Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rebutting offending remarks from their own flock will reassure other faiths, says Vivian

"... offensive, dangerous or divisive...".
The Straits Times - Religious leaders must speak up
07 March 2010
Rebutting offending remarks from their own flock will reassure other faiths, says Vivian

By Goh Chin Lian
A Cabinet minister yesterday appealed to religious leaders to speak up if a leader within their own religion makes comments that are offensive, dangerous or divisive.
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan said such rebuttals of offending remarks will assure people from other religions that the offensive views were not held by the religion's mainstream.
Doing so also avoids a clash if religious leaders from another faith join in the fray.
The minister was addressing about 300 participants of the National Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) workshop yesterday, including grassroots and religious leaders, when he departed from his prepared speech to comment on recent incidents involving offensive statements touching on religion.
He did not name anyone in particular, but the Internal Security Department called up Lighthouse Evangelism senior church pastor Rony Tan last month for remarks disparaging certain beliefs associated with Buddhism and Taoism.
Said Dr Balakrishnan: 'If each religious leader takes it upon himself to do good housekeeping, to rebut and explain that those (remarks) are not the views of the mainstream of that religion, I think other religions, other people listening, will feel more reassured.'
He addressed one possible reservation towards speaking up: Most people do not want to criticise those who are close to them or who belong to the same religion.
But he drew a parallel with senior religious leaders having to speak louder against extremism and terrorism, 'so that the world understands and does not get the wrong view of what is your religion and what are your views'.
His take on those people who put others down was that they probably did not really know their religion well and were insecure in their own faith.
'People who truly understand their own faith have no need to put others down,' he said, after launching a new website on the IRCCs' activities, at
The confidence circles were set up in 2002 to build friendship and trust among community and religious leaders in the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Yesterday's closed-door workshop covered such issues as engaging youth and the Internet's impact on inter-religious issues.
While dealing with offensive statements, Dr Balakrishnan also laid out what he felt would not work for Singapore.
One view was to have no talk about religion at all so that no one would say anything offensive.
But people are already talking about such things on the Internet, he noted.
An opposing view was to have lots of talk in the belief that someone who says something wrong will be drowned out by a chorus of people correcting him or her.
Overly optimistic was how Dr Balakrishnan described this latter view, which he said was popular among younger people of a Western, liberal bent.
What about leaving it to the Government?
While the Government will investigate complaints and can prosecute or restrain errant religious leaders under existing legislation, he felt that such actions do not ultimately build trust, religious harmony or social cohesion.
'So these three fallacies - no talk, all talk or all Government - don't work,' said Dr Balakrishnan.
(With thanks to SPH -  

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15Mar2010 (Politics in Singapore has it gone down the drain?)

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