Sun, Mar 13, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Former president receives honorary theology doctorate

MAN OF THE BOOK Lee slammed the concept of reincarnation as he received the doctorate for being like `a shepherd' in spreading the word or God

By Lindy Yeh  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former President Lee Tung-hui, right, yesterday smiles as he receives an honorary doctorate degree in Theology from Lin Hung-hsin, left, president of the Taiwan Theological College and Seminary.

PHOTO: LIAO CHENG-HUI, TAIPEI TIMES

To celebrate its 133th anniversary yesterday, the Taiwan Theological College and Seminary yesterday granted former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) an honorary doctorate in theology.

To explain why the college authorities had decided to grant Lee the honorary degree -- which traditionally is only offered to people working for a Christian ministry -- college head Lin Hung-hsin (林鴻信) praised Lee as "a shepherd spreading the gospel as well as guarding the Taiwan-centered consciousness."

According to Lin, when the college professors, board members and alumni decided to give Lee the honorary doctorate, they faced criticism as to why the college would grant one to an "ordinary Christian."

"If we look into former president Lee's past and present, we can say that what he has done for Taiwan is out of his faith in God, love of the people and affection for the land," Lin said at the ceremony yesterday.

"Therefore I don't need to provide an explanation [for the decision to give Lee the doctorate], since the motto of this college is `faith for God, love for the people and affection for the land,' Lin said.

During his career as a public servant and a politician, Lee never hid the fact that he was a Christian, and he has on numerous occasions quoted the Bible and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, Lin said.

"Therefore, [Lee] is as eligible as a pastor [for the honorary doctorate]," Lin said.

When giving his blessing, Reverend William Lo (羅榮光), yesterday described Lee as a "man of action with a sense of mission," in his various political accomplishments, including the abolition of state blacklists and Article 100 of the Criminal Code, apologizing to the victimized of the 228 Massacre, and introducing the concept of "state to state" relations between Taiwan and China.

Article 100 of the Criminal Code was the ROC's anti-sedition law.

"For all that he has achieved, Lee has only half-completed his mission. He has yet to lead this nation of Taiwan into a state of complete freedom from the threats posed by China," Lo said.

In a speech to express thanks, Lee said the first requirement for a leader is belief.

"One can understand his weakness only when he has belief, which has been the driving force for my values and policies as a state leader," Lee said.

Lee also criticized the concept of reincarnation -- a tenant of Buddhism and other religions -- and one which most Chinese embrace.

"[Reincarnation] is a lie that there is another life. There is only one life, in which people must make all efforts to achieve [something]," Lee said.

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