Gays do exist - Come as you are.
The speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejah on 24 Sept 2007, was received with shock and horror by the audiences around the world. But this should not be surprising to anyone in a country where they hanged Gays to "get rid of the problem". Whilst we can conveniently attribute this to religious extremeness, are we greatly different? I believe and hope we are. How much different are we? Gay sex is criminalized in Singapore by a jail term though not actively enforced. Within our churches, when Gay Christians come out of the closet, they are put into special cell groups, sent to counseling groups where they are encouraged to make choices to change. Therefore, Gays are not considered to be an innate inborn sexual orientation rather a choice or decision made. In essence, for Christians the Gay issue just does not exist - there is no such thing as being born "gay", and if there is, we quickly rationalize it as being a choice, the influence of Satan, bad parenthood, anything but the obvious. In summary, for many Christians in Singapore, we don't have homosexuals.
In the recent debate on 377a, we use arguments such as the criminalization being the view of a majority of Singaporeans forgetting that the Christianity of the Bible was a small minority and persecuted religion for 300 years after the death of Jesus, and it is still a minority though very influential religion in Singapore. If the Government "bans" evangelism in this pluralistic society, would the Church accepts this? Surely not! It is natural for the church of Jesus Christ to declare the Gospel of peace concerning Christ just as it is natural for some to be born as Gays. The church was so adamant against gays that they did not oppose PC 377, even though traditionally oral and anal sex was considered unnatural. PC 377a was only an add-on referring non specifically to any form of "indecency" between Gays.
Jesus must have had a frustrating time with the religious people because they were quick to rationalize and give "valid" reasons to justify their actions. For the last six months in the forums, we have seen all manner of outrageous rationalization to continue to criminalize gays, from a question of birth rates, downfall of Singapore, destruction of the family, public morality, family values, to the destruction of the Church and the preaching of the Gospel. Essentially, the only one true motivation is that Christians consider homosexuals as sinners and the rest is our attempt to give a more valid reason why and how we can reject gays and put them out into the margins of society and out of sight. Does this motivation justify our actions against gays? to limit the very small space that they have?.
Adultery was mentioned 12 times in the Gospels, yet we do not have a Penal Code against adultery and there are no church services in Singapore that is currently seeking such criminalization. And yet, special sermons are set aside to condemn homosexuality (at City Harvest Church, Church of Our Savior, FCBC, Cornerstone Community, the Methodist Churches & publications, and Acts Christian Centre) and to urge the congregation to push the authorities to retain PC 377a. But we are no different from our religious brethren who rationalized adultery until Moses legalized it. It is because of the hardness of our heart that we do not see the sins that we so readily commit and transgressed against the word of God but yet apply obscure verses and we do not ever apply to ourselves to condemn the Gay community concerning homosexuality. A religious spirit will harden our hearts to see our self-righteousness that we could not see our major transgressions yet pick on the smallest transgressions we see in others.
We have also grossly mis-interpreted the bible to suit our own agenda and purposes. For example, concerning adultery, Jesus mentioned God created male and female and being joined together in marriage. We often used this to maintain that God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve, yet Jesus did not argue from that basis rather the issue was adultery in a heterosexual context. We have missed the message altogether and used it against gay unions. The verses does not in any way advocate the separation of relationships that have been joined together and established in Christ yet we used it to stop two persons who love each other to come before God in Holy matrimony. Jesus used the passage to condemn divorce whilst we use it to condemn marriage between gay couples and even to the extent of blaming them for "destroying" the institution of straight marriage. The hardness of our religious hearts and steadfast refusal to conform to biblical Christianity and instead rationalize our conscience and blame it on Gays deserved condemnation. Jesus had no hesitation to condemn divorce as adultery with very little exceptions to knock our senses as to the hardness of our hearts and disregard for morality.
The HIV issue is impacts both gays and the straight community alike. However, in the forums, Christians have repeatedly to criticize the Gay community as a threat to national health and called the Gay community, a hedonistic society. What does the Christian Churches expect the Gay community to do? A call to be celibate, even though the Christian Community obviously loved sex, and the heterosexual sex is legal and openly flouted in places such as Geylang.and Batam. The opportunity to treat this solely as a medical issue is not practical. Without legalization, we may not have an effective MSM prevention message and treatment to the gay community. The explosion of HIV in Singapore has not started, but once it starts, it will not be easily contained. Although not only a Gay issue, it should be managed well before within the relatively small GLBT community. The rates are higher within the gay community simply as they are living in closets with no recognition of worth or protection of their relationships due to the strong condemnation by Christians. Unless there are Gay legal rights and Gay unions/marriages, then it will one day flow to the wider community and be very difficult to manage. Many gay men in Singapore are in deep closets and have families. The very strong discrimination against gays has created a host of people hiding in the closets having sex with both men and their partners.
Whether we consider homosexuality as a sin is a valued religious judgement. Whilst we have every right to consider homosexuality as a sin, to go beyond to insist on their criminalization is really stealing the small space and the little remnant of freedom that they have. What have gays got to do with the lives of 95% of the population. It is the church who brought this out to the open and come against gays without any provocation. We can lock our church doors tightly and excommunicate Gays which they do in Malaysia and Singapore, that is our prerogative and right within the church even if we were wrong concerning homosexuality and apply the holiness code and Mosaic Laws not to ourselves but only to Gays. But it becomes totally unreasonable when outside the walls of the church, we insist that Gays be jailed or earlier on in Britain, for them to be executed. We are not too far off from Iran. We are actually stealing the lives and space of the Gay Community. With gay sex being illegal, the message to the HIV prevention to the gay community cannot be focused hence we too must bear some responsibility for the high rates of infection. We don't even allow Gays to set up their own Church that the Gospel may be preached to this community even if it is well hidden from the public view. Yet, thousands of brothels in public view frequented by straight men goes seemingly unnoticed. We have stolen the Gay sheep and slaughtered them. We are required by moral law to pay back four times of the lost that has been incurred. Gays do exist and they cannot be put in jail or into closets any longer or our nation and the Church will pay a great but unnecesarry price.
Today, there is a call for freedom, a proclamation of freedom to the Gay community - in the streets of Boston where the Gay issue is gripping the church, in streets of Tehran where fear prevails who will be next to be executed, in the underground churches in Nigeria where Gays are considered less than human by the Anglican Primate, from the Gay Bars at Tanjung Pagar to the Pink Triangle meetings in KL every Sunday. It is a call for freedom to be who we are, beautifully created by God as a Gay person. Come as you are declared the Lord of Host tonight, out from your closets, out from the jails into the saving light of Jesus Christ. O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, without one plea,
Just as I am, and waiting not
Just as I am, though tossed about
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Just as I am, of that free love