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16 Jan 2013

Repeal of gay sex law a “looming threat” to the family unit: Singapore pastor

A pastor of a megachurch in Singapore has called on his congregation – with a visiting former Prime Minister in the audience – to lobby the government to retain a colonial-era law which criminalises sex between men.

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A pastor of a megachurch in Singapore has reignited calls for Christians to lobby the government to retain a colonial-era law which criminalises sex between men.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (left) with Faith Community Baptist Church founding pastor Lawrence Khong on stage during a church service on Jan 13. A press release and 14 photos of the visit were posted on the church's website this week.

In a press statement posted on the Faith Community Baptist Church’s website to highlight former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s visit to the church on Jan 13, founding pastor Lawrence Khong told his congregation with Goh in the audience that his church members are committed to “build strong families in Singapore” and by their definition the family unit “comprises a man as Father, a woman as Mother, and Children.”

The Emeritus Senior Minister is a long-time MP for the Marine Parade district where the church’s Touch Centre auditorium is located. The visit is said to be part of the minister’s walkabout to meet with constituents in the area. Goh was also the guest-of-honour at the launch of the Marine Parade Christmas light-up last year which cost the church over S$300,000, as revealed by Khong during a recent church service.

Khong warned that they “see a looming threat to this basic building block by homosexual activists seeking to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code.”

The statement by the church noted: “Reverend Khong used the opportunity to highlight to Mr Goh that homosexual activists have been increasingly stepping up to challenge this framework, especially in their efforts to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code – a move detrimental to family and family ties.”

The Singapore High Court is scheduled to hear two cases in which three petitioners are challenging the constitutionality of the long-standing law on Jan 25 and Feb 14 respectively.

Without citing any examples or evidence, the 60-year-old pastor who is also professional magician, said that “examples from around the world have shown that the repeal of similar laws have led to negative social changes, especially the breakdown of the family as a basic building block and foundation of the society.”

Using textbook anti-gay arguments popular among Christian right groups in the United States, he warned that repealing the law will “take away the rights of parents over what their children are taught in schools, especially sex education.”

“It attacks religious freedom and eventually denies free speech to those who, because of their moral convictions, uphold a different view from that championed by increasingly aggressive homosexual activists,” he told his congregation that appears to number at least in the hundreds although the church claims to have a membership of 10,000.

He then called on the government to “provide moral leadership in preserving this basic building block and foundation of our society” and to “robustly protect our constitutional rights to free speech and religious liberty.”

The press statement concluded by quoting the former PM as having responded to Reverend Khong “with a strong word of encouragement and who said, ‘You stand by your belief, and you'll be fine!’”

When contacted by Fridae today, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh's office clarified that the minister's comments at the church service “was a general remark that people are free to stand by their beliefs”. His office declined to comment on the minister’s position on section 377A when asked.

In 2003, the then PM said in an interview with Time magazine's Asia edition that gay people are now allowed to work in "certain positions in government". His comments that gay people “are born that way but they are like you and me" made international headlines as it was read by many as a signal of a new more tolerant stance by the government. Church leaders and Christians swiftly and fiercely protested the hiring of gay men and lesbians in the civil service, and called for the continued criminalisation of sexual relations between men and the quelling of the gay rights movement in Singapore.

Meanwhile the pastor’s Facebook profile on which he posted his statement about Goh’s visit has attracted more than 200 ‘shares’ and ‘comments’. The number of pro-gay comments outnumbers anti-gay ones and have garnered overwhelmingly more ‘likes’.

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-01-17 00:41
Allowing the Church to interfere with Singapore Politics...now THAT I've gotta sit back, relax, and WATCH THE SHOW.
2. 2013-01-17 01:59
Well, in this case.
How about abolishing the Woman Charter as well which was not enacted during colonial times and reverting to the family laws then.
3. 2013-01-17 03:21
Same as in my country, where the Catholic church tries to meddle with the government's project to institute (civil) gay marriage.
4. 2013-01-17 05:46
How in the hell do gay people pose a threat to 'the family'?! That *really* annoys me whenever I hear that Nonsensical line trotted out.

Where do such horrible bigots think that gay men and women - and all the other bisexual, transgendered, and those who aren't resolutely Heterosexual (and preaching intolerace and bigotry) - COME from - pods at the end of the garden? Science labs? Atlantis?!

Jesus wept.

The simple FACT is (I'm mad enough to use capital letters to make my point, which is usually just the preserve of the deeply weird/mentally ill) that almost every last gay man and woman tends to come from a Heterosexual family unit. Find me a gay man or woman, and sure as eggs is eggs they'll almost certainly, and almost without exception, have heterosexual parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends, neighbours, nephews, nieces, godsons, goddaughters, etc etc etc.

So, seeing as We tend to have the exact same Heterosexual families around us - how the hell do We pose a threat to the family unit? How? How?! Even if there was - as laughable as it is to suggest - even if there was some vast international homosexual conspiracy to Destory The Sacred Family Unit (why didn't I get THAT email?!), even if That was true - who'd support it, when to do so would be to attack our own parents, siblings, friends, etc?!

Last I heard, not one single gay man or woman (or any other shade of sexuality) that I've ever met or known of in my entire life had Any issue to attack, obstruct or threaten 'the family unit'. While there is plenty to object to heterosexual attitudes towards gay people (and, to be fair, an awful lot of gay Trolls with horrible and equally patronising attitudes towards straight people), this kind of patronising "Oooh the Gays are coming to destroy Your Family!" crap can't be allowed to pass.

While Singapore's government has a less than positive reputation internationally in many respects (put it this way - it's much easier to find negative stories about civil/human rights being squashed by the SG Gov than positive stories - hell, even Ireland's media regularly trots out critical editorials and news stories about Singapore), allowing such bigoted nonsense to be openly spread around further makes it look cowardly, and on the side of bigots.

Anyway. Point made. Capital letters used. Back to life...
Comment #5 was deleted by its author on 2013-01-17 05:50
6. 2013-01-17 06:30
And if this happens, maybe Singapore should tax megachurches and use the money for LGBT causes.
7. 2013-01-17 07:35
omg. Sounds like some families will simply dissolve if this stupid law is repealed.

Allowing other to live their lives the way they see fit is not a "looming threat" to anyone, except those that wish to elevate themselves by diminishing others.
8. 2013-01-17 07:42
No need to credit something as lofty and self-righteous as the perceived erosion of moral values to the detriment of the family unit; the economic policies of the party he votes for is doing that all by itself, ha.

But before this pastor targets childless grownups, maybe he should reinforce family values by telling parents to bring up their kids with some notion of mutual respect with and towards others - that, if anything, is what's gonna clean up this mess that we call society.

...and tell them pedo pastors to keep their snakes in their pants and out of those of 15 year-old girls. Especially after Kong Hee and what not, the greater Christian Community should clean up their own act before pointing fingers, eh?
9. 2013-01-17 07:57
A brilliant statement by a non thinker. Tell us all pastor how a same sex relationship is more destructive to your beautiful family values than a drunken violent straight man. Tell us how a same sex relationship is worse than your typical chinese family structure where repression and overprotection results in the production of insecure, unimaginative children with no self worth and the inability to think for themselve. Tell us pastor how forcing a homosexual into an unholy alliance with a straight person is a sure guarantee of destroying the lives of the gay person, his/her spouse and their children. You are just another deluded asian with no common sense and no ability to think outside the restrictions of an outdated irrelevant fairy tale that keeps you in a job
10. 2013-01-17 08:38
Same crap, different mouth ... haha :-)! Makes the leaders of this country no different from George W. Bush, i.e. worth hating :-)!
11. 2013-01-17 09:42
Amazing, same old dried up ancient lies and smoke screen used by USA repub-tards and christo-nazis.
12. 2013-01-17 14:22
how do you sum up a "family unit"? 1 father 1 mother 2 kids?!
reality demands that we catch up with definations of the past.
straight marriages end in divorces at an alarming rate. straights marry but choose not to have children. family unit?
divorced father / mother with child / children. family unit?
couple with adopted child / children. family unit?
as long as there is acknowledgement of care, love, guidance and education, to me that is family.
13. 2013-01-17 15:00
You all said it very well. No more to add!!!

Just let this man stew in his own negativity and self-righteousness. We have better things to do, and more inspiring people to look up to than waste our energy speaking against him.
14. 2013-01-17 16:24
I'm sure when the church was debating whether to condemn human slavery when slavery was commonplace, the same siege-mentality refrain was used: Making slaves free will break down the family unit!!!!! (coz families will be deprived of free slave labor to run ther households!)

Jesus brought a message of inclusiveness, respect for human dignity & human rights. Yet this so called 'Reverend' conveniently overlooks this core message of Christ and spreads falsehoods that treating gay people equally under the law, would 'breakdown the family unit'.

The good Pastor does a great disservice to the evangelization of Christ's Gospel message. It would be better for him to tie a mill-stone around his neck and be drowned rather than to mislead his flock.
15. 2013-01-18 16:33
Colonial law, eh ? But why revive only THIS particular law ? Call back the British and make them "more equal" than the rest of the population, why don't you, reverend ?
16. 2013-01-18 16:36
And whatever message Jesus may have brought, HE did not create the christian religion — the apostle Paul did, and after him a great many ecumenical councils, whose rulings often were a far cry from what Jesus had said.
17. 2013-01-19 00:56
Jesus said zero about homosexuality. Gay citizens should attend these services and stand up and confront such nonsense whenever it is mentioned.
18. 2013-01-19 13:35
…..
How is it that straight people, who have never had sex with their own gender, who haven’t a single infinitesimal clue about homosexuality, have so much to say about gays or lesbians??? It would be so much better, and more intelligent, if they stuck to subjects they DO know something about. Or is it just that they have nothing else to do, so instead they talk crap about things that don’t concern them?
19. 2013-01-20 18:59
Lawrence Khong is clearly deluded. Straight people sleep around, cheat on their spouses, and divorce them. That is what's destroying family. If he is so concerned about preserving the family unit and sexual values, then 377A should not be repealed, but be extended to criminalize heterosexual extramarital sex, divorce, and adultery. That, is what I call "equality and justice for ALL".
20. 2013-01-21 01:46
When Jesus himself was on earth, Did he say anything at all about homosexuality? The answer is : NO!
Comment #21 was deleted by its author on 2013-01-21 01:47
22. 2013-01-22 18:16
many many many many many many people making nasty anti gay comments nasty anti gays comments


http://sg.news.yahoo.com/growing-debate-online-over-repeal-of-section-377a--095505691.html


http://sg.news.yahoo.com/growing-debate-online-over-repeal-of-section-377a--095505691.html


http://sg.news.yahoo.com/growing-debate-online-over-repeal-of-section-377a--095505691.html






23. 2013-01-22 18:16
many many many many many many people making nasty anti gay comments nasty anti gays comments


http://sg.news.yahoo.com/growing-debate-online-over-repeal-of-section-377a--095505691.html


http://sg.news.yahoo.com/growing-debate-online-over-repeal-of-section-377a--095505691.html


http://sg.news.yahoo.com/growing-debate-online-over-repeal-of-section-377a--095505691.html






24. 2013-01-31 18:36
once again. sound like a case of religion trying to influence legal decisions. how sad. and how backward this sounds for the community of singapore.
25. 2013-02-08 15:33
Why not ban divorce and criminalize adultery instead, which DO destroy families? Self-righteous stupidstitious bigots!
26. 2013-02-09 02:44
Listen to EPM Goh's words carefully, Pastor! He says you and your church will be fine if you follow your beliefs. And in real Jesus Christ's belief, I believe it's about UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, you tweet!

Don't the Church and the congregation of FCBC ever know how hypocritical the picture is? Spend S$300,000 on a Christmas tree for a front on the Converted Pride and Vanity, yet, I heard, none of their Cell group leaders and volunteers can claim the money they forked out organising evangelistic parties to promote the pastor's Christmas sermon and concert! Does that mean the poor will be stymied to go up their hierarchic climb to titles and 'clout'?

I spent enough of my youth there to know how they use free labors of their 'believers' to work for I dunno who's glory and to hit I dunno what targets. I agree to those who know better the textbook formula they use from the west to hoodwink and franchise the expansive members=more tithes=more $=to who projects. The magic act is to work-up people into a frenzied whirlwind of giving it all to the church from an emotional high angle.

If such church is so concerned about building up family values, the congregation should see how much concern such church is showing to their congregation's 'unsaved' family members first. Most likely not, unless they are 'converted' first (aka, member = tithe equation).

Can't they see they are trying to be God to judge gays this way?

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