Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pastor Mocks Taoist

Last week, a Christian church in Singapore has apologized for a sermon by one of its pastors that mocked Taoist beliefs, the second such incident this year in the city-state where religious speech is closely controlled.

New Creation Church, which says it has a congregation of 20,000 worshippers, said it apologized for a sermon by Mark Ng in 2008 that was posted last week on YouTube and subsequently picked up by local media websites.

Ng is heard joking with the congregation about Chinese rituals and in one instance, compared praying to Taoist deities to “seeking protection from secret society gangsters”. He also made fun of the appearance of Taoist deities and questioned why they “always take leave during the seventh month of the Lunar New Year”.

"We Chinese are under a lot of superstition and rituals," Ng said in the sermon. "Praying to him for what? For protection. It's just like a secret society, you know, gangster."

"Pastor Mark has explained to us that his intention was to highlight what he viewed as some inconsistencies in the local Chinese practices," New Creation said in a statement earlier this week. "He humbly appeals to those whom he has offended to forgive him of this serious indiscretion."

The Home Affairs Ministry said officials from the country's intelligence police, the Internal Security Department, discussed the sermon with church officials, but declined to give details of the meeting.

"The ISD has looked into it and taken up the matter with the New Creation Church," the ministry said in a statement.

In February, ISD officers met with pastor Rony Tan of the Lighthouse Evangelism church, who apologized for mocking reincarnation and nirvana, beliefs of Buddhism and Taoism.

New Creation said after the Tan apology, it stopped selling copies of the sermons of Ng and other pastors that were insensitive to the beliefs of other religions.

"We recognize our responsibility in this major oversight in allowing this sermon not only to be preached, but also, as a usual practice, to be made available as a resource for sale," the church said.

( no video available because it has been removed from Youtube )