ST Forum: Relgion and politics in Singapore already mix (May 25, 2007)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

ST Forum

May 25, 2007

Religion and politics in Singapore already mix

I REFER to the letter written by Mr Richard Woo Khiah Cheng, 'Religion mustnot be allowed to creep into or influence politics' (Online forum, May 23).

Mr Woo is correct in his assertion that morality, public or private, neednot be based on a religious background. However, I find it most ironic that he would choose to quote Sam Harris for the judicial support of suspected terrorists and the ethnic profiling of Muslims, or the Ayn Rand Institute whose founder firmly believed that mankind is the be all and end all of morality.

Nations like Russia and North Korea that have once experimented with the ideas pushed by these gentlemen to their logical conclusion find themselvesfacing a humanitarian and social disaster that will take decades to heal.

As Mr Woo pointed out, more than 85 per cent of Singapore are religious orat least profess to be. Presumably a number of ministers and senior civilservants belong to the 85 per cent and their moral views are likely to bereligiously inclined, rather than the principles of secular humanism yet Singapore is not threading on a dangerous path which Mr Woo seems so worried about.

In Singapore's case, leaving the definition of God aside, the public seems to be quite clear and in unison on what God wants on the national level.Religion is mixed with politics in Singapore even if the names are notspoken loudly. Views of the Government on homosexuality, censorship and the family, however, reveal a religious bent to Singapore politics.

Li Jiefeng