Santa Cross & snow, you reap what you sow

By Sharifuddin A Latiff

Teresa Kok, a Christian MP, blogged today Najib should apologise for ‘de-Christianising’ CFM’s Christmas celebration.

Her statement was in response to Insider‘s scoop, ‘Paranoid’ aides told church to remove crosses for Najib visit. Teresa reminded:

I hope Najib and his office can be aware that there is a deeper meaning to Christmas beyond the Santa Claus and snow, and that that deeper meaning should be respected.

‘Santa must be cross’ that in Malaysia the archbishop is instructed to celebrate without the crucifix in sight, without hymns, without prayer.

When one finger points at Najib, three fingers are pointing back at Malaysians ourselves for allowing things to reach this stage.

So, 3 questions

(1) A reader ‘Daniel’ responded in Insider‘s comment section to the article:

Let’s be fair. If Christian hymns or carols or even the crucifix are to be removed when a Muslim dignitary attends a Christmas tea party, then there shouldn’t be a prayer by a Muslim in a Muslim ceremony attended by non-Muslims. In the National Service camps, all the trainees are instructed to lift up their hands in prayer (an Islamic prayer) during the opening and closing ceremony. What if the students objected to this? And why should non-Muslim students be made to participate in an Islamic prayer?

(2) ‘SpeakUpKL’ (commenting in Insider to the article):

I am curious … once missionary schools were told to remove crosses in classes … who was the Education Minister then? Anyone recall who was the Minister then? ROFL!!!

(3) Teresa urged –

Najib to issue a public apology and direct the Government to respect the traditions of Christmas and the right of all Malaysians to freedom of religion.

My question: Will the Church be respecting the traditions of Christmas if it agreed to do as told?

Also carried by the Malaysian Insider earlier on December 16th:

Jacob Sinnathamby

It is all very nice for Reverend Thomas Philips to do the Christian thing and turn the other cheek in the face of this provocative statement by Ikim.

Reading his statement in The Malaysian Insider, it appears that he and the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) do not want a confrontation and are happy with the “progress” that this inter-faith religious committee is making.

I must admit I am a little surprised at his passive position. As he rightly pointed out, Ikim is also a member of the inter-faith grouping. So just what progress is being made by this committee for probably the most important Muslim group to come out and say that Islam is superior to all religions.

Phillips must not confuse progress with crumbs off the table. If Ikim is assigning second-class status to other religions, just what exactly do the Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc hope to achieve.

Yes, we should always look for common ground but decades of turning the other cheek have resulted in the space for non-Muslims being narrowed. Can the good Reverend reveal what is the status of the Allah issue? What is the status of the kitab for churches in east Malaysia?

The last thing non-Muslims need is for their representatives to be cowed into relegating their own great religions in the name of compromise.

By the way, stating that one’s religion is superior may be a theological issue in most parts of the world but not in Malaysia.

Here, such a statement has dire consequences because it puts a different spin on Islam being the official religion of Malaysia.

2 Responses to “Santa Cross & snow, you reap what you sow”
  1. Maz says:

    I believe one can objectively assess the point Teresa is trying to make without it having
    to be perceived as an endorsement of her political home base. I echo her sentiments.
    That UMNO and their minions should be so paranoid of a Christmas celebrations and
    its attendant religious symbols leads one to question whether the Islam Hadari that UMNO
    endlessly promotes is really a house of clay built upon massive religious insecurities that
    pervade portions of Malay society.

    If Jibby et al are so secure within their belief system and so secure in the knowledge that
    they are on the right path in Allah’s good graces, then why so afraid of a cross
    and a Christmas carol ? Apparently, they are not so secure and are seeking external
    projections of their insecurities to bolster their own faith. Non-Muslim Malaysians might
    reasonably ask why they should be held accountable for other’s insecurities. Malays
    who are secure in their own cultural and religious milieu might just as reasonably ask
    the same thing…..

  2. Maz says:

    …..or Tuhan’s good graces, as one prefers…

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