Evangelical group throws weight behind churches in Christmas carol controversy

Sarawak Evangelical Christian Association (SECA) logo.

KUCHING, Nov 25: The Sarawak Evangelical Christian Association (SECA) firmly asserts that any form of religious discrimination, extremism, or forces against the cultural fabric of Sarawak is unwelcome and will not be tolerated in attempts to divide Sarawakians.

SECA chairman Pastor Greman Ujang reiterated this position while expressing support for Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS), which decided to withdraw from the ‘A Christmas Carol, Sarawak in Diversity’ programme, despite acknowledging the clarification over the confusion by its organiser, TVS.

This comes after ACS’s official letter to the Sarawak Premier’s Department, explaining their withdrawal from the Christmas event due to the alleged refusal by the organiser to replace the carol ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ with ‘O Holy Night.’

TVS, a Sarawak-based television station, however had clarified that the confusion was due to a ‘miscommunication’ among parties involved and emphasised that they have no intention of excluding ‘O Holy Night’ and were actively working to include the song in the performance.

“SECA is very upset and disappointed with the decision since ‘O Holy Night’ is one of the most revered Christmas carols since 1840, while ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ is not a Christmas carol song and has no Christian elements.

“As such, SECA fully supports and stands together with ACS on this matter,” he said in a statement today.

Greman underscored that Sarawak is a multi-racial and multi-religious State where tolerance and acceptance prevail among its diverse population.

The ‘A Christmas Carol, Sarawak in Diversity’ programme, a Christmas carol-themed musical event featuring 1,500 participants, is scheduled for Dec 3 at Padang Merdeka.

The Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, is expected to officiate at the event. — DayakDaily