02 November 2008

Indulgence towards anti-gay hate speech

A run-of-the-mill news story in the Straits Times attracts anti-gay rants. Why are these allowed to stand when similar hate speech touching on race and religion are not? asked a reader. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this good piece touching on both human rights and media bias in censorship.

I'm sending the link to my Christian friend. I think sometimes we forget what it means to be a secular state and the corresponding tolerance that diversity requires.

yuen said...

While I dont share the three types of anti-gay comments, I would ask what the public activity being organized is meant to achieve: to put pressure on the government to de-criminalize homosexuality? to make the public more accepting? Judging by past experience, are such activities likely to produce the desired results?

While we do not see the same kind of comments against racial or religious minorities, it is also true that such minorities have not been holding public activities to complain of discrimination and demand legal changes. If such events occur, the reaction of the authorities would probably also be more alert than their response to anti gay remarks.

yuen said...

To add to my previous comment, my reading of the situation is that the “double standard” exists because the authorities currently see gay activism as a social, civic community issue, not a political issue like religion or race. Gays need to consider whether they want it to become a political issue.

In the course of PAP’s rise to dominance, it developed certain processes to handle significant issues. A restrictive approach is considered suitable for highly sensitive matters like religion/race. Another method involves creating friendly movements. With trade unions, the policy was to develop its own affiliated union movement as alternative to the 60s left wing movement, and NTUC eventually became the sole national umbrella labour organization. After the Law Society, influenced by individuals like Francis Seow, took a confrontational approach in the 80s, the government set up the Law Academy that undercut the Law Society’s power. After the old Turf Club members rejected Eddie Barker in a committee election, the government set up the Totalization Board to take control of horse racing, and withdrew the horse race franchise from the old club in favour of the new Bukit Turf Club chaired by Barker, In fact the approach bears similarity to the fostering of “patriotic” churches in China, but on this issue no affiliated religious organizations have been attempted here.

If gay activism takes on a political direction, I would not be surprised if some kind of "pacifist" gay organization gets set up, based on gay members who are willing to live with non-prosecution rather than demand de-criminalization; I have no idea whether such members outnumber activists and supporters, but am sure they do exist and such an organization would be viable, given official or unofficial sympathy.

VirusCW said...

I like your blog really much. It sheds light on world events, and gives a different perspective.

From what I know about Christianity, God is a god of Forgiveness. Homosexuality may be a sin, but I'm pretty sure God will forgive you. After all, Murder is a sin too, and it is on the ten commandments even. I don't see "Thou shall not be gay" anywhere on the ten commandments.

Sexuality is just one aspect of a person. I once read a book, and there was this very nice quote. "You should not judge a good person by the worst thing he has ever done". (That is to say, if you believe being gay is a sin.) If a person is caring, considerate, etc., then why do you care what they are doing behind closed doors?

I hope that people will think about what they are going to say or write before actually letting it go.