Bread. March 2007
Criminalise lesbianism, say Church leaders
"A similar prohibition ought to be enacted in respect
of lesbianism", demands the National Council of Churches of Singapore
(NCCS), since homosexuality is "abhorrent and deviant, whether
consensual or not."
I don't know whether that statement was drafted in November/December 2006 when the Penal Code revisions were available for public comment or only recently, but it came to light just 2 days ago, when the Methodist Church circulated it to its congregations . The intent, as one can well imagine, must have been to provide "pastoral guidance" to its flock: in other words, try to marshall every congregant to march in the same goosestep.
Here is the text of the relevant portion:
The terms "377 PC" and "377A PC" refer to the sections of the Penal Code. Section 377 used to criminalise all "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" a term that from judicial precedent meant oral and anal sex. It applied to all sexes and all combinations of sexes. The government intends to repeal it. Section 377A criminalises "gross indecency" between males, effectively making all gay male sex an offence regardless of consent, even if it is in private. The government intends to retain this law.
Notice the following features of the NCCS statement:
Firstly, the language used does not include the word "homosexuality", let alone "homosexual orientation". Instead it deploys spin, speaking of "homosexual lifestyle", thus suggesting that homosexual orientation is not integral to a person and reversible, much like other lifestyle matters, e.g. consuming too much transfat or wearing tinted contact lenses. I'm sure I don't have to repeat that such a view flies in the face of scientific consensus today. This deliberate framing of the issue in such scientifically unsupported terms immediately renders the integrity of the statement-makers -- church leaders donning the cloak of moral guides -- suspect.
Secondly, the NCCS is only "aware" that anal and oral sex between 2 persons of different sexes will be decriminalised through the repeal of Section 377. After years of frothing at the mouth about "unnatural sex", it's now swallowing its own froth. How such "unnatural acts" between opposite-sex couples can be accepted while still not between same-sex couples, is not explained.
Thirdly, to justify its support for retaining Section 377A, the NCCS uses sectarian reasoning, not public reasoning. That is, it relies on a reasoning process that is confined to its own religion. However, as to why (its interpretation of) Christian teaching should be extended to impact on others who are not Christians, via the use of law, is not explained.
The need to explain ought to be a positive duty. The default position should be that nothing coming out of sectarian reasoning should be applicable to non-Christians and the general public, and if you want it to be applicable then you have a duty to prove convincingly your case. For example, if tomorrow someone says that the law should be used to compel all women to wear a headscarf in accordance with Muslim teaching, then the onus must surely be on that person to positively prove his argument.
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.
For example, if someone goes around saying he is not racist, that he loves everybody regardless of colour, but oh by the way, he thinks the English language is God's gift to mankind, and it is sinful and abhorrent to speak another other tongue, and while we're at it, despicable that people should eat with chopsticks or (God forbid!) their hands.... why can't everybody use the fork and knife the civilised way? What would you think?
Language and tool-using are learned behaviour, not even inherent like the colour of the skin (or for that matter, whom one is attracted to), but the moment one condemns and criminalises such practices, can one still proclaim that one is colour-blind?
Then after all the above inconsistencies, the NCCS argues for consistency. If gay male sex is a criminal offence, so should gay female sex. Bravo, bravo!
* * * * *
There are plenty of Christians who feel the same way, lamenting the fact that this religion is increasingly being perceived as intolerant and extreme. Yet you seldom hear these Christians speaking up -- at least not in Singapore. Their docility makes them easy capture for their religious leaders who have hardline agendas. In this respect, Christianity's position is no different from the present-day crisis of Islam minus, fortunately, terrorist cells that use the religion as cover for its political ends.
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?
© Yawning Bread