|To Christians in Singapore - Consider Your Ways before it’s too late|
In the 20 th Oct 2008 article in the Singapore Christian Post, it warns of the Gay parade in Singapore initially scheduled to be held on 15 Nov 2008 at the speakers corner, Hong Lim Park, as “indicative of a spreading move across the globe causing international concern from a prayer network called Ring of Fire Alliance”. Bringing their anti-gay stance from their international experience, to “act and decree boldness to speak up before it is too late”. It cites Haggai 1:4, as a biblical support for action against gays. However, Haggai talks about the community effort required to restore the temple of worship, and not to action against gays. There is a certain irony in Haggai 1:5 where I believe the Lord is asking Christians today “Consider your ways”. Christians in Singapore have large cathedrals for assembly, a very strong public voice, yet the Gay community has no organization, and now the assembly of a dozen gays to protest at this lack is scorned at by the Christian community. The word of God to Christians in Singapore is to look at themselves, how much they have, when they want to limit the most basic rights of gays. If we do not, then beware for our temples may lie in ruin in time, not physically perhaps but spiritually.
Meanwhile, not more than a dozen attended the planning meeting for the Gay Parade, with no firm date, and lacking general support as the Gay parade is not really a parade rather a circular walk around a small Hong Lim Park. Gays lived in fear and highly closeted, so the Gay parade would be seen as an unnecessary outing. Nevertheless, this represents a historic moment, a beginning. Perhaps there would be more media personnel than the protestors. The Christians may have their “fish” logo created during the time of great ancient persecution, so to do gays have their rainbow flag in this current season of persecution which have lasted for a thousand years far longer than any Christian tribulation.
There seem to be an absolute certainty of God’s disapproval against Gays by Christian Evangelical leaders. Some more enlightened would admit that we can only be 50% certain that homosexuality is condemned in the bible. Others are adamant that they are 100% sure. If we were 100% sure, then why Jesus did not deny communion to Gays specifically, and why Paul’s condemnation of the religious Jews who were heterosexual referred to their ancestors same sex acts when worshiping other gods. If their ancestors were gays, then the next generations would not have been born.
The heterosexual men in the bible had homosexual sex as an act of faith to worship Molech rather than Jehovah and there was no natural attraction or love. It was not a sexual orientation. It is like playing Harlot where we are found cheating in our relationship with God. In order to attribute this to a very small minority of the population, for something that was not done by them is 100% distortion of biblical Christianity. The bible does not state that the clobber verses refers to gay men who had sex with men because they loved each other, so how can we be so certain that the verses refers to gays when the default would be heterosexual men as gays only make up 5% of the population. There is no room for error, or even reasonable doubt, as for many, it is a death sentence both physically and spiritually. Have we ever considered that if Christianity was a sect, insisting that homosexual sex was a norm for straight men, then the sect would be long forgotten. No one would join, so today few gays are Christians. Thus saith the Lord, “let the little children come to me, do not forbid them..” (Mat 19:14). Gays are innocent victims of our fear, prejudice and discrimination that we dammed in this world and in the next as well. Ironically, the only time when Gays were clearly referred to in the bible is in relation to heterosexual adultery (Mat 19:10-12).
Jesus was definitely not as certain as our fundamentalist Christians. The word “Pais” in Mat 8 is translated loosely as “servant” but the more correct translation is a young man ministering to someone prominent. In our context, it would be the many foreign gay western men visiting Singapore and having a young local male escort. The Centurion would unlikely be concerned to seek Jesus if it was just a servant. The Centurion went to see Jesus because of his love for his boyfriend, and he must have faith for it meant losing much face. Most amazingly, the Roman Centurion was not condemned, rather praised because of his great faith. One day in heaven, the Christian Gays who have kept their faith despite all, will be praised in heaven. “I will come…” says the Lord of Host today to the Gay community, to heal them, to set them free from the persecution, and injustice that they have suffered!. When Gays start to unite and have their own churches such as MCC and seek God for justice, behold, for God will act on their behalf. The liberty we have today started in earnest when the Rev Troy Perry stepped forth in faith in 1968 to start the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC).
The obsession by Christians and Catholics against gays is difficult to understand when the bible talks so little of it and Christ’ condemnation of the excesses of heterosexual sex is far more implicit. Perhaps, there is a need to clearly exalt our righteousness as compared to gays in order to quality for heaven. On another note, the same sex acts in the bible were committed by religious zealots. These zealots claimed that they were following the law but ended up have sex with each other in worshiping other gods whom they made into manmade objects. When I was at St. Peters in Rome, I observed the Catholic pilgrims praying at a picture of the long gone popes. Each painting would have a small section with proper seating, much like a small mini service. For these zealots, Jesus was not enough. They may need all the help as the Holy Spirit may just have left after the crusades and the Inquisitions.
I am always curious as to why Evangelical Christians often insist on following the Jewish religious leaders and their attempts to abide by the Laws of Moses. St. Paul was clearly mocking the Jewish religious leaders of their religious determination to follow the law which resulted in their forefathers having sex with men as part of their idol worship. No wonder, he was chased out of many cities by insulting their ancestors. With the 10 commandments now taught by Pastor Kong Hee of the City Harvest church in response to the teaching by Pastor Joseph Prince of NCC on grace, hopefully we do not slip down this slippery path of religious perversions. When we make our boast in the Law, we will dishonor God by breaking the law.
The Christian Right incitement of an uprising against gays in Singapore are perhaps a reflection of the propaganda imported from the bible belt in United States where Gays are bashed up and used as a scapegoat for fund raising, and to prove the preachers conservative and bible believing credentials. This is the result of having American preachers coming every week to preach at the mega churches inciting a foreign agenda. When a small gay gathering of less than 20 could threaten hundreds of thousand Christians in Singapore with their mighty Cathedrals, mega churches at Expo and titanium clad buildings, and 1 billion dollar churches/entertainment centre at One North, we can only be guilty of the most willful false witness against gays. Clearly, we should live and let live, and mind our own business, or if we are zealous, to go to Waterloo street and preach the Gospel in front of the temples there. Alas, Gays are an easy target with little possibility of an adverse reaction.
Has our Christianity become so self-centered that it seems to be an anti-thesis of what Christ would have done? We have no qualms in judging and condemning gays and locking the doors of the church to them. Those who do not “change”, we will deny communion. How soon we forget that the Catholics excommunicated our Protestant forefathers when they told the Catholics the truth about “grace” of God and that we cannot buy our way to heaven. We have no hesitation to treat Gays as the sacrificial lamb to be slaughtered to take away all our sexual sins, less we open our eyes and see our own white washed tombs and skeletons.
It is rather convenient to use gays as a scapegoat for all our sexual sins, to ignore the very open and public heterosexual prostitution on a large scale at Geylang, Chinatown, and Joo Chiet. This façade by the Christian Right denies the reality that the bible verses about same sex acts are actually talking about heterosexual people and their worship of other gods. We are no different from ancient Israel with 7000 divorce or 15,000 abortions each year because of our worldly idols. For Christians who uses their bible as a tool to condemn others and protect themselves, surely the Gay minority so small and despised by all that this is an easy target with no risk of retaliation. The thought of Gays standing up, however insignificant and small, in the public declaring that this is wrong, must be concerning.
It is often claim that sin hinders prayers. Strictly this is not biblical. Our prayers are answered because of Jesus Christ, His bloodshed and body broken for us and not our righteousness – Praise to God. We don’t get any special favors praying though Mary or the saints. God answers our prayers because of Jesus Christ who is at the right hand side of God interceding for us.
There are however exceptional circumstances in the bible where sins done on a communal level hinders the prayer of a nation. In Isaiah, God did not listen to the prayers of the religious leaders, because the same leaders had used the very same hands raised up to pray to God, to persecute the weak, and the outcasts causing deaths and great harm. It was not just any sins, but this action was so detestable to God, that their prayers were impacted. There are many genuine prayers for Christians being persecuted in Asia. Will God hear our prayers? We could not be persecuting Gays whilst asking God to deliver Christians from persecution. The very existence of the gay community speaks very loudly to God of the injustice and cruelty done to them. The Rev Mel White speaks of the many dozens of Gay people that he had buried who committed suicide because of the Christian supported condemnation against gays. In one instance, a young teenager killed himself on a flat tombstone as not to impact his family. His blood cries out for justice, and so to the blood of gays who died as such for the last 1000 years. The call for justice is becoming so loud as to block our prayers to God. God will hear, for He is a righteous God.
It is possible that what is happening in the physical world, the giving of basic rights to Gays the world and soon in Asia, has already happened in heaven. Even India, is considering removing their 377a from their books. Great Britain, the colonial authors of this law, has long done so in Britain in the 60s. The reality is that, in heaven, the season that the nations had to persecute Gays may be coming to an end. The American Election originally predicted to be decided by the Gay issue as it was 4 year ago, did not raise the gay issue as a factor. This injustice has reached heaven’s doors until there is a binding that this shall occur no more. And in the Church scene, we have seen the move in the Episcopal and the Methodist Church in US to reconsider their stance with a strong reaction from the conservatives.
There a spiritual door and a moral right for the Gay community to morally seek compensation from the Christian Church. It does not really matter how or when 377a will be removed, nor if Gay marriage succeeds in America. That will surely come, but who knows what will happen tomorrow when the Gay community so small and insignificant will be a very big torn in the Christian community. Indeed, we have often forgotten the basic rule in judgment.
I believe we have very great pastors in Singapore, the Rev Bishop Solomon, The Rev John Chew, the Rev Canon James Wong, Rev Kong Hee, Joseph Prince, Pastor Ronnie Tan, and many others. Their motives and heart are right, they truly believed that Gays are living it a God forsaken lifestyle and they were only trying to help. However, in their zeal, they have forgotten to judge with much mercy and grace. The Pharisees also believed that they were right about Jesus blaspheming God and so sent Jesus to the cross and much of Jerusalem, the majority supported them. They were given time to repent. Yet they did not repent, and so Jerusalem fell.
We often rushed to judge without mercy, nor grace, and without studying the matter in depth, and yet proclaiming that we are 100% sure, we risk being judged likewise irrespective of our good motives. When we judged with 100% certainty, then we can also be 100% wrong and be given 0% mercy in return. We should be mindful of a way of escape in case our judgment was wrong and result in much harm even deaths. It is irrelevant that we have good people on both sides of the debate. It is not even important that that there may be some Christians who believed otherwise as their spiritual leaders have represented them. When we judged based on the law, then by the Law we shall be judged, negating the grace of God. Even if we start praying and asked for mercy, it may be too late, for the blood cries out. It has crying out been louder though the ages, just that we never spent time to listen nor to appreciate the grace of God to withhold judgment. Listen carefully, the blood cries out calling for justice and it shall not be denied.
There is a fountain filled with blood