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Silence in the face of religious excesses is unacceptable

There should be no immunity and untouchability when religion is abused and hijacked to hurt others

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The malicious and intentional premeditated trespassing by a malignant individual who passes off as a preacher does not seem to have raised sufficient outrage.

The majority of adherents who share this preacher’s faith – who are by far exceedingly good people – are, I am sure, embarrassed by his approach.

Yet, one must ask, why there is not a deluge of condemnations of this preacher’s conduct.

Perhaps these good folk, who would otherwise object to his approach, are mired in uncertainty. They may feel intimidated and threatened by the obviously deafening silence of the government and its security, educational and religious institutions.

Perhaps it is down to spinelessness, cluelessness or, God forbid, a fear of doing what is morally and ethically right.

The moral quality of leadership to represent a faith with dignity and honour is compromised. The absence of justice in this case erodes the esteem with which the faith is held.

Any faith may be defiled by the silence of those who do not speak out against excesses. In this case, the silence may be construed as sanctioning this preacher and those like him.

No matter how great the advocacy of a faith may be in its teachings or preachings, what really matters is how we live as dignified ambassadors of our own faiths.

Unfortunately, few display the courageous spirit to shine the light of their faith in a way that inspires. The simple humanity in defending others seems to be absent. 

We are besieged by the same conveyor belt of problems. The illegal manipulative conversions, snooping, the flexing of the muscles of religious superiority and bigotry are all old issues. There is already too much to handle.

Some person(s) of the faith out there may feel outraged and cry foul.

The question, is how long can one hide behind this?

The fact is there are certain preachers who hurt others when they weaponise their faith in the most reprehensible manner.

There should be no immunity and untouchability when religion is abused and hijacked to hurt others. It is indefensible, especially when the vulnerable and defenceless are preyed upon.

We should not excuse the inexcusable and accept the objectionable.

At the end of the day who (or what) is at fault?

  • The faith and its teachings?
  • Or the unethical preachers?
  • Or the ones who are silent and clueless in the face of blatant abuses?

The latter two parties are not a credit to their faith. This is the reality we are faced with. The implications are damaging in the long term if the negatives are not discussed and dismantled. What is horrible is that this issue keeps on repeating itself.

I am sure no one has put together any analytical data of conversions through coercion or deception. When a conversion is not addressed or executed in the right spirit, there will always be doubts either about the faith or the character or of both character and faith.

If the message sent out is without nobility and valour, it becomes a marketing product that is so cheap it is relegated to the equivalent of bartering and trading of wares along a five-foot way.

That would be ignoble and undignified. Is it really acceptable?

Does each adherent of the faith bear the weight and burden of collective shame and disgrace if nothing is done? Some, impaled by a false sense of dignity, will criticise the messenger, as they may view this as a personal attack on their faith.

If something is so personal and precious to us, should it not be protected and uplifted? Each of us should ask the soul-searching question: what warranted this?

Is there justice in faith or is there injustice manifested in not representing it well so that the faith is then allowed to be subject to abuse by others?

The unethical conduct by certain preachers is intolerable and unacceptable. 

There is a clear sense that our integration as a nation is not on a holistic platform of unity in equality. Instead, we see the manipulation of race and an insistence on religious inequalities.

This is a slow fuse which needs to be extinguished if we are not to be morally compromised as a people. Otherwise, it may well be the slow death knell of a nation. Once it is fragmented and torn apart, there is nothing anyone can do.

None of us with faith can claim the treasures of its wisdom, values, strength and beauty if we do not possess the virtues to live what that faith requires of us.

Providential justice is not an abstract concept that belongs to the next life. If we don’t make provision in this life to secure it, we may forsake the promise of peace.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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