The Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, one of the organisers of the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement, said he was “saddened” by comments made by Hong Kong’s Anglican Church archbishop about the movement in a sermon that another senior pastor has deemed “inappropriate”.
The Most Reverend Paul Kwong told churchgoers on Sunday that, amid the ongoing debate about the possibility of democracy in the city, people should keep quiet just as “Jesus remained silent” in the face of crucifixion.
Kwong also poked fun at protesters, many of them students, arrested during a sit-in on Chater Road that followed the July 1 pro-democracy march.
Protesters had complained that police denied them water, left them sitting in buses in stifling heat and prevented them from using the toilet.
In his sermon, which was later posted online on the Anglican Church’s own website, Kwong asked why the protesters did not “bring along their Filipino maids”.
The Reverend Kwok Nai-wang, a senior pastor at the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China, questioned whether Kwong’s membership of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference conflicted with his church duties, as the values of the central government and the church are different.
The Reverend Peter Koon, provincial secretary general of the Anglican Church, on Wednesday sought to defend Kwong, saying the comments had been “taken out of context” and were meant to be “humorous and witty”.
Kwok said he did not find the sermon humorous or witty, but rather inappropriate.
“The students are fighting for a better future in Hong Kong, risking their future. He shouldn’t poke fun at them,” said Kwok, who teaches pastors how to deliver their sermons.
Chu of Occupy told RTHK on Friday that the church should show sympathy to the arrested students, and be fair to them, adding that sermons should focus on the gospels of the Bible rather than individuals.
“If he had made those comments in a tea gathering or another causal type of occasion, then it could be acceptable,” Chu said.
“But I feel saddened about the existence of such a sermon.”
Chu added that he never criticised or showed support to any social movement in his own sermons.