Friday, May 27, 2011

Speaking From Experience

The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is in the news today as it was reported by the Strait Times newspaper that a complaint had been made by the son of an 80 year-old man staying at the hospital. The son complained that a Christian volunteer was trying to convert his (Taoist) father to Christianity while he was staying in SGH.

This despite a sign SGH had put up that warned people not to do this. The sign read; 'At SGH, we respect the religious and ethnic beliefs of Singaporeans. No staff, patient, visitor or volunteer is allowed to impose their religious beliefs on another.'

Rather diplomatically, SGH is refusing to say how widespread is the problem that they had to put up a sign to warn against the practice. I do not have this problem. Christian volunteers proselytizing their religion to non-Christians in hospitals are a widespread problem in Singapore. I am speaking from experience.

An aunt of mine was dying of cancer and a few weeks before her death, she surprised the family by announcing that she was a Christian. Now my aunt don’t follow any religion before and the family found that a preacher had been visiting her at the hospital. This was after her condition had worsened and she had to stay there. Basically, she was dying. As my family isn’t that religious, no one kicked a ruckus on the matter but it left a bad taste in the mouth of more than a few family members (including me).

Now I have no problem with Christian volunteers who hand out flyers along the street or visit door-to-door to promote Christianity, but doing this to a sick and dying patient is just plain wrong. A sick and dying patient is at his weakest and that is most definitely NOT the time to be evangelizing your religion to them.

I don’t see any Hindus, Muslims, Taoists, Buddhists etc, proselytizing their religion in hospital, why only Christians? There is a place and time for proselytizing your religion and hospitals are NOT the place to do it, especially when it is to sick and dying patients!

The sign is good but I think the SGH (and other hospitals) need to be stricter in the policy. In fact, the stricter, the better.


Gar said...

Proselytizing any religion on anyone is tantamount to brainwashing and should be outlawed.
Children are born and people get old and everyone just thinks it's okay to brainwash them into believing that they need to believe in a mystical deity to prevent pain. It's just wrong.

Ghost said...

I have no problem with most of what Christians in Singapore do but there are limits and proselytizing any religion to sick and dying patients in hospitals is just a step too far for me. Gar, I hope stuff like this doesn't happen in America also.

Gar said...

Oh stuff like this is epidemic in America. In fact, if there's not a minister near your bedside at the hospital people will think you might be severely contagious.
Unfortunately freedom of religion and all the evil it implies is guaranteed in our constitution.

Dalai Lama 5th said...

Hmmm...Yes, I agree that the dying need to be protected from over zealous people, but I also would suggest the importance of religion as a source of comfort and solace. I dont think we should deprive anyone the freedom to receive such prayer, be it buddhist, muslim or christian.

Anonymous said...

I have encountered people in groups visiting hospitals probably disguised as volunteers BUT, they seemed bent on preaching Christianity in hospitals.
How the hell they were/are allowed to do so?

Ghost said...

I don't think anyone is thinking about depriving anyone the freedom to receive such prayers and this is not the case here. The old man is a Taoist, if he wanted a prayer, I seriously doubt he would ask for a Christian.
What I truly dislike is people who preached to sick and dying patients in their hospital beds. There's a time and place for everything.