A church has defended a Singaporean man’s singing of a worship song on a plane, noting that Singapore is not only a secular state but also a multi-cultural, multi-religious society.
In a post on its Facebook page on Tuesday (19 April), the 3:16 Church noted that Jonathan Neo’s action has drawn criticisms from many in Singapore for “imposing” his religious beliefs on others.
“The beauty of this nation is not in the exclusion of religious practices and views but a neutral platform for the free exercise of all cultural diversities which are beautiful and valuable to a thriving culture,” according to the post, written by a Pastor Norman.
The incident has led to many netizens criticising Neo, who was strumming his guitar on a plane while he sang a worship song to unsuspecting passengers during mid-flight. Neo was supposedly on board an easyJet flight when the incident happened.
Neo claimed on social media that the flight pilot had introduced him and his fellow worshippers to the passengers, and that they sang in six languages.
Singapore-based 3:16 Church claimed that in an “increasingly anti-Christian climate”, many will “amplify” their criticisms of such an incident. “In these last days, the scoffing is not something that Christians should be surprised by,” the church said.
Neo was given permission to sing, according to the church. Neo previously claimed that the pilot had introduced him and his fellow worshippers during the flight.
“Also, those on the plane had agency to voice out their disapproval should they not want to tolerate his singing. I’m certain Jon would have responded appropriately and humbly. I’m grateful to hear that many passengers reciprocated the love with claps, tears and smiles,” the church wrote.
Many netizens have criticised the church for its post.
Among them, a Germaine Ong said, “I am a believer. I am grieved – grieved that a preacher who professes to know Christ is taking this narrow and myopic view of the matter.” A Ryley Khandro said, “Please stop pushing your Christian agenda on the silent majority.”
However, other netizens also supported the church’s position and Neo’s action. One netizen, Adeline Pang Siow Ling, said, “I hope I would have his courage. Good job, Jonathan and thank you once again!” Praising the post, a Timothy Anand Weerasekera said, “So well written! So much for us to reflect on!”