Remember the sensitivities of religion and politics

The editorial on Dec 6 ("Keeping religion out of politics") was a good reminder, in the face of the challenging situation of religious and racial conflicts in our neighbouring countries.

When party politics are played out on racial and religious lines, it is a recipe for conflict and disaster.

The easy and dangerous tendency is to blame the other race or religion for problems. This has to be repudiated for the sake of the unity and stability of our nation.

In our multi-religious and multiracial society, we need to work together to solve common issues.

We need to prevent ourselves from moving towards isolationism and exiting from the international arena.

We need to guard against the attitude of exceptionalising one's religion and privileging one's own race. We must affirm and develop the culture of pluralism.

It is necessary to encourage our people to interact with one another in spite of our differences.

We must not be content with tolerating, but go on to learn and appreciate the diversity among us.

We then must strive to seek the common welfare and establish the common ground for our survival.

It is through this process of affirming the pluralism of our culture that we can hope for peace, harmony and unity in diversity.

Yap Kim Hao (Rev Dr)