Wrong move, National Council of Churches Singapore

Posted on 06 March 2012

An irate Christian writes to us.

Is it okay for Christians to ogle at a near naked Jaymee Ong?

Dear New Nation editors,

I am a Christian and I am highly irritated by the recent actions of the National Council of Churches Singapore (NCCS).

The NCCS came out publicly last Friday to slam two articles published in the March edition of FHM Singapore, a lad mag featuring voluptuous women, describing them as “highly objectionable and deplorable”.

The articles in question were entitled, “Which of These Celebs Might Secretly be Jesus?” and “Jesus 2.0: What can we expect?”.

In the former article, celebrities such as Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, ex-Idol judge Simon Cowell and singing sensation Ms. Justin Bieber are assessed for “evidence” to find out which one of them could be Jesus.

Some of the famous personalities speculated to be Jesus in the FHM Singapore article.

The latter article features a photo of a man holding a gun strapped with ammo looking like The Messiah on his return trip here.

In a statement issued and signed by NCCS president Bishop Dr Robert Solomon and its three vice-presidents, NCCS said the FHM articles “make fun of the Lord Jesus Christ” and added: “These articles appear during the holy season of Lent when Christians remember the sufferings and sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and they cause serious offence and hurt the sensitivities of the Christian community.”

This prompted a swift apology and a promise to pull the magazine off shelves islandwide by FHM’s senior editor, who on hindsight, appears a tad spineless.

Now that we’ve got the facts of the case out, I’ll like to say this: The NCCS shouldn’t have proceeded with this condemnation without first consulting all the Christians from more than 150 churches across denominations in Singapore that the council supposedly represents.

As a representative of its members, the NCCS should have held a referendum with us to see what we vote for before proceeding to denounce FHM Singapore.

Let’s look at the basics: Singapore is a democracy. And abiding by the democratic tradition of voting, we can decide as a majority what should be done.

Because, for Christians who don’t enjoy things being put in the limelight, denouncing something as trivial as a magazine article will only make all the other people around us curious, and Christians as a whole, look ridiculous.

And when people get curious, that’s when things really start to go pear-shaped.

Think about it: Now that the case has been blown completely out of proportion with it being talked about in the media and online, the offending articles have become even more readily accessible.

And viewed more times than it would have, had the NCCS stayed silent.

What could have passed off as a monthly tongue-in-cheek and inconsequential piece, suddenly becomes permanent as it will live on forever more inside the Internet until the real Second Coming of Christ.

All because someone got jumpy about this issue in the first place.

Worse, by choosing what to openly condemn and denounce, the NCCS and Christians as a whole, eventually avail ourselves as targets of other people’s judgement.

I’ve already been asked countless of times by atheists if it is okay for Christians to read FHM.

I don’t even have a ready answer to that question.

And now that NCCS has condemned one article in particular in FHM while staying silent on everything else, what message does it send?

It is not okay to be insensitive to Jesus Christ but okay for Jaymee Ong to be near naked and ogled at by men, Christians or otherwise?

What is the view of the NCCS regarding the recent controversial MCYS ads featuring social workers?

Is there a moral dilemma that the NCCS can address when it comes to high ministerial salaries?

Why isn’t there an ongoing condemnation of the casinos in Singapore?

When all these issues are put into perspective, I fear the day NCCS speaks again to condemn something else.

It will make Christians look truly inconsequential.

Sincerely,
An Irate Christian

This post was written by:

- who has written 901 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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  • Shizuma

    are you taking the mick ? 

  • Nave

    Dear New Nation editors,

    I am a Singaporean male and am highly disturbed by the writer’s allegations that the women featured in FHM Singapore are ‘voluptuous’. The writer shouldn’t have proceeded with this allegation without first perusing recent issues of the magazine, or conducting a simple observation on a Saturday afternoon stroll down Orchard Road.

    Let’s look at the basics: Singapore women are mostly
    flat-chested. And any misconceptions about this will only make us look
    ridiculous. Sure, our women may be nicely pear-shaped, but generally their
    bosoms are barely larger than unusually-swollen mosquito bites.

    Think about it: If you really wanted to ogle voluptuous women, there exists a
    multitude of readily accessible materials which will remain in circulation
    online until the second coming of Christ.

    I have been asked countless times for links to such materials.

    I don’t have a ready answer to that question as I am afraid
    of potential backlash from the MDA.

     

    But when all these points are put into perspective, I do
    hope the writer would think twice before making such comments in future.

    Sincerely,
    A virile Singaporean

  • A Concerned Non-Christian

    A bit silly to ask for a referendum on something (as you put it)  “as trivial as a magazine article” don’t you think? 

    I’m presuming these are elected officials. And the NCCS is your representative voice in Singapore civil discourse. If you wanna make a change, start in your church. Speak up for a more inclusive and liberal religion.

  • dee

    I’m not sure why this irate Christian thinks s/he speaks for other Christians, either. I think the point of requesting a withdrawal of the article is NOT to make it go away and disappear. The point is to raise consciousness (as it has) that articles like these can be offensive, and the editors (and the writer, no doubt) should have thought better writing/releasing an article such as this. Think about it.

  • Private

    Imposing your views (in good ‘faith’, or not) on free media that is meant for the general society isn’t right. Our religious tolerance has a limit – don’t push it.

  • Simpleman

    Dear “Christian”, it is sad that staying silent and debating about what constitutes a rebut is your option. We live in a world of grey lines and you for one know that Blasphemy is a Blasphemy, why try to twist a sentence that insinuate that and then try to make it look like nothing. I think you better start doing your prayers in the morning to understand what you are willing to stand up for, cos in real times, you will be the Judas. 

    • Whoa

      Scary. Why not label him as Satan instead?

  • Des

    Dear irate Christian,

    Are you really a Christian? If you are, I wonder why you don’t feel anything when people insulted your Jesus. Something must be wrong with you!

  • Guest

    Dear Irate Christian, where is your respect for Christ?

    • Terence Lee

      Dear Guest, where is your common sense?

    • jesuit

      I am pretty sure if Jesus had been around, he would smile and brush it off. And at the same time be shocked at the reaction of his supposed ‘believers’. Not paying much attention when he talked about love, eh.

  • Ronika 1364

    i love u

  • Chriskeely

    Muslim can also look @ FHM as any other religion, what’s your point?

  • Sieowl

    I am aghast by your reactive article to what NCCS had rightly done. Say what you will, the publication is offensive and a blasphemy. There is no two ways about it. It cannot be condoned and dismissed as being “trivial” and what-have-you! – Com’on. Give me a break!

  • Mitch


    Let’s look at the basics: Singapore is a democracy” 
    Wrong answer mate, you are made to believe this, but outsiders would at best describe the political system of Singapore as “Semi-democracy”… 

    Remember that government controls all media here?

  • Fish_G

    If there’s something that the Church in Singapore trips up on, it’s sex. But still they fall over themselves to show that they take a stand, albeit a drunken, unsteady stand. 

    Must be the wine.

  • Kang Abraham

    The question is if the article was titled “Which of these celebs could be Buddha/Allah etc” during that particular faiths holy month, would there be a similar reaction. I don’t understand why so many people feel it’s fine to make fun of the Christian faith, but draw the line at others. Is it okay for Christians to read FHM? My answer is no. Clearly. Unless you’re not sexually aroused by the women in it. FHM sells because of the women, but because it offers good advice on life.

  • Force.sin

    Jaymee ong’s body is not really sexy…..I have seen far more sexy social escorts in the bras and panties. She put on a ‘come on’ pose which is a put off.
    Her face is not sweet nor lady-like ..nor sexy…definitely not attractive.

    Really…there is NOTHING to ogle at.