Tuesday, May 05, 2009

In the Name of Christianity

The media and blogosphere was awash with reports of the coup by Josie Lau and some of her fellow members at the Church Of Our Saviour (COOS) to take over AWARE. Notably, AWARE’s EGM on 2 May was at one stage to be held at the Singapore Expo, where COOS and several other churches so-called coincidentally staged a conference. Moreover, Wayangparty.com reported that COOS pastor Derek Hong has urged the women in his audience to support the new Exco, saying that “there’s a line that God has drawn for us, and we don’t want our nation crossing that line.”

The adverse reaction to the new AWARE Exco and COOS is not just from pro-gay community but from a much larger segment who believes that the COOS members have crossed the line in making AWARE a battleground for their own fundamentalist agenda.

By some accounts, the AWARE EGM was a proxy showdown between COOS' Pastor Derek Hong and Thio Su Mien, and those who feel differently – comprising old AWARE members, other Christians, gay and pro-gay community, and all others who are sufficiently annoyed by Josie and the pussycats. The plot to use Christianity as a rallying cry fortunately failed this time. Reason and respect prevailed instead. However, the fundamentalists would see it as their righteous duty to try again and lead all to salvation. Hence, vigilance is still needed.

This episode has tarred Christians in general and (other) members of COOS in particular. What must be said is that a number Christians (possibly including some COOS members) have spoken up to express disgust with the approach that the new Exco has taken. Even as they may share values concerning homosexuality etc, they also recognize that in a pluralistic society such as Singapore, the secularity of the public space is (ironically) sacred.

I believe that the overwhelming majority of Christians in Singapore (of whichever denomination or church) would subscribe to this. But as with Islamic fundamentalism/extremism, it only takes so few, whether they are in parliament or in AWARE, to spoil the reputation of the whole.

Fellow members of COOS should also take their brethren to task. This is the time that the moderate Christian majority should continue to stand up and be counted.

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