Regarding Section 377A

There have been much thoughts with regards to homosexuality and its presence in society. While this can once again be seen in the framework of western culture doing its imperialism thing on asian culture. Let us reason among ourselves and see what it really entails. For starters, it is estimated that a very general 5-15% of the population may be gay, or lesbian or bisexual or transgender and do not conform to the usual categories of sexuality. What amplifies this is the sexual discourse within Singapore itself. With strict laws against sensitive speech and an overwhelming need to conceal activities that are considered “shameful” in nature and a press that seems hell bent on denigrating such minorities. It is indeed difficult to cut through the discourse that surrounds us. Also, it is understandable that we are afraid of what we do not know or conform to our own understanding of people.

How then, in some asian societies, ethnic minority groups or tribal societies, whereby homosexuality is very heavily frowned upon, even to the point of death – that there is an implicitly small number of people that still do not conform to the majority’s view on sexuality? Denying that the issue is an issue is no different from Ahmadinejad saying that there are no homosexuals in Iran – at his recent speech at Columbia University in the City of New York recently. It exists. There are people among us who do not conform to the norms of sexuality. And for sure, it scares the living daylights out of us.

Let us look at it from a Christian point of view. Adultery. Sin. Sodom and Gomorrah, representative of all that is evil and bad and the destruction of God’s might and power and righteousness. Yet throughout the gospels, an example that strike strongly would be the woman caught in the act of adultery. Sin at its very best. Forbidden sin at its very best. All ready to die. And the words of Jesus are simple. “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone.” and following that, “neither do I condemn thee.” From a strictly Christian point of view. There is sin in the world. Sin corrupts the flesh. For the wages of sin is death. We have no moral imperative to condemn other people considering that we too live under the same sentence of death.

For there is none righteous. And Christians are called to love their neighbors as themselves. What if their “neighbors” happen to be someone who is “far from the redemption that is in Christ.” and is very difficult to reconcile doing good and living the “good religious life” from the reality that stares at them forth? Surely, we can do better than to be no different from a pharisee. Its not like we live great perfect lives either. I do not believe that a person decides to consciously wake up one fine morning and declares himself to be attracted to members of the similar sex. Nor do I believe that a person decides to recalcitrantly chose to be gay in the presence of overwhelming social opposition and condemnation. Denying this issue is not wise, since it leads to the more unfavorable outcome of festering and staying underground where it continues to be denigrated and demonized.

As citizens of Singapore, we have pledged to build a democratic society based on justice and equality. Well, we’ve not done a very good job on the democratic measure yet. Nor a very good measure of the justice part either. The least that we Singaporeans can do is to work on the equality part. Anthropologists have documented the presence homosexuality in a very great number of cultures and societies throughout the world. It is not merely a western thing when people in Iran are hanged for it. Nor is it a passing fad when the voices of the oppressed minority grow louder each day. The government should not have the power to regulate the private life of citizens between consenting adults who are legally able to give consent. The government is supposed to serve the people, not fine tune their private actions and activities.

Surely, homosexuality is an issue that makes Singaporeans uncomfortable. Perhaps even very uncomfortable. Have we ever stopped to consider it from their perspective that maybe this is just something that is very normal, something that they themselves are unable to explain – being drawn to attraction in a manner that differs from the vast majority of the population. The cognitive dissonance in such cases must indeed be tremendous. If we chose not to give them rights to marry, or adopt children or take other measures to keep a tight rein on this minority. Then surely at the very least we can give them a measure of equality in a country that proclaims itself to be highly developed and advanced a society.

Personally, I know many gay Christians. And they struggle so much with their sexuality along with an attempt to love God and love people. For myself, I can only say, “may God have mercy on my soul and grant me the redemption that is in Christ.” I have no moral standing to condemn another person. And for the most part, what would Jesus do if He met a homosexual person on the streets of Jersusalem a long time ago. Most likely, this person would possibly be about to be put to death, or be severely marginalized and ostracized in society. What then would Jesus do. Cast him out? Or love him? I only appeal to other Christian people in Singapore to actually look at their ten commandments of life. To love God and to love people. Expecting an individual to live a perfect Christian life is as good as trying to observe an electron in flight. You can’t do it. So don’t condemn because they struggle either.

Where there are laws that protect minors from adults taking advantage of them sexually. And there are also laws that prevent adults from taking advantage of other adults in a sexual manner. These laws in Singapore are stiff, strong, severe and carry much pain in their enforcement. However if two fully consenting adults chose to engage in a manner of sexuality in their own private abode, then it is not up to society or the government to judge whether their actions are right or wrong. That we have to leave to God to be the ultimate judge. If you don’t believe in God in this post-modernist era, then by all means, nothing is right or wrong. If it feels good. Then do it. Whether Section 377A stays or goes doesn’t matter. It simply does not reflect the reality on the ground for an oppressed minority of our people. This is no different from Robert Mugabe passing a law restricting price increases when the economic climate has 1000% of inflation.

Christians! Church! God calls you to love people. Not to condemn them with some vague notion of “tough love” or emotional blackmail. We are all sheep that hath gone astray. The least we can do is to step back onto that path of righteousness and redemption instead of having little to none of the grace that Christ hath. Instead of condemning and judging our brethren others. Let us suspend our judgment and see things from their perspective with compassion and love. It must be very hard for many of them. And if you don’t believe in God. At the very least, you shouldn’t hate another person just because of some aspects of his character that he or she struggles with, and may not be able to change to conform to your notions within this lifetime.

Singapore is not just a home for social conservatives and traditional minded philosophies. In a globalized world, the least we can do is to be a little bit open minded, understanding and hopefully forgiving of the different points of view when it comes to existentialism.