years ago. “Everybody known what he done for Hindu temple at Taman Daya, Kepong”

    Last time also he invited police to arrest the monks at holy place(temple) and locked the temple without afraid and shameful of people because he believed committee is big and has more authority, also his son always say to people: this temple is belonging of his father. “This temple donated from public, we are work hard for this temple”

    This temple the committees always changed the monks, now they change the new monk to in charge of temple, this new monk also complaint the bad things of committees because committees also wait for donation box only, they without help anything to our monks. And committees controlled of our monks not to talk more or complaint more, our monks lived there as slaver and afraid of committees members.

    In new building where remaining of Buddha statue marble; we have renovation of Buddha statue because that Buddha statue is put very low, we lift to highest the committees don’t like and unhappy. In our country, anyone be able to come temple to worship the Buddha but in Malaysia is different temple controlling by committees.

    We hope everyone preserve of Buddhist teachings, and please safety of our monks, not see only money as this of temple. When we asked some of our people ( Myanmar) and local people, the committees are very low of idea because is very narrow mind and without education of religions. And committees will not disturbing of our monks, monks are like our father to take care of Buddhism and temple is like our place of resolving of our problem.

    Recently, our monk(Sadayaw Ashin Indaka original from Madalay, Myanmar) has been staying in this temple also unhappy because the committees are not pay anythings to him, he is working in hardly to advise people and we also unhappy and very sad when heard the bad news from our monks. Sometime the committees people came and shouting in the temple without have any reason and done what they need to do, our monk said, the committees of this temple don’t have Buddhist teachings in their mind, may be next time Buddhist can destroy.

    From Myanmar Buddhist group in Malaysia but many word complaint by local Buddhist community in Malaysia. If anyone receive of this message(email), please forward or send to your friends to protection Buddhism in Malaysia.

    .-March 10th, 2010 at 8:55 am

  • […] and Indonesia. Church leaders were also harassed. Monk morality was questioned in Cambodia. A pastor in Singapore ridiculed the teachings of Taoism and Buddhism. Bloggers reported how Muslims […]

  • -

    敬爱的佛教伩徒,
    有关马來西亜,吉隆坡,甲洞帝沙再也 (暹寺) 三宝寺 Samnak Sambodhi Buddhist Association No.19-21 Jalan 38 Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 所发生的纠纷, 经过阅读了,Venerable Phra Piya Thammo 和尚及叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook) 的双方书信之后, 再经实地旁听了觧,做为中间人,我要客观实事的说:

    1.当一个和尚、初出道 (小学生),在修行, 若有缺点, 那是难免.他马华公会鹅唛區会主地席叶金福律师(Yip Kum Fook),却心眼看不顺,就电招警万到耒佛教之圣地要扣畄和尚耒耻唇出家人, 这是绝对不许可, 除非是殺人放火之大罪悪.

    2.他身为马华公会鹅唛區会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook),却反其道而行, 在佛寺不依佛法而軽视佛教的精神, 以傲慢的手段,帶领一般黑社会的人耒挑衅和尚打架, 这也是不该有、更不是佛教修行者的行为.

    3.佛教的圣地, 其主要的目地, 是让眾生修佛道, 不是政治争執的地方. 他马华公会鹅唛区会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook), 却利用佛教之圣地当政治活动的场所。如此果敢冒犯佛陀的教誨,更是大大的罪悪。

    囯有囯章,彿有佛法,家有家规. 如果出家人有何不对之处, 他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook), 为何不向主持和尚投?让出家人自依和尚的條规处理、却强权一味要显示他是马华公会鹅唛区会及三宝寺理事会主席, 无法无天的应用霸道手段践踏佛教之圣地.为什么。。。。。为什么.

    至今, 他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook),不当不歉愧,还要狡辩, 这又证明了他说一套, 做的又是另一套, 囗是心非, 所谓的两舌, 相当阴险. 身为律师, 受高深教育, 却应用如此悪毒, 横蛮无礼的作风污辱和尚, 相等于是耻辱佛教伩仰者。他叶金福律师(Yip Kum Fook)不向主持和尚投诉, 却自承英雄,电招外耒者.请问,身为將近20年的三宝寺主持和尚兼顾问,也是第一位 自筹建寺的大功臣,在大马南傳泒中,是闻名遐邇的高僧.其脸要放在那裡?同样的,要是台湾星雲大师的佛寺沙彌犯錯, 理事会没有礼貌自作主张,电招警方要扣畄其沙彌.我敢请问!星雲大师的自尊是怎样的感受?他叶金福律师(Yip Kum Fook)是后耒者,担任理会主席也不久, 竟敢应用如此,目无尊長的方式对待住持,间接的就是告大家,强迫住持和尚必远離,雀巢鸠要佔。这种用心不良, 有老千之谋, 的确令人不敢恭维。

    縱观以上几项重点,我不是盲目的護持三宝, 而是要坦白的说;他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook) 身受高深教育, 为律师者,本应通情达理才是,但遗憾的是, 却令人惊觉, 他厡耒就是彿书裡所讲的狡猾且残忍的此颣人。他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook),利用他的专业知識, 懂得包裝自己的道德守則,以宗教为幌子手,到处募款,商业经营, 政治活动为重, 并没依循佛教宗教守则行事, 也没对人道作出任何貢献, 只不过借宗教之名捞取权和私利而己。

    在此, 我奉劝, 他马华公会鹅唛区会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook), 好自为之, 免因果報应.

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