|The 377A returns|
The article by Mr Ho Kown Ping entitled "stop making a mockery of the law, lets accept gays", took even the gay community by surprise. Still debating whether to hold a gay parade in Hong Lim Park in another unexpected move by the Government to reduce censorship, the article was a real surprise with no real impetus at all for the article to be written, and the author was not the run of the mill journalist but the Chairman of MediaCorp, the owner of the Newspaper. Mr Ho was not just the chairman of the national newspaper, he is also the Chairman of Singapore Management University, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Director of Singapore Airlines. He was also formerly the chairman of Singapore Power amongst many senior appointments.
Why would such a rich and prominent businessman with close associations with the government and holding senior portfolios in government link companies, go out of line and publish an article on a very sensitive issue which was sure to provoke a strong feedback from the Christian Fundamentalist. Surely, he must have been given a fair degree of license to do so.
The Christian Post reacted quickly by posting a response to the editorial which sounded more like a rebuttal. The former Anglican Bishop Moses Tay without any supporting facts as usual for the Christian Right again alluded to this mysterious "gay lobby" which one would find it difficult to find in the gay community so well known for its partying, shopping, and Gym workouts to bother about anything else.. What was troubling and unsaid was the possibility that this was an attempt to close the loose ends of 377A by the Government. (but of course the Bishop dares not criticise the government). At this time last year in the heat of the 377A debate, the Government would not have wanted to be seen out of control and pandering to the demands of the religious fundamentalist or the gay minority, so the status quo remained with the compromise of no active persecution.
However, after just less than one year, as if it was a Government initiative, we see the move for a more open and fairer society with the Formula One racing coming, the relaxation of the speakers corner, the frank and very large supplement in the Straits Times on Transexuals, and now the article "lets accept gays" in the Today Newspapers. The Gay Indignation Events which was restricted last year to the extent that the Rev Troy Perry was not allowed to address a church service, was held this year without any fanfare nor drama. A coincidence one might say, but nothing really happens by coincidence in Singapore where everything is well planned because we are deemed to be too small to make a mistake and undo the many years of nation building. It appears that Singapore must change and yesterday may not be sufficient for tommorow.
The responses to the article came quickly from the Christian Right. In a suprisingly honest response, a letter to the Today Newspaper, states "As a Christian, I oppose legalising a gay lifestyle in Singapore because it’s against my beliefs". The writer is in fact saying (whether he realised it) that the fundamental tennant of Christian belief is about homosexuality (and not faith in Jesus Christ), and that Gays should be persecuted! because of Christianity. Gays are so insulting to his beliefs that they should be locked up!. The statement makes a mockery of the incredible message of hope, love and faith in the Christian Faith.
Where do you find an anti-gay stance in the bible and more importantly where did Jesus ever preached this "truth". It appears that we extract a verse from the Old Testament relating to straight people worshiping Baal and having sex with the same sex because of this, and equate it to gays having a given same sex orientation, and makes this a fundamental religious dogma which defines our Christianity. Did they bring a gay men to Jesus, no, they brought a prostitute serving straight men, which you would find in the streets of Geylang. When we cherry picked the bible to force it to fit to a pre-defined theology, you might as well cut the bible because this is what we are doing - tearing the biblical truths apart for our man made and carnal theology.
There would be valid grounds based on beliefs to oppose legalisation, if this was a law that results in Christians not being able to practise their faith. If it is not, then Christians are asking for special rights, the right to impose their beliefs or the very narrow and mis-informed theological stand on all of Singapore even though evangelical Christians form less than 10% of the Singaporeans. This world is becoming more and more prone to religious fundamentalism where religion is used to justify actions against others. A strong message should be sent to the Christian Right to avoid this dangerous road.
If the Christian Right in Singapore, were to be anywhere consistent, they would have a much stronger case to insist on a ban on idol worship in Singapore since both the New Testament and the Old Testament is a historical narrative of how the Jews and the Christians struggled against idol worhsip of other gods. But alas, the gays are a weak and small minority and an easy target to show our "morality" to the world and our self righteousness. All the references to sexuality in the bible were the issues of heterosexuality and not surpising since we have even in tiny Singapore 14,000 abortions and 7,000 divorces per year.
Christianity is not a religion, it is not even a relationship with God. It is not for the religious man who after he reads and understood the entire bible still goes out to nail the saviour at the Cross. It is not an institution who sings hymns and worship the saints and popes whilst sending 6 million Jews to death. It is opposite to religion because its emphasis is not the laws that we do, our righteousness or the lack of it, our perceived morality or the lack of it, our interllectual ability to explain evolution and why god is a cultural creation. It is not endless discussion devoid of tangible signs and power miracles up the mountain of our Greek philosophers. It is not even loving God with all our heart, and loving others and our selves - the Jewish mantra until they killed Jesus their Messiah and though it was loving God. The most fearful thing is that we see in the bible all the evilness of our religiosity, hypocrisy, self righteousness especailly those who claimed to know the bible, and all we could do is to condemn gays for something so inherent whilst we chose to sin freely and see it not.
The bible is a two edged sword because on one end, it provides the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, but on the other edge is a reflection of us! the 95% heterosexual community.and not the gay community per say. On one edge is God's grace and mercy, and the other is judgement because the bible reflects our sins for nothing is new under the sun.
(John 10:10 NKJV) "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Let us not be the thief who comes to steal away the basic rights of the Gay community who has been under so much condemnation causing many deaths and destruction. We are called to be as Christ, to give life, and this life is Jesus Christ. Let us preach the name and power of Jesus atoning death and resurrection. If not, this will be taken from us, and the people's ears and eyes will no longer hear the good news until one day, we will go into the same closets which we have put gays in.