|The Mass Effect has come|
16 Nov 2007 - Singapore has banned the sale of an Xbox video game that features an intimate scene between two female characters, a statement received Thursday said. The "Mass Effect" game, a futuristic space adventure, contains "a scene of lesbian intimacy... as such the game has been disallowed," the deputy director of the Board of Film Censors said in the statement. The ban was lifted the next day, but by which time it was reported around the World to some amazement. The speed of which the ban was reversed and the face saving reports in the front page of the Straits Times is a good decision although some “face” is lost saving an acute embarrassment for the IT industry. It would be unkind to be known in the IT industry as the top nation to ban games. It’s not that banning per say is wrong if it benefits the country but to ban the game on such weak grounds would be counterproductive with no tangible benefit but harms the reputation of the nation. The commercial and reputation impact were quickly seen. Singapore is well aware of its good name and reputation, but could that be said of the Christian Church in Singapore. Does this mark the beginning of a shift in Singapore to be more comfortable with the Gay and Lesbian issues? When the repeal of 377A failed, surprisingly the large publicity has meant that many of my straight friends begin to accept gays for they were now more informed and in fact vary of the attempt of the religious right attempt to portray it as their views. The Mass Effect has already come.
The attempted ban of Mass Effect was premature as there were no complaints yet, nor does it violate the law, nor was there any remote possibility of changing the sexual orientation of the straight young men who plays the game to Lesbians. The "Lesbian" scene was not easy to find amongst violent scenes and heterosexual "sex" scenes which has completely passed the British Board of Film Classification. "The single sex scene is brief and not detailed nor explicit. "The sex scene is triggered by the player making a series of choices. "If playing as a male character the scene can take place between him and a human woman or a humanoid female alien. "If playing as a female character the scene can take place between her and a male human or a female humanoid alien. There is no Gay sex scene and since there is no law in Singapore covering Lesbian Sex, and the game is targeted at young straight males who will unlikely be fancied by this scene, the decision to ban the game could be perceived as unreasonable and out of proportion with no tangible benefits. Microsoft could not have asked for better advertisement.
Is Singapore so concerned and vary of potential complaints and influence of the Christian Right that it found it necessary to take such preventive decisions? Surprisingly, we have not heard loud complaints to the Government from the Christians who should be concerned about the generally violent and sexually (but straight) permissive scenes of computer games. They should be. Alas only gay scenes will provoke a response equating to the slippery slope of family breakdowns. What a tragedy! And a misplaced focus.
What is a Gay Lifestyle? or that matter a Straight Lifestyle. The Christian Right tends to use this term very loosely as if to emphasis that Gay is a lifestyle choice and not an innate inborn trait. You would not hear from them talk of a "straight lifestyle" even when talking about adultery, promiscuity, and abortion. The deliberate emphasis on lifestyle is an attempt to dehumanize Gays as people of value and sacred worth. It makes it easier for our conscience to condemn and to deny, and to ban. It is important that the Authorities to be insightful not to fall into the terminology of the Religious Right.
The standard answer now given by Christians why they should particularly single out Gays for criminalization whilst not for example adultery is that in the case of Adultery there is a notion that is wrong by the perpetrator. The actual truth why Gays don't feel it is wrong naturally to have same sex relationship is because it is natural for them, just as Straight couples don't feel any wrong to have sexual relationships. The reply by the church that Gays have to be criminalized because they don't feel guilty having sex is illogical. Take for example the case of stealing which is criminalized. Even if by good conscience stole a large sum of money, should we not criminalize just because there is a guilty conscience? Perhaps the Church has a special way to manage these issues as seen by discovery of large over remuneration to the Methodist Bishop Rev Dr Robert Solomon which he has apparently repaid only partially. Does the church have a conscience? Yes, but not much. It was after all the Church in the 19th century who acted in many instances as the judge who sent many to the Penal Colony of Van-Diemans land (aka Tasmania) for stealing a loaf of bread to quench their hunger.
In our Christian community, we have worshipped the Church and the Bible but left out Jesus Christ. We are so cautious of any comments against churches lest we anger God's Holy "anointed" ones. Perhaps, this has resulted in a strong reluctance to correct the wrongs and made them untouchables, the God Fathers. The Church stands on special rights - tax rights, speaking rights, land and building rights. God is calling the Church today not to hold on to our worldly wealth, worldly rights, nor to idolize our leaders or even the bible. Without seeing the bible as pointing to Christ, it could be used to justify our own and not Christ's agenda. We have lost the "Protestant" spirit to nail to the door of church the list of their sins, but have become the very people, the Popes and the religious system that we once despised. Once we have the influence, wealth, and power, we are not that much different. Power corrupts, and infinite power corrupts infinitely.
(Job 38:11 NKJV) When I said, 'This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!'
We have gone enough down the slippery road in Singapore when the rule of the Government has slipped down the street towards the St. Andrews Cathedral. May we not see a time such as in America where Presidents and Senators are determined by the Religious Right - the Oral Roberts University, the Trinity Broadcast Network, Focus on Family and the National Association of Evangelical Churches. The reversal of the decision to ban "Mass Effect" game will have a massive impact for it marks the start when the Christian Right in Singapore will not be allowed to continue their heresy and victimization of the Gay community. They have come very far and have total freedom to influence the Government, to invite overseas speakers and speak ill will against Gays in the highest forum of the land. This far they have come, but no further say the Lord of Hosts. For God will defend His name and dignity amongst the Nations and the Tribes of this world and will not let the name of His Son Jesus to be undermined when Christians corporately do great harm in the name of Christ.
Today, we are reminded that Christ alone is the head of the Church and not the Senior Pastors of the Mega Churches nor the Bishops and Archbishops of the National Council of Churches. He will not allow His Glory to be stolen nor His Name to be maligned. Ask most Gay people about the Church - they would tell you the sad stories of being exorcised, excommunicated, condemned, and rejected. Most Gays will stay a long way from the church doors. We have instituted the greatest heresy in the name of Christ for Gays are God's Children created wonderfully and beautifully. We have made them doubt that they are truly loved and created wonderfully, and made them condemn themselves and "hate" God. These must be one of the greatest heresy. Sadly, Gays are only 5% of the Population, and we have made it our greatest crusade forgetting our duty to preach the Gospel to the remaining 95%.
Today, let us return to put all things under Christ, our theology, our agendas, our ministries, our notions of right and wrong, our culture and prejudice. The Jewish Christians struggled greatly but at the council of Jerusalem managed to break forth from their cultural and religious baggage and that actually birthed the gentile church. Let us forget about ourselves that Christ may renew and purify the Church for He is merciful and quick to forgive if we come back to Him. May God bless the Churches in Singapore and built it up not to be known as the greatest persecutor of Gays, but to be known instead as the greatest missionary base in Asia proclaiming God's Love and redemption. Let us return to the work of God for hundreds of millions in India, Japan and China awaits God's love and salvation. May we like Saul, and see the light and arise from our blindness to become the Paul of the bible that Asia may see the pure light of Jesus Christ, that the Church may truly be salt and Light to the Nations.
God lead us into Worship
I found healing in your name
Holy Spirit you are beautiful today