03 July 2009 - The New York Times reported today that the High Court of New Delhi has issued a ruling against section 377 of the Indian penal code against gay sex, a remnant of the Colonial laws of 1861 which the Court deems as unconstitutional. It was a very harsh and unjust law with 10 years imprisonment for the alleged crime of same sex love between two consenting adults. The detractors had a weak case “You seem to have gathered much medical evidence that homosexuality is not a disease,” said Chief Justice A.P. Shah, “unlike the (other side’s) lawyer, who argued in court that ‘homosexuality is a matter of fun’.”
Religious groups such as the Catholic Church has declared their concerns as increasing abuse of young children and the rise of the HIV as a result of this ruling. This argument is illogical and can be akin of asking Christianity to be banned as it may cause communal violence, abuse of young boys by the church Priests and forced conversions. There are many Christians in Singapore who claim that this is against the will of the conservative majority. However, basic rights should never subject to democratic vote but to be protected under the constitution. The High Court of India said that “Those perceived by the majority as ‘deviants’ or ‘different’ are not on that score excluded or ostracized,” ie the majority cannot solely exclude the minority on account of a democratic majority opinion. If it is so, then in the same manner, then laws preventing conversion to Christianity strongly fought by Christians should also stand in Orissa, India. Christians are seldom consistent. We have forgotten that our rights are somewhat intertwined.
In view of such strong arguments based on the constitution, the Times of India has stated that the Indian Government is unlikely to repeal against the ruling even in view of opposition from religious groups. The High Court bench declared that “In our view, Indian Constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual”. In other words, in the Singapore Context, the Anglican Church which has condescendingly called for gays to be treated with dignity cannot on the other hand call for gays to be put in prison.
We have expected the tidal wave of Gay Rights to come East of Singapore from California through the legalization of gay marriage there. Aborted by Proposition 8, it came nevertheless from both the East and the West, from news of Gay Pride in Shanghai and now the ruling against 377 in India. When the Penal Code is finally repealed in India, it would set an undeniable precedence due to the large size, population, of India. If relatively “third world” Asian giants such as India, and China decriminalizes Homosexuality, and then promotes diversity by having “Gay prides”, it does not look good on Singapore to be the first from the back. We can’t convincingly call ourselves progressive and first world in innovation, creativity and development. More importantly perhaps, it speaks of India and China taking an aggressive stance for progress and development which if we were too nostalgic of looking back to the good old days will find ourselves sadly losing a momentum of looking forward. For a small nation such as Singapore, there is no alternative but to be in front without much avenues of fallback if we do fail.
The Christians Extremist in Singapore is fighting a losing war, not because they are not militant or aggressive enough, nor because of the small gay rights movement in Singapore, but because of the increasing realization by Gays themselves that they are different but normal, ie they are coming out of the closets, which itself is a position of defiance against the church who wants to put in prison both physically and metaphorically. After the Christian Perspective on Homosexuality event in 2007 held at Tanjung Pagar, a walk down the road would see teenagers walking hand in hand, which is what you would expect as couples, except these were same sex couples. Even as we debate on the issues, we often forget that God has had the last say, and if the bible is any guide, we see:-
Some churches talk about the Grace Revolution, but Jesus showed the way of Grace is not sitting and getting fed by great preaching of Jesus on grace alone, but by outward action and deliberate positioning. We have our churches in the most affluent, powerful, and educated part of the community, but if Jesus was here, His HQ would be at Tanjung Pagar, the Gay Hub, to make a statement that His Grace extends to the least in the community. The wind of change is coming and it cannot be stopped. Peter tried to forget about his dream about gentiles being unclean and remained in Jerusalem despite persecution, but God sent Paul to contend with him. The Jewish Christian were having a great time of revival amongst themselves, but the move of the Spirit was for revival in Jerusalem and beyond. If we do not move in the wind of the Holy Spirit, then events that happen naturally will compel us. In the case of the early Christians, it was persecution even though they had revival but could not move on.
We now see the signs of change that as Christians fail to abide by the Gospel of Grace that extends to all, including the gay community which we have closed the door of the church and persecuted them, the coming winds of change is an ominous sign. There will be great pressure that will shake our roots and foundations for we have refused to move by the wind of the Holy Spirit and kept on denying the grace of God to the Gay community. At the end of the road of grace, the Law takes over when we do not hear repeated warnings of the Holy Spirit. We crucified the few prophets of God that has been sent to us calling them heretics and “homosexuality” activists. It is time for the Church to stop kicking the Rock, Jesus Christ. For when we come against gays, we come against God, whose heart of grace, mercy and compassion is to the Gay community. His work is finished for the straight as well as the gay community. One day in heaven, you will see a multitude of people praising Jesus, white, yellow, black, male and female, and oops, Gays as well.
Holy Spirit of God
And by faith, we believed
His work is finished,