PETALING JAYA, April 26 — The Taman Medan church pastor who decided to take down the cross from its building last Sunday did the right thing in the face of intense pressure from a group of protesters, its Senior Pastor Paul Packianathan said today.
He said the church’s Pastor Victoria Packianathan was conducting a worship service last Sunday when there was a “disturbance” outside the church, referring to the protest.
“Taking all this into account and the intimidating circumstances she was facing as is clear in the police report, I fully support her decision for agreeing to take down the cross at that point in time.
“Keyboard comments are easy to make because you did not actually experience what was happening at that time and did not know the intense pressure that the pastor was under at that time,” he told reporters outside the church in his first statement to the public since the protest.
He noted that the pastor had to consider the “welfare and safety” of the church members then, saying that she had the presence of mind to make a “wise” decision then to ensure the weekly service could go on.
Today, the senior pastor said the church has around 50 members and confirmed attendance this week was “as usual”.
He confirmed that the police have offered to provide assistance if contacted.
He said the church has decided to wait for God’s direction on whether to put the cross up again, later confirming that it had not met any politicians and had only spoken to the Selangor government’s official representative.
He clarified today that no one else has been authorised to speak on behalf of the church.
He also said the church forgives the protesters and hold no grudges against them.
Last Sunday, about 50 Taman Medan Muslim residents staged a protest against the Community of Praise Petaling Jaya Church for putting up a cross on its façade, claiming the act was a challenge to Islam and could influence young Muslims.
The church removed the cross several hours later.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak this week said the police are investigating the incident and will take action under the Sedition Act and other laws if the protesters are found to have acted unlawfully.