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Singapore’s Gospel Light Church is being ridiculed today for preaching that the nation needs to focus on repenting for sins rather than addressing its mental health after a teen was brutally murdered on campus. 

The Punggol Field Walk church deleted a post minimizing the calls for better mental health services that have come after a 16-year-old Sec 4 student with a history of psychiatric issues allegedly slayed a younger classmate with an axe last week.

The church’s now-deleted post blaming “sin” as the true cause of the ghastly crime was roundly trashed online as “tone deaf” and “disrespectful.”

“This is so distasteful and hurtful to the parents of the deceased,” Bunbunbunch wrote in a Reddit thread. “Absolutely no room to get all evangelical at this and yet the church somehow found a way to exploit the situation. The devil works hard, but this guy obviously works harder”

“How dare you ride upon this tragic event to evangelize. Im speechless,” Wildheart38 said.

The reactions came after the church shared what was presented as a text conversation between a woman named Inez and senior pastor Jason Lim discussing the murder of the 13-year-old student.

“How about how this highlight’s society’s broken systems that needs fixing,” Inez said.

“Yes but the problem is that of sin foremostly, not lack of student mental health awareness or better safety protocols,” Lim replied. “Students with mental health issues like this boy need special help, but what their soul needs is still Christ.”

Lim added that mental health and safety “treat the symptoms of sin and not the problem” to which Inez replied that the unidentified 16-year-old suspect needed a “Savior” even if he committed a murder.

The church had not responded to a message seeking comment as of publication time.

Redditors took it as unhelpful given Singapore’s collective reluctance to come to terms with mental health as a genuine health concern.

“If religion makes us feel emotionally better go ahead. But medical help, science and mental health should not be discouraged. We can be both religious and use medical help and mental health help,” I_love_pillows wrote.

The murder took place July 19 in one of the school’s toilets. A day later, the suspect was remanded for psychiatric assessment after being charged with murder. Police said they seized the axe believed to be the murder weapon. The suspected teen killer had been previously admitted to the Institute of Mental Health when he was a Sec 2 student following what police described as a suicide attempt.  

Singapore has been mourning the boy’s death through gifts to the school and messages online. Many have called upon schools and organizations to put more emphasis on mental health support for those affected by the incident. The school yesterday released a video made by students from the Class of 2019 with messages of encouragement for the teachers and students.

Other stories you should check out:

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Traveling on the cards for Singaporeans, especially if you’re vaccinated
COVID: Don’t focus too much on infection numbers, says Health Minister


This article, Singapore church jeered for blaming ‘sin’ not mental health for student slaying, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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