God’s will and State law: A dangerous mix
Last week, Pastor Lawrence Khong and LoveSingapore jointly expressed to Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong their wish to see the movement to repeal Section 377A, which criminalises homosexual acts, stopped.
On the LoveSingapore Facebook page, Pastor Khong states that the law’s repeal would lead to the establishment of anti-discrimination laws which would “reverse-discriminate against anyone who does not believe in the homosexual agenda. We will be prohibited to voice our moral and religious views on the issue”. He fears this would lead to a situation where “freedom of speech and religion have been denied those who hold different views from that of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community”.
He goes on to say, the repeal would “open the door of our nation to unbridled destruction. Our core values will be systematically eroded until homosexuality is elevated as king in our land”. I find the whole tone of this discussion unnecessarily coloured by fear and bogeyism. We need to consider these points with a calm and clear mind, and nothing else.
I am not here to debate Pastor Kong’s interpretation of his religious beliefs, nor should anybody. They are his beliefs, and those of millions of others, and the right to these convictions is and must be protected by law.
I do, however, question his right to impose those interpretations on others through legislation. Nobody is trying to vote into law a statute that criminalises Pastor Khong’s brand of thinking. Nobody is making it compulsory for him to be gay. Why should he want it compulsory for others to be straight?
Perhaps Pastor Khong’s basis for the desire to stamp out homosexuality via legislation is the Biblical verses which list homosexuality as precluding entry into the Kingdom of God.
If that is so, my response is that he is absolutely within his rights to impose that point of view upon those who subscribe to his church or his collective.
But it does not preclude the right of our homosexual citizens to exist in Singapore. It is not the same thing, and not applicable in the same manner.
I am also slightly cautious about Pastor Khong’s use of LoveSingapore in order to further his views. This is because it can easily be misconstrued that (a) everybody in LoveSingapore shares this point of view; (b) LoveSingapore represents the point of view of the larger Christian community in Singapore, or possibly all Christians; and (c) Religious groups have the right to impose their will upon state legislature, at the expense of other groups.
Let me be very clear as to why point (c) is an area of concern. Any number of lobby groups with similar or opposing agendas should be able to operate. However, once the stamp of a larger collective, particularly a religious collective, is invoked, it becomes potentially troubling.