Click here for English version
The Church is a Politically-neutral Spiritual Community
Rev Gordon Siu
As a spiritual community, the church has always remained politically neutral amid numerous political issues in society. The church is not a pressure group, nor is it a political organization or party. We do not – and should not – put forward concrete political or policy proposals and request the congregation or society to adopt them. The church is a community of truth. It preaches truth and moral principles related to social life and politics, but will not proclaim or declare any political stance. As far as individual Christians are concerned, they can have different political views according to their discernment. But whatever their political inclination, they should know that it all involves complicated political judgment and analysis of strategies. The resulting political opinion is a relative view. It is not absolute truth. So Christians can accept that other Christians may have different political views. With mutual respect, they can still resolutely keep the fellowship in faith.
In recent days, pastors, Sunday School teachers and counselors who preach or teach in the church can get emotional too. But when they teach, they still need to be politically neutral. Care should be taken as the use of some slogans and phrases such as "'add oil' (go for it), Hong Kong!", "five demands" and "end violence and chaos" associated with certain political stands may give the wrong impression of stating one's stance. On the other hand, brothers and sisters should not readily pass judgment on the examples or Bible verses used by preachers. They should not think that such usage is to lobby the congregation to accept the preacher's stance. In the course of learning and growing up together, we need each other's trust, acceptance and reminders out of love.
As far as truth is concerned, the stand of the church is explicitly one of "non-violence." This has been our stance all along. It has never changed. "Do not repay anyone evil with evil…but overcome evil with good" – this will always be our guiding principle. As such, the use of violence cannot be justified by any objectives, no matter how good they are, or any arguments, including those premised on the different levels of force available to the two sides. We cannot agree with or support violent means used by some protesters, such as throwing petrol bombs and bricks, destruction of public property, or vigilante attacks. Likewise, we cannot agree with or support any police officers' clubbing of arrested or subdued protesters, nor other instances of unfair execution of the law, if found to be true.
Certainly, we know that the government has an undeniable role in the outcome of the social conflict as we see today. But the use of violence to advance one's demands (even if successful) is not our option (as it will often trigger subsequent, more extensive use of violence that overturns the "success"). Meanwhile, no matter how we are treated, we should still insist on love, because "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10).