Rony Tan is in the news again. This time, he was reported to the police for comments which offends homosexuals in another sermon video.
The video, which is believed to have been uploaded to the church’s website in May last year but was removed from the homepage just one day after the apology was issued, had a new lease of life after it appeared on a blog maintained by Kenneth Tan (no relation to the pastor), a Singaporean working in Shanghai. In the video, the pastor attributed childhood abuse as a cause of homosexuality and linked homosexual people with paedophiles.
He further linked homosexuality with bestiality saying: “If you allow [homosexuality], next time people will want to get married to monkeys. And they will want rights. They’ll want to apply for HDB [a colloquial term to mean a government subsidised flat]. With a donkey or a monkey or a dog and so on. It’s very pathetic.”
Even though I don’t believed in it as a Christian, I joked with my friend that Rony Tan this year 犯太岁 (meaning: in conflict with the Chinese deity ‘Tai Sui‘) considering the kind of ‘bad luck’ he is getting. I even jokingly mentioned that he should hire the services of old ladies in Hong Kong to 打小人 (literally, ‘beat the vile character’) – a pagan ritual in which a paper effigy is beaten with wooden clogs and cursed. In fact, I even wondered if he was born in the year of the Tiger.
But jokes aside, I haven’t watch the video and I don’t intend to. After all, it is not uncommon for Christian pastors to speak out against homosexuality. From just what is quoted, it would appear to me that to accuse him of linking homosexuals with with paedophiles is a deliberate mis-interpretation of his words. The argument that the acceptance of homosexuality will open the door to the acceptance of paedophilia, necrophilia and bestiality has been a common point for many pastors, Christians and conservatives. Everyone should be aware that if Rony Tan is convicted for such an argument, everyone who has presented this argument in their rejection for more rights to homosexual, bisexual and transgendered (HBT) people will be in danger based on precedence.
While I do not know the entire context of his sermons, I will leave my comment regarding this remark at this. He could have been mean in presenting his views or even dismissive HBT people, but I do not intend to join the chorus of condemnation. Beyond that, I will question the motives behind digging out a 9-month old sermon, hot on the heels of his recent ‘coffee meet’ with the Internal Security Department [ISD]. As a Christian, I cannot help but feel there is a political agenda and objective here. Unlike what happened in AWARE which was a clear cut ‘power grab’ by Christians, this is outright persecution of what Christianity can teach as moral or immoral.
I believe the person who pirated the video from the Lighthouse Evangelist site and posted it on Vimeo also made the following commented on Fridae.com to justify his action:
“The Sedition Act prohibits speech that promotes ‘feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore’. This will be a good opportunity to test the government just what it means by ‘different classes’. Are sexual minorities considered ‘class’?”
Perhaps. But this person should be wary that everything can cut both ways. Someone jokingly commented after he read this comment: ‘They’re considered a criminal class, last I checked the statutes…’ While I do not endorse this statement, I do however find it funny when I considered it in the context of Section 377A – a law against sodomy between two males. Anyway, I am not sure whether anyone charged under Section 377A will be considered a criminal.
Now that I am on the point of sodomy (and in particular male sodomy), I must point out that fellow Christians generally loses the argument against the HBT activists the moment they are rapped with a discrimination clause. Though Christians won’t go so far as the Free Community Church in their view on homosexuality, most Christians failed to stand firm and argue that Christianity does not discriminate against homosexuals. It simply has a very strong moral stand against the act of sodomy. I will not go into specifics, since one can easily obtain these so-called ‘hateful’ Bible verses on pro-HBT websites on the topic of ‘homophobia’. (A word which I consider a misnomer since homo as in homo sapiens simply means man. I am not afraid of all mankind and homosexual-phobia would have been more apt.)
To put it in an analogy, I do not discriminate against smokers, but I am certainly against (and I object to) second hand smoke being blown in my face. In a debate on smoking, am I thus discriminating if I stand and speak up for policies that limits or prohibits smoking? Similarly, we must not discriminate against Muslims when we speak up against the acts of terrorism committed by terrorists and extremists who profess to be one. (Not that I even consider the terrorist a person practising Islam to begin with!)
To condemn Christianity for their moral stand against sodomy as being discriminating against the HBT, is the equivalent of meat eaters demanding from religions with teachings against killing animals not to discriminate against them. In short, HBT activists and lobby should stop taking Christians as a convenient punch bag to further their own personal agenda. Christians in Singapore have no quarrel (and do not intend to quarrel) with HBT persons. Simply, most Christians want to say is:
We fully respect those with homosexual (or bisexual / transgendered) tendencies who manage to withstand the great trial that we not required to stand, but we will not legitimize those who do not overcome their ‘instincts’.
On top of which, after the fiasco at AWARE, some Christians here are now increasingly wary and alert to some of the tactics used by the HBT activists and lobby in the U.S. Christians like myself will not yet claim persecution of Christians for the action taken against Rony Tan, but we will make no excuse to condone sodomy.
The HBT lobby in Singapore should be reminded that if they push the Christian community too hard, they might not like it when the Christian community collectively pushes back. Note that a collective effort by conservatives in the U.S. has resulted in 31 states repealing homosexual marriage laws.
I would like to remind my fellow HBT Singaporeans of the freedoms they already enjoyed in Singapore. Do not forget that other than Thailand, Singapore is probably the most HBT-friendly and tolerant in the whole of South East Asia. Take Rony Tan to task for all I cared, but be careful when you start questioning why no Christians object to it. After all, setting a fire may produce warmth, but when out of control a fire might also consume the person who set it.
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