|377A - Love your enemies
There are many Gays and straight Singaporeans who are ambivalent about the 377A debate. Some gays even support 377A because they got so used to the closet that the Christian Right have put them in and the space is tight – a few websites, discos, saunas and spas. Nothing public ie no marriage, picnic, kissing, exhibitions, film festivals, safe sex promotion. “Live and let live” is defined as “out of sight and out of mind”. Miss Thio Li-Ann reminiscent of the Inquisitor tradition reminded the Government of their dependence on the Christians. Her arguments after all followed to the script of Rev Earl Fox of Exodus/ Emmaus Ministry of the Christian Right. The crusade in fact gave the low key attempt to repeal the 377A, all the publicity they needed as 377A was unlikely to be repealed. It became a juicy fight with many spectators. For once the Gay community begin to see themselves as a nation, no longer despised but got a 2-day hearing at Parliament. The Public recognition of the Gay Community have meant that the Gay population can be out much younger in public in what was hitherto an unhealthy denial.
Is Singapore at war? No not with our neighbors – our historical nemesis, not even a civil war between races at the birth of our nation, but we are in an undeclared war. The Christian Right has been provoking and agitating a cultural and a modern religious war since the 70s and it has now reached Singapore. The relentless well organized campaign by hundreds of churches in Singapore with model letters and “meet the MP” sessions reminded the Government of the high political price of disobedience. As the “onward Christian soldiers” marches on, they would not stop here until we are a “Christian” nation. Truth and Reality becomes clouded with wild rhetoric and imagined treats expounded with the fervor of speeches at Nuremberg. They would not stop at subjugating gays, and will go on to insist on their right for evangelism and religious laws to other religious groups.
The American Eagles have landed in Singapore. The foreign pastors come with the Christian Right theology with no boundaries nor restrictions to their preaching despite it impacting the public harmony in Singapore. It becomes no longer a matter for the residents of Singapore, when the debate is so driven in the background by pervasive overseas speakers over the last 20 years. They have come as Commandos for their “Army”. Take for example, the following selection of the churches and their speaking arrangements and take notice of their foreign influence: -
(1 Cor 14:34 NKJV) Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
The Christian Right has tended to be self righteous with selective biblical interpretation. For example, they would have known that in the same manner they interpret Homosexuality as sin, they should not have allowed Miss Thio Li-Ann to speak in public or in churches to promote the Anti-Gay agenda. The Christian Right claim to love God and abide by the bible, but they have selectively cherry picked the bible to focus on the sin of others whilst they disobeyed all the other “laws”. The credibility of the bible has been severely impacted by its misuse. No longer are we salt showing the way to Christ, but we become a ministry of Condemnation rather than a ministry of redemption.
The Christian Right has often created an impression of a strong well-organized Gay activist group who are anti-family, and anti-Christians, hence the necessary need to response against this menace. In reality, in the 70s, Christian leaders begin to “invent” the gay treat as a fund raising strategy to enlarge their ministries. In the 80s, the Rev Mel White recalled an incident when he was with Jerry Falwell. Jerry said “I just love this gay demonstrators, and without them I wouldn’t get near the attention I would get. If I didn’t have them, I would need to invent them." Rev Falwell raised more money of the gay threat as a scapegoat for people to sent him money. Falwell had once opposed mixing preaching with politics, but changed his views. The Moral Majority grew to 6.5 million members and raised $69 million as it supported conservative politicians and railed against homosexuality.
The Gay community owes it to the Christian Community for galvanizing and uniting the community in response to the unsolicited aggression. It started the Gay Rights movement in America. Gays were willing to live quietly and blend in and to “live and let live”. But when Christians used Gays as scapegoats for their own agenda, it reached a point where Gays begin to question why they should take this without arising and standing up. The massive strength and organizational framework of the Christians was no easy opposition, but when the Gays were pushed to the corner, they had no choice and begin to arise – to be organized and started to have pride to be whom they were. They begin to understand that they were a group worthy of God’s love and to be treated as dignity and equality – their basic entitlement.
In Repeal 377A, the fight back has begun. But there is no choice but to respond for too long the Gay community has stayed in the outer courts and suffered continuous humiliation and bashing. Some say that the demand for more space will result in an anti-gay reaction against the gay community and result even in less space. But when the existing space is but a few saunas, spas, and discos, and the being the recipients of regular insults and aggression from the Christian Community, there is no reasonable option but to arise and to stand up. There is a limit to “live and let live”. Let us be wary for the Christian Right has already started their “culture” war in America in the 80s, and this war has now come to Singapore.
What is the appropriate response to the violence by the Christian Right in Singapore? The Christian response is never to respond in kind – ie an eye for an eye. However, this does not mean that we remain neutral or “live and let live” and allow them to do their iniquity without an appropriate response. There are two keys to response against an aggressor:-
a) Don’t give them Power or control over you
b) Be in Control – have the higher moral ground
(Isa 60:1,2 ) Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.
We come back to the point of decision – whether we are indifferent, lethargic, neutral makes no difference because ultimately the Christian Right is starting a war against the Gay community and are meaning to harm us. There will be no place, not even in our closets to hide. Let us arise, and prepare ourselves to stand firm and to react in a Christ like manner that the World may know the love of God in Us. Jesus Christ chose to minister the Gospel of Salvation to the Outcasts of the community first and not to the Politicians, to the Religious Leaders, or to the Upper Class. Jesus gave them acceptance and in this revelation changed the entire world.