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  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 3:28pm
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Reverend Paul Kwong tells congregation that pro-democracy advocates should keep quiet

Outrage as Anglican archbishop invokes crucifixion during Sunday sermon to urge city's pro-democracy advocates to remain quiet

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 11:45am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 4:41am

The archbishop of the Hong Kong Anglican Church has caused a political uproar after he said that pro-democracy advocates in the city should keep quiet, just as "Jesus remained silent" in the face of crucifixion.

Most Reverend Paul Kwong turned to politics in a sermon at St Paul's Church, Central, on Sunday, on how to be a Christian.

The sermon was posted on the church's website on Monday. Reaction has been swift, with some branding the sermon as "outrageous" and "sarcastic" and accusing Kwong of using "Jesus to fit some personal values".

In Sunday's sermon, Kwong said: "Whenever people see me or other church leaders, they will say, 'We must speak up! Speak up at all times, on everything. It is a must to fight'.

Listen: Audio translation of part of a sermon given by Archbishop of HK Anglican Church telling congregants pro-democracy advocates should keep quiet

Listen to the original audio in Cantonese here.

"Why do people have to speak up so much? [It appears] as if they wouldn't have another chance, as if they were dumb otherwise," said Kwong, who is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Kwong talked about the virtue of silence, citing how Jesus behaved when being sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. "Jesus remained silent in the face of Pilate. He was like a lamb awaiting slaughter. Sometimes we don't have to say anything. Silence is better than saying anything."

Kwong also took a sarcastic tone towards the 511 protesters who were arrested during a sit-in at Chater Road, Central, following the annual July 1 rally.

"Last week some students arrested … told reporters: 'We had no food to eat. We had to queue up for the toilet'. I would say 'why didn't they bring along their Filipino maids to the march?'"

Reverend Peter Douglas Koon, provincial secretary general of the Sheng Kung Hui, or the Anglican Church, sought to cool down the outcry in an RTHK interview yesterday.

"It is certain that the archbishop did not intend to belittle anyone. He likes to make reference to current affairs to liven up his speech," he said.

Koon said Kwong was only expressing his personal views. "He was not promoting politics or making a political speech."

Referring to the Occupy Central protests, Koon added: "The stance of the Sheng Kung Hui is that we do not encourage people to do illegal things."

Watch: What do Hongkongers think about Rev. Paul Kwong’s speech against pro-democracy advocates?

Responding to the sermon, Pastor Wu Chi-wai, from the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, said that it would be "unfair to use Jesus to fit some personal values and orientation".

"According to the Gospel of John, Jesus had challenged Pilate on whether his power is bigger or the truth is bigger," Wu said. "So Jesus wasn't silent - he spoke when he needed to, while his silence was in protest against the Roman regime."

Referring to Kwong's CPPCC role, Wu said: "I sympathise with him, it seems that he has to do something [like this] as the central government is launching a propaganda [campaign]."

Occupy Central co-organiser Dr Chan Kin-man also questioned Kwong's stance.

"Believers and society expected religious leaders to speak up to manifest the value of their belief … Kwong could make people disappointed about the Anglican church," Chan said.

One Christian woman from the Sheng Kung Hui told an RTHK radio programme yesterday: "He is really outrageous. He has changed since his CPPCC appointment."

Alex Chow Yong-kang, secretary general of the Federation of Students, which organised the Chater Road sit-in, said Kwong's remarks were sarcastic but devoid of the love of a Christian.

"Is love one fundamental doctrine of Christianity?" he asked, questioning Kwong's approach.

Democratic Party leader Emily Lau Wai-hing said it was disappointing that Kwong had lashed out at the students.

Meanwhile, 26 academics, including Professor Timothy O'Leary, head professor of the University of Hong Kong's School of Humanities, and Dr Mirana May Szeto, expressed their support for the students who were arrested.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

tony5195
Christ's silence, and the call for Hong Kong's people to be silent in the face of calls for everyone to accede to Party rule, are two very different things. Christ was silent because he came to earth to die for the sins of all. He didn't want to mount a defense.
Hong Kong's people should not be silent in the face of the millions who died in China in support of the Party's Socialist Reconstruction, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Gang of Four, and ethnic minority suppression policies. The voices of these victims were not heard in time to prevent their needless deaths.
The Bishop no doubt loves the members of his flock. Yet, in the face of growing religious suppression in China, I am amazed by his call for silence in the case.
pliu
I am not a religious person and have never heard of Bishop Paul Kwong before, but after listening to the audio recording above, I believe he empathizes with the great silent majority in Hong Kong.
Shouting out loud, using violence, being obstructive and confrontational, will not help the pro-democracy movement in the eyes of the public. Humility, respecting other people's views, and a willingness to compromise will!
Don't forget, only about 22% of the electorate took part in the Occupy Central vote; the other 78% chose not to. Good and true Christians should listen and respect people from both sides of the argument!
artdig18
These so called democrats have an idealistic approach to the nomination and there is very little in HK such as scandals, corruption, minority rights etc that they can use to focus the electorate ... unfortunately they choose to get into the news through boorish and bullying acts.
sundayatscmp
It is surprising that the Archbishop of HKSKH would have such deplorable oratorical skill! And the tone he took was repugnant. But if we can look pass Paul Kwong the man, and listen to the message of the sermon, (and try, very hard, to ignore the tone he took), the message is this:
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Hong Kong's present situation is not as bad as these protesters would have you believe. And radical protest tactics are not conducive to advancing a reasonable debate. Hence, a little silence and cool headedness may not be so bad at this point.
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You may agreed or disagreed with his point. Let's try to recover the message from a terrible delivery.
gunzy
I still think the line about the students needing their maids is funny
Paradox314
Not so funny if you noticed it was plagiarized from one of the comments in this newspaper. I seem to recall plagiarism as being one of the problems at this church and it's a pity to see the so-called Archbishop doing it as well.
53bce55d-458c-4776-a86b-52aa0a3209cb
I am a member of the Anglican Church and I was surprised, confused and disappointed to hear the words of the Archbishop. I have already expressed my feelings to the clergy. Please know that the views of the Archbishop are not the sentiment of all the clergy and lay people within the church. The Anglican Church is a broad church, with a long history of standing up for human rights and it has room for people of many different views.
hk.sistercat
Paul Kwong is a member of National Political Consultative Committee, a post which required one to kow-tow to CCP. This guy can kow-tow to a regime that put Christians to prisons and demolish churches, so you know how much he "loves Jesus".
scmpgt
Maybe he was bribed by some pro-Beijing camp evil forces?
sipsip1238
"Jesus remained silent in the face of Pilate. He was like a lamb awaiting slaughter. Sometimes we don't have to say anything. Silence is better than saying anything."
Maybe he remained silent because he never actually existed? You know Mr. Kwong, if Christians were silent the whole time, it wouldn't have become a religion in the first place, and also...you wouldn't have the sad sad thing that you call a job.

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