01 March 2016
Both the Pope and Singaporean Catholic Archbishop have recently made statements which show the inter-relationship of religious ethical debate and political and social commentary in common space. The traditional secular-religious divide seems inadequate to discuss and regulate this and may need to be rethought.
With interventions by religious leaders into the public domain increasingly commonplace, two current ones are of special significance. One is the comments by Pope Francis I on the American Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. It seemed to suggest that because of his views and policy suggestions he was not a Christian in the Pope’s view, though he later qualified his statement to say it was not a personal comment on Trump’s faith.
The other is an online message by Singaporean Catholic Archbishop William Goh urging Catholics in the city state to boycott Madonna’s concert on 28 February 2016. The former has very much become the stuff of international news, the latter very much a local/ national issue. However, both statements raise issues about the role of religious leaders in public debate and the rights and wrongs of their comments.
… Paul Hedges is Associate Professor in Interreligious Studies for the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
SRP / Online
Last updated on 03/03/2016