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LGBT debate: Let change come via consensus, not confrontation

I refer to the recent statements by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the need to balance religion and personal preferences in society to avoid division. I agree.

Calvin Cheng Ern Lee

I refer to the recent statements by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the need to balance religion and personal preferences in society to avoid division. I agree.

As an atheist, I have no religious case against homosexuality, but I do have huge sympathy towards the organisers of Pink Dot.

However, my personal beliefs may not necessarily be the same as those held by the majority of my fellow citizens.

Religion is a fundamental belief that influences a person’s moral compass and world view. If so, there is no reason for me to assert that my moral perspectives on this issue are superior to those of a religious person.

I have to respect that their views count as much as mine in a democracy and, if they are in the majority, to respect that as the will of the electorate.

This does not mean I will abrogate my beliefs and stop seeking to persuade the majority otherwise.

However, to aggressively push my beliefs in the face of those who do not agree with me will inevitably lead to a pushback.

The activists who organise Pink Dot have to understand that when their activism is brought out onto the streets and into the public eye, it will, unavoidably, create a public reaction from the conservatives.

Street and public activism can become a violent way of effecting change if damage is wrought on the social fabric. Singapore has prospered without public protests, demonstrations and riots for decades. The growth of this type of activism in public spaces in recent years is, indeed, worrying.

In order for Singapore to stay united as a nation, change should be produced through consensus, not confrontation.

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