singapore pastor warns of ”gay agenda”
Repeating a commonly-used refrain that gays are demanding not just equal rights but “special rights,” a pastor at a Singapore church, which is widely known to be homophobic, alleges in a sermon that gay activists are aiming to “destroy” churches.
A sermon by a well-known anti-gay preacher has attracted outrage among the gay community in Singapore after it was reported by social commentator and Fridae columnist Alex Au on his blog.
[PIC]Two sermons delivered by Senior Pastor Derek Hong, head of the Church of Our Saviour, last month has cast the struggle by the gay community to gain equal rights as an attempt to gain “special rights” – a commonly used tactic by opponents of equal rights for gays.
Au wrote on his widely read blog, Yawning Bread: “He says Christians must ‘rise up’ to fight the culture war, and that gays are acting on behalf of Satan. There’s also an incredible amount of disinformation – about how gays are scheming to eradicate Christianity, for example.”
Addressing his congregation Aug 19, Hong said in the second of his 2-part series on homosexuality: “They are striving for special rights for homosexuals… they want themselves to be enshrined as a minority race so that they have… more rights, not just equal to everyone else. At the moment, (under) the constitution they already have equal rights. They are not prosecuted although the law [referring to Section 377A which criminalises gay sex] is there. They can get jobs without any problems… they are entitled to housing… there is no discrimination in Singapore.”
Presenting a 5-point “Agenda of Gay Activists” posted on the church’s web site, he warned of gay couples trying to adopt children.
“Can you imagine two men adopting a boy, what will the boy grow up to be? You can just imagine the scenario…” he told the audience.
“COOS is very famous… Derek Hong, Shawn Tay, Sy Rogers… we are well known on the Internet… you’ll find my name on all the gay chatrooms.”
The congregation can be heard laughing in the background along with Hong as he continues, “Hallelujah, thank you lord… I’m a source of attraction.”
He further postulated that gay activists around the world are out to have the Bible classified as hate literature and silence pro-family groups, religious institutions… churches to prevent Christians from “preaching God’s word.”
“As Christians we have to rise up and make our voices heard,” he added. “Tt’s a spiritual war you and I have been called to participate in.”
Not unlike right wing leaders who frequently reference George Bush in church services, Hong said: “There’s a Bill now before the American Congress… George Bush would veto it so we’re still safe for the time being but when the new President comes in, the bill will probably get through.”
The Bill he is referring to is believed to be H.R.2015, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in most workplaces.
Although churches and other religious organisations will be exempt, he warned of gay activists who will try to seek employment but if turned down, will sue the organisations with the intention to “bankrupt” and “destroy” churches.
Known to be the most homophobic church in Singapore, the church sent letters to the media disagreeing with then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s 2003 remarks about gay persons being “born that way” and asserting that homosexuality can be “cured” by misusing scientific findings. More details can be found on http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2003/yax-328.htm.
Fridae has not heard back from Hong or his office when contacted by email about his remarks.
Gay-affirmative Christian leaders contacted by Fridae said they were disappointed by Hong’s sermon.
When contacted, Rev Oyoung Wenfeng, the first openly gay Malaysian-Chinese pastor who was ordained in New York in May, said: “I am disappointed by what Derek has said about queer people. However, I am not surprised at all with what he says about the bible and homosexuality. If you know Christian leaders in the past had used the Bible to justify slavery, to oppose the ordination of women… you are not going to be surprised by what most Christians in mainline churches say about homosexuality.
“Derek said ‘gays are striving for special rights beyond what everyone else is accorded’ and ‘gay do not suffer any discrimination in Singapore.’ Really? What about the anti-gay law 377A of the Penal Code in Singapore? We do get special treatment, but a negative one.”
Dr Peter Goh, the Vice Chairperson of the gay affirmative Free Community Church, told Fridae: “This sermon betrays Derek Hong’s lack of understanding of homosexuality, despite the many opportunities he has to interact with gay people through his Choices (ex-gay) ministry. This is the problem with Christianity today. People let their reading of the bible blind them from accessing insights that might be gained from other avenues of knowledge. For them, the earth will always remain flat because the Bible says so.”
Rev Yap Kim Hao, the first Asian Bishop of The Methodist Church in Malaysian and Singapore, and one of Singapore’s most outspoken gay advocates although he is heterosexual warned that the pastor’s comments may in fact cause Christians undue fear and incite resentment against gays and lesbians.
“It is too far-fetched to say that they (gay men and lesbians) want to bankrupt the churches and have a plan to ban the Bible and even to stop Gospel preaching. This is creating a straw figure without any shred of evidence. The allegations are to instill fear and incite resentment against gays and lesbians. They are sowing seeds of conflict and discord. Such despicable tactics can only discredit the Christian churches in our community. The sermon has declared war against the gay community and demonised them.”
“This can only encourage the gay community to defend itself against such malicious onslaughts,” said the 78-year-old who serves as Pastoral Advisor to FCC and frequently writes to the press defending the gay community against anti-gay vitriol.
Click here to listen to an excerpt of the sermon, and/or visit http://www.coos.org.sg/sermon to listen to the sermons in full and read about the ‘Gay Agenda.’ singapore pastor warns of ”gay agenda”