Yen Feng
Tue, Feb 09, 2010
The Straits Times
ISD calls up pastor for insensitive comments

THE Government called up a Christian church leader yesterday after receiving complaints about online video clips that show him making insensitive comments about Buddhism.

The Internal Security Department yesterday met Senior Pastor Rony Tan, founder of the Lighthouse Evangelism independent church, and told him that what he did was wrong.

Last night, he posted an apology on the church's website, promising to respect other faiths and 'not ridicule them in any way, shape or fashion'.

Pastor's apology

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

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

After reading the frank views from those e-mails, I was also prompted to tell my members not only to continue to love souls, but also to respect other beliefs and not to ridicule them in any way, shape or fashion.

Let's put our goal to build a harmonious Singapore a top priority.'

Leaders of Buddhist, Taoist groups urge restraint

THE Singapore Buddhist Federation said Senior Pastor Rony Tan's act of apologising was the right thing to do - for a start.

But it will still approach the authorities and have its voice heard in order to prevent similar incidents in future, it said last night.

'It is good that the authorities have looked at this matter, but this is a matter of national concern. We want to appeal to the public and the authorities to make sure there is no second time,' said the federation's secretary-general, Venerable Kwang Phing.

The man behind the controversy

SENIOR Pastor Rony Tan, founder of the Lighthouse Evangelism church, was born into a Taoist family.

In an online biography on his website, he wrote of how his childhood was a time when he was lost and bewildered, and how he 'blindly followed' the practices of his parents who worshipped 'a great variety of gods'.

He was filled with uncertainties, doubts and fears, and said that in matters of religion, 'I was left on my own to figure out the mysteries of life in order to make some sense out of sheer nonsense'.

Read the full story in Tuesday's edition of The Straits Times.

For more The Straits Times stories, click here.

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