Homosexuality, Christianity and Singapore
I’ve been thinking about the issue of the legality of homosexuality in Singapore for some time now, especially more so every since Otto Fong, a teacher in RI, published his ‘open letter’ declaring himself homosexual, and the Ministry of Education apparently pressured him into taking it down.
As I’d commented somewhere on LiveJournal, I can totally understand why a Christian might disapprove of homosexuality – the bible practically explicitly instructs us to do so (to kill them, more specifically).
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Lev. 20:13)
Personally, I don’t believe that every word of the bible is infallible or should be taken as an instruction to be applied in everyday life, but I know many people who do, and yes – if the almighty God your creator has told you that homosexuality is wrong, it is altogether sensible that you should do your part to stamp it out. Encourage your homosexual friends to ‘turn over a new leaf’, if you sincerely believe that will be better for them – fine. Form support groups for homosexuals who want to ‘change’ – alright, I guess. Have campaigns to educate the public on the evils of homosexuality (whatever those be) – I’m a little dubious about that, but hey, it’s (theoretically) just exposing others to your viewpoint, so I guess that’s alright.
But where I draw the line is when church groups vocally lobby to retain section 377 of the penal code, that part of Singaporean law which makes it illegal for homosexuals to have sex with one another. It’s not a law that is actively enforced (even if they were able to), but it silently signals the government’s non-acceptance of homosexuality in Singapore.
Civil law is civil law, and unless every citizen is a member of a certain religion (and even then, perhaps not), there is no reason why religious viewpoints should be mixed in with deciding how to maintain secular social order. As Christians we have no right to force our beliefs upon others, just as the Muslims have no right to make us eat halal food (though as a sidetrack, a lot of Malay food is seriously tasty and hard to avoid eating =P).
Purely from a secular point of view, I fail to see how homosexuality makes a detrimental impact on society as a whole – arguments about the ‘breakdown of traditional family structure’ and stuff don’t quite cut it, for me. In fact, I don’t see why homosexuality should be regarded as a greater ill than smoking or alcohol.
I’m not particularly supportive of homosexuality (am personally slightly homophobic, no particular reason – just not particularly comfortable with the concept), but I don’t see why they should be discriminated against either, and I am tired of Christians being broadly labelled as ‘anti-gay’ when really I think it’s something we have no business poking our noses into in the first place (on a national legal scale, anyway).