Positive state-religion relations key to harmony

Hard work put in since 1965 has borne fruit but deeper engagement is needed going forward

As Singapore celebrates its 53rd birthday, it is useful to reflect on how it has fared in critical aspects of its existence. One important aspect is religion-state relations, given the unique dynamics between a significantly religious Singaporean society and a staunchly secular state.

Religions in Singapore have had a generally friendly and easy relationship with the state since 1965. In the late 1960s and 1970s, religion was a partner to the state to provide its followers with the moral ballast to counter the ill effects of Westernisation as Singapore industrialised and modernised.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2018, with the headline 'Positive state-religion relations key to harmony'. Print Edition | Subscribe