Monday, June 30, 2014

Thousands wear white at church service to defend family values


SINGAPORE — Thousands of worshippers donned white yesterday to attend a Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) service at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, during which the church’s senior pastor Lawrence Khong urged them to “preserve purity in the home”.

This came a day after the annual pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pink Dot event drew 26,000 people.

In the lead-up to Pink Dot, a chorus of voices had objected to the event, including a campaign by an Islamic religious teacher who urged Muslims to wear white on Saturday in protest against homosexuality and to defend traditional family values.

The Wear White campaign had drawn support from Mr Khong, who had said it was time for the church and like-minded groups such as Muslims to oppose Pink Dot.

Yesterday, speaking to a packed 6,000-capacity hall of worshippers — which included families who brought their toddlers decked out in white from head to toe — Mr Khong reiterated that he worked with homosexuals and did not have issues with them.

However, he chose to take a stand out of love for Singapore and future generations, and defend the idea of a family unit as one comprising a man and a woman.

“We are not pushing a religious issue on our nation; we are standing here on a social and moral issue,” he said. “Today, we wear white not because we want to preach to people, but (because) we want to share with them that we stand on the same moral ground that is healthy for our nation.”

Mr Khong also said he was “confounded” as to why some quarters have deemed the church as “confrontational” just because members are wearing white at a church gathering to defend traditional family values. These values, he said, are similarly held by Singapore and the Government as its official position.

Pink Dot, he noted, is a “political gathering with a political agenda to change the laws of our land”. “They are promoting a value generally not acceptable in our land,” said Mr Khong, who also pointed out that the event provides a platform for foreign multinational corporations to have a say in the values of the Singapore society.

“We, as Singaporeans, have the right to decide what kind of Singapore we want it to be,” he said.

Churchgoers interviewed said they saw a need to take a stand for their beliefs and for parents to send the right signal to their children on what a family unit constitutes.

FCBC member Tan Chin Kar said the public spotlight on the church has raised the issue on what a family means.

“As a church, we have to stand for what is right and true. It is also important for the nation to know what is the real meaning of a family,” he said.

[Comment: The issue is not about homosexuality, or heterosexuality, or your sexual orientation, or your values. The issue is about Discrimination.

What is the difference between these statements:
1) The Jews killed Jesus.
2) The Gays will destroy our society, our morals, our values.

The issue for the LGBT is that their sexual orientation leads to situations where they find themselves discriminated against, and these discrimination are instituted in our laws (e.g. 377A), and our customs (e.g. social and legal definition of marriage).

However, for me and perhaps many others who were not prepared to don pink and attend the pink dot event, the question is, is the discrimination so debilitating as to render the members of the community unable to function in society, or severely hamper their functioning in society?

Your answer to that will determine if you attend the Pink Dot Event.

The message of the Pink Dot event is simply: We are people too. End discrimination against LGBT!

The message of the Wear White movement is: We are right! Continue Discrimination against the LGBT!

For me, the Wear White message is reactionary and moral irredentism. I cannot support a proposal to continue discrimination.

That said, the Pink Dot event also does not appeal sufficiently to me. "End Discrimination?" While I sympathise and accept that there is objectively some discrimination (again, e.g. 377A), I am not convinced that the discrimination is so strong, so pervasive, and so complete that LGBT are unable to function, survive and even thrive in SG society. 

(After all, I believe many heterosexual couples engage in activities that can be prosecuted under S377A. Those degenerates!)

HOWEVER, I am not concluding that Pink Dot is redundant, or a devious attempt to undermine mainstream society. Their overt message simply is to change attitudes. And that is a correct approach. The formal, official institutions can maintain "official" discrimination, but non-discrimination at the social level could make things easier.

I am not convince that their discrimination is so debilitating that it is a priority. But, I am open to further information. ]

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