13 March 2007

Criminalise lesbianism, say Church leaders

The National Council of Churches wants the government to be consistent. Since homosexual acts are "sinful and abhorrent" according to their faith, so not only gay males sex but lesbian sex too should be a crime. Anal sex by heterosexuals is OK, though. Full essay.

28 comments:

Ben said...

I speak as a Christian and I think Christians have no business pushing for the criminalization of behaviours they deem immoral, especially on non-Christians. What next, imprisonment for extra-marital affairs? Didn't see any Methodist board member going to jail for over-paying its Bishop.

The Christian response to "unacceptable" behaviour is at most excommunication. 1 Cor 5 couldn't be clearer about Paul's approach to expect proper conduct only from Christians.

Wolfgang said...

illogically logical? but then again, it is really typical of how the Christian mind works.

Anonymous said...

hardly "christian" mind; the homosexuals and lesbians may themselves profess to be christians; it is a sign of the "authoritarian" mind, whether christian or not

if a church condemns homosexuality, it should expell homosexuals from its membership; asking the government to prosecute them is altogether a different issue

Anonymous said...

I wonder if a young christian lady has been raped, would the Christian leaders go as far as to comfort the victim's parents not to blame the rapist (love the sinner) but blame it on the sin (rape) itself.

Anonymous said...

Christians afraid to speak out against their religious order is no different from Singaporeans' fear of their own Government.

Who in their right mind would protest against the commandment of God, or Lee Kuan Yew?

- A Singapore Digit

Anonymous said...

Fourthly, it repeats the "hate the sin, love the sinner" gobbledegook. Only contorted minds manage to see such a distinction, first by artificially divorcing an act from a person's essential sense of self and identity, then by saying I love one but hate the other. As I have argued many times before, it is artificial to draw such sharp distinctions between practice and nature (or identity). One makes the other and vice versa. It is entirely self-serving to protest goodwill towards others through such sophistry.
What you describe as "gobbledegook" is actually a reflection of the Christian view of human nature and agency that spans all Christian denominations. It has nothing to do with identity, it's about human susceptibility to Satan's seduction and the danger for Christians to have a holier-than-thou attitude. Now, you can of course call all Christian doctrines gobbledegook, but there's nothing contorted about this injunction by St. Augustine.
That said, I do find the Methodist Church's stand on the criminalisation of homosexuality in Singapore revolting exactly for the same reasons as ben.

kid said...

It only amuses me that the people saying that some who are 'sinful' ought to be shot are those who could not and did not prevent the desanctification of marital institutions and conventional sexual practices.

'Homo-[anything]' is just a bogeyman.

If anything it was the (supposed) pious who desanctified everything.

Anonymous said...

"For all the bravura of Singaporeans saying on blogs, "I speak as a Singaporean and I dispute what the Singapore leaders say, and I am out to make my dissent known", you hardly ever hear anyone saying "I speak as a Christian and I dispute what the church leaders say", etc.

Why not, I wonder? And if one doesn't register one's dissent, does not the opprobrium that others heap on Christianity lie justly on him too?"
____________________

Tribalism is a strong force that binds and blinds its tribe members against ALL outsiders.

Witness the priestly paedophilia fiasco in Boston about three years ago and the complete apathy and lack of outrage amongst the Roman Catholic laity. I don't recall any display of public outrage of this atrocity from the RC laity. Where was the outrage and demand for justice for these abused children? Where was the demand calling for prosecution of ALL these paedophile criminals and their accomplices some of whom even now occupy top leadership positions in that organisation? They ALL chose to remain silent.

The RC Church has lost its moral compass when it knowingly not only chose to protect its paedophile criminals but allowed them to continue to perpetrate their heinous acts of sexual abuse of children for decades.

They should get their own house in order and prosecute these criminals in their ranks and not lecture the public on morals. The Catholic laity should demand no less.

To witness a crime or injustice being committed and do nothing is an act of moral cowardice. Their silence speaks volumes.

Disgusted

Anonymous said...

Following up on what "Anonymous -Disgusted" said, could it be that the RC leadership were too busy making anti-gay speeches, they didn't have time to deal with all the pedophile priests? A classic diversionary tactic. Whip the people's anti-gay sentiments so that they'll forget about other problems. This is the same tactic Bush used to get elected to his second term in the US. His party shrewdly put many state consitutional amendments on the ballot to limit same-sex marriage, so it reminded voters that Democrats were "anti-family" and they had better vote BUSH if they want to keep "family values". People forgot about Iraq because they were too focussed on preventing a few gay people from (oh my god) having a few HUMAN RIGHTS and not bothering anyone else.

Anonymous said...

'To witness a crime or injustice being committed and do nothing is an act of moral cowardice.'

That argument makes no sense whatsoever. If the laity did not speak out, how did the whole paedophile scandal in US come about?

And after it did broke out, the late Pope John Paul II summoned all the US bishops and reprimanded them.

And to yawning bread, stop labelling all christians as crazed homophobics and fundamentalists. The NCCS certainly doesnt speak for all christians (ie, catholics etc), much less the Methodist church.

godless.sodomite said...

A brilliant article. As a "godless sodomite" (as Ann Coulter would brand me) I have had enough of hard-line Christian values being forced on a supposedly multi-religious society.

So Christianity does not condone homosexuality. Fine. So why impose such a view on non-Christians?

I don't hear Muslims calling for non-Muslim women to cover up. They may not like it but it seems the majority of the Muslim community is quite content with living by the rule of compromise. It appears that, while the majority of Christians may feel the same, the ones who make their voices heard are raging homophobes.

And the patronising, self-indulgent "hate the sin, love the sinner" bullshit just makes me squirm. Perhaps that's why so many "men of the cloth" can get away with pedophilia nowadays.

I think you can tell I don't have much sympathy for the Christian right.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

To anonymous, 15 March 13:54

Your points seem rather confused. To begin with, sexual abuse by priests is one thing, spreading intolerance through doctrine is another. In the first place, sexual abuse is not condoned by doctrine, therefore speaking out against it does not require the courage that speaking out against current (interpretation of) doctrine does.

Secondly, in general, the priests' abuses came out not because the laity spoke out, but because in many cases, the abused persons finally went to the media or to the police. In fact, the decades-long cover-up that the Roman Catholic hierarchy managed in many places was due to absence of pressure from the constituency to come clean.

You are right that the NCCS does not represent all Christian churches in Singapore. The larget denomination - the Roman Catholics - isn't part of it (not that RC doctrine is any less oppressive). All the more therefore that no one should accept whatever the NCCS says with much authority. However, you are mistaken on one point: the Methodist Church is very much intertwined with the NCCS as you can see from their website www.nccs.org.sg.

Anonymous said...

"The NCCS certainly doesnt speak for all christians (ie, catholics etc), much less the Methodist church."

Catholic churches are not represented by NCCS, that we know.

NCCS's statement did appear in the Methodist Message didn't it? And until I see the magazine carry an official statement disagreeing with NCCS, myself and many others will take that the view stated as the official view.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 13:54

"That argument makes no sense whatsoever. If the laity did not speak out, how did the whole paedophile scandal in US come about?

And after it did broke out, the late Pope John Paul II summoned all the US bishops and reprimanded them"
___________________

The laity speak out?

Who else would know and speak out if not the victims?

And those who dared to speak out are cruelly silenced by the RC church leaders.

The sex scandals were evidently widespread enough that a secret document -Crimen Sollicitationis - was deemed necessary and which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church given to Catholic bishops worldwide who are ordered to keep it tucked away securely in the church safe.

It imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses.

Breaking that oath means excommunication from the Catholic Church.

The objective is clear - to protect the RC Church and its paedophile criminal priests and damn the children victims.

The criminals are protected and the victims are threatened with excommunication? Nice. How morally upright and what exemplary conduct!

The pope *reprimand* the bishops? Shouldn't these criminals who perpetrated the cover-up and provided the paedophiles with yet more opportunity to commit more sexual abuse against children be put behind bars?

Read more about these criminals at the link below.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/databases/DallasMorningNewsBishops.htm

Disgusted

Anonymous said...

I am reposting the link again as it appears to have gone all wonky the first time around.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/
resources/resource-files/databases/
DallasMorningNewsBishops.htm

Disgusted

Ian Timothy said...

Hello,

Actually, I do believe there are Christians who do speak publicly against some of the stuff the church leaders say. It is maybe that they don't start with "I'm a Christian ..".

I have been thinking about why I don't start with the "I'm speak as a Christian.." but do start with a "I speak as a Singaporean.." and I think one of the reasons is that my identity as a Singaporean is not linked to my ideology of what Singapore (and Singaporeans) could be and should strive for.

However, at the point when there is disagreement with what the church leaders are saying, my identity as a christian is affected because in religion, the identity of the believer is tied to the ideology of the religion. In a way, I guess that is why I don't start that way, because the moment I do criticise, in a way, I'm no longer a 'Christian' in the sense of the established doctrine in my own mind. Of course Christianity is more than just these points, and my disagreement with them should not make me see myself any less as a Christian but in a way, I guess it does affect in some way. Oh well...

Another thing, just because the blogosphere has no dissent, doesn't mean we aren't fighting. It is just that the battlefield for this war isn't online. For my case, the battle is at home. I grew up in a Christian family and the battle is at home. To shift the thinking of my parents not just with relation to this matter, but many others.

karel321@yahoo.com said...

1) pls keep different issues separated. it is an intellectual error to mix the paedophilia scandal of the US RC church with the anti-gay statement of the NCCS in Singapore. ok, both are about sex, but homosexuality and paedophilia are not related as many religious fundamentalists would like us believe. and it's another church(group), and another continent.

2) why not more Christians stand up against their religious leaders ? well, there may be more reasons, but consider the following. if you are Singaporean and you stand up against points made by Singaporean authority, than you don't loose citizenship (or PR). and the number of cases where people have given up their nationality because of their convictions is understandably extremely rare.
but,if you're baptised and TRY to live following christian values, you're a Christian. the moment you stop TRYING to following these Christian values, you're not a Christian any more. of course there is room for debating these values within a church (although clearly more so in European branches of some churches than here in Singapore), but there are obviously limits. if an individual starts picking some values from this religion or philosophy and some other from another one, we're talking about shopping, not believing. anyway, you may be brought up as a christian, and you may think that Christianity also represents many positive values, at a certain moment you just don't want to identify yourself any more with an organisation that doesn't accept an essential part of your identity.

3) I'm quite surprised that nobody here mentions that the UK branch of the Anglican church has appointed a bishop last year, that at that moment was open about having an active gay relation. while here in Singapore the Anglican church is part of the NCCS ...

Yuri/Dee said...

Generally speaking, could it be that many people from different religions are in a state of complacency?

After all, it's common for people to be accustomed to the "tranquility" they enjoy, no matter whether it's religious, familial or in some other area. Especially when they've attained greater wealth or even better fortune.

Thus, it wouldn't surprise me if they dismissed these issues as "minor" in the hopes that these matters will vanish.

Or it could be an issue of the churches concentrating on "the amount of followers", not "the depth of one's faith". Thus, on one hand, you could boast a huge congregation but on the other hand, many have little to no understanding of their "newly embraced" faith. So, these people could care less about such issues.

Anonymous said...

"3) I'm quite surprised that nobody here mentions that the UK branch of the Anglican church has appointed a bishop last year, that at that moment was open about having an active gay relation. while here in Singapore the Anglican church is part of the NCCS ..."

The Archbishop of South East Asia John Chew, alongside his counterparts from Africa and Latin America, are the ones strongly opposed to the gay bishop in the US and calling for a split. They had recently even refused to to take Holy Communion with the head of the US Anglican province who is a gay-friendly (straight) woman at an international Anglican meeting.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

To anonymous, 17 March 09:53

(Please, please, give youselves an identity when commenting. Check "other" in the identity opions)

I have always taken the position that people are free to be homophobic. If this and that church wishes to be homophobic, it's kinda their right. We may comment on it, but who are we to say they can't worship the tamarind tree, believe the moon was once the placenta of the deity and that homosexuality is deviant.

What they have no right to do is to impose their ideas on the rest of us through law - and I suggest we stick to that point.

YCK said...

Am a little confused here. Granted that there is scriptual support to argue against male homosexual acts, but is there support likewise to argue against lebianism?

I suppose that is really beside the point. But I am just curious to know.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again....

'RELIGION IS THE OPIATE FOR THE MASSES'...(karl Marx)

Are the Christian folk telling me how I should lead my life?

Who gave them the authority?

Religion is all about POLITICS AND BUSINESS.

Just look at what is happening to Iraq, and the US soldiers being slaughtered on a weekly basis.

How does a Christian justify that?
That we wish to convert the Iraqis and give the democracy?

So why don't the big countries go in and help the victims of DARFUR?
No OIL!

C'mon...that is where young gays who are brought up in Christian homes get the 'guilt trip'.

Don't play into the billion door business of RELIGION.

tridentz_83 said...

So all the christian bashers out there are dissing religion cos christians impose their views on the rest of society?

How bout u guys stop bashing ALL christians just cause some rouge element (ie, another denomination) calls for legislative action against gays?

YCK said...

Romans 1:26-27(KJV):

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet.

I lost my patience waiting for someone to check it out so I found this in Paul's epistles. Wonderful resource is the internet. I wonder if this is the only mention of female-female sexual act in the whole Bible? I was quite surprised. I had not expected it as I could only vaguely recall only references to male homosexual acts. Now I am sure it got everything covered.

I think I have gone totally out of point. But I am of the view that the Bible cannot be taken as indisputable arbitrator in most matters e.g. slavery, subordinate position of women to men etc. So why should one think that it is an authority on correct sexual orientation?

Anonymous said...

I just have a question, how many of the people who commented and supported gay and lesbianism are gay/lesbians themselves.

I think there has to be a limit to the extent we accept it because there is a fine line btw accepting it and actually supporting it. Are you all supporters of being gay and lesbians?

I understand the notion of the freedom to express yourself and the right to not being discriminated. However, are we promoting this form of lifestyle to our society? Is this the lifestyle you want to see becoming very common? Having a gay and lesbian in every family.

Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 23 March, 2007 11:59 said:

I understand the notion of the freedom to express yourself and the right to not being discriminated. However, are we promoting this form of lifestyle to our society? Is this the lifestyle you want to see becoming very common?

Having a gay and lesbian in every family.

Think about it.

___________

Being homosexual is not a lifestyle choice, no more than being heterosexual is a *choice* or a *lifestyle*.

If it were a simple matter of *choice* it would be most idiotic to choose one where you are mocked and looked at with contempt and odium and in some countries like Egypt, jailed just for admitting you are homosexual.

You can't help being attracted to a member of the same sex, period. Bummer. You automatically become a second class citizen and criminal for acting out your natural, sexual impulses

Now who in the world would prefer to *choose* this option if there indeed was one???

Get a clue willya.

Disgusted

YCK said...

anonymous 23 March, 2007 11:59:

Firstly, you seem to be conflating the idea of tolerating homosexuality with promoting and spreading it. I know not of any study that shows that sexual tendencies are contagious. Please enlighten me if I am mistaken.

Secondly, must one be a gay to comment? The I may not be qualified in your view to talk about such matters. But I shall still speak up anyway. I would like to speak up against dogmatism.

My point is that there is very little in support of what I suppose is the mainstream view of the NCCS found in its statements against homosexuals in general and lesbians in particular.

The Pauline letter that I quoted is the only reference I know condemning lesbians compared to the numerous passages from the Old Testament condemning male homosexual behaviors (e.g. various in Leviticus, Judges and Genesis) and of course Paul's epistles in the New Testament.

Firstly, I would like to highlight that there is a clear overlooking of the female sex. If the Pauline epistle was omitted when the New Tesatment was codified, do we assume that female homosexual behaviors are allowable? What is some dissenting views were left out?

Secondly, Paul's opinion is the only one arbitarting the matter. Is his a fair representation of the view of all other apostles, since we apparently lost all the letters of the other apostles if they wrote any?

Thirdly, if one is really willing to uphold all the commands of the Bible? The Bible did reccommend polygamy, early marriage for women, women as properties of men, leveriate marriages etc. and forbide marrying outside the religion, masturbation, nudity, intercourse during mensturation etc.

Honestly, how many good Christians uphold these dogmatically today? Is the dogmatism reasonable? Think about it.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

A bit late to add comments to your article, but I just saw a funny parody of the Church's actions on this very case at singapore donkey (also evidently posted some time ago), and thought you'd enjoy it too!
http://singaporedonkey.wordpress.com/2007/03/29/sea-anemones-condemned-by-nccs-for-homosexual-tendencies/