July 2003

Anti-gay campaign by 20 Christians
Some Christians react strongly to Govt's change in hiring policy

Source: Straits Times, Home section (1st page), 23 July 2003, by M Nirmala 
Note: The Straits Times article was titled "Gay backlash"


 

 

 

 

The Government's change of policy in hiring gays is causing a stir in the Christian community. So far, it has prompted a meeting led by the mainstream National Council of Churches of Singapore and an online campaign against homosexuals by another group.

The Straits Times understands that the council, which represents Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians, among others, met last Thursday and is expected to issue a statement soon.

The council president, Methodist Bishop Robert Solomon, could not be contacted as he is overseas.

Also on Thursday, a group of 20 Christians from different denominations, voluntary organisations and professions, met and agreed on a plan of action for Christians to tackle 'a volatile situation' that they said had arisen out of the policy announcement.

This point was reflected in an e-mail signed by Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong, who is from the Cornerstone Community Church [1]

He said that the Thursday meeting ended with a 'consensus to draft an immediate plan of action that every pastor and church can adopt in our battle against homosexuality'.

 

Foreword by Yawning Bread

The headline that the Straits Times used was "Gay backlash" which was quite inaccurate. It was a Christian backlash.

The Straits Times accompanied this story with 4 highlighted quotes. These are included here as well.

An earlier report COOS pastor "wants a nation of righteous Christians" foreshadowed this development, but the church mentioned here is not the Church of Our Saviour (COOS) but the Cornerstone Community Church. A first-hand observation of this church can be found in the footnotes (not part of the Straits Times' story).

 

He asked Christians to 'express their concern' to their Member of Parliament, through letters or during Meet-the-People sessions, and send their views to the Feedback Unit and write letters to the media.

This group's reaction comes in the wake of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's recent revelation that the Government is now employing openly homosexual people, even in sensitive jobs.

When contacted, Pastor Yang said that his church was not officially involved in organising the Thursday meeting, during which participants called on fellow Christians to act against the 'homosexual agenda'.

'We are merely alerting our members to the importance of speaking out on a matter of public policy - as individuals,' he said.

When asked how many people the e-mail had been sent to, a spokesman said about 400 but later amended the figure to more than 100.

The church in East Coast Road was started in 1990 under the Anglican church umbrella but became an independent Pentecostal church in 1995.

In a July 20 message titled 'Don't keep silent', on the church's website, Mr Yang stated: 'We cannot stand idly by. Homosexuality is a sin and it is far more rampant, militant and organised than most of us actually believe it to be.

'The battle lines are now drawn and it is time for the Church in Singapore to rise up and make a stand.'

The gay issue has been hotly debated in the media.

In a letter published in Streats yesterday, Dr Thio Su Mien [2] and eight signatories said 'we should not allow our society to be slowly eroded by the growing agenda of homosexuals in our society'.

Expressing a different view, Reverend Yap Kim Hao, [3] a Protestant, said in a recent letter to The Straits Times: 'I applaud the stance of the Prime Minister in announcing that the Government is more open to employing gays now.'

Sister Theresa Seow, president of the Inter-Religious Organisation and a Catholic, said: 'It is not very Christian to provoke people to go against a group of people who, I believe, would not want to be what they now are if they have a choice.'

Feedback Unit chief Wang Kai Yuen said that while groups have the right to express their views, they should do so within certain boundaries.

'They must respect the views of others and respect a person's right to be what he is,' he said.   

 


The Straits Times' story had a sidebar of highlighted comments:
CALL TO TAKE A STAND...

'We cannot stand idly by. Homosexuality is a sin and it is far more rampant, militant and organised than most of us actually believe it to be. The battle lines are now drawn and it is time for the Church in Singapore to rise up and make a stand.'
- Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong, from the Cornerstone Community Church, on the church's Internet website

 

...BUT NOT ALL ARE TAKING IT UP

'I applaud the stance of the Prime Minister in announcing that the Government is more open to employing gays now. From my meetings with members of the gay and lesbian community, I have come to see them as normal human beings even though their sexual orientation is different from mine.'
- Reverend Yap Kim Hao, a Protestant, in a recent letter to The Straits Times

 

IS THIS CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOUR?

'It is not very Christian to provoke people to go against a group of people who, I believe, would not want to be what they now are if they have a choice.'
- Sister Theresa Seow, president of the Inter-Religious Organisation and a Catholic

RESPECT OTHERS' VIEWS

'They must respect the views of others and respect a person's right to be what he is.'
- Dr Wang Kai Yuen, Bukit Timah MP and Feedback Unit chief

 

 

 

 

Footnotes

  1. Some members of SiGNeL had expressed their opinions in the website Guest Book of the Cornerstone Community Church. However, on 24 July, "bumsee" posted this message on SiGNeL (and I have left his deliberate spelling intact):

    "Just so you know, the Connerstone Community Cult webmaster has censored all posts in their guestbook. So now, you can only see pleasant Godly sweet messages extolling the virtues of the so called church and its pastor.

    "I used to be a member of that church. One time, the pastor told the congregation that the spirit of God will blow on them and then he proceeded to blow into the microphone! This is a congregation that values supernatural fireworks. They spend so much time talking about spirits, demons and Satan that they forget to read the Bible. One time I walked in on an exorcism in which the church elders tried to exorcise the spirit of bodybuilding from someone. The pastor has in the past on many occasions measured the success of his church by counting the number of new members they have on Sundays and the amount they collect from the offerings. But that was then, when they were having their Sunday services at Westin Hotel when they could ill afford it. Can we consider his yapping his flap to the press as merely a publicity stunt? You decide."

    The church now operates out of a defunct cinema in the Katong area. This cinema (previously known as Odeon Katong) has been defunct a long time, and around 1992-1995, the hall was used as a disco, called Music World. On Sunday nights, it was exclusively gay. In fact, thousands of gay Singaporeans remember that slightly dilapidated hall with nostalgic fondness. For many of them, Music World was where they first connected with the gay community.
    Return to where you left off

  2. Her letter can be found in Letters in Streats, 15 - 24 July 2003
    Return to where you left off

  3. His letter can be found in Letters in the Straits Times, 18 July 2003
    Return to where you left off

 

Addenda

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