The newly-announced non-profit organisation, Honour (Singapore), says it is not a Christian or a religious organisation.
This was in response to criticisms and questions raised online when the group was announced at its launch on 5 August.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat was its guest-of-honour and made a speech urging Singaporeans to “reflect on the values that have underpinned our success.”
One of these values, according to the founders of Honour (Singapore) is honour.
The group hopes to promote “a culture of honour and honouring for the well-being of Singapore.”
However, following its launch, online observers highlighted the fact that the directors on its Board were also involved in the same Christian organisation, the Full Gospel Business (FGB), an affiliate of the United States-based Full Gospel Fellowship.
The Online Citizen, for example, raised many questions about this (see here), and wondered if there was more to the group than meets the eye, given the background of its members.
The executive director of Honour (Singapore), for example, is also the chairman of Focus On The Family, a renowned anti-gay Christian group.
The members of the Board of Honour (Singapore) are:
- Group president of GIC, Mr Lim Siong Guan as chairman
- Former senior director with the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Mr Jason Wong, as executive director
- Mr Khoo Oon Theam
- Mr Georgie Lee
- Retired senior district judge Mr Richard Magnus
All members of the board hold senior positions in the FGB as well.
The goals of the FGB, as stated in its website, is to:
“… penetrate the marketplace with that knowledge [that “God really cares about you”]. The place of action to fulfil this vision is the local fellowship called “Gate” that is held weekly in the workplace. A fellowship is called “Gate” because important life and business decisions take place in this sphere of influence. In the ancient world, marketplace was accessible only through actual gates. In the modern world, every nation’s culture and society is dominated by the seven ‘gates’ of Arts, Entertainment & Sports; Business & Finance; Church & Religion; Distribution, Media & Communication; Education; Family and Government.”
“Our members are called “Gatekeepers” because they are called and chosen to make a difference in the culture of the marketplace they are in so that the gates of hell shall not prevail over them. At the various Gates, the real life testimonies of our members provide encouragement to the people in the marketplace to choose to live a Spirit-directed life through Jesus Christ.”
Despite these stated goals, however, Mr Lim told The Straits Times that the group “is not an advocacy group on issues of Government or public policies.”
The Straits Times also reported that the office of Honour (Singapore) “is also listed under the same address as the church.”
Mr Lim explained that this was because the group had wanted “to start Honour Singapore as soon as possible”, before this year’s National Day and Singapore’s 50th birthday next year.
“To achieve its object, Honour Singapore will need to collaborate with any individual or organisation, regardless of race or religion, to reach all segments of Singapore society like schools, parents, businesses, workplaces and community groups,” he added.
Honour Singapore has also been granted the status of an Institution of Public Character (IPC) for collection of donations. It is also not clear if IPC status has been granted as a result of this connection with FGB, or if the Commissioner of Charities is aware of the situation, or if the collections and usage of donations would be audited with this in mind.