You got to hand it to Singapore's fundimentalist relgious community but they really have a knack for finding the most trivial things to get upset about. If that was not enough – they have the ability to make an “all-powerful” governmen take note of their objections and to give them the time of the day.
I for one, have never understood how a rational government that has been a by-word for common sense on most things could actually cave in to the concept of “anti-gay” laws. As things stand, it is illegal for two consenting adult men to have sex in the privacy of their bedrooms. This law has existed on the stauate books since colonial times and it continues to stay there despite every concieveable argument for keeping the law being demolished by events. The only protection a consenting gay man has is the fact that the government has promised not to enforce a law (and that's in a country that prides itself in having “rule of law”). How has this happened? The “Relgious Establishment” (or those claiming to speak for it) has kept the government under pressure from ever considering abolishing a law that makes no sense to any rational person.
The latest storm comes from the fact that the Health Promotion Board (HPB) had the audacity to publish a list of FAQ's on sexuality. These FAQ's had the audacity to suggests that homosexuals were capable of having “normal” comitted relationships. That little comment has got the religoius establishment up in arms. One Member of Parliament (Lim Biow Chuan – Mountbatten Single Member Constituency) has gone public in denouncing HPB for going against the government's policy of promoting heterosexual relationships as the only acceptable ones.
Seriously, are we really so devoid of things to do that we need to cause such a storm over things like this?
OK, I admit, not everyone is comfortable with homosexuality. I don't want to poke another guy up the bum nor do I wish to be poked up the bum. That fact will remain true whether it was legal or not. I also wouldn't like any son of mine to come up and declare he was gay and bringing home a bloke.
Having said that, this is a personal view and just because I feel a certain way doesn't mean something should be illegal. While I may not like any son of mine being gay (a fact I used to think of when Yooga was hanging around), I'd rather he be happy with his chosen partner and enjoy the necessary legal protections. His happiness and well being must be my concern rather than what I like.
I also look on the fact that homosexuals exists in every society and amongst every ethnicity. London was filled with gays from “Macho” societies like Spain and Italy. The guys from societies that did not allow them to be gay left and moved to more accomodating places. Gays will always be with us, whether we like them or not. In the case of Singapore, where every human is assessed on their ability to contribute economically, you'd imagine that efforts would be made to ensure the gay community contributed as much as they could instead making laws against them based on spuroius facts?
We need common sense when it comes to policies regarding sexuality. We've done it for nearly everything else.
Then one has to ask the question – why does the relgious establishment get so worked up over who people poke when there are more pressing issues at stake.
Let's take the issue of inequality as an example. Singapore has one of the worst rates of inequality in the world today. We have billionaires rushing here so that they can enjoy goods and services at third world backwater rates.
Yes, the Bible and other Holy text are not kind to the homosexual community. However, Christ had far more to say about poverty and inequality than he did about homosexuality. Christ stood for aliviating human suffering not increasing it.
So, if this is the case, why don't you hear any of our religious figures speak about real issues connected to poverty and inequality? Pastor Lawrence Kong and the Family Thio have been so busy talking to God about the sex lives of homosexuals that they forgot about the poor and the needy. I mean I don't speak for God but surely humanity depends more on relieving the suffering of the poor and needy than it is about stopping people who are inclined a certain way to behave in the way that nature has intended them to behave.