|HOPE Concert - The beginning of a new HOPE
In a surprise move, the Singapore Government has approved the HOPE concert featuring Jason and Demarco on 13 Dec 2007. Organized by Safehaven (a ministry of FCC) and AFA, the proceeds will go towards medication for those afflicted with HIV. The Gay Christian duo was previously banned in 2005 (Affect 2005, in 03 Apr 2005) on account of “promoting a Gay lifestyle” resulting in an international outcry. The approval of the concert this time was a relief when Singapore’s reputation has taken a setback after the “Mass Effect” and 377A sagas. However, in anticipation of complaints from the Christian Fundamentalist, the concert is now strictly packaged as an adult event, with a HIV message slant. The authorities would have had to take the necesarry precautions as the Christians Right had used the underage reason to undermine the concert previously. It appears that two fully dressed gay men singing together at the stage is considered far more sinful than half cladded women one would see in many movies. But of course a straight life style however promiscuous and sexually suggestive is OK to Mainstream Christians as long as it is straight.
In contradiction to the “Live and Let Live” message, the space for the Gay community appears restricted with even the most innocent event requiring a ministerial stamp. Nevertheless, this remains a historic occasion and an OB (out of bounds) marker that should be a “must see” event. Not only we have the novelty of attending a concert so vilified previously, but Jason and Demarco will be a most entertaining concert apart from the cute handsome looks.The concert details can be found from the website www.oursafehaven.com .
We are in a time in Singapore of incredible properity. It has grown from a swampy port since its indepnedence on 09 Aug 1965 on separation from Malaysia. A city state of just 704 sq km, it has a per capita GDP of USD 30,723 or 17th in the World. Malaysia, its neighbour in comparison has a GDP of USD 12,800. Similarly, Israel was prospering in the early part of 18th century BC. Uzziah's reign (ca. 780-740 B.C.) was one of great prosperity. Isaiah was the prophet over a ver a long span of time over 60 years from 740s BC. He would have seen the invasion of Israel by the Assyrians. In the modern Christian terminology, we would have quickly deduced that wealth was their idol, their god, but God's greatest angst was the injustice in the land, where there are those who are oppressed and defenceless. God's specific word to Israel was to cease to do evil - and their evil was not so much as actively doing evil works, rather it was allowing injustice to go unchecked and the defenceless oppressed.
We have seen many great Christian Pastors in Singapore denouncing Gays from the pulpit and pressuring the Government to limit the basic rights of gays and to enforce the jail terms against gays. One may argue that time is required and space given for the Church to change as a whole and the church in mitigation has a done a good job to preach the Word of God in Singapore. But the harm done to the self worth of Gays is great. When there is so much condemnation and so low self worth, we have created the perfect environment for Gays to be subject to the high risk of AIDS and other diseases. The lack of basic rights have diminished the value of Gay relationships and makes it so much easier to change partners. The Church have moved on to do great works, but their hands are still full of blood. We do not need to "attack" those who are against us, because their actions by themselves have condemned them. And God takes injustice very seriously. We may rationalise it as doing the work of God, to love the sinner and hate the sin to sooth our conscience, but our hands remained soiled. We may even held great evangelistic meetings and invite the best speakers at the Expo and Indoor stadium, but the harm done to Gays who would be so conflicted and lives ruined that there will be no mitigation of good works to compensate for our sins. It would be pertinent that the Christian leaders do the right thing and apologize publicality especially the leaders involved in the ex-gay ministries or the main players who insists that gays are criminalized. It is for their own sake and not for the Gay community, for the harm is already done and cannot be easily undone. The oppression and injustice against a small defenceless minority moves the heart of God very deeply.
The Hope Concert is a great milestone because it represents the willingness of the gay community to see itself in the mirror, recognised that AIDS is an issue, but more importantly, they are doing good. They are defending and helping those who cannot defend or help themselves. The cost of medicines for the AID patients are so high that it is literally a death penalty. And naturally, there is no mileage for any Government to subsidise the medicines - because it is a very chronic life time disease. But people matters to God, more that balancing of accounts and good expediture of public health funds. They are people of worth and diginity, many who have got into this predicament because of how society have maligned and outcast the Gay community. We cannot change the outside, the rest of the community, if we do not first stand up for our brothers and sisters suffering a slow but certain death. Let us be the "Angels Donors" who bring justice to this broken land. We have asked for 377A to be repealed which is good, but we must first stand in the place of justice to lift and bear up those that have fallen, that God will hear us and pour His favor and mercy upon the gay community in Singapore.
It was a very difficult time for the Jews in Babylon. They were trapped in a closet and asked to conformed and to be absorbed into the larger society loosing the culture, heritage, and religion. And it was God who allowed the armies the babylonian armies to conquer Jerusalem and God sent judgment upon Judah most reluctantly. Under Law, Justice had to prevail but there was much grace and mercy. In 2 Kings 24:2-4 after repeated warnings against Judah, it finally came to judgment where God could not any more pardon the innocent blood being spilled in Jerusalem under Manasseh. King of Judah (696-642 B.C.) who was a son of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:21). The people of God now in Babylon would have been so discouraged that their God has apparently deserted and have forsaken them during the very long periods in exile of over 70 years from 605 BC to 537 BC. They have waited so long for God's visitation! But God remained faithful. After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persian Empire, in 537 BCE the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great gave the Jews permission to return to their native land. So too, the HOPE concert gives us a message of HOPE.
In the HOPE concert, God is reaffirming His faithfulness and that He will visit the Gay community and cause them to return to God and to give them a better future and a new Hope. The future looks bleak and without hope, with mainstream Christian ever gaining a vocal anti-gay stance and championing this stand amongst the majority. AIDS is set to arise sharply in line with statistics from other cities with the Christian leaders ever ready to use this to push their political aggenda rather than looking at the human cost and suffering. The time of visitation of God is coming to the GLBT community in Singapore because God is a faithful God even in the midst of darkness, there will arise a light to shine brightly to bring back HOPE again. Let us wait patiently, for the King is coming soon.
O Come into the King's Chambers