Dear HCMC ,One of the hottest topics in recent days has been the debate surrounding Section 377A, a Singaporean law that criminalises gay sex. On 29 Nov 2022, the Singapore Parliament voted to repeal this law. At the same time, Parliament endorsed changes to the Constitution to introduce Article 156, which protects the current definition of heterosexual marriage from legal challenge.

It is evident that the Singapore Government is attempting to chart a middle path between the two camps pushing, respectively, to repeal or retain Section 377A. Although S377A has been repealed, some safeguards have been put in place to preserve current social norms on family and marriage. However, the “repeal” camp will certainly continue to advance their agenda, to normalise theLGBTQ+ lifestyle, and to restrict or “cancel” our religious freedom to stand by Christian values ongender and marriage. This issue will only intensify in time to come. How are we to respond?

We are thankful that Mr Tan Boon Chok, Vice-Chairman of CAC Board of Family Life and Lay Leader of Hakka MC, came to speak to our church on this pertinent topic last Sunday. This talk was scheduled months in advance. Back then, we could not have foreseen that S377A would have been debated and repealed by Parliament exactly during this period. Yet God is in sovereign control. As it turned out, the talk could not have been more timely. Clearly, this has all happened according to God’s providential purpose and timing. All the more, we should pay attention to the insights sharedby brother Boon Chok.

The talk focused mainly on the wide-ranging impact of the repeal on all aspects of Singaporesociety. Many other laws and policies hinge on this law, encompassing the domains of educationalcurriculum, societies and groups in campuses and workplaces, marriage, family and housingpolicies, all forms of media content, etc. With the legalisation of same-sex intercourse and thegrowing influence of transgender ideology, we can expect that the LGBTQ+ agenda will increasinglypermeate all aspects of our lives, at home, school, and work. We should be extremely concernedabout this, for ourselves, our next generation, and the common good of society.

My biggest personal takeaway from the talk is that churches in Singapore have wasted 15 years.
The repeal of S377A was last debated in Parliament in 2007. Back then, though the law was re-tained, the church should have acted more concertedly to prepare for a future when the law could
be repealed. We did not. Now, 15 years later, we have precious little time left to brace ourselves forthe impact to come, and make a stand. Perhaps 5 years, at most.

Just this week, on 5 Dec 2022, the National Council of Churches published a response to the repeal
of S377A (refer to: Let me quote the final paragraph, which sums up how we should respond for now:
“Therefore, we encourage our churches to spare no effort to spiritually form our members, such thatthey will imbibe ever more deeply the Christian narrative, see things according to the Christianperspective and make decisions according to our Christian values. This is our best defence againstthe counter-narratives and perspectives that daily confront us from a variety of sources. As anintegral part of our Christian witness, we should also continue to show love and offer empathetichelp to those with same-sex attractions or who are in homosexual relationships, as a visible sign ofGod’s love and concern for them. Finally, let us never cease to offer our earnest prayers for thissmall nation-state that we call home.”

Dear HCMC family, will we wake up to this crisis, and spare no effort to respond with purpose andurgency?

Rev Timothy