The Conservatives Consolidate
If one has been following the rumblings, the National Council of Churches Singapore and the Catholic Church have joined the ranks of FCBC and the Muslim scholars in joint concern of changing sexuality as the norm.
All are careful not to depict themselves as bigots, or God forbid as against the state using religion, but want the status quo to remain. What it means is that the HPB issue and wider 377A debate has polarised more than one megachurch, FCBC. The Muslims, Protestants and Catholics have en masse locked arms over shoulders over each other for the scrum and started pushing back. The LGBT community is going to lose the ball. Unless they think of something else like getting WP to give more than an unofficial comment via the personal views of its up and coming Daniel Goh, which is unlikely as WP is clever to sidestep non-bread and butter issues. Engage.
SINGAPORE — A day after the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) called on the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to review its online sexuality advisory, the Roman Catholic Church in Singapore has weighed in on the matter, urging constructive dialogue over the FAQs, which have stirred up opposing views since their publication last November.
A statement from the Office of the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore issued yesterday — its first response on the issue — said the Catholic Church advocates sensitivity, love and compassion for all regardless of one’s sexual orientation, although it maintained that sexual acts outside a heterosexual nature are not in accordance with the laws of creation.
“We believe the best way forward is for all to engage in constructive dialogue in a spirit of patient understanding, mutual respect and compassion, working towards the promotion of justice and dignity of the individual, and for the greater good of society and the future of humanity,” said the statement.
The FAQs have drawn controversy over how they addressed homosexuality, with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups applauding the approach taken, while others have spoken up against them, saying they undermined the importance of the traditional family unit. Faith Community Baptist Church Pastor Lawrence Khong and Member of Parliament (Mountbatten) Lim Biow Chuan are among those who have publicly criticised the FAQs.
An online petition calling for a review of the FAQs has also been making its rounds through social media.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question published on Monday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the FAQs do not encourage same-sex relationships, but are meant to provide advice on mental- and physical-health issues to young people and their parents from a public-health perspective.
He also reiterated that there was no shift in the Government’s policy in that the family is the basic building block of Singapore society and in encouraging heterosexual married couples to have healthy relationships.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NCCS joined in the call for a review of the FAQs, expressing concern that they claim to serve as a resource for factual information on sexuality, when scientific research on the causes and consequences of homosexuality is at best inconclusive.
The Catholic Church said yesterday that it had informed the authorities of its concerns, adding that it was heartened that the Government’s position on families, comprising heterosexual couples with children, has not changed.
The HPB said it would continue to consider the input it had received “to see how we could further improve in our communications and better reach out to Singaporeans in our health promotion educational materials”.