A call to action and acting Justly for Gay Rights
SINGAPORE 06 Oct 2005. In a Q&A session with the Foreign Correspondents Association, the Prime Minister said Singapore must evolve into a more 'inclusive' society where there's an environment in which there's maximum space for each person, each view, for each person to live his own life. He said that while the government needs to accommodate gay interests, it also has to ensure their activities do not cause a backlash from the larger society. Mr Lee asserted his agreement with the former prime minister Mr Goh that Gays are "people like you and me", while keenly aware that some Singaporeans might disagree with even that.
We would like to applaud the Government of Singapore for acting justly. We have not appreciated that this Government have given Gays an amazing amount of space in having our own Pubs, Saunas, and community groups. There is no mileage in the Government to support "Gay Rights". Forming less than 5% of the population, there is no political advantage. Instead there may be political backlash as 70% of the population in Singapore is homophobic. The chief antagonist is the influential Christian Church in Singapore who even disagree that Gays should be treated equally.
The Gay community should not expect the Government to defend Gay Rights against the mainstream Christian churches. The Christian Right in America has waged a war against gay and lesbian people. Likewise in Singapore, if Gays were to ask for more rights as in America, the mainstream churches will become our main antagonist. Our civil rights are on the line. Our freedom is at stake. The homophobic lies of the religious right especially that "Gays are sinners" are hurting many Gays who would have otherwise become Christians. As Gay Christians, we must stand against those lies.
As Gay Christians, the centre of the world is not us, our lives, nor our relationships. It is actually our gay community. We have been saved by Grace through Christ Jesus. We do not deserved it. As followers of Christ, we need to remember that Jesus gave everything up for us so that we can receive by faith eternal life without having to deserve it hence totally by grace alone. It is this amazing Grace that God sent His son to us whilst we were yet sinners. It is a grace that is very costly - it cost the death of Son of God.
We may be a very small and lonely voice against the "megaphone" of the church but stand we must. In 1930s, and 40s, the German Pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the lone voice against Hitler whilst the rest of the Church were at best indifferent and at worst fully supportive of the Hitler's rule and atrocities. For his role, on 09 Apr 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer walked to the gallows naked together with family. Following Christ and going against the prevailing political and christian movement in standing up against Hitler and for championing the Jews has caused him his life after being convicted in conspiring to kill Adolf Hitler in a failed July 20, 1944 plot. He was arrested a year earlier in Apr 1943 for helping Jews escape to Switzerland.
From Christian pacifism, in the mid-1930s, Bonhoeffer had changed by early 1940's his theological perspective in view of the great suffering of the minority groups which lead him to participate in planning the assassination of Hitler. In Bonhoeffer's " The Cost of Discipleship", published in 1939 on the Sermon on the Mount, Bonhoeffer's major concern is his idea of cheap grace. which he defines as an intellectual assent to a doctrine without a real transformation in the sinner's life. It is the justification of the sinner without the works that should accompany the new birth. Real grace, accordingly, is a grace that will cost a man his life. The lists of behavioral codes in the Church becomes a substitute for the Living Christ, which cheapens the meaning of discipleship. Faith is not inaction but rising and following Christ.
Bonhoeffer would have rose from his grave if he had known that his very call for Christian action would have led to a new wave of Christian militancy and action groups which now propels oppression against outcasts in societies such as Gays. Hundreds of thousands of Gays died in the hands of Hitler. In a reveral of roles, the Church now bears the resemblance of the Nazi propaganda machine and its obsession against Gays. "Homosexuals are only one percent of the population" claims the religious right and not 10% as in Kinsley's report. "Gays and Lesbians are richer than the average American," they charge further. "They have far more priveleges than the average American the accuse. Day by day, half truth after half truth, lie after lie, they are setting up America's gays and lesbians as an "overprivelaged", "overpowerful", and "overpromiscuous minority".
Bonhoeffer theories on Grace never worked because Grace is God's grace and extremely costly. We can never make this Grace cheap or costly for it is not for us to give but to receive. It is the understanding and appreciation of the Grace that God has bestowed on us that will lead us to receive more Grace and to a deeper walk with Christ producing in the long term results. But the grace of God remains the key to our actions. We need not take any action and there is no condemnation if we do not either. But as we dwell deeper in grace, we realized that we are compelled to make a stand, for Christ made a stand for us at the Cross without us ever deserving it. We have freely received, let us freely give.
How do we as Gay Christians act justly and stand up to the mainstream churches on behalf of our Gay community?
And above all, we should never give in to the barrage of misinformation, hyperbole, half truths and lies. Believe in our cause. It is just. Love your enemies.
As Jesus walked to the cross, He was condemned, He took His cross, He fell many times, He was cursed, He was striped naked, He lost all His friends, He was nailed to the cross, He died, He was laid into the tomb, and finally He rose again. Let us die to ourselves in order as Christians to stand up and serve the Gay community. When we die to ourselves, others will be made alive and be blessed and receive freedom and their year of Jubilee. Likewise, we too may suffer hurt, be wounded, have our reputations destroyed, be blamed, scapegoat, ridiculed, criticised unfairly, rejected, and outcaste. But it is all worth while as we set millions free to accept who they are and be reconciled with God.