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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why moderate Christians must speak up against the fundamentalists

This is a private letter sent to my Christian friends...

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

 

    Martin Niemoller, German pastor, 1945, on how ordinary citizens had allowed the Nazis to gain power

 

The sudden takeover of AWARE by religious fundamentalists through a coup once again has shown the ridiculous extent to which these extremists are willing to go to further their discriminatory causes. You may tell yourself, it's none of my business, but if everyone says this, it is a matter of time these lunatics will destroy the traditionally tolerant nature of our country and its diverse cultures. Concerned citizens, especially Christians, must speak up or otherwise see the ultimate destruction of harmony in this land. 
 
I went through university with zealous Christian school mates that tell me I would burn in hell so long as I do not become a Christian, no matter whether I live a virtuous life or not.  And for people who die non-Christian, too bad - they simply do not meet the grade and would burn in hell for eternality.  Hence their anxiety to get the terminal ill converted on death bed.  I argued with them initially and soon learnt to ignore them and their illogical beliefs.  I thought ignoring them is fine, as that would not affect my life.  I am wrong.  I see more and more of them, and over the last 2 decades, they have been pushing their agenda aggressively on our society.  They have reached a point when I am telling myself, enough is enough.  They are making lives of people here unpleasant.
 
These fundamentalist Christians are influenced by the Culture Wars in the US, and are bringing to Singapore incredibly intolerant beliefs and values.  Among various things, they are against woman's rights to decide on abortion and what's good for themselves, the individual's right on whether to extend his own life when faced with terminal illnesses, equal rights of all citizens irrespective of sexual orientation and even basic stem cell research that can save livesWhy can't these people let everybody decide how best to live their lives?  
 
I believe that most Christians in Singapore are sensible people.  Increasingly, however, to many non-Christian Singaporeans, the radical behaviour of the fundamentalists are not only affecting what others think about Christians in general, but rapidly eroding away the tolerant fabric of this nation.  Just as the Government have asked moderate Muslims to speak up against radical ones, I would urge my fellow moderate Christian citizens and friends to speak up against those who attempt to impose their values on others.  Please, tell those among you who have strong views: "If you are against abortion, euthanesia, homosexuality and stem cell research, preach that to your family.  Don't force the whole nation which is 85% non-Christian to go with you."
 
If you don't speak up against them, then be prepared to watch these people turning this land into an ideological battleground.  Isn't it better spending time helping the poor in these trying times than to battle others and wanting to impose rules on other people's private business?
 

 

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