|A Reflection of the year at Christmas 2007|
More than 2000 years ago, our savior Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in 4 BC, in a manger of a stable when no hotel would let him in. It is said that Christianity has been against Homosexuality for 2000 years and that proves that it is wrong. Perhaps this is a distortion of the foundation of Christianity and assigning tradition and history as valid biblical truth. For Jesus, who was and is the head of the Christian Church never once made being gay a core issue. It was not “true” Christianity that was ever against Gays but man made religion that denies the centrality of Christ. The opposition by the church came not from first century Church but when the church became institutionalized in the 4th century AD. Therefore, it is “fallen” Christianity that has been against gays for the last 1500 years with much greater intensity in the 16th century when Henry the Eight became the head of the Church of England, who despite his womanizing and adulterous affairs did see himself much more moral that gays whereupon anti-gay laws were instituted by the church, for which 377A is the remnant of history. It is not surprising that the NCCS and the Evangelical Reformed Churches remained steadfast in support of this darker side of their Protestant heritage. The use of historical precedence by some Christians to come against gays has showed that we have not learnt from history, which is a reflection of the tragedy of the church that was born out of the euphoria of power, miracles and the supernatural but succumbed to the world.
As the CCIS (Celebrate Christmas in Singapore) with strong support from the Anglican, Methodist and independent church celebrate Christmas at the Orchard Road shopping centers, (from 15 to 25 Dec 2007) one could see John 3:17 shining brightly from the Tang’s shopping center. Would the 10 days of choir singing Christmas carols and message that “it’s all bout love” sweep over a year of very strong and fervent anti-gay activism of the churches? The year started with Singapore being a key member of the Anglican South setout to censure the Episcopalian Church at the primates meeting in Tanzania where homosexuality was fanned as a major issue even though extreme poverty, war and diseases (by straight people) abounded in Africa and they cared only about what two gay men does in their own privacy.
Shortly after in March 2007, the NCCS and its Chairman Bishop Solomon , put it clearly to the government that 377A should not only be retained but be expanded to include lesbians. Objections were made on “moral” grounds and for protection of marriages, even though many thousands of babies are killed each year (from straight relationships and marriages) out of abortions in Singapore. Yet the churches see the greatest moral challenge as being caused by gays. In Sept 2007, when it appears that the normally disunited Gay community would at least put a token number of signatories to repeal 377A as a symbolic gesture of their opposition (since they have no chance of getting the 377A repealed), the “Christians” rose up in force, flexing their influence and pressure to the Government with a very well organized campaign. Led by Pastor Derek Hong, wild rhetoric were made from the pulpit that “ Gay activists are used by Satan to undermine the Gospel of the good News”, the goal of Gay activist used by Satan to destroy the church of Jesus Christ, and Gays want to silence pro-family groups and religious organization. We may put on a “good show” at Christmas but our messaging has been done and perhaps inscribed into the general population by their champion, Miss Thio Li-Ann, the picture of drinking water from the nose.
Amidst all the glitter of Orchard, I wonder whether many even Christians would have noted God’s message to Singapore, that it was not He who sent the anti-gay crusaders to condemn gays for Jesus did not come to condemn the World yet the messaging of the church has been a message of condemnation, but worst still, attributing all our sins to a small minority group – as the greatest challenge of social morals. Jesus’ message to Singapore is that He did not come to do what the Christian Church did. He needed to, for when NCCS and the likes of Bishop Solomon, Rev Derek Hong, Rev Yang Tuck Yoong, and Archbishop John Chew spoke, they represented Christ as key leaders of the Christian Community. When they spoke out of their carnal self, the image and reputation of Christ was distorted. God’s word today is very clear, “This was not what I came here for”. The Holy Spirit is so gentle, the message not like a thunder upon the St. Andrew’s cathedral but a light up at Orchard. Even when the churches fell into sin, He did not use the highest forum in the land (the Parliament) to sensor the church despite the church having use this platform and getting the MPs to thump their chairs to come against gays. We may have well sown the seeds where one day the MPs would pass laws against Christians. When we sow hatred and persecution, we will receive thus. The gentleness of Jesus and the Holy Spirit is contrasted to the militancy of the church and religious zealots.
The year ended with the Hope Concert by Jason and Demarco, a Gay duo and openly reaffirming a monogamous gay relationship as an example to all in the midst of an imminent crises facing the Gay community on a HIV outbreak. The concert was not reported much in the media nor responded by the NCCS being packaged as a HIV awareness concert. The Senior Minister of State, Dr. Balaji has sought to work closely with the NGOs with Sydney, Australia as an example of reducing infection rates in the midst of increasing rates throughout Asia. This is perhaps the best we could Hope for, for unlike Australia, homosexuality is illegal here with a strong social stigma with many gays in closets and married. Hence, any explosion of HIV would cross to the general public very easily. The concert was a very quiet event and it should be for it was a "closed" event with publicity targeted at the very small gay community and involved no one else. So too would one day be when Gay relationships are legalized. Nothing would change, for how could 5% of the population ever change the abortion, the divorce rate by straight couples and the family breakdown of the existing 95%. May this Christmas brings new Hope to the Gay community, a Hope that justice will prevail, and a faith that God will arise for this community that appeared to have their hopes dashed, and facing a very major crises. May this coming year bring self reflection to the Christian Community here in Singapore for a time of restrain, prayer and comtemplation on the gay issue - to see Gays as people of sacred worth and dignity and not only in terms of sex - not for the sake of the Gay people, but for their own sake of consecration and Holiness before God.