|Anti-gay laws in Singapore under pressure|
The Singapore’s Court of Appeal gave a stunning and unexpected response against the high court ruling that had dismissed the attempt to challege the constitutionality of 377a. In particular, it said s377a is of public interest to be addressed by the courts.
"...Such persons might plausibly assert that the continued existence of s 377A in our statute books causes them to be unapprehended felons in the privacy of their homes. The constitutionality or otherwise of s 377A is thus of real public interest."
Essentially there is a arguable case that 377a was against article 12 whereby all persons are equal before the law and have equal protection of the law. Most pertinent was that the 377a was unfairly targeted against gay males in private giving them no personal liberty.
The comprehesive 100 page response was brilliant in its argument to state clearly that s.377a was argubably against the constitution and it gives space for the courts to strike down 377a but also a stepping stone for the Government to come in to be the heroine to repeal it.
This issue was triggered by the persecution initially charging a Mr Tan Eng Hong under s.377a but later charged and investigated instead under Section 294 which carries a much lower penalty. The charge confuses the Government's assertion and ambiguity that s.377a would not be proactively enforced because there was a real threat of persecution.
"....In this regard, we urge our government to maintain: a) current legislation concerning homosexuality;b) its policy of not permitting the registration of homosexual societies or clubs; c) its policy of not allowing the promotion of homosexual lifestyle and activities." National Council of Churches Singapore
The Christian Right has previously attempted to frame any 377A persecution in the assertions of "promoting a homosexual lifestlye" when the act itself is about same sex acts. (given that the same acts between different sex is considered acceptable) and nothing to do with any chosen "lifestyle". In fact the non persecution indicate that the Government is no longer seeing Homosexuality as a "chosen lifestyle" rather an issue which a small minority is innately born with but has strong reservations from a vocal christian minority.
The National council of Churches Singapore have even 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 clear voice of the conservative vocal minority has ensured, in a democratic, pluralist republic, that the anti-homosexuality law is not abolished in spite of calls from active homosexual lobbyists in the nation, which, in the words of a prominent local evangelical leader, is a strong one." Christian Post SG State Takes Active Stand on Non-Enforcement of Anti-Homosexuality Law 2008
The Christian Right will again protray themselves the underdog - the "Conservative vocal minority" against a strong "active homosexual lobbyists" when the churches which has 100 fold more manpower, determination, at all levels of politics and wealth against a tiny community whose organization is not even allowed to be legally registered.
They had deemed s.377a as "anti-homosexuality law" which fits the constituitional argument that it is targeted against a specific people group not treated with equal respect under the law when the oral sex acts were not persecuted for heterosexuals.
They had wanted all gays to be persecuted since by have same sex activities we are promoting homosexuality even if the same sex acts are done in private. But they will have their day in court during the City Harvest trial. Why should any mercy and grace be given when none was shown.
When the Fundamentalists say that “Gays are silencing Christians”, they are afraid of being challenged and taken into account by alternative voices questioning their anti-gay crusade, when they had almost full control of the Christian media and little opposition to their rhetoric and half truths.
They have had a free ride and are now very afraid even of the small voice of conscience reminding them that they might be wrong. Why are Christians so afraid of alternative voices and trying to paint a very bad picture of gays and making themselves look like the victim instead of the criminal?
Because they are trying to hide and sooth their conscience of the sin and evil done to the gay community. Their sin against the innocent gay community is so grave that they know God’s moral laws would never let them off.
Christianity is a choice but being gay is not a choice or a lifestlye just as being straight is not one. Therefore, when what is innate and what is chosen is made gray, it will be argued in the future that religion is not a choice and what you believed in is determined by the circumstances of your culture and upbringing. Therefore how could God penalized us for something beyond our control. We are underming our on faith by going after gays.
Gays are targeted because they are very weak and an easy target to show our self righteousness against "sinners" and godly/holy credentials. In the long run, the world's impression of our faith will be that of an anti-gay movement and not the uniqueness of Christ message of hope and salvation.
The ex-gay movement is just their delusion and they spend their energy denying gays because even to probe further theologically/historically to know the truth scares them. anecdotal evidence is so strong that gays are born as such that the evangelicals are trying to stay far away from the truth by creating a gay agenda which includes the ex-gay movement and that gays are being used by Satan to destroy the church.
We are reminded by an article written after the 2007 parliamentary debate by Mr Ho Kown Ping entitled "stop making a mockery of the law, lets accept gays". The article was then a real surprise with no real impetus at all for the article to be written, and the author was not the run of the mill journalist but the Chairman of MediaCorp, the owner of the Newspaper.
Hence, it is appropriate for the Government to again consider repealing s.377a more than 4 years later.
(John 10:10 NKJV) "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Let us not be the thief who comes to steal away the basic rights of the Gay community who has been under so much condemnation causing many deaths and destruction. We are called to be as Christ, to give life, and this life is Jesus Christ. Let us preach the name and power of Jesus atoning death and resurrection. If not, this will be taken from us, and the people's ears and eyes will no longer hear the good news until one day, we will go into the same closets which we have put gays in.
The days of 377a are numbered literally. It legalises the assertion that gays have no rights under the law and are unconvicted felons even when the consensual same sex acts are done in private.
This is contrasted to what seemingly are "special rights" that the churches exercise to freely do business in the market place whilst being a charity. In the greatest irony, the churches could not speak as loud as they had been to insist on s.377a as this is running in parallel to the City Harvest court case.
How we treat Gays can be used as a guide by many whether we are a 3rd world archaic country or a 1st world nation, “the place to be”.
It's time for Singapore to come out of the closet and gay people to rejoice.
Chris Tomlin - Rejoice.
"See the morning, see it rising Over the mountains high