• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 6:41pm
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

Well, One good thin is I forwarded a copy of this article to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. And I would urge others to do the same.
The lament of Martin Luther King Jr ("Letter from a Birmingham Jail") about church leaders' indifference to social injustice is as apt as ever:
"When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.... I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: 'Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern' ... In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church."
I still think the line about the students needing their maids is funny
Please make sure you listen to the audio recording of Kwok' 'sermon'. You will then realize how deeply repugnant it was. As a member myself of the Anglican communion in Hong Kong I feel so deeply betrayed by his failure to lead in a moral and spiritual manner.
If you listen to the audio clip you will discover its much more heinous than from reading the words alone. You will hear his awful sarcasm and tone of derision. It's abominable.
This is your post from before.
"Paul Kwong, charged with the sacred trust of leading the Sheng Kung **** community has used the the most sacred elements of the Christian drama, the passion and Crucifixion, in an attempt to manipulate Hong Kong people into passive acceptance of their own submission to dominance by The Communist Party of China. He has used the story of Christ in this way because he is a member of the government of China. He will likely benefit personally in years to come through the building of his own career. For Christians this should be seen as blasphemy - as the work of the Devil.
And he went on further to ridicule the young people who care enough about Hong Kong to self sacrificially protest the unjust situation. Whether these protesters, ultimately were right or wrong in their actions is beside the point. To the point, is these young people actually cared enough to DO SOMETHING!! That's fantastically laudable. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get teenagers interested in civic responsibility? Well here's a handful who are interested and this farce of a priest teases and ridicules them. He didn't say a word about the possible harm that could result from protesting, he just made a bad joke at their expense. At best, he's a lousy psychologist / serminologist - at worst hes a self-centred, manipulative power-hungry man, who must be watched very carefully in future!"
This is how you vilified the Rev...work of the Devil? Really?
A church is not a building, it's the people, it's family. You have a personal connection to the Rev (I honestly don't), and yet instead of speaking to him about it personally and understanding his point of view, and voicing your objection to what he said to him, you make a spectacle of it on SCMP of all places.
You know him enough to let him baptism your children, and I'm here defending him (when I don't even know him)? Do you not see the irony in that?
Prayer group is good. Actively keeping the peace is also good.
Just remember he's a man, he's not God, he's not perfect, he's not suppose to be.
Dai Muff
Paul Kwong seems to fit the role of Caiaphas better than Jesus.
"Jesus remained silent"

Yes, and look how well that worked out for him.
Hey Kwong should we also keep quiet about all those alter boys? You are a dunce



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