Imperative to keep church and state separate

It is encouraging to read of the formation of the Alliance of Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches of Singapore, which may lead to better coordination, connection and mutual sharing of experiences among churches (Pentecostal, Charismatic and other churches form new body; April 30).

However, I am worried by the suggestion that the alliance's churches "want their voices to be represented on current and international affairs and matters, among other things".

Considering that Singapore is a secular state, the involvement of churches as an actor in local politics inevitably raises eyebrows. It could cause a blurring of the distinction between church and state.

Although I am a Christian, I do not find it acceptable to use religion as a tool to influence political decisions.

It is good for religion and state to complement each other, where religious morality is used to shape ethics.

Values such as compassion, integrity and respect, which are well-promoted by religions, form the bedrock of our legislation.

However, it is a different story altogether to pursue a political agenda with religion as a platform. It may lead to a slippery slope, where every religion craves to influence politics.

This goes against secularism and will shake our tenuous religious harmony.

The separation of church and state is a widely accepted doctrine.

It is imperative to maintain secularism as the foundation of our society because it gives us peace and social stability.

No religion, directly or indirectly, should take over the national agenda.

Sean Lim Wei Xin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2018, with the headline 'Imperative to keep church and state separate'. Print Edition | Subscribe