Yawning Bread. October 2007

The loonies are marching


    

 

 

I had wondered why it took so long. It was 2 weeks after the launch of the online campaign www.repeal377A.com before the anti-gay lobby did something similar.

Well, it finally came out on 18 October 2007: www.keep377A.com, a website to collect signatures for an open letter to the prime minister urging that Section 377A of the Penal Code be retained.

The introduction on the site said:

 

WE THE MAJORITY

A recent NTU study revealed that almost 70% of Singaporeans expressed negative attitudes towards lesbians and gay men. Singapore remains a country and a society that wants our children to grow up in an environment where wholesome family values are embraced, without a mainstreamed gay lifestyle.

Repealing Section 377A would be the first step towards eroding the family values we hold. We the majority can make our stand clear. It's time we speak up. Keep S377A.

Following the introduction was the text of the open letter to the Prime Minister:

RETENTION OF SECTION 377A, PENAL CODE

As concerned citizens of Singapore, we support the government in wanting to retain S377A of the Penal Code for the good of our children, our families and all Singaporeans.

There are many reasons why the retention of S377A is so important:

S377A is a reflection of the sentiments of the majority of society. Most Singaporeans hold conservative family values and do not accept homosexuality as the norm. (see Singaporeans’ Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men and their Tolerance of Media Portrayals of Homosexuality, by Benjamin H. Detenber, Mark Cenite, et. al., International Journal of Public Opinion Research) Repealing S377A is a vehicle to force homosexuality on a conservative population that is not ready for homosexuality.

Sexual preference is not about civil rights and has nothing to do with equality or tolerance. Repealing S377A would in fact be the first step towards mainstreaming the homosexual lifestyle, which has been shown elsewhere to lead to:

  • Calls to specify the minimum age for consensual homosexual sex;
  • A public education system that teaches acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle under the banner of "tolerance";
  • The redefinition of marriage to include (gay) civil unions and same-sex marriages, and to extend marriage and parenthood benefits to them;
  • Adoption by same-sex parents.

In short, repealing S377A could lead to the modification of core family values and the family unit as we know it.

The majority of Singaporeans want our children to grow up in a traditional environment that espouses healthy and wholesome traditional family values. We do not want the homosexual lifestyle to be promoted or celebrated.

We ask the Government to do what is right and retain S377A for the future of our children and our nation.

Yours faithfully,

The arguments in the letter have been completely shredded by Molly Meek. I don't need to repeat the exercise.

 

Majority

I thought it was interesting that in 'Today' newspaper, the reporter was careful to put this claim about being the majority in quotes. It said, "a group calling itself 'the Majority' has set up a website to collect signatures...." [1]'

The Straits Times was similarly careful. In its story, it phrased it thus: "Calling themselves The Majority, they cited a recent Nanyang Technological University survey..." [2] 

The most interesting response was from PAP Member of Parliament, Indranee Rajah. She told the Straits Times, "The government's stand is that the majority of society is not yet ready for a change in the law. I expect that there will come a day when that will change because young people, apart from those who are religious, are likely to be more open to alternative lifestyles." [3] 

It should cause one to pause and think. Using the "majority" argument to demand retention of the law may be a double-edged sword.

 

Naturally, I expect this open letter to garner far more signatures than the repeal campaign. The government has already expressed its view that 377A should be retained, so signing a letter urging likewise exposes no one to risk. Signing a letter asking for repeal, on the other hand, is to go against a stated position of the government, and given the climate of fear in Singapore, many would not do so. Furthermore, there is the discomfort of being identified as gay, if one speaks up for gay equality.

The question really is, whether keep337A gets 5, 10 or 15 times more signatures. It shouldn't be hard, especially if, as I expect, the organisers use peer pressure during church services to get people to sign. Churchgoers are, by their very nature, peer-conscious; that's why participating in church activities is important to them.

You'd notice that I have made the connection between this petition and Christian churches. It's actually quite evident, from the textual phrasing and the "ills" as enumerated in the text of the open letter, that it comes out of the anti-gay campaigns of fundamentalist Christianity. I mean, listen to this: "homosexual lifestyle" or "traditional family values". Nobody speaks like this except the loony Christian rightwing.

It will be even more evident later in this story.

 
A second site

While I was expecting a counter campaign, the surprise was to come a day later. There would be more than one website! The second site was another call for signatures – though to what end is not clear. www.support377a.com claims to know the agenda of gay activists. It tells its readers,

Senior Pastor Derek Hong & Pastor Shawn Tay Church of Our Saviour

The Agenda of Gay Activists

1. Strive for special rights for homosexuals, presenting themselves as equal to minority ethnic groups.

2. Governments to approve homosexual marriages and legal adoption of children.

3. Silence all parties (e.g., pro-family groups and religious institutions) who oppose their agenda.

4. Eradication of all help-groups (such as Choices) which seek to bring recovery to homosexuals.

5. Right to promote homosexuality as a viable alternative lifestyle through the education system.

These items will strike readers as self-evidently bad only if readers already think they are self-evidently bad. They are not persuasive by themselves, showing very clearly the insularity of their thinking. But still, as you can see from this screenshot of the list of signatories, they managed to catch the attention of Jesus.

 
 
Third website

As if two were not enough, these Christians were really falling over themselves to be the ones to bash gays hardest. The same day, yet another site sprang up. enshrine377a.blogspot.com/ called for a "walk" in which participants were to wear white and mumble a prayer as they walked.

The details as put out on their website were as follows:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Walk for Jesus Action

Jebez cried out to the God of Israel, "O that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me , and keep me from harm and so that we will be free from pain" And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4.10.

It is time to claim on God's promise to keep our country from the harm of having 377A repealed and from the pain of our children being corrupted.

It is time to take action and witness for Jesus!

This Sunday 21 October 2007, we will do a prayer walk around the civic area.

  • Walk around St Andrew's Cathedral and pray for the soldiers of Christ
  • Walk around the Singapore River, where our ancestors came to build a new land of hope for their children, and the Repeal of 377A will destroy their dreams.
  • Walk around the CIVIC areas where many large corporations have policies that encourage alternative lifestyles.
  • Walk around SMU and pray for our youths.
  • Walk towards the Parliament House and pray for the members of Parliament.

What to do

  • Start walking around the CIVIC area after church and do prayer walks.
  • It is good if we synchronize at 12.30p.m. to start.
  • Wear all white - the colours of saints - so that we can identify each other.
  • When you see one of us, get in pairs (this is how Jesus sent his disciples out to witness and so we won't go against the laws of the lands about illegal gathering.
  • When you see other pairs, greet them but keep to your group.
  • When you see someone who is against you, tell them lovingly that even though you hate the sin, you love the sinner and offer them God.
  • When you see someone friendly, explain why you are doing this and what damage 377A can do to our country.
  • As you approach the Parliament House, keep in your pairs.
  • If anyone tries to disband you, stay for a while, say a prayer and then move on peaceably.
  • If the police asks for your cooperation, move into the Sanctuary of Saint Andrew's Cathedral and continue praying. The prayer of the faithful availeth much!

You shall march around the city... thus you shall do it for six days... then all the people will shout with a great shout ... and the wall of the city shall fall down flat (Joshua 6:1-5)

How more Christian can one get? The more they do this, the more they paint themselves into a sectarian corner. Despite their claims to represent the 'majority', they have very little in common with the Chinese-speaking heartlanders, who are predominantly Taoist and Buddhist and whose views on homosexuality are probably closer to the more nuanced views found in China and Taiwan. The stridency and Christianist language of these loonies cannot but be a major turn-off.

Calling for a march that starts from a cathedral is already a game plan that makes it an entirely Christian affair.


Not too long ago, Christians, dressed all white, were marching too, to cleanse their society of .....

 
But what will the police do? The Singapore authorities have never looked kindly on public demonstrations though I have long spoken out against such infringement of civil liberties. This case is no exception. If they want to march, they should be free to march.

In a few hours' time, at midday tomorrow, we shall find out.

© Yawning Bread 


 

Message from Caleb of Young Republic:

keep377a and their dishonest ways

I think you might be the best person to draw attention to this: I've
noticed that there were a lot of spoof messages on the keep 377a
petition, whose ironic comments were taken down. However, their names
were NOT taken down.

This is dishonesty: either they should have left the comments and
names, or taken down both.

Please draw attention to this fact, as I believe that through this
ruse the petition organisers at Keep377a have inflated their numbers
through, essentially, fraud.

 

 

Message from 'BJT', a friend of Yawning Bread's::

keep377a.com

Its funny.

I posted a vote at www.keep377a.com so that i cud comment that any law that discriminates is wrong and that if petitioners are serious about preserving
the family they should focus on outlawing divorce and demand more time-off to spend with the family.

They kept my vote but removed my comment.

I wrote the webmaster a note demanding my vote be removed since my comments were removed.

They were kind enough to comply.

So if you happen to be on www.keep377a.com, you will notice serial no. 9111 missing from the signature list. That would be me...

 

Footnotes

  1. 'Today' newspaper, 19 Oct 2007, keep377a.com vs repeal377a.com 
    Return to where you left off

  2. Straits Times, 20 Oct 2007, 'Prayer' to change a sex law 
    Return to where you left off

  3. Ibid  
    Return to where you left off

Addenda

  1. Quite a few people went to St Andrews with cameras in hand at midday Sunday (21 October 2007), but in the end, absolutely nothing happened, they reported. No organisers, no "walkers", no police.