Removal of crucifixes and banning of hymns – violation of religious freedom guaranteed under Constitution

Media statement by Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP Life Advisor in Seremban on 3rd January 2011.

PM aides’ orders to St John’s Cathedral to remove crucifixes and banning of singing hymns at St John’s Cathedral constitute a violation of religious freedom guaranteed under Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution

The orders border on the ridiculous. The excuse given by PM aides that the cruciffixes would be offensive to the Prime Minister while visiting the church and grounds.

Malaysia have diplomatic relations with many Christian countries in the West, South America and the Phillipines. Crucifixes decorate many public buildings in these countries. Would the aides issue orders to Christian countries in the West and South America to take down or remove the crucifixes when the Prime Minister of Malaysia visit the said countries?

Church buildings and grounds are sacred areas to Christians especially Catholics. Crucifixes are sacred. So are the religious rites and singing of hymns. Forcible removal of crucifixes in churches would constitute an act of sacriliege. The orders by the PM aides are therefore sacrilegious.

The prime minister is most welcome to visit churches and meet the priests and parishioners. No conditions should be imposed, as freedom to practice religion is guaranteed under the Constitution.

It is the practice in churces all over the world to keep their doors open to churchgoers and visitors all day, as long as they show decorum and respect for the sancitity of the church building and its grounds.

PM aides should take a tour of Christian countries in Europe, USA and South America or secular Singapore. It will open up their minds and see how religious freedom is practised. Their backward outlook is an anachronism in a world where races, religions and cultures interact and mix. They need to change or we risk becoming isolationist and disconnected with the rest of the world.

  1. #1 by DAP man on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 12:53 pm

    During the Pre and post Christmas, I was in the Middle East. In the hotels (all owned by Muslims) where I stayed, the entire buildings and compounds had Christmas decorations with Christmas trees, Santa Clauses. Christmas hymns were played all through the day and night, before and after Christmas right till Dec 31 when I left the last hotel.

    How come Malaysia is more Islamic that the Middle East countries where more than 95% are Muslims.
    Or this is 1Taliban Malaysia.

    I would add the church authorities were cowards who could not stand up for their right.
    Cowards deserved to be bullied, oppressed and smothered by these bigots.

  2. #2 by dagen on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 1:49 pm

    But islam jenis-umno forbids anything which is anti-umno or may be seen to be so.

    For eg eating rambutan is an umno only affair and therefore it is part of islam jenis-umno. But a non-umno fella cannot eat rambutan. That would be seen as stealing umno’s rambutan and therefore would be construed as an act of anti-umno and anti islam jenis-umno.

    Ask cintanegara for clarification. He is the expert. He once told people here not to destroy umno’s rambutan trees.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 3:09 pm

    ///The excuse given by PM aides that the cruciffixes would be offensive to the Prime Minister while visiting the church and grounds.///

    PM aides got it wrong. They should have referred to the Koran to see what it says about Muslims visiting other places of non-Islamic worship instead of creating such man-made rules and superstition. The Koran should be the final authority upon which the Islamic faith stands and not man-made rules.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 3:36 pm

    Ai say man, vampires cannot tahan d cross or crucifix mah, pain 1 U know

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 3:38 pm

    Its not so much of violation of religious freedom guaranteed under Constitution than the defeating the very purpose of the PM’s visit.

    The whole idea of visiting the church during Christmas is to make the point of 1 Malaysia’s aspiration to embrace “our diversity of ethnicity, religions and beliefs and, by being inclusive, build mutual respect and acceptance into a solid foundation of trust and cohesiveness”.

    To require the church to remove its traditional symbols stipulating no singing of hymns and to not quote anything from the scriptures or say any prayers is to divest the church of its character and function as a church. So what would he be visiting???

    To say that these requirements are to avert the PM’s visit being considered detrimental to his political standing and his Islamic credentials is to appease the narrow-mindedness of extremist religious bigots rather than uphold the spirit of 1 Malaysia, thereby defeating the whole meaning, value and gesture of the visit.

    Narrow-minded extremist s should be told to buzz off instead of the Archbishop to make his church not like a charge in order for the visit by Najib to be glitch-free from extremists’ criticisms.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 4:02 pm

    Oops typo error – “of the Archbishop to make his church not like a church in order for the visit…”

  7. #7 by johnnypok on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 4:14 pm

    If like this, Sabah and Sarawak should pull out of the federation.

  8. #8 by Loh on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 7:48 pm

    ///PM aides’ orders to St John’s Cathedral to remove crucifixes and banning of singing hymns at St John’s Cathedral constitute a violation of religious freedom guaranteed under Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution///

    Why did the people at St John’s Cathedral follow the order? Najib could not have ordered the church burned down if the church did not proceed with the invitation. I blame the persons concerned at the St John cathedral for inviting Najib in the first place knowing that he is Muslim first and everything else irrelevant. If Najib set a condition for the visit, just withdraw the invitation.

    The UMNO gets it ways because people makes it easy. How else can UMNO can manipulate the coalition member parties as though they are slaves? The MCA ministers had to beg for their living. But why did the Church have bend so low?

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Monday, 3 January 2011 - 11:31 pm

    Hello..christians of mca,gerakan,members of bn coalitians,where is your faith?Must be burned in hell long long time ago.Why defeaning silent?Or you thinking najis is above your lord?Better don’t think to attend church cause Jesus is fuming at you buggers.Even mother Mary could not persuade him anymore.Your time is out.

  10. #10 by Billy on Tuesday, 4 January 2011 - 7:53 am

    Kit Siang, may I request you and other Pakatan leaders to ask the Catholic ministers in the BN, like Bernard Dompok, Jospeh Kurup, Joseph Pairin, etc what have they got to say about the whole episode. As usual, their silence is deafening!

  11. #11 by Godfather on Tuesday, 4 January 2011 - 2:43 pm

    I agree with Loh on #8 above. The Church bowed to the wishes of Najib’s aides, when it just could easily have said “scr@w you, you either come into this place of worship as it is or you stay out of it”.

    For too long we have bowed to the wishes of UMNO and yet complain when UMNO gets bolder and bolder as each year goes by. This is typical of the likes of MCA, Gerakan and MIC. For too long they have nodded and muttered in unison “Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 bags full”. Now even the Church has gotten into the b@ll-licking act. So don’t complain the next time a church gets torched.

  12. #12 by Evenmind on Tuesday, 4 January 2011 - 6:38 pm

    So najis goons are again bossing other reliligions around, why can’t they just shut the ding dong up and mind their own religion .We never impose on them why are they always imposing on others, yeah so next time Najis visits a foreign country make sure all churches and temples remove their religion symbols. Whata are the morons doing next ? What da????

  13. #13 by MGR1940 on Saturday, 8 January 2011 - 12:06 pm

    How come Lord Muruga’s statue was not asked to be removed when Najib visited Batu Caves or the statues of Buddah when he visited the Buddist temple in Brickfields
    This country is getting worst on religion after so many years of peace in this matter.

    PM’s new aide is no better than the old one. What ever said they are fishes of the same pond.
    By the way I understand PM was a old boy of St. John school. If so his school certificate is ‘haram’.

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