|Aware – An awareness of a militant Christian Right in Singapore|
On Mar 10, 2009, it was reported at the Christian Science Monitor of the coming “major collapse of evangelical Christianity” due to the deterioration of mainline Protestant Church in the West. This was followed by the Christian Post Report on Apr 13, 2009, that six out of ten Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living entity. Earlier on Apr 10, it was reported proudly that Christians were mobilizing 2 million “Traditional Marriage” (Read Anti-Gay) activist to come against gay marriage. Although, Christian Science (funded by Mormons) would like to see the collapse of the evangelicals, the opposite is true with the demise in the West balanced by the increasing militancy in the Africa and Asian countries.
We see the increasing fundamentalism in the recent events at Aware where some members of the anti-gay Church of Our Savior (COOS) appear to stage an elaborate and well plan coup to take over the leadership of AWARE, a secular and feminist movement in support of women’s rights. It is not that AWARE was overtly pro-gay, but its support for the decriminalization 377A appears to set off this take over. The Christian Extremist particularly sensitive especially after the DBS and Focus on the Family debacle clearly has a score to settle. Those who do not fully support their narrow and religiously extreme views on gays are said to be “pro-gay”. Christians are supposed to be persecuted for righteousness sake of doing good by proclaiming the Gospel good news, but their “persecution” is for unrighteousness sake being criticized for clearly doing what was morally wrong and against common human decency. They kept refusing to admit their hidden agenda.
The ferocious and irrational approach by the Christian Extremist with an insidious agenda ultimately came out into the open when Madam Thio, the grandmother of the anti-gay movement came out in public to be the secret champion behind the takeover concern about the alleged increasing pro-lesbian slant of the sex education classes offered by Aware although there were no complaints from parents. They took over Aware to ensure that a conservative approach is followed based on their narrow Christian outlook despite the action is tantamount to theft in the moral sense. They could have started another society to push for a different stance but chose instead to bring down those whom they opposed and claimed to bring back AWARE to its “original” purpose even though they had no relationship with the founding old guard nor share their vision of diversity and openness. It was this openness of their constitution that was abused by those with in ulterior motives.
The involvement from the Christian extremist from the Anglican Church of Our Savior became clearer with the release of email correspondences showing significant planning and the motivation behind the coup, with clear support from their leadership. It was the irrational fear that AWARE was becoming pro-gay although there were no such explicit support as their main focus were on women’s issues and not a platform for gay rights. However, the Christian extremist motto so beautifully expounded by President Bush is a reminder of their approach – “If you are not for us, you are against us” mentality.
There is of course no danger of Gay organizations being taken over for these Christians would not be unequally yoked with “sinners”. But the double-edged sword in taking over AWARE is that they will be influenced by the more liberal views and see the world from a much bigger view and opinions. This is contrasted to the closed door policy in churches where what the Pastor says is the Law and there is little room of alternative reflection. The Gay issue is so threatening for the churches in that it threatens its absolute interpretation of the bible by well founded alternative views. It is obviously unjustified for a small minority to be the scapegoat for the religious idol worship of the majority leading them to same sex acts as a matter of their faith. The bible speaks little of same sex orientation. The bible is a two edged sword in that our wrong interpretation cuts both ways and will come back to haunt us.
The American Christians are exporting their kind of fundamentalism and activism to Asia. We see this in Africa (in Nigeria and Uganda) where Exodus is supporting an attempt to eradicate gays and blame them for all of society’s ills. Even in South Africa despite their history of race discrimination, the Lesbians are routinely targeted for rape and murder in a male dominated culture. We remember Nazi Germany where Hitler tried to do so, and murdered a hundred thousand gays. Will God honor our blood stained hands? There has never been a great revival in Germany or Arab countries.
When we quench the Holy Spirit of God, slowly we see Him leaving, one day the Holy Spirit presence seems absent. It is not surprising that 60% do not believe in the Holy Spirit, the third entity of the Godhead that the Father sent to bring forth revival and to honor the work of Christ at the Cross. Without the Holy Spirit, there will be little manifestation of power and miracles. What is left is man’s attempt to do good and be holy in order to bring blessings. The Holy Spirit will still be us but as a bystander grieved by our actions against the defenseless and outcast of the community.
This is Law in contrast to the New Testament Message of Grace. They do not believe in the Holy Spirit, because few now experience His presence. And the Holy Spirit is so sensitive that He may not want to grace our Anti-Gay crusades. When we grieve the Holy Spirit, it is difficult to proclaim a New Testament Christianity. Lighthouse Evangelism and Benny Hinn Ministries may proclaim healing is for today, but the reality for well proven and documented miracles are rare and few between that the Pope will make one a Saint if he could heal. Power miracles cannot be bought even by how we sow into the televangelist coffers.
The call for the collapse of Evangelical Christianity is premature. It will last just as the Cathedrals in Rome have lasted far longer than many world powers. However, when the Holy Spirit leaves what is left is an empty shell, with the religious forms of rituals and structure without the real substance seen in the Book of Acts. In desperation, the religious extremist will blame it on lawlessness and failure to comply the Law, ie the church have gotten to be more extreme with focus on hot button issues such as the call for the 2 million anti-gay activist.
Therefore, Evangelical Christianity may be outwardly successful with many mega churches but their core powerhouse of the Holy Spirit may be missing. It is not surprising that Pastor Kong of CHC claims that the greatest miracle is in salvation, when the biblical norm is for power miracles as a witness of God’s power and rule to bring about the changed hearts of people leading to them accepting Christ. We distort the biblical norm to rationalize an increasing lack of spiritual power and then try to earn it by strict adherence to the Law and demand that all others follow our laws. We choose and narrowly focused on gays as the greatest sinners but dare not look to the reality where 85% of Singaporeans worship other religions effectively violating the 1 st and 2 nd commandments. Even Christian denomination such as the Catholic Church with their worship of Saints, the Pope and Mary we dare not mention for their far too powerful.
The Government’s pragmatic approach is a “Don’t Ask”, “Don’t tell” policy or more well known as “Live, and Let live”. It is an understanding that Gays have been, and are with us, and should be given space as long as they don’t ask for too much. It is claimed that to ask for more would incur a backlash in a conservative society in Singapore. We are not to be the lead rather will follow when society evolves to accept gays in the mainstream. The extremist Christians did not follow the plot set out, by disturbing the peace by stirring up the hornet’s nest unnecessarily. By coming after Aware even though they were not actively promoting gay rights, it will back fire in a number of ways:-
(Exo 20:7 NKJV) "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
The New Testament Church caused uproar because they claimed that Jesus rose again from the dead and by this resurrection power that one will be saved. And this resurrection power is available today and God will manifest His word with signs and wonders to heal and deliver. They made daily news headlines of healings and power miracles and stories of the supernatural. However, the church in Singapore is making headlines for other reasons with the drama against AWARE being played out over and over again by being the religious Pharisees persecuting the weak and the hapless outcasts through whatever underhand means. Even the world and non Christians are shocked by our immoral actions rationalized by our religion and narrow mind. We have taken the name of God in vain by making a poor testimony of Jesus Christ.
In our religious zealousness, the Church has taken on the Spirit of Saul but on this road to Damascus of going the extra mile to religiously persecute gays, we may just happen to come to see the light and be blinded by God. And this blinding will be painful for we will loose our power and strength and be led by those we chose to condemn and persecute. We will soon hit a road block for which we will not be able to go any further. And yet, we are not any wiser and in our persecution complex, sees instead ourselves as being the victim when we were the aggressor. Let us return to the original purpose of the church and be focused on the Good news of the Gospel rather than be engaged in the affairs of this world, the temptation of its power, and wealth.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
From: smthio@xxxxxxx. sg
From: suzanne ho
FYI. Please be discreet and selective as to who you want to forward to.