From ‘Christian group says sorry for remarks’, 17 Feb 2012, article by Jessica Lim and Stanley Chia, ST
A CHRISTIAN student group at the National University of Singapore (NUS) apologised yesterday for making insensitive remarks about Buddhists and Muslims. The NUS Campus Crusade for Christ, made up of 80 to 100 students, posted an apology on its Facebook page for remarks made on its website and on posters it put up on campus benches on Wednesday.
…The Christian group’s posters promoting a mission trip to Thailand said that the country, known as The Land of Smiles, was actually ‘a place of little true joy’. This, it said, was because Buddhism was so much a part of the Thai national identity and few believed in Jesus Christ. It urged students to help take Christianity to the Thais.
Its website promoted a mission trip to Turkey and said the country needed ‘much prayer and work’ because ‘much of the population is M‘, referring to Muslims. The online posts and posters have since been removed, but not before copies spread quickly online, prompting a wave of angry comments from netizens.
With so much online fury over anti-Muslim sentiments of late, whether it’s commenting on harmless schoolkids on a bus or a photoshopped Pig on a Kaaba, it’s no wonder the NCCC, despite it’s zeal in spreading universal joy to faraway lands untouched by the blessed hand of the Almighty, treats Islam with the same nervous hushed-up tones as someone whispering a naughty word. Thailand is called the Land of Smiles for a reason with or without Christian influence, and as godless as the Sex Capital of Asia may be in the eyes of the CCC, implying that a wave of monotheism would bring a wider smile to Thai faces is like saying fog makes green grass greener.
Have these people even heard of Bhutan, or how just a few years ago a Christian couple were charged under the Sedition Act for distributing a comic book titled ‘The Little Bride’, a rather disturbing tract written by some guy who goes by the deceptively benign name of ‘Jack Chick’ that explains Islam in terms of the young wives the Prophet was believed to have kept (as the uneasy title suggests)? ‘The Little Bride’ makes the CCC’s candy- coated proselytisations seem like a travelogue for teens in comparison. ‘Prophecy movements’, from which modern missions were descended from, have a dark history associated with white superiority and colonialism, when missionaries boasted magical powers to cure the ill , alluding their gifts to a higher power and convincing ‘natives’ to surrender to their God-endorsed rule. Whether it’s shamanism disguised as divine healing prowess or a shot of Jesus joy juice, what these missions have in common is a systematic delivery of a promise beyond the wildest dreams of your average non-believer. In today’s context, that would be happiness.
Here’s a short history of what Christ crusaders like the CCC have been doing to spread the happy gospel, when Singaporeans had a lot less Jesus in our lives compared to now and evangelists were, and still are, as subtle in their approach to propagating their version of a miracle as a mother ramming cough syrup down a sick child’s throat.
The director of the Korean Campus Crusade for Christ Dr Joon Gon Kim came to town in the mid-seventies to promote a sweeping movement known as ‘Explo 74′, which was basically an international Evangelism training camp to equip you with a sweet holy tongue and get you into the good books of the Lord. In 1978, the Billy Graham Evangelistic crusade invited the famous preacher to conduct a ‘major city-wide CRUSADE ‘. At that time, there was no timid skirting around its true objective; to ‘persuade individuals to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord’. The word ‘Crusade’ itself has come with its own religious baggage in recent times, ever since ex US President George W Bush unleashed one against Iraq. Today, you can only use the word if you’re going to a fancy dress party dressed as a Knights Templar. You just have to pray you don’t bump into someone dressed like Osama Bin Laden.
In 1981, the CCC promoted a film simply titled ‘Jesus’, dubbed in Mandarin, Chinese and INDIAN dialects, and screened this to quarter of a million viewers at local theatres. Advancing technology along with their faith, the CCC organised the ‘world’s biggest teleconference’ at the World Trade Centre in 1985, with 3000 tuning in to the likes of Graham and Luis Palau.There is a theory that the Internet and all the technology associated with it was driven by porn. It’s possible that religion with its track record of ‘going viral’ comes a close second in contributing to the luxury of bandwidth that we all experience today.
There’s no harm in promoting mission trips to unChristian lands, in fact most of these have philanthropic intentions and if religion could drive ordinary people to make extraordinary sacrifices, then all the better for mankind. But if you’re the overzealous preacher type with no other agenda than to rescue everyone from their own religions, then the only way to spread ‘true joy’ around the world is for people like you to leave everyone else the Hell alone.