Exodus - Let my People Go.
On 24 Jan 2006, the United States joined with the world's notoriously repressive regimes including Iran, and Zimbabwe to reject an application by two international LGBT groups seeking to join the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The Bush-Cheney administration has also opposed women's and children's rights treaties, sex education, contraception and family planning in international forums.
"It is an absolute outrage that the United States has chosen to align itself with tyrants — all in a sickening effort to smother the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Apparently Iran, which President Bush has deemed part of the 'Axis of Evil,' is a suitable partner when it comes to discriminating against gay people," said Foreman.
On Feb 2, 2006, Congressman Barney Frank criticized Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a letter which reads "I was deeply troubled to learn that the U.S. Government, presumably at your direction, sided with some of the most undemocratic, anti-human rights regimes in the world in voting against consultative status for two international organizations, solely on the grounds that they represent gay and lesbian people,"
The United States and Iran may disagree on many issues, but at the foundation both the Islamic regimes and the Bush Christian Right regime have elements of religious tyranny with Iran obviously more so. Such tyrants are aggressive, violent, self justifying and totally intolerant of human rights and freedom. For example, in a display of religious extremism, Muslims around the world expressed fury at the 12 cartoon drawings of Prophet Mohammad. In the Westbank city of Nablus some 20,000 Palestinians burned Danish, Norwegian and French flags, and in Gaza crowds chanted anti-Western slogans before the parliament building. "Those who have published these caricatures must have their heads cut," exhorted the preacher at Gaza's main mosque. In Jerusalem thousands of angry worshippers demonstrated in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, shouting: "Condemnations are not enough, you have to reply with fire. In Jakarta, the Indonesian police officers blocked mob protestors from entering into an office building housing the Danish Embassy. This is the face of religion that brings out evil in man's heart. The end of the world may come in the form of a religious Armageddon.
The religious cartoons that sparked this storm (although it was created by an overzealous and overreaction response) are insensitive. They should be brought to task if they violated any statutory laws. Whilst there is freedom of speech, there must be balanced not to misuse these freedom to promote hatred and prejudice. For example, freedom does not mean that the Christian Right is allowed to voice in public their excessive homophobia and hate against gays. Notwithstanding, what was an isolated case of one Danish newspaper became a rallying point for other newspapers in Europe in response to the Muslim overreaction and unjustified response by Muslim radicals around the world by burning of the Danish flag. Many Muslim nations have voted into power very repressive regimes that have major human rights atrocities. This became an issue of freedom in general versus bondage and not of Christian-Judeo versus Islam.
Europeans have learnt the hard way for the need for freedom, of expression and free speech after many millions died under abusive Facist and Communist regimes. The United States of America, have been sliding into the path of religious bondage due to the strong leaning of the Bush Administration to the Christian Right. The 911 incident have been used as an excuse for greater restrictions and monitoring of public activities. which even extended beyond the law such as illegal wire tapping. It was the Press having the freedom of speech that has highlighted the Bush Administrations dubious activities, inconsistencies, the deteriorating war situation in Iraq, and the misleading facts on the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iaq. Without the freedom of press, Government can get away with much. At the United Nations where USA and Iran effectively blocked LGBT groups in having a voice at the UN tantamounts to an attempt to block the freedom of speech, and in essence, freedom for Gays.
It's been a very long struggle for Gay rights against both government and religious institutions. Homosexuality incurred a death sentence in the 19th century and still today in Iran many are executed. In the 1930s and 40s, the European gay movement was virtually decimated by Hitler when he killed hundreds of thousands of Gays. Many were also castrated. Gays are still being executed and brutalized by their thousands in Iran and Nigeria. In the US, only in 1973 was Homosexuality removed from the list of sickness, and in 1993 totally removed as a crime from the statutes in America. But in the US, Gays are still discriminated, and have limited rights in terms of marriage. The blood of Gays cries out before God for justice and freedom. It is not surprising that it is in European Union that Gays are being increasingly accepted despite being strongly Catholic which is strongly opposed to Gay rights. Outside Europe, the question remains "When will Gays be free to be who they are?". The deaths of the innocent cries out before God until freedom comes in the whole world and Gays can come out in an Exodus from their clossets and society/religious imposed prisons.
Like the Jews in Egypt, they have waited since the dawn of time for freedom, freedom to be first considered equal for an Exodus to the promise land. The Jews were in bondage in Egypt for more than 430 years. The persecution was to the extent that the male babies were being killed on instruction from Pharaoh (Exo 1:16). The severe bondage and treatment they received led them to cry out before God. God sent Moses to confront Pharaoh and to demand that he "let my people go".
But Pharaoh was reluctant and instead increased the hardship of the Jews. God sends a series of plagues onto Egypt, each time acting through Moses. Since each one has respite, and the Egyptian magicians are capable of duplicating some of them, the pharaoh becomes increasingly stubborn. Finally, a great plague, killing all the firstborn, occurs, passing over the houses of the Israelites, since they have completed the passover ritual, marking their houses.
Exodus took place in 1445 B.C. and occurred in the third year of the reign of the pharaoh Amenhotep II. A total of 600,000 men excluding women and children departed from Egypt. As a payback for the hundred of years of free labor, the Jews departed from Egypt rich and wealthy.
The Egyptians lost much in the fear against the Jews. Instead of accepting the Jews as a blessing just as Joseph was to the Pharaoh, they put them as slave labor. At the end, tens of thousands of Egyptians died needlessly. The Jews must also have sought God over the hundreds of years. Yet it was after 400 years salvation finally came. It was not because that God was slow, it was because of His Grace and mercy. God gave the Pharaohs time and space to release His people. It was also not unjust to the Egyptians when many died as a result of the plagues, for the magnitude of the sins against the Jews after 400 years gave God every reasonable moral justification for God to respond.
Exodus speaks of the "coming out" of the closets for the Gay people. The Septuagint designates the second book of the Pentateuch as "Exodus", meaning "departure" or "out-going". For the last one thousand years, since the middle ages, due to the religious persecutions, many have lived in self imposed prison just like the slave house in Egypt. They have no rights. The lives have no value. Over the last 30 years, there has been an Exodus of Gays coming of the closest and declaring with pride that they are free and will no longer live a lie. This has led to formation of "Gay" churches and support groups which are now asking and demanding to be heard at the global community. Our modern Pharaoh is the United Nations essentially controlled by the most powerful nations as such Europeans, China, and US. The message today just like the message Moses gave to Amenhotep II is "let my people go".
The reaction and the hardening of stand nations such as Iran, US, Egypt and Zimbawe mirrors the challenges the Jews faced every time they went to Pharaoh and was rejected. But ultimately, Pharaoh lost, for it has been a long time coming. The magnitude of sins against this innocent Gay people over the last thousand years have been accumulated and must now be totally and morally accounted for. At the end of the day nations that have rejected gays will loose much just as the Egyptians lost much both in human losses and wealth. Their hearts will hardened as we see in the United nations. But that is God's plan for in return there will be so much repercussions and modern day plagues to force them to relent and that Gays will be even more blessed and exalted as a result amongst the nations. For God is for this group of people and He sent His son for outcasts such as this. He will return for a free people.
It would not be beneficial for Singapore to be part of this anti-gay group. If encouraged, Gays bring so much more blessings to Singapore in terms of night life, creative arts, tourism, and innovation to make it a World class city. Isolating them in view of a conservative society would not be of any benefit to Singapore. Richard Florida, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, surveyed 49 urban centres, to try to discover the secrets of economic dynamism. He offers the theory that economically successful cities that can attract and retain the creative class are those that possess the three Ts - technology, talent and tolerance. Gays are a proxy determinant of how tolerant and diverse a place is. However spiritually, God will blessed any nation that accepts Gays just as He blessed Egypt when they accepted Joseph. It is God's supernatural help and blessing that we are seeking for ultimately, Singapore has significant population and resource constraints which will become more evident as countries like China and India starts on the path of modernization and open economy. The message to Singaporeans is to accept Gays before the opportunities are missed.
The Exodus by Gays has begun in earnest... But to truly overcome, and to have true freedom to enter the promised land and not be lost in the desert, Gays will have to both come out of their closest, out of their Egypt, and also to realise that God is for them and not against them. Then, they will have arrived at the promised land and be finally at peace with God when they accept Jesus Christ His son into their hearts as their Saviour. The promised land is in heaven, our final abode. The situation in Singapore for Gays in Singapore and Asia is fair like a prison closest. There is much fear and discrimination. Homosexuality is still a crime. We are reminded that we shall overcome one day, maybe not tomorrow but within the next 20 years. But in the Spirit and through Jesus Christ, we have already overcome. For God is for us, a champion of the outcasts. By His death at the cross and resurrection, Jesus has overcome the prisons that society and religion has put Gays in, and gave them freedom to be who they were born to be.