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11 Feb 2010

Singapore pastor castigated for offensive remarks about Buddhism should apologise to gays and lesbians too

The Singapore pastor who was called up by the Internal Security Department for his offensive remarks has apologised personally to the Buddhist and Taoist federations but he shouldn't stop there, says blogger Kenneth Tan who noted that he had preached falsehoods about gays linking them with paedophilia and bestiality in a video which was online as early as July 2009.

These three video clips have whipped up something of a firestorm in Singapore over the last few days. They feature Singapore’s very own wonder working miracle healer Pastor Rony Tan of the 12,000 strong megachurch Lighthouse Evangelism making some very incendiary remarks about Buddhism and Taoism at his church’s weekly miracle services. In the videos, an ex-monk by the name of Joseph Wee and a former nun by the name of Rita are seen on stage sharing their testimonies of how they came to Christianity with Rony Tan — who then goes on to suggest that ideas like reincarnation, nirvana and the chanting of mantras were all “rubbish”, “nonsensical” and satanic, drawing laughter from his audience as he did so. Someone didn’t like what he saw on the website of Lighthouse Evangelism, ripped off the videos and then uploaded the videos onto Youtube, charging that the pastor should be prosecuted for seditious speech.

A video recording uploaded to the church's website showing Pastor
Rony Tan interviewing a church member who was a former monk
about Buddhism, reincarnation and nirvana, and in which he remarked
that it was a case of 'the blind leading the blind' when the interviewee
said that his mentor didn't understand the precepts of Buddhism
himself, drawing laugher from the congregation.

On Monday, the Internal Security Department visited Rony Tan to tell him that his comments were “highly inappropriate and unacceptable as they trivialised and insulted the beliefs of Buddhists and Taoists” and reminded him that “in preaching or proselytising his faith, he must not run down other religions, and must be mindful of the sensitivities of other religions.” The same evening, Pastor Tan issued a public apology on the website of his church and the next morning, he paid a visit to the Phor Kar See Kong Meng San Temple to apologise in person to the Secretary-General of the Singapore Buddhist Federation Venerable Kwang Sheng, and later to the Taoist Federation chairman Tan Thiam Lye, assuring them that the same thing would not happen again.

Between Monday and Tuesday, the web department of Lighthouse Evangelism also appears to have been hard at work, removing all other videos that may further put them under the uncomfortable spotlight of the media from their Miracle TV mini-site. Well, they have taken down so many videos that as of now, the one lone video on their Miracle TV site is a testimony of a couple telling of the miraculous healing of their marriage. (Does anyone here have marital problems? Please bring yourself to Lighthouse Evangelism’s Tampines or Woodlands “Healing Centre” this Saturday evening to receive a miracle touch for your marriage.)

One video that was on the homepage — yes, the homepage — of lighthouse.org.sg has disappeared altogether. It features the testimony of a certain Cheryl Bachelor, a part-time employee of Lighthouse Evangelism who claims to have been healed from lesbianism. This video has been there on the website of Lighthouse Evangelism for at least months, but within a day of the ISD’s visit, the video was taken down. Fortunately when I saw it again on Monday night, I decided to rip it. Here it is in all its 80-minute glory:

Pastor Rony starts off civilly enough, saying that he is not against homosexual people at all. The “sin of homosexuality”, he adds, is “no more serious than the sins of theft or adultery” (makes you wonder why he doesn’t conduct miraculous healings for these sins, but I digress), but from then on, it goes rapidly downhill all the way. He tells of a CrimeWatch story in which a “dirty old man” seduced little boys for sex and then used the story to suggest that:

- homosexuals are not born this way (”Don’t believe all those loud-mouthed gay people who tell you they are born this way”, he says);

- people end up “turning” gay because of abuse and/or an absent parent (although there is a “tiny percentage” who are truly born this way because of a “genetic problem”, he concedes);

- “If we don’t warn people against this, then there will be more and more homosexuals” because “many of these people will be harrassing and seducing young boys, and they in turn will become homosexuals” and then very soon, God forbid, “half the world will be homosexual”!

- “Proper sex means life — it propagates life. Lesbianism and homosexuality simply mean death and barrenness.”

- As if equating gay people with paedophiles wasn’t enough, he goes on to compare gay people with those that practise bestiality (”If you allow [homosexuality], next time people will want to get married to monkeys. And they will want rights. They’ll want to apply for HDB. With a donkey or a monkey or a dog and so on. It’s very pathetic.”)

I’m not going to go into all the details of Cheryl Bachelor’s story right now but in a nutshell, it’s one whole convoluted life story which was very convenient to the pastor in his portrayal of gay people as pathological creatures with dysfunctional families, victims of sexual abuse, abusers of drugs and alcohol, insecure and possessive individuals — you get the picture.

By Rony Tan’s own admission, he’s no expert in homosexuality. He is neither a trained psychologist, nor has he read what leading lights in the field have said about a very complex subject, but yet in the 80 or so minutes of the video, he sure does sound like a know-it-all.

Let me take the opportunity to correct some of the misinformation that Pastor Tan has propagated above:

1. Sexologists may disagree on the percentage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the general population but the range lies somewhere between 3 to 10%.

2. LGBT people exist in every culture, in every country, in every social context. There are no exceptions. The percentage of LGBT people in the general population will NOT increase because society is more permissive towards them. Neither will it decrease because society is oppressive towards them.

3. Homosexuality is innate. It’s not a condition that can be “passed around”. Neither is it a disease that can be spread to epidemic proportions (Just look at Holland. Rony Tan’s doomsday prediction of half the population turning gay hasn’t happened yet.). I can’t “convert” you to homosexuality anymore than you can “convert” me to heterosexuality.

Trained psychologists and yes, even leaders within Christian “ex-gay” ministries that believe it’s possible to “pray the gay away” will tell you to be careful NOT to confuse homosexuals with paedophiles or bestialists but what do you hear Christian pastors teaching their flock? I assure you it’s not just superstar pastors like Rony Tan and Rick Warren who will so readily equate homosexuality with incest, paedophilia, bestiality and polygamy. These ideas are prevalent among ordinary, average pastors, many of whom are in dire needs of a basic education in psychology.

Oh, while we’re on the subject of paedophilia, the Straits Times reported half a year ago that an elder of Lighthouse Evangelism was jailed for two weeks and fined $16,000 for twice procuring the sexual services of an underaged female prostitute from mainland China. Yes, as any sexologist will tell you: most paedophiles are heterosexual, not homosexual. But do pastors rail against heterosexual paedophiles the same way they do against homosexual paedophiles? No.

So what’s my point in uploading this video? Do I think that ISD will call Rony Tan again and rap him for his comments on gay people? Not a chance. And I’m certainly not holding my breath. Gay people aren’t a protected class and in Singapore, you are welcome to discriminate against and demonise them as you wish.

Rony Tan’s comments are really just the tip of the iceberg of what goes on in Singapore churches on a weekly basis. You don’t have to look further than Lighthouse Evangelism’s empty Miracle TV page now to see that: Take away all the offensive comments regarding Buddhists, Taoists, gay people, and any other section of the populace and you find that there’s really nothing else left.

It is time that we held church pastors and other faith leaders to higher levels of accountability for what they say in the name of God. It is time Christians (especially those attending megachurches with larger-than-life CEO senior pastors) realised that questioning your pastor doesn’t make you an infidel, it will provide you with an opportunity to strengthen your faith. Correcting your pastor when he’s clearly wrong is the right thing to do — he’s not infallible or omniscient (even if he may sound like a know-it-all or claim to have the “word of knowledge”).

Make no mistake about it — the words of scripture have been used throughout the ages to set people free, but they have also been used throughout the ages to keep people bound. Once upon a time, the idea of geocentrism (that the sun revolved around the earth) was church doctrine. Theologians and church fathers spent a lot of their time and energy defending from scripture the theory that the earth was fixed in its position (Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, Ps 104:5, 1 Chr 16:30, Ecc 1:5), and to believe anything other than this was pure heresy and put you in grave danger of excommunication. In 1610, Galileo Galilei published a series of observations that he made with his new telescope that supported Copernicus’ theory of heliocentrism. That at once placed him at odds with the church and after a long and drawn out struggle over 23 years, an Inquisition examination found him guilty of heresy. He was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life (he was 70 then) and his books were banned. It took the church one century after Galileo’s death before his complete works were finally allowed to be republished (and not without some censorship) and almost another whole century before all traces of official Church opposition to heliocentrism were finally dropped. But yet, today, believe it or not, modern day geocentrists still exist, and they are all either Christians (mostly Catholics) or Jews.

The Bible has also been used to defend slavery. You don’t have to look too hard to see the plethora of references to slavery in the Old and New Testaments. Starting with the book of Genesis, slavery was given foundational justification — the curse of Ham left his defendants to perpetual captivity. In the New Testament, Paul writes in his first letter to Timothy, “Let as many slaves as are under the yoke count their own master worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, but rather do them service.”

I can go on and on about the people who have used the Bible to oppose women’s rights, to oppose the idea of mixed marriages, to oppose the idea of evolution and how church leaders have used the harshest methods to deal with the “heretics” who didn’t toe the church doctrine.

Sure, today we can stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and ask how the church leaders before our time could have gotten it all so wrong but as we do so, we must not forget that there are similar challenges for the Christians of today — homosexuality is one such challenge, global warming is another.

If Christians today choose to operate in a vacuum, looking at these issues without paying heed to what scientists are telling us, then they can only be doomed to repeat the mistakes of those who have gone before them.

Go ahead. Continue to use the Bible to clobber at gay people.

Go ahead. Continue to proof from the Bible that the world is just 5000 years old.

Go ahead. Continue to believe that global warming or evolution doesn’t exist. 

You will find yourself left behind at the end of the day. And believe you me, I’m not talking about the Rapture here.

Kenneth Tan is a Singaporean blogger and businessman living in Shanghai, China. His blog is at kennethism.com.


Reader's Comments

1. 2010-02-11 18:27  
According to Rony's theory, then it should be possible to turn gays straight by asking males to molest them. Does this explain why there had been so many so-called 'ex-gay' activists who ended up molesting the gay men they were supposed to turn straight? LOL. Or is this why so many boys had been molested by certain self-righteous clerics? Were those male clerics trying to disgust gay boys by molesting them in the hope that they will be turned straight? LOL.
Comment #2 was deleted by its author on 2010-02-11 19:52
3. 2010-02-11 19:37  
wats he trying to prove only Christian is the MIGHTEST.
Singapore will be DESTROY by this so call PASTOR
4. 2010-02-11 19:52  
I don't get it, people are getting jailed because of their racial & religious insensitivities. And here is this male version of Thio Su Mien, a free & socially insensitive man. Talk about geocentrism alright.

I'm happy if I'm really gon' be heading to hell. Because heck no, will I wanna spend my eternity in heaven with these kinda small minded hypocrites.

NO to religion of any sort until they practice what they preach.
5. 2010-02-11 20:23  
Good point by Lokies #4 "NO to religion of any sort until they practice what they preach."

Religious types like to live in a fantasy black-and-white, absolute world, where there is a simple answer to everything. Thye like to pretend that their are all perfect (ie they can follow their own rules perfectly) - hence that gives them the right to ridicule others' beliefs (or lack thereof) and pass judgement.

Unfortunately for them, Life is not like that at all. They are living in denial of reality. They will never be able to completely practice what they preach because what they preach is absolutist fantasy.

Give them enough time, they will always trip and fall over all on their own. Those who spread the most hate in the loudest ways often end up being caught doing the same thing they rail against.

See, there is a God, and she has a fantastic sense of humour.
6. 2010-02-11 21:03  
This guy is Evil & its sad that no one cares when he picks on the gays and lesbians.. but interesting how the authorities can act so quickly when they need to... HOW DARE he compare homosexuality to wanting to marry donkeys and monkeys to score a HDB.... he pretends to be a mad of GOD...
7. 2010-02-11 21:04  
This remind me, "think before you speak". There is pointless to make that remark on other religions...all human beings live in the same planet, peaceful is all that we pursue...

I'm wondering what he would say if he were homosexuality..."I have my rights", "LGBT is not guilty" or ..."I hate myself"?

Once again, be considerate...

8. 2010-02-11 22:06  
Another Christian moron pushing for his beliefs, putting down others faith, religion & sexuality...
9. 2010-02-11 22:18  
Scratch a christian and under a thin veneer of "brotherly love" you'll find a whole lot of hate and an easily led mind.
10. 2010-02-11 22:31  
congratulation, he nominated for moron award this year !!
11. 2010-02-11 22:44  
These bigots keep multiplying like mushrooms and reaching stardom notably not through their good deeds, how nice. Good that he apologized to Buddhists and Taoists, even though he only did 'cos he had to (ISD). He should in fact apologize to gays and lesbians, but he won't, because he doesn't have to - no consequences for him (you can get the indirect criticism implied in this). In any case, no apology was heart-felt, I don't think his religious beliefs allow him to feel remorse, or any perception of wrongdoing what-so-ever.
Comment edited on 2010-02-11 22:47:31
12. 2010-02-11 23:19  
Irony, rony better prays that the god, he believes in, not exist. Because if it does, boy will rony be in for a surprise when he burns in hell for his hatred and bigotry. god has a special place in hell for people like rony. So guys, don't worry whether it's karma or rebirth or reincarnation or heaven and hell, rony WILL get what's coming to him. That's something I know for sure.
13. 2010-02-11 23:20  
Is it just me? Or is rony as ugly as he is ugly on the inside.
14. 2010-02-11 23:21  
Good grief! How can anyone take this guy seriously? He doesn't speak a word from the Bible. He is more like a talk show host. And even at that, he sucks. He can't articulate his words properly. If I had seen him without a proper introduction, he would at best pass off as a taxi driver and that's being unfair to many taxi drivers I know who speak well and knowledgeably! He puts on an American accent but speaks like a true blue kopitiam uncle... chilren (for children)... Aiyoyo, Lighthouse Evangelism is so lost and misguided...
15. 2010-02-11 23:31  
what he express towards shows what his` inside is :D
cool, love ya` moron ^^
16. 2010-02-11 23:39  
In the past, the country leader (king) had to fight in the warto gain his title/honor, the prophet (religion leader) had to show he really instructed by god.

But now, so call information age, a leader simply because he can talk crap, and worst - never question, just because the crap is pleasing to the ears. Ironic
17. 2010-02-11 23:40  
i wonder Pastor Tan did ever see his GOD maybe his father ,his grandfather,his great grand father
18. 2010-02-12 00:01  
why bother to apologise when i'm sure he doesnt mean it and in his heart probably still views ideas like reincarnation with derision...

it's such a simple-minded idea that a "sorry" suffices to maintain/restore "harmony"...

these bigots should learn to stop judging other people and get on with their lives instead of meddling in others...
19. 2010-02-12 00:12  
gosh, such ignorance and i'm even more surprised by the devotees who lapped up all his nonsense, especially that over-eager audience member who cackles at the corniest of comments! talk about the blind leading the blind!
20. 2010-02-12 00:55  
I would be happy to bash the Christians (or Buddhists), but I have to say I disagree with the author, too. He "corrects" the pastor's views on homosexuality by stating:

"1. Sexologists may disagree on the percentage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the general population but the range lies somewhere between 3 to 10%." Sexology is hardly a science, and these statistics are only based on large, developed nations. I think the 'fact' that human sexuality is still not very well understood is the best argument against medieval thomistic arguments or the taboos of long-dead Jewish shepherds.

"2. LGBT people exist in every culture, in every country, in every social context. There are no exceptions. The percentage of LGBT people in the general population will NOT increase because society is more permissive towards them. Neither will it decrease because society is oppressive towards them."

Well, first of all, while I suspect that his first claim is true, we don't have data on most of the planet. So if we want to cite 'sexologists' or other big words with '-ology' or '-ics', let's stick to the evidence. Second, regarding the second claim, how can he say the percentage of LGBT people will not increase or decrease when 'sexologists' cannot even agree on the number that do exist (3%--10% is his range, with the 10% coming [I presume] from Kinsey)? I suspect he argues point two because he has already assumed his third point, which is

3. Homosexuality is innate. Well, again, I suspect there is some truth to this; however, the debate continues as we don't understand the relationship between genetics and complex animal behavior. Like most behaviors, such as language or organizing kin and social groups, it's probably a combination of genetics, embryonic development, environment in early development, and, in one mammalian species, culture.

I suspect behind a lot of this is the rise of 'gay identity' in industrialized, urban cultures, and generalizing from homosexual behavior in general. (The two are not equivalent.)

Can't we drop the essentialist, absolutist rhetoric of xtians et alii? When we make unyielding, unqualified arguments, we expose ourselves to criticism when these 'facts' are demonstrated as suspect, non-justified, or false in science.

Finally, I personally don't mind it if one group of religious nuts want to attack another group of religious nuts. I also don't mind it if Xtians want to bash gays, because their bible already bashes a hell of a lot more to be angry/worried about. I belong to a number of buddhist pages online, and I am amazed at how often Malaysian and Singaporean buddhists love to trot out the arguments of the superiority of their grabbag of superstitions to the monotheists. For me, I don't care about Mohammad, Jesus, or Buddha, because none of them every mentioned, between talking about heaven, nirvana, or whatnot, "hey, wash your hands before eating, and boil the water, kids!" Ignorance of the germ theory of disease is enough proof that these guys were humans.
21. 2010-02-12 01:21  
in short, he gave a new meaning to the word 'religion' and its called 'discrimination'.
22. 2010-02-12 01:59  
I dont want to finished up my reading on this, it makes me mad. lol. I really with it was kong hee. hey, im christian as well, and ive seen a lot of gay in my church.

but, for me, they're a human, they aint a God to judge me.

remember guys, dont hate the religion, hate the people.
23. 2010-02-12 04:12  
I am very pleased not to live in a country where the government can control what a religious leader expresses in his worship service.

As a Christian, I would expect any Christian clergy to call reincarnation and nirvana nonsensical, as they are not tenets of our shared faith, much the same as my Jewish friends laugh at our Christian Messiah.

As to the other points, I do not have sound on my computer, so I know now what he says, nor do I really care. I respect the right of individuals to express their beliefs openly, even if they contradict with my thoughts or beliefs, as I would expect the same courtesy.

I find it quite common for the so called tolerant and inclusive crowds to be only tolerant of words, actions and thoughts that fit their agenda.
24. 2010-02-12 04:36  
My eyes were rolling when I watched the clips. Like some of those who had commented above, I wonder whether he is interpreting the Bible correctly. Let me cite a few specific examples in these clips.

1) 0:55, clip on 'ex-lesbian'
He says sin of homosexuality is no more serious than theft.

But according to the Bible, the punishment for
a) theft is: "If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep". Exodus 22;
whereas for
b) homosexuality it is: "'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20:13

How can homosexuality be no more serious than theft in Biblical teachings?

2) He was asking 2 women to speak in the clip on 'ex-lesbian'. At 7:30 of clip on 'ex-monk' he says Bible says that men and women are equal.

But according to the Bible,
"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." Timothy 2:11-12
25. 2010-02-12 09:39  
What an idiot. He totally does not understand Buddhism. He makes fun of Nirvana as a place which we cannot see, but just must believe. I ask them then, what is God, what is heaven?

He also does not know that the Buddha taught us, in the Kalama Sutta, that: one should not just believe religious teachings because they are claimed to be true by various sources or through the application of various methods and techniques. He urges that direct knowledge from one's own experience should be called upon. He counsels that the words of the wise should be heeded and taken into account when deciding upon the value of a teaching. This is not a dogmatic acceptance but rather a constantly questioning and testing acceptance of those teachings which can be proven to reduce suffering.

Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing,
nor upon tradition,
nor upon rumor ,
nor upon what is in a scripture,
nor upon surmise,
nor upon an axiom,
nor upon specious reasoning,
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over,
nor upon another's seeming ability,
nor upon the consideration, "The monk is our teacher."

Thus, the Buddha provides ten specific sources which should not be used to accept a specific teaching as true, without further verification:
Oral history
News sources
Scriptures or other official texts
Logical reasoning
Philosophical reasoning
Common sense
One's own opinions
Authorities or experts
One's own teacher

Instead, he says, only when one personally knows that a certain teaching is skillful, blameless, praiseworthy, and conducive to happiness, and that it is praised by the wise, should one then accept it as true and practice it.

This is very different from Christianity's view that one should have faith and just believe (or burn in hellfire forever.)

When he also questions why teachers do not claim to be Enlightened, he also obviously does not know that in the Patimokkha, if a monk deliberately lies to another person that one has attained a superior human state, such as claiming to be an arahant when one knows one is not, or claiming to have attained one of the jhanas when one knows one hasn't, then he is defeated, must disrobe and cannot re-ordain in this life.

He also has a very very rudimentary understanding of karma. Karma is NOT fate. It is not the same thing. He does also not understand reincarnation.

Shame on this man for creating division. If he turned to Buddhism, perhaps he would be freed from his ignorance.
26. 2010-02-12 09:44  
Lets take him as a joke, he's so ignorant.
"Proper sex means life — it propagates life. Lesbianism and homosexuality simply mean death and barrenness.”
Then can he swear to god that he didnt have sex with his wife(If any) for pleasure? OR masturbate?

One moment attacking religion, another moment, sexual orientation?
Whats next Pastor Rony Tan?
Comment edited on 2010-02-12 09:45:29
27. 2010-02-12 12:16  
Mr. LKY please put this man in jail or he will soon threaten your state's legacy, yours and that of your son's, too. I mean, that could pose a bigger-than-life issue than religion for all we care...LOL...Hallijulla
Comment edited on 2010-02-12 14:09:17
28. 2010-02-12 12:32  
Wah wah wah... the poor buddhists and taoists. Cant they stand a bit of criticism??

Or have they decided to follow the path of Islam where its haram to criticise any aspect of that religion

Me thinks the draconian members of Internal Security Department have become agents for the suppression of the right of Freedom of Speech

Way to go Singapore... soon you will be as repressive as your neighbour
29. 2010-02-12 12:59  
Awwwww, get over it! :)

This is NOT Texas or Wyoming. Or even Malaysia. No one is dying here of homophobia, as any check at the bars and saunas in town can confirm, although some are dying of other things like Aids and unfaithful partners, or sadly suffocating from a lack of love at home. Fortunately, there is no general clamoring for the enforcement of anti-LGBT laws, or beatings or jeerings in public on the streets, except maybe from the occasional straight and unhappy bully, who hates everyone anyway.

The Singapore government has already made it very clear that it will NOT tolerate "religious" activism of any kind. Do you want to stir up a hornet's nest when you already have a picnic going? Anyone can blog these days, but as far as i know, no one is blogging aggressively yet about, say, gay saunas here and what goes on in the dark there. Are they? Be cautious. Given the continuing rise in hiv infections in the under-28 age group, it won't be surprising if concerned, simple, decent parents would support such a blog, or if the amoral and self-righteous Press here decided to highlight it, to the further detriment of LGBTs.

What is obvious from this publicised event, to all but the half-witted living vicariously or otherwise in Lala land or Texas, is that the totally and unequivocally secular, Internal Security Department here is making the point that it is squarely on the ball, about protecting this tiny island from even the smallest, possible social tremor - of any kind. Can you blame them, given our geographical location? So, if you want to rejoice when someone you don't like is hauled in for what most Americans, for example, would call the "right to free speech and expression of one's beliefs", then you will have to take your lumps willingly if ever the ISD hauls you in for any clamour of gay activism. Sorry, the sword cuts both ways.

I want to add that personally, i would like, ideally, to live in a land where anyone - straight or LGBT, religious or agnostic - can openly, peacefully and freely express their beliefs and opinions, no matter if controversial, without fear of violent recrimination by any other tribe or group, or even legal action by any government agency. But peace, true justice, and socio-economic stability must of necessity be the given backdrop to such an ideal scenario. We need to "grow up".

As a simple Christian, my beliefs are sometimes insulted with impunity, and my God's name taken in vain, by injured folks, who may not dare to insult others who might retaliate with violence. They seem to know, while pointing out my many failings, that Jesus of the Bible would never ever want me to retaliate, harm or terrorise any neighbour, or build a firebomb and throw it at the home of those who ruffled my "religious" feathers. But, if i did such a terrible thing, i assure you that my Christian friends would drive me straight to the Police, and WEEP for me.

Although i do understand how his comments have been hurtful to you, Rony Tan is entitled to his views just as we are entitled to ours. Why should i condemn him in the same self-righteous manner that some "straights" are quick to condemn some LGBTs who do their bitching in public? Are we so perfect? Let him who has never hurt others by backbiting and unkind remarks cast the first stone!

Listen well, if i spent my life looking for apologies from all who have ever offended or insulted me, intentionally or not, because of what they believe, either in the straight or LGBT world, i would never have the permission to be the most psychologically healthy person i can be, despite the knocks of life. You can't build happiness on a life of resentment. If you truly love yourself, because you know not just what you are, but WHO you are, no name-calling can hurt you.

To the very young LGBTs, who may for some inexplicable reason have read this far, i want to tell you that even if you feel unloved at home or feel hurt by what anyone says outside, our Father in Heaven loves you deeply. :) More than you can know.
Be good, ok, at least till you grow up a bit more, and find out not just what you are, but who you are. In any case, be careful and safe always. You owe this to yourself and your future...... :-)

30. 2010-02-12 13:44  
actually what he said was quite true. thats what religions do, they sell fantasy stories, including his own. about his gay remarks, its yesterday. the gay scene in asia is fun and happening, no one dies cause of this old man. apology is not needed. no one cares.
Comment edited on 2010-02-12 13:48:58
31. 2010-02-12 15:21  
Just another example of how crazy religions, religious leaders and followers are. Say NO to religions! The world will be better place.
Comment #32 was deleted by its author on 2010-02-12 16:27
33. 2010-02-12 15:49  
in a free country, no one should have to apologize for free speech, be happy, dance and party this weekend and take care of your boy friend and go home and be charming and use that wit and sense of humor to win your future in laws over...

conversations around my family dinner table are fun, no one really agrees with each other, we have some christians, buddhists, gays, straights, and even some minorities, but everyone respects each other even if we don't see eye to eye-- why does everyone have to agree with each other?

a few well meaning (yet clueless) christians are no threat to a good spirited, strong, happy, successful, good mannered gay man

by the way, i think i can do a lot to help Rory in the style department, aren't there any gay christians or buddhists in singapore who can take him shopping and get rid of those 1980's looking double breasted suits? get the man to New York and I would love to take him to Barneys Men's Department

i don't think i could ever have my dream gay wedding in one of those huge mega churches in Singapore they look too much like a huge shopping mall:(

hmm, i much perfer that other christian hottie Josph Prince-- what ever he thinks about gays, i have no idea---he is much better eye candy and sweet

by the way, i will be in NYC for Chinese New Year

when in New York you guys are welcome to attend the Collegiate Marble Church on 5th Avenue, you will never find a nicer, more handsome group of well dressed gay Christian men, plus the choir is amazing

also its a great church for a gay wedding and the pipe organ there was a gift from my family, check it out and Happy Chinese New Year!
34. 2010-02-12 15:53  
by the way, Texas is pretty hip these days OLD FREND, they just elected a very capable women, who by chance happens to be a lesbian too
35. 2010-02-12 16:13  

Jesus loves all and He's my Husband...end of story

joking bout the husband thingy...


you see, this what happens when a so called god-loving person puts himself above others and upholds the Bible, which is man-created, as the final liberation and such.

Jesus did not ever said that being a homo is wrong...He said that ALL are the children of God...

like...come on....gosh!!!!

36. 2010-02-12 16:13  
Fear and ignorance are the weapons of choice in Religion.
37. 2010-02-12 16:20  
hi "lagunabro" :)

Just in case anyone has misunderstood my remarks in "comment 29", NONE of my remarks, right from the first sentence to the last, was directed at Pastor Rony Tan. if they were, i would have sent them and spoken to him personally, and listened for a reply. They are meant for Fridae and frens. GROW UP, guys and gals!

Happy Chinese New Year to you, and all Chinese here, too! It's reunion dinner tomorrow!
Yiiii haaaaaa! Ciao! :-)
38. 2010-02-12 16:30  
- homosexuals are not born this way (”Don’t believe all those loud-mouthed gay people who tell you they are born this way”, he says);

What a narrow-minded preach!

Probably my little nieces and newphews will someday "decide" to be homosexual...as well.

"Hey, let's be gay! Sounds like fun"...

39. 2010-02-12 16:30  
Hey, belief what you believe in. The key point is respect differences,
did he?
40. 2010-02-12 17:10  
let me add my 2 cents worth.

Many of the comments here by both parties are quite out of context. it's amazing to read some of them.

Those for the instigator arguing for a soft hand failed to realise that the whole action was orchestrated and then webcast for the world at large. This is incitement, and warrants arrest under the Singapore law. That it came from a respected and senior 'shepherd' only adds to the severity of the crime as he knows full well the impact his actions can have on such a sensitive issue in such a vulnerable country.

Those for the other camp should realise that not every teacher is worthy of his religion. This applies to all religions. This is where the mind has to be engaged in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. Jesus is not Rony.

Despite this awareness, I have to say here that I will never go to any church where I find such a leader or who has cohorts in similar sheep coverings. I was glad when I discovered the beautiful teachings of Christ many years back, and was proud to diligently study the Bible, and take part in evangelical outreaches...But boy! am I more glad to discover lately something infinitely more beautiful and godless, more loving, more intelligent, more scientific, more able to bring peace within and without....the teachings of the Buddha.

This is my view: there has been a breach of the law by an eminent public leader whose actions were designed to split society and sow discord. If we love peace and progress, we have to exercise both compassion and wisdom. The compassion part is done and the apology accepted; it is time for the law and wisdom to apply if business is to go on as usual.
Comment #41 was deleted by its author on 2010-02-12 17:10
42. 2010-02-12 17:13  
we don't need rony's apology, judging from his forced apologies to the taoist and budhist leaders.... his apology is empty and insincere. Don't for a second believe that he has changed his ways and beliefs.

he talks about everybody else's sin. he should turn his eye unto himself, there lies the greatest evil, hypocritic, judgemental, bigot.... what did his god say about not judging lest he be judge.
43. 2010-02-12 17:15  
btw, is it just me or does Thio Siu Mien look like him in drag?
Comment #44 was deleted by its author on 2010-02-12 17:32
45. 2010-02-12 18:27  
He preaches hate.
alot of hate.

and it scares me that week after week, people come to listen to his hate speeches.

and that they agree with him.

46. 2010-02-12 19:04  
dude, you are molested by your fucking uncle..WHO THE FUCK WON'T FEEL DISGUSTED? ITS INCEST! So from here we can conclude that Rony will actually enjoy it if he fucks his niece or aunty...what a fucking sick bastard. I'm bisexual pastor and let me tell you something..

Romans 1:24 - 27

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.

27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

47. 2010-02-12 19:39  
There is "freedom of speech"...... and there is "FREEDOM OF SPEECH"

In truly "democratic" and liberal' enlightened countries freedom of speech is a right afforded to everybody, and so it should be. Within reason.

In countries as my own (Australia), freedom of speech is a right, UNLESS it vilifies, incites or propagates untruths against legal law abiding individuals, groups or minorities.

Although 'freedom of speech' is a dubious right in Singapore, it was proper action for the authorities to warn off this narrow-minded "pastor".

Although these officials from the 'Internal Security Department' warned off this pastor for his more than insensitive comments on other religions, it is inconcievable that they would take the same action over his homophobic comments, but this too, may come with time.

It is the right of governments to secure the peace and harmony within their countries. Inappropriate 'inciteful' behaviour from certain groups should be checked.
Its about protecting and giving a voice to those who wouldnt oherwise have a path of recall.

Can you imagine a buddhist group retaliating in response to such hatred with equal vitriol and negativity? I doubt it.

This apology as half hearted as many have suggested, still sends a message to those growing fundamentalist groups or individuals that such unsettling and hurtful comments are highly innappropiate, and that there is, and should be room for all law abiding, peaceful minorities, religions, and individuals freedom of thought and speech is to be protected. Freedom of speech, not freedom to incite hatred or freedom to condemn.

Apology = highly appropriate.

Comment edited on 2010-02-13 06:36:11
48. 2010-02-12 23:34  
I think pretty much everyone has made good points.

The problem is, if fundagelicals remain unchecked in spreading lies about other groups such as gays, then the lies grow so big that they become accepted as fact, and can result in extremes, as in Uganda, with the push for the death penalty for gays.

As it is, even in Singapore, the lies are so prevalent that some in the government seem to think that having a gay teacher, or gays appearing on TV, will result in people "choosing" to be gay, so gay teachers are sacked, gays on TV bizarrely censored out of existence, and gay groups cannot officially register. And 377A is left as a "moral marker" ( that is in itself offensive).

It's a great shame that the prop 8 trial in California was not broadcast as originally ordered by the judge, as it clearly and rationally exposed so many of these lies of the fundagelicals about gays, and the lengths they go to to spread them. The Fundagelicals suppressed the broadcast - so much for freedom of speech in America. It would have discredited their claims globally.

A personal example that concerned me recently: a (straight), friendly, kind, unreligious Malaysian friend who had been very laid back, got brainwashed into a culty church in KL, and after his weekly meeting is all fired up and posts inappropriate comments about Catholics and Buddhists on the net. Efforts to point out the offence he's causing fall on deaf ears as he merely considers he's declaring "The Truth". He's become a fanatic.

People of course must be free to exchange and discuss religious. philosphical, and any other ideas; without that they can be stuck in positional states, unaware of other points of view; but most societies have constraints on incitement to hatred, and defamation laws. Whether this pastor had overstepped the mark is a matter of opinion. My view, like someone elses' above, is that while I'm unsure about the stage show itself, it's reasonable to challenge the decision to broadcast the ridicule and misinformation, given the local circumstances.

Comment edited on 2010-02-12 23:44:23
49. 2010-02-13 23:53  
it's scary ... i cannot believe that there is such a congregation listening to his speech. he is promoting hate, and his own dislikes.

hate speeches do not equate to freedom of speech. freedom does not mean free for all, there's a boundary of respect that we all need to realise.
50. 2010-02-14 01:50  
A lot of people i see now pray to pastors not God...
51. 2010-02-14 02:29  
he is soo contradicting himself..he said he isn't against it initially..but everything he said after that is offending the homosexuals =[
52. 2010-02-14 03:31  
An ignorant man leading an even more ignorant congregation - talk about the blind leading the blind! I'd rather be a loud-mouthed gay than a hate-mouthed hypocrite.
53. 2010-02-16 23:05  
I'm so glad I am an athiest and have a mind of my own. I don't have the stigma of following some archaic fantasy.

Even if I were on the fence about religion all of these phony hypocrites that claim to be religious would turn me off.

The worst hate I've seen always comes from these so-called religious leaders. Pretty sick if you ask me. For people that claim to be so high and mighty they sure get down in the gutter and are the first to start slinging the mud.
54. 2010-02-18 04:06  
People joins religions, because they want to find a grip in this harsh reality that they are living in. It's saddening that people like Pastor Rony used his authority in his religion to incite conflicts between people of different beliefs. Living is hell because of conflicts, and what he did is not helping people find peace.

@oldfren, you are right to say that he is entitled to his view, even if the view is in conflict with others. But the problem here is... He IS an opinion leader, representing his religion. He should exercise considerable caution in his speech and have respect for the other religions. At the end of the day, people are going to start making negative sweeping statements, targeted at Christianity. Other uninvolved Christian denominations are going to get drag into this whole mess for the mistake of 1 very ignorant opinion leader. Your experience probably tells you a better story than me.

It's just about how war starts with a few individuals: Hitler, Stalin, etc. Soldiers fought wars, but not all actually believe in the same political ideals of those powerful individuals. I guess the same applies to religions.
55. 2010-02-18 13:37  
The morals of the video are:

1) Pedophiles and average people must be encouraged to molest children of the same gender to guarantee a nation of straight people. Never mind if it's incest.

2) Modeling as a profession is bad as it exposes one to satan, promiscuous behaviour, homosexuality, aggressiveness, alcoholism and drugs.

3) Rape can be considered proper sex as; “Proper sex means life — it propagates life. Lesbianism and homosexuality simply mean death and barrenness.”

4) Schizophrenia and its hallucinations are positive, not considered a brain disorder and do not require treatment if one sees and hears Jesus.

However, if Elvis or Frank Sinatra sings to you and offers you comfort when you're down , you better keep it to yourself, as everyone would think you're mentally ill and drag you off to an asylum.
Comment #56 was deleted by its author on 2010-02-19 00:17
57. 2010-02-19 15:30  
I am a catholic a born catholic, and i have been a lesbian when i know what love is.

i believe my faith teaches us to love and accept each other.
not like whatever fuck he said about healing.
i think that as long as two parties truly love each other who cares whether is it gay or lesbian or hetrosexual or whatever there is out there.

think about it, what is a male and female gets married and they have extra marital affair with someone of the same gender, wont they be commiting a greater sin?

sine God created the universe with love, what so wrong with two individual loving each other.

yes, the gay and lesbian community are unprotected from the society.
even going clubbing the 'GREAT HETROSEXUALS' make fun of us.
this is the time for our voices to be heard.

and that pastor, should just get a life.
58. 2010-02-19 21:39  
i'm from china, few years ago, under the influences of local christian friends, i went to church once and felt like to "learn" and maybe find my faith from there.... but after several consecutive visits on the weekends, I happened to be busy and was abscent for several weeks, my "new friends" from the church keep calling me and asking me back, I sincerely told them I really got some issues at that moment, and would like to pay visits again, they turned into saying "it is good time for you to drop your familious beliefs in buddhism and taoism, (my family believes in Buddhism and Taoism), what you parents are worshiping were simply souless sculptures made from mud"...from then, I never visited a church as a "learner" again, and it makes me very uncomfortable to contact those "friends" again.

in 2008, I was doing my attachment in a German company in Singapore, those caucasians were very cautious about religious topics, they almost never raised it. but to those singaporean christians, especially two ladies, were extremely enthusiastic in preaching to me, in a very comfortable way. and I swear I am not telling a lie, one young lady in her 30s, told me that there were great casulties in Wenchuan county (which is more undeveloped) in Sichuan Earthquake, and very few people died in that disaster in Chengdu city (the capital of Sichuan province), simply because more people in Chengdu believe in Christianity.

I was angry, but I was merely doing my attachment there as a student, I could not react...

I bought a bible and started to read, however what I have found in that, especially those talking about the early history of jews, it was all about taking other people's land, killing the whole city, even the babies, these acts were all righteous, simply because God promise to give them the land........ there was no love at all, from my reading..

I do not strongly believe in religion, not buddhism neither taoism, but they never say Gays are sin, they never say you cannot marry another people with different religion, they never say killing can be right, they never say if you don't believe in me, you are doomed to hell.....they never, so when my parents ask me to kow tow to buddha or any gods of taoism, to light the incenses, I could do it with my heart..
59. 2010-02-22 07:48  
As a person coming from the Christian tradition, I am appalled and offended by Rony Tan's remarks about Buddhism and the way he demeaned my Buddhists sisters and brothers, and indeed demeaning his own Christian tradition. The remarks were not only theologically inconsistent with Christian social teachings, it is un-Christian, and perhaps a blasphemy against his own founder- Jesus, who asked him to love all his neighbours and treat all peoples as bearers of God's message and reflection. In those remarks, Rony Tan is propagating cultural, religious and spiritual violence, something by which the non-violent Jesus stood dead-against (no punt intended), preaching prejudice, and thus-violence against his neighbours.
60. 2010-02-25 13:07  
This man is sly, evil and a disgrace to his faith. He is the one drowning hundreds and thousands of his followers in hate. He is the one propogating sin. Its scary how his evil tongue poison the souls of his followers and the adverse effects it has on followers' to their friends, siblings...
61. 2010-06-18 20:23  
HI everyone,
while there are so many differences in this world we need really to respect them all but when there is an anti-(something) in this case antigay we need to look into those who are anti the minority. The christians need to look into their own backyard (bible) first
lets put things into perspective, the bible is a mixture of various types of info. Unfortunately many things the bible wrote was full of inconsistencies and worst in direct disagreement of natural facts. like lev11:20-3 (4 legs insects) lev 11:4-6(camel chew cubs) & Is 40:22 (disc-like flat earth) and many geographical inconsistencies in the new testament Lk 4:29 (nazareth isn't built on/near the cliff ??) bible believers, sorry, you just have to shaved them down to your throat as Facts. christians please do get your facts right before even Start being anti- of anything. Your stand point is wrong from the start and you want to talk about the sinful & the sinless please !! thanks for reading.

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