|Gay and Lesbian Symptoms in Malaysia|
The Malaysian gays of faith are having a difficult time as the majority people of faith there are doing all they can to deny gays any rights especially if you are from the majority religion.
The Vice-President of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia demanded that LGBT rights should be excluded from a human rights declarations. ie Gays are not humans.
For the majority people of faith, Gays and Lesbians are like diseases and lifestlyes that are caught rather than innate.
In a comical exercise of stereotyping to expose gays and lesbians, a set of guidelines have been distributed by the ministry of education:-
Symptoms for being Gay
Symptoms for being Lesbians
Frankly I believe that they should be more focused on showing themselves to be a people of faith having tolerance, love, peace, and theological reflection.
The above sweeping generalization is quite incredulous as it could refer to anyone whether straight or gay. However, it is at least better than some Christian groups where being gay is akin to having sex within the family, with dead people and with animals. Gays are protrayed as destroyers of family and marriages, or used by Satan to come against Christianity.
Malaysia is 50th on Open Doors world watch list of countries. The Christian organization focussing on the persecuted church reports that
"Freedom for Christians is deteriorating. Malay believers face increasing hostility from the government and Islamic fundamentalists, while established churches are under threat. Malaysian law restricts conversion of Malay Muslims to other religions. In five states, it is a criminal offence which can be punished by a fine or even a jail term." Open Doors web site
However, there is much freedom for Chinese Christians even to have mega churches.It is gays that are persecuted and not the church.
Why are the religious zealots sounding a warning on gays and Lesbians? It may be because gays and lesbian malays are coming out of the closets like never before.
Sitting at the Coffee Bean cafe along Bukit Bintang road in Kuala Lumpur leading to Pavillion Shopping center, on a Saturday night, one can observe many gay malay teenagers. They are coming out of the closets.
The culture of the major people of faith there reminds me of the culture of the people in the bible where the men can have several wives, the women have to cover their heads/body, and there are religious police to enforce the religious laws.
Gays and Lesbians has the potential to deconstruct this culture and hence their faith theological construction. There are little room for diversity in the religious faiths where there is a strict dogma and set of religious laws.
The people of faith produced the guide for gay symptoms by general observations like me sitting down for coffee at Bukit Bintang. The observations for gays were very detailed and specific downto v-neck shirts and bright clothing, but they just couldn't detect the lesbians whom they gave very general symptoms.
Many religious faiths are based on strongly patrichal structures and theology and not necessarily based on a generalised notion of love. Gays has the potential to impact their rigid religious faith theological construction.
Gal 3: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The Christian faith has faced the challenge in the 1st century AD of having to frame their theology within patrichal cultures where women were denied and where the "world culture" was based on the power structure of the have's and the have not's represented by those who were rich as opposed to the slaves.
Paul who was brought up in strict religious theology made a startling revelation in Gal 3:28, that all men, women, rich, poor, free people, salves, were actually one - "the sons of God" or a child of God in Christ. ie who we are is just a temprorary identity for we have a permanent identity as God's beloved in Christ.
The key here is "baptized into Christ". Our old self may be strongly identified as men and women, straight and gay, with the stark differences and rights. Yet when we are baptised in Christ, our old self and humanity fades away and we are to see ourselves beyond what the world culture and faiths identifies us. We are now to identify ourselves as Christians.
It is the world and patrichal culture and faith that defines us as men and women, straight and gay. It is not that Paul redefined the Christian Faith as accepting diversity in a world where we are seen by the outward and not by the inward humanity.
What the bible is saying in Paul is that the inward humanity, the person within of worth and value can only be seen and treasured when we identify with Christ as Lord and Saviour through baptism. We are saving souls through the Gospel message and not saving their outward sexual identity as men or women for which have no meaning in heaven.
We loose our outward selves in the waters of baptism. When we rise up redeemed in Christ, our humanity within, who we are as a person is also sanctified.
Our identification in Christ surpasses the rights or the lack of earthly rights and privelages given to us based on how the world and its faiths sees us.
It is not that the Christian Faith was meant to be particularly inclusive or to emphasis the different variants of humanity, but that we no longer see people and their worth on the outside.
This is particularly relevant on the current debate in the Christian Faith where gays are not seen as humans but homosexuals as if their sexual preference and act alone defines them. We have returned to the pagan religious laws which see people superficially.
The faith argument is that gays are part of humanity, our friends, brothers, sisters, father, mothers. Their rights are our rights, the denial of their rights denies us ours as well.
At the end of time, whether gay or straight becomes irrelevant for God sees us on the inside far beyond the outward symptoms of being gay or lesbian. God only sees whether we identify ourselves with Jesus' death and resurrection, and not whether we are gay or straight.