|At Christmas - a special gift from the UN|
statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity
On 19 Dec 2008, just days before Christmas, in a historic occasion, the once taboo subject of homosexuality was raised in UN, resulting in the signing by 66 nations of a non binding declaration to decriminalise Homosexuality in view of the fact that homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in many countries, especially in the fundamentalist religious nations such as Iran and Nigeria. Their gun trotting and agressive testosterone driven manhood behaviour of these extremist nations surely contradicts the gentle nature of gay men and women. One wonders what will happen if the world is made up of only gay men and women - world peace some would say! that the UN led by straight men could not achieved for the last 60 years. It's been 60 years since the Universal declaration of the Human rights which many countries even though binding has not followed and many Islamic Countries even criticised it because it obviously allows rights to choose once religion which is a major crime in these religiously controlled countries. The declaration against the criminalization of Homosexuality was actually based upon the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60 years ago.
The Christian Right and the churches in Singapore will again oppose this declaration, but little do they realise the spiritual significance. This declaration is based on the Universal Declaration and strenghtenes it and gives it meaning to the most despised group in the world. It is the Universal declaration of Rights which allows the Gospel to be accepted in the World, by people of different faiths. Otherwise, they have no rights to change faiths. Why go out to follow the Blibical command and mandate to preach the Gospel of the Good News to the whole world, started from Jerusalem, then Samaria, then Judea, and then to the whole world with thousands of Christians being martyed if Christ is not the way and the truth, and the salvation. There is one thing very clear in the bible, and it is not that Gays are sinners, but that everyone needs the Lord. However, by opposing the rights of gays not to be persecuted, we have also denied our rights to preach the Gospel to the nations, or even to condemn the attrocities againt Indian Christians in Orissa. Our rights are intertwined and cannot be compartmentalised.
The Christian Post SG was quick to redefined the Associated Press headlines in an article stating that the US “refuses to sign the UN non binding call to decriminalize Homosexuality”, when the original AP headlines of the same article states “US balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws”. Gays are again dehumanized to the term “Homosexuality”. There is an implicit rationalizing of Singapore’s alignment with nations with a strong human rights record. However, this comparison is misleading as the US despite not signing the agreement, has all but decriminalized homosexuality since 2003, and has actually started doing so since the 60s. The anti-gay laws were first repealed in Illinois through legislative action in 1962. We are actually more than 40 years behind, and to reflect in any way that our position is consistent with the United States is just a false witness to sooth our conscience. The anti-gay law in our land is not an intrinsic Asian deposition, but rather imported from the West which has now all but repented their sinful ways. The US did not sign the declaration despite fulfilling it for all the intended purposes is a reflection not of their refusal to acknowledge gay rights but the Christian Right strong influence in the outgoing establishment. They have been soundly defeated due to their obsession against gays and primary role in creating a financial mess in Wall Street, and starting a war that took hundreds of thousands of innocent lives without a morally justifiable reason. They call this their “biblical Christianity” and “Market Place Christianity”.
It is not surprising that a majority of Christians do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. In a Christian Post article on 19 Dec 2008 misleadingly entitled “Many Americans say Christianity not the only way to eternal life”, a Pew Survey indicates 57% of American Conservative Protestants believe that there are more than one way. A more correct title would be “The overwhelming majority of Christians …. “. The article was quickly archived. The church has not been too mindful of the ministry of Christ rather eager for financial wealth, power and marching to the nations in war. They call this biblical Christianity but it is the culture of the world which they have long succumbed to. We broke the first 3 of the Ten Commandments when we acknowledge the other gods, yet we have no qualms to condemn gays as immoral.
The Word of God says very clearly that it was the religious and spiritual adultery committed by the ancient Jewish faith and people worshiping foreigh gods - the fertility gods in particular, even to the extent of having sex between straight men in the worship of these gods. When we blame gays, their natural inclination and sexual orientation as somehow related to these crimes of religious adultery, we unknowingly start to take on the sins that these ancient religious people committed. These were committed in the context of saying that they were law abiding, yet they broke the major commandments. It is OK to misinterpret the bible as long as we are not fogmatic and put an entire people group to be tortured and criminalised. Then it becomes not an intellectual difference, but a sin, that deserved grave judgement for it is done against a weak defenceless minority group. We begin to worhsip other gods just like the ancient jews, and our Jesus becomes only a way to heaven.
The departure from the church fundamental theology is nothing new, and a reminder of the despair against the church in the middle ages that slowly set in Europe with the defeats of the crusades followed by the “Black Death” – the plaque of the 14 th century. It was a time where indulgences or a guaranteed passport to heaven was sold by the Catholic church for their building fund. This set the stage for reformation, a call to return to the real biblical Christianity of believing by faith in Jesus as the only way to salvation instead of through giving money and adhering to the many manmade laws and theology of the church. Likewise, the great losses in Iraq, the realization that we have been conned into war by the Christian right establishment, the economic disasters, and the excesses of the televangelist seems a repeat of the story 500 years later. Christianity has changed, but not much it seems.
The moral and spiritual authority of the church which in many ways a personification of worldliness seems to be declining, and people are hungry for a new reformation, rather than believing in what the church says anymore. Even the majority of church goers do not believe that Jesus is the only way, essentially questioning the foundation of the Reformation Gospel and the purpose of the Church. The attempt by Rick Warren for a “Purpose driven Church” seems pointless in a church which denies the very need of Jesus coming down to Earth to die for us.
Biblical Christianity and bilbical morality is ultimately personifed by the Gospel message in Jesus Christ, our God, our Lord and Saviour. There is no morality without the need for Christ' death and resurrection for us at the cross of calvary. Christianity leads to a dead end without Christ redemptive purpose for mankind. The bible is His story finely treaded through the New and the Old Testament. He came for His own, for a world trying to find God in the deep darkness and void, creating man made gods made by their own hands to worship, but not realising that their creator has come this Christmas. Let us not crucify Christ again this Christmas by believing that there are other ways to God or coming against the declaration of the rights of Gay people.