The second part of this story has been published 17/9/18. Read it here. Bible verses included.
377A Debate In 2018
I was struggling to find an angle for the 377A debate. After all, what has not already been said? It started to sound like two angry parties in their echo chamber. A frustrating stalemate.
But things came to light after speaking with a Christian leader. What I took away was Christians see LGBT as an issue but not hear the stories, hurt, and rejection.
While Christians push back policies that threaten their family ideals, they don’t realise the people they are marginalising.
With social issues on the internet, the extreme voices are the loudest. Plus, it is difficult for a pastor to put his reputation and church on the line to take a stand.
I am no religious leader, but as someone who has been in the evangelical scene for many years and a student of the bible, this is what I have to say.
377A leads to gay marriage legalised
Pastor Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church is known as the leader of the anti-Pink Dot, Wear White movement. He has expressed concerns about the LGBT lifestyle being normalised and glamourised.
He is only half-right. Pink Dot seeks to normalise being gay but I take issue with the term glamourise. It insinuates being LGBT as a deliberate choice of circuit parties, orgies, and drugs. But, the truth is much more sobering.
Pastor Lawrence’s ultimate fear, which he shared with his church, is that if two men or women are recognised as a family unit, the adopted child will have to grow up without mum or dad.
In some way, I can empathise with his idealism that every child should have both a mum and dad. However, we all know reality differs. Single parents can raise their children just as well.
LGBT couples would adopt children that might never have a chance to experience parental love.
Tenets of faith are subjective in Christianity
There is no singular viewpoint in Christianity; most pastors, leaders and congregants can’t always see eye to eye anyway. This is why Catholics and Protestants are separate and further split into various denominations.
Need I even go into the power struggles I have heard of? Pastors leave church because they could not agree with the board. Leaders conspire to overthrow each other with the dramatics of a Hong Kong concubine serial. Christians aren’t as united as they seem.
Only in recent years, perhaps due to the growth of megachurches and LGBTs appearing in their flock, the church is forced to confront the LGBT issue head on. Prior to that, they had little reason to.
Christians are constantly subjected to the judgement of other Christians. A need for approval exists amongst evangelical leaders themselves. For example, if I mentioned my pastor’s name, you can find YouTube videos of him being called a cult-leader, heretic, and other awful things. Yet, he leads a sizeable congregation.
Straight leaders have no reason to care
Because of the eyeballs on you as a church leader, known as ‘accountability’ in Christian speak, only straight people are promoted in the ministry and assigned positions of power in the National Council of Churches.
They have no incentive to be accepting of LGBT people, which might expose them to criticism.
Straight leaders might identify with being tempted with pornography or adultery, but they cannot relate to feelings of same-sex attraction and it is easy for them to denounce the lifestyle without providing the solution.
In my church, if you sign up for any serious ministry, such as kids church or mission trips, part of the screening interview is to find out if you have “homosexual tendencies past or present.”
LGBTs are systematically denied prominence in the Church while proclaiming God’s house has room for everyone to serve and belong.
Hypocrisy due to inner conflict
Straight Christian leaders face a conundrum: how do they represent a loving, forgiving God to people who continue to ‘violate his ways’?
This leads to catch-all phrases like “love the sinner, hate the sin” which has since become the trite motto for a hypocritical church seeking PR recovery.
People are quick to point out the Church at large is inconsistent with its morality.
You often hear testimonials of former drug addicts, porn addicts, adulterers, liars, and divorcees to the ‘glory of God’. But homosexuals are still stuck in their sin of a mutual, committed relationship and hence do not get any airtime.
To the Church, these other sins are one time booboos, but homosexuality is an ongoing lifestyle.
But a cheating man might cheat again; a compulsive liar lives to lie another day; a drug addict might slip back into addiction if they don’t receive the support they need.
Without going on a full-on theological debate, my question to the Church is: when does grace and forgiveness stop?
Live And Let Live
377A is an unenforced law and should be done away with as such. Just like how divorce is against God’s word, but Christians don’t fight against divorce laws simply because it does not make sense in this day and age.
Law minister K. Shanmugam warns about LGBTs imposing their values on the majority. I think this is more a case of a majority imposing their values on a minority that struggles with invisibility.
Muslims don’t push for their dietary laws to be imposed on non-Muslims. In the same vein, sexuality and love are private affairs, yet it is subjected to the approval of the religious community.
Personally, I accept that Christians might find it hard to reconcile their teachings and a society that seem to be plunging into moral ambiguity.
But as a believer, my fear is that the love and compassion of Jesus, who validated prostitutes, is lost in a political cacophony that is based on unfounded fears.
Jesus broke gender, moral, religious and cultural barriers by reaching out to a Samaritan woman steep in sexual sin. I hope the Church can do the same by extending out a hand to the rejected in society.
After all, what LGBT people want is love and validation.
Cover photo by Sebastian Tan