|Father – forgive the National Council of Churches Singapore and bless them|
March 2007 - The National Council of Churches of Singapore recommends inclusion of Lesbian sex in response to the Government’ proposal to repeal Section 377 PC concerning oral and anal sex between heterosexual adults. The Ministry of Home Affairs revealed that the approach to amending the Penal Code is, amongst others, “to update its provisions so that they remain relevant and effective in view of societal and global changes”. Whilst the Government could see that Society is changing and one day there will be equality, the church remains steadfastly exclusive. In doing so, it will cut off a great part of the gay community from its reach. In John 3:16, it is clear that Jesus accepts “whosoever” into His kingdom on account of their faith in Him irrespective of their race, tribe, color, sex, and sexual orientation. When we exclude people, we make ourselves as gods and this is a great sin and idol in the church life.
The NCCS commended the Government on the changes and suggested that the existing section 377A PC be further strengthened to be inclusive of Lesbians. The NCCS said “Given that section 377A PC criminalizes homosexuality whether done private or publicly, we are of the view that a similar prohibition ought to be enacted in respect of lesbianism...”. The Government intends to keep Section 377A PC concerning sex between men in force although the Home Affairs Ministry claims that it will not be proactive in enforcing this law. The last time a gay was prosecuted was in 1994. Explaining the decision not to amend Section 377A PC, the Home Affairs Ministry said that homosexuality is not widely accepted or tolerated in Singapore society.
The feedback by NCCS has caused uproar from gay community and support groups as being improper for a Church to impose its moral laws on a secular society (1 Cor 5:9-10), undermines the love commandments of Jesus, inconsistent with regards to adultery and the divorcee, and fails to “re-think” God anew in the ever-changing contexts. It would not be surprising if NCCS pays little attention to these groups, which has a weak support base as compared to the NCCS. Moreover, NCCS could consider themselves rather benevolent for the reference to “Jesus love commandments” is a summary of the Jewish Mosaic laws. Hence NCCS will deem themselves rather “gracious” not to kill gays under a strict interpretation of the Jewish Laws (as they do in some Muslim countries).
Global changes are impacting Singapore and it cannot stand itself on an isolated Island. I believe that the Government’s intention for the long run is decriminalized 377A PC. We have a changing world with the European Union now accepting Gay rights and even marriages, and in USA, Gay unions will become more common in the next 10 years. With the world quickly changing, Singapore would be considered repressive and unenlightened if it remains 30 to 50 years behind times. With Gay marriages likely to be accepted in USA in the next 20 years, the contrast with Singapore would undermined the Government’s intention for Singapore to become a vibrant first class city known for its life, and innovations. Mr Lee Teck Leng, of Lee Associates 'Perhaps by the next major amendment to the Penal Code in, say, 20 years' time, we may see same-sex activities being decriminalized. But not now.'
The response from the NCCS was as expected and supports the Government assertion of strong opposition from conservative quarters to repeal 377A PC. However, the government could claim the moral high ground by claiming to be progressive after all by allowing Lesbian “sex”. History may reflect harshly on NCCS position. It is likely that the repeal of 377 PC is the initial step for which the Government could claim to make progress on 377A PC. This will come sooner rather than later if progressive governments take power in USA and Australia. How we treat Gays can then be used as a guide by many whether we are a 3 rd world archaic country or a 1st world nation, “the place to be”.
Two thousand years ago, we have the same religious mob, used the death penalty for failing to abide by the law (the so called Jewish “love” commandments) in order to condemn Jesus to death at the cross. The call for feedback by Pontius Pilate was strikingly similar to the Government’s request for feedback from the various groups in society. Pontius even though an unbeliever and a cruel leader, could see that Jesus did no wrong but the religious leaders were adamant that Jesus must die. They were willing to chose Barabbas, a murderer who did great harm to society instead of Jesus, who had blessed so many and totally sinless. The Government even though conservative I believe was pragmatic to see that Homosexuality should not be a crime. However, the Church has insisted to condemn gays even though an opportunity was given for them to feedback to the Government to include a repeal of 377A PC. Instead NCCS called for the PC to be strengthened to include lesbians. Can you hear the shouts from the religious right to “Crucify the Gays”, “Crucify them”! We go back 2000 years, when their descendents cried out “ Crucify Jesus”.
Why, what evil has Gays committed?, to love each other! We used the Law to come against them, forgetting that the action of same sex was not the sin but the sin was worshipping Baal (Judges 2:13) who demanded that straight men have sex with each other as part of their pagan worship. The only sexual act specifically condemned by Jesus was adultery. Hypocritically, NCCS has not made the same insistence to criminalize adultery or divorce (Mark 10:11) mentioned by Jesus as being the main cause of destroying the covenant of marriage (Mat 19:5) and yet we blame gays for destroying the family. What are the gods that we have created? religion, wealth (Mat 6:24), power, processions (Mat 16:26), intellect, pride, self-righteousness, and ourselves. We become the center of the world – even to the extent of “re-thinking” God to fit our lives and context when obviously God does not condemn Gays in the first place. We read the bible, but actually we do not see the motivations behind the “feel good” parables of the bible, nor do we hear from God to help us understand the bible (Mat 13:13-15).
We may be sad for the Gay and Lesbian community in Singapore. Many gay youths do feel the terrible discrimination in the city they called home. There is a call to get together, discipline ourselves and fight for our rights. However, we should “feel sorry” for the NCCS. They should be primarily concern not with the gay issue but with new 298A PC, which makes it a crime - “Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion or race, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”. The PC is subject to wide interpretation and one day may be used to come against the church for preaching the gospel. The tables will one day be turned around and the church may be persecuted unfairly in the same manner as they insist on persecuting gays. Alas, you may reap what you sow if not for the grace of God.
The bible commands us as Gay Christians in Singapore, to love those whom have decided to come against us, to hate us, used us for their fund raising, who insist that the law persecute us, in summary, to love our enemies and to bless them in our prayers that God’s grace and mercy may be upon them just as it is upon us. For such are “true believers”, “true sons of the father in heaven”, for the blessings of God – the rain and the warm of sunshine falls on both them (the evil party) and us. We are all part of humanity having fallen, sinners and fallen short of the glory of God - deserving death. Both gays and the NCCS look to God to sustain them through the sun and water, the basic elements of life not because we deserved it but because of His grace and mercy. We are called “children of God” when we appreciate the grace and mercy of God’s salvation by sending His son Jesus to save us, the extent of this understanding reflects how much we can forgive and extend grace in return even to our enemies because of the love of God spread out in our hearts in Christ Jesus.