Wednesday, May 13, 2015

PM Lee: Religion always a potentially sensitive issue

It was lucky for Amos Yee he didn't pick on Islam to deride in his videos. Even if the Muslims here said nothing others in the region will and knowing that our Muslims will definitely have to respond to him.

If Amos had insulted Christianity at a different moment in history like he did, he might have been executed. But Christianity is in a different phase today.

The more we succeed as a secular state the less religion is a sensitive issue because we do not allow it to run our public life. However this is neither realistic or possible in the long term. From time to time personal religious values will enter the public sphere especially for Islam and to a lesser degree Christianity.

We cannot tell in advance with any precision when religion becomes a sensitive issue. You only know when a seemingly innocuous incident leads to a wider conflagration. It might be too late for a small place like our by then. On the other hand, America is a big place. They can and in fact in the longer term benefit from spots of burning over any issue. From natural fires in their national parks, to the latest racial riots in Baltimore and so on. Because for them the country is too big to go up in flames at any one time. Their worry and they have learnt the hard way is that financially they could go up in flames but not over race, religion or acts of God in nature. So just as as the battled and raced toward passing laws to secure their financial system, should we be stupid not to do the same for racial and religious harmony here?

The PM's message fails to reach and persuade me. I had already thought through this long ago and feel that to help our people understand you have to repeat why others could take the risk and we can't. Expose their hypocritical preaching to us too and demolish the arguments of the fools telling us that the sky above us will also hold up.

The government also do not seem to appreciate the difference between forms of religion within a religion. As always some religious followers would be inclusive of outsiders and other exclusive to maintain purity. The former is tremendously good the latter is a time bomb. The former emphasize love the latter their religious laws. Such an internal dichotomy is most obvious today in Islam.

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