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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:13am
NewsHong Kong

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

Just because someone is a churchman it doesn't mean that they have common sense or intelligence.
You can't blame the poor bishop - you know he's got his career to look out for. Since the death of Bishop Ding on the Mainland there's been no one really able to aptly handle the reins of the CPP controlled church. Kwong is just the fellow for the job I think- and I'll bet anything it's already in the works. After he's sold HK down the river he'll be moving up to bigger and better things. With all of China under his mantle just imagine the "good" he could do!!!
Bishop Kwong should go back to school and read the Gospel of John, chapters 18 and 19. Jesus is not at all silent and answers back Pilate with deep cutting words. All Christian should learn from Jesus to stand strongly, but not violently, against people who abuse power. Anyway I do agree with the Bishop in comparing our HK Government with Pilate.
People no longer read. The Archbishop said, “Whenever people see ME OR OTHER CHURCH LEADERS, they will say, 'We must speak up! Speak up at all times, on everything, understand? It is a must to fight." He chose to be silent, and his words are taken totally out of context for specific purposes herein, especially by the reporter Lai Ying-kit who is totally bias with the title. So he belongs to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an event where Beijing offers a wide spectrum of representations to contribute their views. And people, who never participated in such a conference, think those who participate and offer their views must be Beijing's subjects. What was wrong with the Archbishop pointing out that the Chater Road Sit-In was not a picnic where drinks and food will not be provided? When there is such big arrest, 500+, of course you would expect to queue up for the toilet. What is there to complain? It simply shows the immaturity of these students who are largely spoiled. Did you see a TV clip that a kid was crying on the phone with his mom telling her he was going home? He had no idea why he was there, just following what others tell him. Don't even think about comparing these kids to the African-American movement who suffered from inequality and harsh treatment for over a century. The whinging group here have no idea what real suffering is all about.
Maybe it's because he is the only religious leader who is brave and sane enough to speak openly about the harm that young student activists and some so-called democratic legislators are doing to Hong Kong. The truth is sometimes difficult to swallow for some. I suggests the female caller should learn to respect other people's opinion other than herself. That would be a good and true Christian!
"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."
Yup, Hong Kong is like the lamb.....awaiting its slaughter.
I must have missed the news reports of the mob lynchings and the cross burnings in HK. Even the police brutality during MLK's time is nowhere to be seen in HK.
The CCP are listening to what the churches in HK are saying, and when they don't like it, they take it out on the churches in China. The hardship and discrimination going on in China against Christians is already hard enough without us making it worse.
It's a different time, different place, different set of circumstances from when MLK roamed the deep south. He worked tirelessly to free those from the bondages of a social structure that keep many people as modern day slaves; a system that was so unjust, that even today many crimes go unpunished.
The current injustice in HK as focused on Occupy Central amounts to not being able to vote. It doesn't affect our ability to speak, work, associate, worship, travel, protest, report, or confront. We do not fear retribution outside the law, or general misuse of the law by a select few.
We have fundamental issues when it comes to wealth between the haves and have nots, but is there truly a clear line between the needs of the people and the greed of the people? Most of us have everything we need, but envy our neighbors, not a worthy cause.
If we spent half as much energy on the caged home issue as we have on Occupy Central, how easy would it be to fix? That is a social injustice I think MLK would get behind.
I just listened to his actual sermon - what a load of BS!
What violence is it that he keeps talking about? The protestors were not violent.
His tone is so rude and dismisive. This is all he can do in response to the earnest aspirations of hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people - just ridicule them.
His whole tone is rude, it's basically a load of lies - exaggerations.
I Have no respect whatsoever for this charlatan - yes this prostitute for the Communist Party. If I believed in a Hell - I would certainly expect him to be headed in that direction - but instead he will conspire to make Hell a reality right here in Hong Kong. And then one day he will abscond to take up the leadership of the Three Self Patriotic Movement on the Mainland.
Maybe the church should also stay silent while we allow persons of different sexual orientation the same inalienable human rights to have a civil union. Jesus would have done the same at the cross, so I'm told.
"Kwong, who is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference."
Well, that says it all! A fellow traveller.



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