The AWARE EOGM vote of No-Confidence of the New Guard was held on 02 May 2009 at the Suntec Convention Centre Room 402. It resulted in the removal of the New Guard with a vote of 1414 versus 761 with an entirely new Exco aligned to the Old Guard. It was a surprise win when earlier there was a concern that the Anglican Church of Our Saviour would stacked the EOGM, and at one stage the signs were ominous with bus loads of “red shirts” arriving and with a strict mandate not to talk to the Press lest their true identity and church be revealed. This was in light of the National Council of Churches Singapore (NCCS) decision not to publicly condone the church actions on Aware from the Pulpit. NCCS appear to have little choice but to issue a statement being under pressure when the facts were so extensive and clear that the takeover was a secretive and religiously motivated on a single albeit nonexistent gay issue except in the minds of the plotters.
If NCCS had not made its official position known against COOS, and had the EOGM been held at Expo (where major mega churches reside) as originally planned, the results may have well been different. There are hints of the Government’s displeasure of the New Guard and not wanting this a recurring issue for the rest of the year thus distracting from more pressing concerns and impacting the credibility and inclusive message of Singapore to outside world, businesses and tourists. The
“Angels” must win otherwise there will be no peace.
The Senior Pastor Derek Hong of COOS issued a public statement of regret of the misuse of the pulpit, but apparently had not repented as he then re-iterated his irrelevant anti-gay rhetoric apparently still under the illusion that coming against AWARE was a crusade against gays. Therefore, the warring sides did not bring religion into the picture two weeks ago as claimed by some, the former “new Exco” was itself a religiously inspired outfit and the takeover planned because they felt threatened of Aware’s neutral stance on the Gay issue. Their motto was “If you are not for me, you are against me”. We are reminded when the 80 or so ladies stormed the Aware HQ at the AGM they did not engaged in small talk and their faces looked straight ahead as if they were soldiers in a battle mission. Indeed, it was perceived as a battle between good and evil, where truth it seems was immaterial and perceptions was all that mattered.
They have learnt well from their American and Australian Christian Fundamentalist Pastors coming to Singapore for Church speaking arrangements every week to promote their political agenda and knowhow to distort truth, and spread rhetoric. Afraid that the truth will soon be apparent that nothing changed when Homosexuality or Gay marriage was legalized in their own nations, despite their claim of God’s judgment and destruction of the family when the line is crossed. Just why these extremists can’t include Gays within their family? I guess gays are unclean according to the Jewish law for the Christians lest they will drag them down back down to earth when they get raptured!
Who were the Winners and the Losers:-
a) The Law Firm – they are usually a winner in any dispute involving possible litigation. Apparently, the lawyers for the former “new Exco” will be paid an SGD 90,000. However, as this is way above the authorization limit of 20K of the Exco, there is always a possibility of a counter claim against the former Exco for accountability. It is ironic that the Christian Extremist are so zealous of abiding by the letter of the Law, that in this case they have broken it by a large margin.
b) GLBT – They were winners because the anti-gay New Guard and their COOS supporters have lost all their dignity and credibility. It is very different going to Parliament to spread fear and misinformation on Gays, versus overtaking the space of a secular organization using underhanded means. When all the allegations about Aware by the New Guard claims of innocence ran contrary to the facts, the credibility of the anti-gay movement was destroyed. They had incredible space within their own religious sphere with mega churches, yet ventured into the very small space that others had and stole from them the organization the “Old Guard” had built for the past 25 years.
Secondly, the links between the GLBT community and the NGOs became much stronger through this event after lending support to Aware to overthrow the coup plotters. They have had to lend support because it was on their account (whether justified or not) that Aware was overtaken. They had to organize, plan, and constraint themselves as not to muddy the issues.
Note - The Old Guard did not win nor loose as they got back the control of Aware, ie status quo from what it was before the coup by the New Guard. The New Guard did not win nor lose, because they didn’t lose control of Aware, as they were never involved in Aware, never contributed or supported it, and never had control in the first place.
The main losers or casualty were the Christian Faith. We are not referring to COOS or NCCS, but rather biblical Christianity.
a) The Church role as Antioch to Asia is compromised - Antioch in the southern tip of Turkey was a place of inclusiveness when based strictly on the Jewish Laws, non of the gentiles God fearers would qualify to be Christians unless in was by Grace alone. It was a large city with a mixture of language, culture and traditions, yet the Christians there found their hope and unity in Christ. The Church was founded by missions, and it was based on being inclusive.
With the events at Aware, we have returned to Jerusalem, the mountain of Law instead of the Gospel of Grace. We claimed Gays are not born as such although we do not likewise question whether we are straight by choice as well. The core of our beliefs is based on our interpretation of OT Laws. The Gospel did not go from the rest of the world out from Jerusalem, it had to passed Samaria. And today, we had fallen back onto Jerusalem, the rule of Law. Therefore, we have lost the Antioch mandate.
b) The Church may be exposed to judgement - Those who live by the Law shall be judged by the Law. The city of Sodom and Gomorrah brought judgement upon themselves not because they were all gay and start having mass sex orgies in the streets. They did not sodomise each other, but those outside of these cities whom they went out to terrorise and made slave with the ultimate indignity for men is to be raped by men hence considered as women losing all their status. It was to degrade and to humiliate and not a same sex orientation.
When we judge Gays using Sodom and Gomorrah, we bring upon us a judgement from God because we have likewise behaved like the citizens of these two cities and used gays as the scapegoat and for abuse.
As we have justified ourselves and the takeover as being legal by the letter of the Law, so therefore we shall be judged by the letter of the law without grace. The constitution of Aware was very open and full of grace, yet we have made this grace cheap by using it for our own purpose and aggenda. Therefore, the door of grace will shut upon the Church and we shall see judgement and exposure just as the church in America where there is constant exposure and shaking for all to see.
c) The Gospel message of truth is compromised - The World we have today has been shaped by grave mistakes by Christians. The crusades saw great number of deaths and led also to the fall of Constantinople which was weakened when Rome sent the crusaders to ransack the city instead of Jerusalem. Today, Turkey and the Middle East has a strong divide and wall rooted in historical events.
Most have considered religion to be people of good deeds and morality. The Aware saga have shown a negative Christian testimony where instead of doing good, now even the righteouness of the secular world, is seen as more righteous than our actions. There is a lost of credibility and moral standing to preach the Gospel message with the appearance in the general public that the Gospel has been somehow hijacked by single non relevant issue. Truth is compromised, by our denials. Ultimately, who would believe the Gospel truth! The Truth is the casualty.
It is a very sad day for the Christian Faith because the New Guard and the Feminist Mentor were sincere people with very good intentions and people of fervent and zealous faith for God. They truly believed they were ordained and called by God, and that Singapore would cross the line if they do not stop this slide to recognising Gay citizens even though they only constitute 5% of the population and we probably have slide far beyond the line by the 7,000 divorces and 15,000 abortions by straight people. They had very good intentions albeit very narrow and it would be unfair to single out COOS when there was wide support from the Anglican Church as a whole with Singapore being the lead at Gafcon. These were good people but had crossed the line of common sense and consistent biblical interpretation because they had invested so much of their lives in a faith walk which also built up a self righteousness within seeing themselves more holy and more righteous than Gays whom they see will bring Singapore into destruction. However, the road to hell is paved with many good intentions.
The whole affair was seen as a spiritual attack by some and it was. The attack is usually a frontal attack when we were weak, just as Herod tried to killed every baby boy. When when Jesus grew up, and entered into ministry, it became a temptation, an offer to Jesus to be given the whole Earth on account of bowing down before the ruler of this earth. The church in Singapore is very strong and well established with growing support in the mega church and so the fruit in the Garden of Eden was setup for them to persecute gays feeding on the their law conscience and self righteouness. They ate the fruit of temptation when they should have said "Get behind me .....".
(Mat 4:4 NKJV) But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
What did Jesus say? Jesus treated the outcasts of society with love, acceptance and grace, whilst we are obsessed just like the Pharisees in persecuting them. It is time when we return to follow Jesus, His footsteps that others will see Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.