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.