Pastor Rony Tan: 'Let there be no criticism of any religion.'

Leader of independent church had earlier apologised to Buddhists and Taoists and in his first public appearance since being (rightly) rebuked over his insensitive comments on others' religions, Pastor Rony Tan urged his church members: 'Let there be no criticism of any religion.'

Well said, and it should not be just to his church members. But the call ought to be for all over-zealous members of any religions who think they can do better in promoting their religions by making fun or slighting others' belief.

ISD has shown that they are prompt & tough in their action. Pastor Rony Tan should do well to walk the talk himself.

IN HIS first public appearance since being rebuked for disparaging other religions, Pastor Rony Tan promised again to promote religious harmony and urged church members to do the same.

The leader of Lighthouse Evangelism, an independent church with 12,000 members, took to the stage and spoke to a crowded floor about 30 minutes into a weekly church service in Woodlands on Saturday evening.

He was wearing a black suit and spoke slowly. Reading from a prepared speech that lasted about five minutes, Pastor Tan said that since he was told off by the Internal Security Department last Monday, the church had been 'eliminating all possible offensive recorded material' from its website.

He then appealed to members to be more sensitive while preaching the gospel to non-Christians: 'Let there be no criticism of any religion.'

Pastor Tan got into trouble with the Government last week for comments he made during a church service about Buddhism and Taoism, which many people felt were insensitive. His comments were recorded on video and posted on several websites and online forums, on which discussion over the matter is ongoing.

He has since apologised for his remarks on his website, and in a private meeting with the leaders of the Buddhist and Taoist communities here. Making perhaps an implicit reference to how some church-goers had gone online to defend him, Pastor Tan urged them not to do so. 'A wrong is a wrong and must be rectified, not justified,' he said.

From Straits Times, "Pastor Rony Tan speaks". (15/02/10)

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'.

The video clips, which first appeared on the church's website two weeks ago, showed Pastor Tan questioning two church members as they recounted their past experiences as Buddhists.

In the exchanges, some of Pastor Tan's comments - on Buddhist precepts of rebirth, karma and nirvana - drew laughter from his audience.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said last night that his comments were 'highly inappropriate and unacceptable as they trivialised and insulted the beliefs of Buddhists and Taoists'.

From Straits Times, "Pastor called up by ISD". (09/02/10)

Update on 16/02/10: Pastor Tan might have confused 'remorse' with 'apologizing profusely more than once'. After twice apologizing for the insensitive remarks, he again expressed remorse to his church members. Move on, Pastor Tan. Walk your talk, why don't you? Action speaks louder than words, doesn't it always?!

AFTER apologising twice for remarks that upset Buddhists and Taoists and landed him into trouble with the Internal Security Department, Senior Pastor Rony Tan expressed remorse once more - this time, to his church members.

Making his first public appearance since news of his brush with the authorities broke on Feb 9, he revealed that the episode left him feeling so 'unbearably terrible' that he had contemplated leaving Singapore.

The founder and senior pastor of Lighthouse Evangelism, an independent Christian megachurch with 12,000 members, said he regretted about what had happened and added: 'I've let many people down.'

He said the church was going through its online archives to remove 'all possible offensive recorded material' that might offend non-Christians, and he urged members not to circulate recordings of past sermons which might prove objectionable too.

He also appealed to church members not to defend or justify his actions to others, saying: 'A wrong is a wrong and must be rectified, not justified.'

Pastor Tan, who has not responded to several requests to be interviewed, read from a prepared text when he addressed the weekly church service in Woodlands on Saturday.

From Straits Times, "'I've let many people down'".


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