‘Firstly, all groups must exercise tolerance and restraint. Secondly, religion must stay separate from politics. Thirdly, the government must remain secular and fourthly, the common space that all Singaporeans share – whether at mealtimes, at work or in school – must be preserved.’
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, National Day Rally 2009
I must applaud Mr Lee for making race and religion his main agenda in his rally speech. As what he lamented, ‘people usually shy around from these kind of topics, but its good to bring it out to talk once in a while’. To use this topic in a rally closely watched by the world, its very brave. A wrong word, or a wrong statement, will result in unrest in many quarters. Basically, he’s walking on a very very tight rope.
You probably haven’t heard about my views about the Aware saga. Here it is:
One thing that I stand by firmly is, religion should never enter the circular world. There is a line between religion and secular. Once we cross that, its too late to go back. Yes, Ms Josie Lau and her team are Christians. And as a Christian, I’m supposed to stand behind them and not let them ‘hang out to dry’. But I must ask this. So what if she’s a Christian?. She certainly didn’t take over Aware the right way. If she’s a Christian, as she claims to be, where was God’s guidance in her decision to take over Aware?. Was it her own decison or God’s?. Never mind the ‘Pro-Gay’ stance. I’m not going to go in to that, but like what PM Lee said, he said ‘Christians cannot expect Singapore to be a Christian society, ditto Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other groups.’
There is a saying which I hold dear to my heart: : ‘God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply’
The takeover was definitely not God’s work. This experience really show us that we cannot take religion into the secular. What we will achieve is nothing, but unhappiness and discontentment. What the team achieve was dragging their face and their own religion through the mud.
Singapore will always be a country where many religions live peacefully together. There will never be one religion. There should never be people coming out to say ‘Singapore is a Christian country’ or ‘Singapore is an Islamic republic’.
Yes. Religions should spread their messages. But we should never never ever force people to believe what we believe. That is tyranny.
This will happen again. Humans are forgetful. That’s why we need a reminder once in a while.