Saturday, June 12, 2010

Is The Straits Times Weighing In?

The Straits Times was given a smack on the hand for its biased coverage of the AWARE saga. DPM and Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng then said the government had analysed the volume, tone and objectivity of the coverage of the AWARE episode, and found it wanting in some respects, adding, "Journalists should not get caught up in the stories they are reporting, however exciting the stories may be". Is it now taking sides in the earthly trials of Paster Kong Hee? The headline "City Harvest founder now accused of plagiarism" seems to suggest so.

Two American authors of a Christian study book, Professor Sid Buzzell and Dr Kenneth Boa, said they would not be pursuing the matter of their materials being copied by Pastor Kong for his "Daily Devotion" writings. "In the spirit of our book's notes, we prefer to let the matter go rather than create issues for Mr Kong, " said Professor Buzzell, a dean of the school of theology at Colorado Christian University. Which is a very Christian thing to do. The one who cast the first stone about plagiarism was a blogger who highlighted the trangression on his blog "Cheat Grace" on May 9. The blog has been put on holding pattern since June 8, the blogger having established his case, and wisely decided to move on.

But The Straits Times chose to take the step of informing a third writer, Bill Perkins, 61, that his material was also copied. Perkins is less forgiving, "Plagiarism is wrong, regardless of the motive.. It misleads the reader into thinking something about the author that is not true." Buzzell had premised his spirit of forgiving upon Pastor Kong's repentance, "If he continues to copy the material, we can take it from there," and also, "seek advice from others who are more legally sophisticated about such things". Who knows, they may even be guided to hire the lawyers that financially humbled TT Durai of NKF infamy.

Prior to his conversion, Paul, an apostle of Jesus, did naugthy things, like "violently persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it" (Galatians 1:13). On the road to Damascus, he was blinded by a "light from heaven", and then had his sight restored by Ananias as an object lesson to start a new life to do good things. Will Pastor Kong ever be given a chance to amend his ways?

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