STATEMENT FROM THE HUMANIST SOCIETY (SINGAPORE)
The Humanist Society (Singapore) refers to the concerns expressed by various church leaders regarding the American pop singer Madonna and her upcoming Singapore concert.
Church leaders were quoted as equating “the secular world” with immoral values. Archbishop William Goh stated that Catholics have a “moral obligation not to support those who denigrate and insult religions, including anti-Christian and immoral values promoted by the secular world”. These comments were supported by some other Church leaders, including Pastor Lawrence Khong of the Faith Community Baptist Church.
Firstly, we strongly disagree with this equating of “anti-Christian and immoral values” with the “secular world”. This equation is misleading. The secular world is not the “enemy” of the religious. As the example of Singapore has shown, it is a secular state and society which is best placed to protect freedom of belief, for persons of all faiths and none.
Singapore proudly upholds secularism in the public realm. This is precisely what allows various religious groups in Singapore to flourish and worship freely without fear of discrimination. In contrast, it is well known that certain countries with a “national religion” have displayed discrimination and prejudice against those of other faiths.
Secondly, as regards morality, no one group can or should claim to have monopoly over what constitutes “morality” versus “immorality”. These values and this discussion belong to all of humanity. Having a secular society allows persons of all persuasions to come together in a respectful discussion about what is or is not moral.
While it is true that there can be some grey areas, this is precisely how morality develops to be fit for the society of that time. Our Society advocates that such development be based on the scientific findings of the day, rationality, and compassion for our fellow beings.
Humanist Society (Singapore)