|Persecuted for whom?|
Our righteousness should exceed that of the Pharisees, the religious leaders who knew the bible well, who are the conservatives insisting on the law, yet Jesus said that they were unrighteousness. We can lead a ministry of condemnation, but it only makes us feel better as we make fun of gays and put them down in front of thousands but will make us no more righteousness or closer to Jesus Christ. On 13 March 2009, in our article “Lord make us an instrument of peace not hate” it is said that the false rhetoric by Pastor Rony Tan against gays may be like an “unpardonable sin” that cannot be forgotten even on account of God’s grace. We were very surprised that a year later he has been taken to task in the most unexpected manner and had to apologize to the Buddhist venerable. Sometimes it is better not to “play god” to sit in the seat of judgment based on our own prejudice, and be humbled.
We are called blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness sake, ie in the cause of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, when as a result others will persecute us and speak falsely against us when we are standing up for Jesus' sake. However, we should not be:-
Many are defending Pastor Rony claiming that he has already humbled himself and has shown integrity by apologizing. However, he did not apologize out of his own accord. He probably had little choice in an organized series of events to de-fuse the whole saga from his issuing of apology, to meeting up with the Venerable, to the newspaper headlines and statements from all the other religious leaders. It was orchestrated to close the matter as if they could not let this situation go out of hand as to jeopardize Singapore itself. The concern by the Government can be easily justified by the religious makeup of Singapore’s pollution in the last census (Year 2000):-
Unlike the Aware Saga, where Rev Derek Hong was using Gays as an excuse to take over Aware, the Gay population of less than 5%, means little speaking rights. The Christian Population at 10% is powerful politically, and so the issue had to be addressed strategically by exposing the wrong doings of the plotters. It was allowed to settle by itself albeit some flexibility by the authorities of a free hand by the media to report the truth. Soon all the inconsistencies, lies, and hidden agenda were revealed when it first it was strenuously denied, and even the feminist mentor controlling the strings behind the scene.
On the Gay Issue, the Christian Right was packaging it as the “secularist” militants coming against Christians, when they were the antagonists even though their own faith was under no threat. Christian Post SG tried to use the same “secularist militant” argument coming after Pastor Rony Tan but the argument fails as it concerns another faith and hence was not a secular in nature. On the following Sunday service, Pastor Rony Tan told his congregation that the church had been “‘eliminating all possible offensive recorded material from its website.”. He asked them to be sensitive whilst preaching the gospel and not to defend him in online portals. “Let there be no criticism of any religion…..A wrong is a wrong and must be rectified, not justified,” he said. There was a deeper root of the wrongdoing. It was the stronger religious activism fanned by the success of the Christian Right movement in America, and the increasing numbers and strength of the mega churches in Singapore, ie they are becoming very powerful and wealthy.
Will Pastor Rony now start supporting the IRO activities? At an Interfaith Religious Organization gathering, not too long ago, the Christian Faith was seemingly absent, with none of the Senior Pastors from the 10 mega churches. They were after all following their theological mandate not to be yoked with sinners and unbelievers, fearing that attendance somehow tantamount to accepting other faiths. Therefore, it would not be easy for Pastor Rony to be actively involved in IRO activities which he is now obliged to be involved.
In only one year, we see that the American Christian Right in Singapore has had its wings snipped, the left wing by the Aware Saga, and the Right wing by the Rony Tan issue. The OB markers have been set, to the agitation of the conservatives as seen by strong articles in Christian Post SG. They are humbled after coming against the weakest and the most despised group in the community – the Gay community, in. Truly out of the mouths of babes will the strong will be humbled.
The bible says that we should endure persecution for righteousness sake ie preaching the Gospel, but not for unrighteousness sake. We have shut the doors of the church to the gay community and by this very same door, the Gospel message will be shut out by our actions.Jesus never insisted that He was the way to God by words alone, He showed love, He cared for the sick, the hungry and the poor, He sided with the poor and the outcasts, and finally His ministry was authenticated by miraculous signs and wonders. Action speaks much louder than words when talking about spiritual and heavenly matters which few can visualise.