I am surprised by how much this incident is affecting me. I thought I have moved past my former religious life, left it behind in Singapore, but like tin cans tied to a dog it has followed me and is rattling me. I am posting the incident, and my response to it, here on this blog, because I want to remember that the past is not yet past.
When Emeritus Senior Minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong visited Faith Community Baptist Church on 13 January during a Sunday service, Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong took the opportunity to deliver a hateful anti-gay message. Among other things, he said:
We affirm that the family unit comprises a man as Father, a woman as Mother, and Children. This is the basic building block of society, a value foundational for a secure future, a premise fundamental to nation-building.
and warned ominously that
We see a looming threat to this basic building block by homosexual activists seeking to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code.
Examples from around the world have shown that the repeal of similar laws have led to negative social changes, especially the breakdown of the family as a basic building block and foundation of the society. It takes away the rights of parents over what their children are taught in schools, especially sex education. It attacks religious freedom and eventually denies free speech to those who, because of their moral convictions, uphold a different view from that championed by increasingly aggressive homosexual activists.
The church statement posted on Facebook received over 300 comments (as of now), most of which question the statement's illogicality, bigotry, fear-mongering and obvious debt to American evangelical fundamentalists. I was moved to post a personal response, because at a certain phase of my life the church was all-in-all to me. I appeal to the love of friends in the church.
I was with Faith Community Baptist Church for many, many years, through my late teens and my twenties. I followed Pastor Lawrence Khong to FCBC when he was thrown out by Grace Baptist Church for preaching speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Holy Spirit. I left FCBC when I finally could not reconcile its homophobic preaching with my search for personal happiness. I am sexually attracted to men, more, I love men. I am so thankful that I am now in a committed relationship with a beautiful and good man. I want my FCBC friends to know for a certainty that when you oppose the repeal of Section 377A, you are discriminating against me, not some abstract, weird group of activist-perverts, but me, Jee Leong, the person whom you love and admire more than I deserve. I don't take away your right to love. Why do you support the continued suppression of my right to love?