|The Singapore Question - Why are evangelicals stuck at rejecting gays|
2 Cor 3:6 who has made us competant ministers of the new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.
Interpreting the bible by the letter of the law kills. It kills the true meaning and puts people in bondage and in the closet. When we interpret the bible by the letter, then we ourselves are bound by it. The Evangelicals are stuck at rejecting gays because they are not able to move and interpret the bible by the spirit of God, but by their own carnal flesh. The are afraid to make the bible subjective of the historical, cultural, and religious context not only of Christianity but of ancient religions. It is also easier to blame gays who are weak and vulnerable.
Added to this, is the gay aggenda where Christians used gays as scapegoats to be blamed for the sins of the majority and so to be get rid of to cleanse society. It may not matter any more whether the evangelicals are stuck but whether gays are stuck coming out to a reality of God very different from the cruel judgemental God of the Christian Right.
Evangelicals are not rejecting gays because of a notion of correct doctrine of salvation in Christ alone. It is not about tunnel vision about Christ rather gays are used as a wedge issue to gain support and to mobilise Christians into political action. Their goal is the market place. However, the Christian ex-gay movement of the 70s and 80s has lost when many of its leaders become its main antagonist. The availability of information on the internet has meant that the ex-gay movement could no longer spin their lies.
The evangelicals are known for their strict reading of the bible. However, If they had taken the bible very seriously, the inconsistencies, the departures from religious, historical and cultural context would be evident. They are being plain dishonest or deliberately naïve/ in denial because the very existence of gays threatened the rest of their religious construction. If being gay is innate, and they consider it as sin, it makes God a masochist or the rest of their religious beliefs inconsistent.
The ex-gay movement is just their delusion and they spend their energy denying gays because even to probe further theologically/historically to know the truth scares them. Anecdotal evidence is so strong that gays are born as such that the evangelicals are trying to stay far away from the truth by creating a gay agenda which includes the ex-gay movement and that gays are being used by Satan to destroy the church. The walls of delusion are falling and they are faced not only with homosexuality being de-criminalised, but also a moral backlash being seen as obsessively anti-gay rather than preaching the gospel or serving the poor/weak.
In Singapore, the evangelicals such as the Baptists and Methodists have been surpassed by a charismatic movement of the mega churches which instead of staying inside the religious exclusive mountain/closet has gone out to engage and influence the market place including the Government, Business, Education, Media, Arts, religion. The difference with the evangelicals is their move by the Spirit of God. They are more open to the spirit of God rather than insisting on the letter of the law. However, the criticisms from the Evangelicals have meant that the Charismatics jumped onto the anti-gay bandwagon. The Aware saga in Singapore effectively woke up the Charismatics.
In this “cultural war” in Singapore created by the evangelicals, the opposition religious left has gone missing. They are not challenged. The claim by the evangelicals that “the bible says so” is just a convenient statement as not to probe further or contradicted by a strong voice of alternatives. There are few to take them to tasks in the forums and on the web sites. In America, there is a strong liberal movement in the mainstream churches. In Singapore, the mainstream churches are instead the most conservative.
The Charismatics have overtaken the Evangelicals, their mega churches combined with many tens of thousands of members, with no credible alternative. It is like the General election with only one party contesting. Religion has become a battle ground for the minds and hearts of the masses. Mega churches are awesome and impressive to represent the immortal house of God invoking awe. They are of enormous sizes as the ancient gods. Also the latest media and IT technology are used just as the ancients had used temple trickery and mechanical genius/ devious elements to promote their cause. The left have very little and invisible.
The evangelicals are not alone. The Christian Faith in Singapore has a substantial Catholic component which is officially anti-gay. At the battle against gay rights in California, the Catholic and the Mormon Churches pushed the winds of change against gays even though their doctrine were hardly pure nor correct and subject to claims of blasphemy and heresy by the evangelicals. The same could happen in Singapore with the Catholic church opposing any basic gay rights.
In America, Gays have been used as a wedge issue to gather support and mobilise the Christian Right movement for a political cause because they can’t use divorce or abortion even though far clearer condemnation from the bible. It was also a reaction to the liberal movement of the 60s, and 70s, for a more inclusive Christianity that includes other faiths. It was an issue used as a last stand against the liberal movement, a comeback which saw entry into the political scene, massive televangelism, internet broadcasting, and finally anti-gay marriage legislations.
They are not doing it because the bible says so, or that they were being exclusive generally, but it was a far wider agenda for mobilization of the masses, power and control. When challenged on the historical religious and cultural context of the clobber verses, many Singaporean pastors would reply base on standard answers from their American friends because they haven’t studied enough themselves. For example, the materials for Pastor Derek Hong of Church of Our Saviour’s anti-gay sermons can be found in the Christian Right web sites in America. They are not thinking themselves.
As Gay Christians our approach is not only about being inclusive in terms of welcoming all to the table but to bring them back to a biblical Christ centred Christianity. For example, their emphasis should be the Gospel rather than using gays as a wedge issue to gain power and wealth. Jesus never condemned gays, and if we study the clobber verses, the abomination always refer to the religious practices of other faiths which were considered sacrilege. We need to challenge and debate with the evangelicals on their level and to prod them to see their inconsistencies.
The answer to why “Evangelicals stuck at rejecting gays” is because we have not engaged them at the same level, nor have ourselves come out of the closet to establish our own spheres of influence. There is no alternative voice, only a small voice in the desert. The quietness is so profound until they can go undercover to infiltrate the Aware NGO. It is when they got burned that the Charismatics are having a second thoughts and officially far less aggressive on their attacks on gays which hitherto appeared every other day at Christian Post SG. At the height of the pre-Aware saga even New Creation and City Harvest joined in the ex-gay push.
The Evangelicals and Charismatics in Singapore have given up on attacking gays in Singapore, and finally accept that we are here to stay. The time for dialogue is over as we go separate ways. The Gay Christian community is free to do whatever we want, yet it is not a call to the marginalised in general, for we need to minister the Christ to the GLBT community in light of the grave harm done by the evangelicals. It may be too late, as a great fire wall has been built to stop the invading barbarians of the Christian Right is now also stopping the message of the Gospel. This is the real tragedy.
The mouths of those who condemned the GLBT community are now silenced. Their wicked sins and agenda now exposed in public for all to see. Their feminist mentor has appeared in the front page of straits times in 2010 in her full glory exposed in the Aware Saga. Their “ex-gay” champion, Derek Hong, had to apologize for mis-using his pulpit to orchestrate the stealth take-over of the Aware organization. Their anti-gay pastor Rony Tan who has compared gays to dogs had to bow down to the Buddhist head in disgraced and had lost all face. Two years later, the mega churches sizes are now restricted, and their vast business dealings under scrutiny. The people are free. The Gay Christian community is free, the doors are opened. It is time that we start walking out of the closet of the church.
We are now separate and free from the wider Christian and Catholic community who are moving on, ie each will mind their own affairs. The challenge now is to build a viable Christian Faith that ministers the power of the Holy Spirit as a healing presence to the GLBT community. When they come to church, are they filled with the spirit of Christ, experience the presence of God, or touched by the miraculous power of God. There is a special anointing needed to be able to love themselves again, and in return to be able to love and give grace to others.
We may never be healed completely or recover as long as the laws are against gays and limit our basic rights. But the day will come, and when it does are we ready to minister Christ to the margins of society. Alas, if the Gospel is not preached to the GLBT community and accepted, all is but lost, for there is none to take the Good News to the rest whether the Gospel message or to be Christ to take care of the weak.
It is time, we become ministers of the new covenant of grace to the
It is time, we become ministers of the new covenant of grace to the GLBT community.