The Christian Post article "Pastor's remarks in Church
on Buddhism draws flak", dated 09 Feb 2010, was surprising in the lack of
the usually strong opinion. They didn't criticise their own, not even an opinion that it was wrong but instead:-
a) Posted the apologies and regrets by Pastor Rony Tan
b) Highlighted the responses in the various forums - Youtube, Hardware Zone, Temasek Reviews
c) Posted remarks by the ISD
A "pro Rony Tan" stance was
reflected by associating the sermon by Pastor Rony to the couple found guilty of sedition charges in May 2009, the criticism against Archbishop John Chew in his sermon in the Anglican centenary celebration. Such associations are however far fetched as
1) The couple charged with sedition was guilty of sending a few booklets (which I believe is still sold in Tecman), whilsts Pastor Rony had the power to influence his flock of 12,000, his sermon being heard and applauded by 12,000 followers, and then broadcasted online and viewed by many thousands more. The extent of the "transgressions" by Rony Tan is not the same sin or even similar but many thousands of times more provocative in terms of the reach, and the nature of the indiscretion. A small booklet with very limited distributon, can never be compared to a three 10 minute video segments.
2) The Archbishop John Chew was very carefull in his statements against gays/Aware Saga and the sermon itself was too general in nature until he clarified certain statements he made to a reporter which got him into trouble. He was basically very sore with the backdown he had to make for the Aware Saga. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the sermon, and the offending remark, a minute in duration as compared to the very unambigious and direct criticisms of Buddhist faith by Pastor Rony Tan lasting more than 30 minutes in total duration cannot be compared.
It was said that "Netizens have also previously accused this paper of sedition following the publication early May last year of an editorial, which has since been removed to prevent further misunderstanding on the part of the public, on the state of religious freedom in Singapore. They found fault with the mere proclamation that the goal of Christianity is the evangelisation of the whole world, a threat, they said, to the secular worldview." which was a stretching the truth when:-
a) It was not a mere proclamation of evangelism of the whole world as claimed, but was a
rebuke at the backdown by Archbishop John Chew in the Aware Saga.
b) The publication came after the
apologies by Pastor Derek Hong, and the dis-association by Archbishop
John Chew . It was not removed to prevent "further misunderstanding on the part of the public, on the state of religious freedom in Singapore", but because it highlighted how reluctant and inconsistent the Christian leadership was in its official stance.
We are reminded by the headlines
in Straitstimes, highlighting the remark by a religious leader that "We
hope that [Rony] has learnt a lesson". and highlighting that Rony was
"very sorry and remorseful". The Inter Religious Organization chief
further remarked that "but repentance must be sincere and followed with
deeds, lest, this untoward event be forgotten and repeated".