Church steps into danger

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 July, 1997, 12:00am

Your story 'Lutheran church drops criticism of Beijing' on July 24 and the non-statement of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) about Hong Kong and China have saddened us at the Hong Kong Women Christian Council.

We are not upset because no statement was issued by the LWF General Assembly but that questions were raised about making a statement on human rights in our motherland, and that the questions were raised by local Chinese church members.

In your article, those who wanted to suppress criticism of China used as rationale that it would be 'considered unfriendly', but 'unfriendly' to whom? They apparently have chosen to give their loyalty to the state authorities rather than uphold Christian values of justice and compassion.

This is a dangerous stance not only for the church but for the community as it stifles a voice that has a role to play as the moral conscience of society.

Because governments are led by people, and are therefore fallible, it is essential that Christians and others maintain their principles as a way to balance the temptation to abuse power.

We were also saddened by the response of the LWF in your article. It said 'the assembly respects the wishes of local churches'. Why did they choose the one that undermines Christian values? As a Christian body, we want to see the church stand up for justice and human rights at this critical time in Hong Kong's history. Why? Because it affirms life? Is this not a role for the church? We want to applaud, however, Dr Lam Tak-ho, president of Lutheran Theological Seminary and another unnamed local person, for their courage to speak up in defence of the critical portions of the statement.

ROSE WU Hong Kong Women Christian Council