berthahenson

Curve balls

In News Reports, Politics, Society on January 19, 2013 at 5:01 am

I almost wanted to stick this comment under my earlier post Kena Pluck! Cluck! Cluck! But I decided to be polite. I am referring to how the Faith Community Baptist Church tried to get ESM Goh Chok Tong into its corner on Sunday by presenting him with a statement on the repeal of Section 377a. Wow! I call it political activism! It was meant to be handed to ESM Goh, but he decided to enter the church, so it was read out to him.

He couldn’t have seen the curve ball coming. But his remarks about how they will be fine because they stand by their beliefs seemed to have been taken as a “strong word of encouragement’’ – a phrase that it later dropped from its online site after he clarified that he was only making a general comment.

The stuff that’s coming out online is intriguing. The Bible is being quoted left, right and centre on what it says about the family as a basic unit. Other pastors have entered the fray and Mr Lawrence Khong of Faith Baptist has given a pretty grim scenario of what would to Singapore society if homosexual acts were decriminalised. It’s nothing short of apocalyptic, in his view.

Now, a group of pastors representing 100 churches want to meet Law Minister K Shanmugam – because he had met Sayoni, a homosexual group. Mr Khong said the minister’s meeting with Sayoni could be read as a “high-level endorsement of their agenda’’. Now, I wonder if Mr Shanmugam saw that curve ball coming. Is “engaging’’ with a group tantamount to endorsing its agenda? Sheesh. It means you must be careful about who you are seen with or talk to…
I wonder what will happen at the meeting…

You know, I am uncomfortable with what’s happening. It’s polarising.

When the G looked at the laws, it kept Section 377a to appease the conservatives; but it also said it wouldn’t actively take those who engage in homosexual acts to task. There’s a court case challenging its constitutionality later this month.

I am not going to get into what the Bible says. I am no expert. Nor am I going to take sides on the issue.

But as citizen, I am going to stick my neck out and say that I’ve always found it strange that you can have something in the statute books and yet say you won’t do too much about it. Not the way the rule of law should work, no? Sure, it’s a compromise but I think it opens the door for other laws being “used’’ in the same way. Like a toothless tiger. Either it’s in, and enforced. Or it’s not.

Such ambiguity, even if it has been broadcast in Parliament, means we will be dependent on this term called “prosecutorial discretion’’.

And that’s not a good way to live.

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  1. Despite the controversy, I think there’s very little wrong about a church exercising its right to free speech. Maybe it is a little morally questionable to corner your ESM like that, which is ironic.

    A very astute guy called Kelvin Tan recently made the observation that what’s morally right isn’t necessarily legal and what’s legal isn’t necessarily morally right. In that regard (and speaking as an atheist), I don’t think Faith Community Baptist Church’s opinion about the legality of homosexuality is any more valid or important than anybody else’s. Especially mine. But some others might ask me to cluck off.

    By construction, we are a secular society. Our laws should be secular also. Supreme Court’s decision on 377A should be essentially legal, rather than hewing to a minority of outspoken religious groups. And in case anybody forgot, the secular atheists and agnostics are the majority in this country – maybe someone should ask them whether it’s right to ostracise LGBTs and make it a crime every time they get jiggy.

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