The comm box in my post on homosexuals and homosexual bigots has churned out something interesting. In this post, therefore, I will understake to reply to Soo Kiat's comment regarding homosexuality and discrimination. It is my contention that there by and large there is little discrimination against homosexuals in Singapore and other Western nations as compared to the outright discrimination against Christians in these countries.
Here is what Soo Kiat posted in his last comment on the topic of homosexuality and discrimination, which I will respond to:
- I know of nowhere where homosexuals have more rights than heterosexuals, and very few where they have equal rights. The sad truth is that in most parts of the world, including most western democracies, they have significantly fewer rights, and can suffer discrimination in a host of areas, from outright criminalisation, tax policy, housing policy, inheritance laws, employment rights, family law and others. The gay lobby is, in essence, a single issue lobby - to end discrimination before the law. I know of no gay organisations that aim to legally silence critics, only to strip them of legal justification for discriminating against them. The only way I would wish to silence my critics is by the force of superior argument. The anti-Christian rhetoric you have encountered is, alas, a reflection of the fact that religious people have too often set themselves as obstacles to equal treatment for gays, and as such have presented themselves as enemies of fair treatment for gay people. Even in the liberal west, this is very much the case. The forces of illiberalism sadly too often come cloaked in church vestments or resting on their religious books.
- I agree with you, of course, that a state must have laws, as few among us would choose to live in a Hobbesian state of nature, with the weak preyed upon by the strong. But the limits to state power must be drawn somewhere, else we have no individual liberty. One obvious line that can be drawn is in matters of private morality. Issues of public morality - such as offences against the person and property - are obviously within the state's domain, but I can see no justification for a state, which is after all an incorporeal institution to concern itself with intensely private matters such as the consensual sexual practices of its adult citizens. When the state intrudes on personal morality, it presents the intractable problem of whose morality it chooses to uphold. It must inevitably pick one code over another, typically (but not always) the majority's, and by so doing, it discriminates against the minority cultures or religions. Look at Saudi Arabia, where the practice of all religion but Islam is forbidden. I think that is intolerable, and would defend the rights of any Christian or Jew against such bigotry. Even in Western countries there are vestiges of such prejudice. It is still illegal for the monarch of England to be anything but an Anglican. I think the state should be neutral between its citizens, be they Christian, muslim, atheist, gay or straight.
- You say Singapore doesn't enforce s377a, and that to repeal it would be to endorse homosexuality. I have 3 observations: i) Singapore does not typically enforce, but it reserves the right. And it uses the cover of such legislation to ban gay meeting groups and gay publications. Moreover, if a political opponent of the PAP was homosexual, I think the party would waste no time in prosecuting him to hound him out of public life. ii)by criminalising us, whether or not they prosecute, they are effectively telling us we are second-class citizens. They are telling us to be ashamed, for our acts of love are illegal. iii) By repealing s377a the state is not endorsing homosexuality. It is saying nothing at all. There is, for example, no law in Singapore against masturbation, but that doesn't mean the state is officially endorsing it. It is saying it is none of the state's business.
- You are right, repeal would not suddenly make those who hate homosexuals love us. What it does, however, is slowly allows the climate to change, as it has in those countries where homosexuality has been legalised overseas. In the UK, for example, which I know well as I went there to university, it is 40 years since it was decriminalised, but even now open signs of your sexuality can in some places or situations put you in danger of physical attack and verbal abuse. But that is in decline, and now people are more careful not to offend gratuitously, in the same way that racism has declined once the legal justification for prejudice is removed. This is part of a process that began with decriminalisation. It makes a society a kinder, gentler place to live for all its citizens.
1) First of all, Soo Kiat, with regards to homosexual discimination, it seems that we are talking past each other. You are parading the common homosexuals' views of how things are. The fact of the matter is that in places like UK, Christians are being severely persecuted for believing that homosexuality is wrong. My often antagonistic friend in UK Jenson can testify to it. What you term discrimination it seems turns out to be people who do not want homosexuality to be naturalized and celebrated. When that happens, homosexuals discriminate against other groups like Christians and offend them. If you want to talk about liberty, what liberty are you giving to Christians who see homosexuality as wrong?
Let us here look into your stated examples: tax policy, housing policy, inheritance laws, employment rights, family law. What do you mean discrimination by tax policy? Is it that homosexual 'couples' do not enjoy the same tax rebates as normal couples do? But then by insisting that they do aren't you already asking others to accept the rightness of homosexuality, otherwise what 'couples' can you talk about? Two people don't make a couple, otherwise a man and his sister can qualify too, nevermine other combinations of people (or how about a mand his dog?).
Ditto for housing policy, inheritance laws, family law etc. For non-discimination to apply, all of these must of neccessity presuppose the moral and societal rightness of homosexuality, which Christians and most religions categorically deny. By insisting on their rights, aren't homosexuals forcing their view on others as to the legitimacy of their view?
With regards to employment, perhaps in certain situations. discimination may be wrongly present. First of all, however, it must be stated that discimination in the workplace is always present. Christians are perpetually disciminated against because of our religions and ethics anyway. So since you say you love liberty, will you fight for our right? Will you fight for the right of Christians to believe in Creationism and remain a scientist, for example? If not, what kind of liberty are you advocating?
Secondly, depending on the job, some form of 'discimination' is needed. For example, nobody can say they are disciminated if they don't fulfil the requirement of a certain job. It may be the case for some jobs, not all, that the person must be a role model for those under his/her charge. Homosexuals thus may not be able to get such jobs, but these are not acts of discimination rather than a question of qualification. Of course, unless you want to maintain that homosexuality is good or at best neutral, but doesn't that already mean that homosexuals are imposing their values on others who think otherwise.
With regards to Christianity and homosexuality, let's be clear about this. Christianity describes homosexuality as an abomination; detestable unto the Lord God. As I have shown above, what you describe as 'discimination' is in fact people who refuse to let homosexuals force their values on them. If you want to talk about 'liberty', then here is one group (the homosexuals) who is removing the libery of another group (ie Christians) in the name of 'non-discrimination'. You see what is wrong here?
which brings us to the second main point...
2) All forms of laws exhbit some form of 'discrimination' of sorts. Your previous examples of areas where homosexuals are said to be disciminated ARE public issues. By allowing for example, homosexual marriage, is that a public issue, since there will definitely be other people involved other than the 'couple'? Given what you said that issues of public morality are the state's business, then how can you at the same time deny that the State has any right not to accept the homosexual agenda to force the imposition of homosexual views on the public? Does the State has the right to force non-homosexuals to yield to the demands of the homosexuals? But yet isn't that what the State needs to do in order to 'end all discimination' according to the homosexual agenda?
Let's face it, 'discimination' is inevitable. The question therefore is whether it is legitimate. And that brings us to the moral question. The homosexuals in general want to circumvent the question of morality and talk about discimination, as if that means anything. Look, if anyone affirms the evil of murder, they are by neccessity 'disciminating' against murderers. Conversely, if you affirm the virture of eugenics and euthanasia, you are by neccessity 'discriminating' against those who state that are against them. Similar, those who affirm abortion are by necessity 'disciminating' against the unborn fetus in favor of the mother. And vice versa. Discrimination itself cannot be a basis for change. The only mitigation factor is that such restriction and discrimination should restrict itself to the public sphere if you want to talk about personal liberty.
With regards to places like Saudi Arabia, the error is not that it favors Islam over others. The error is that it makes no allowance for the private expression of other faiths. As stated and agreed on, the State has no right to intrude into the private sphere of individuals. Just as a footnote, the monarchy in England is a public matter with historical reasons why this is so, so I disagree with your assessment of the situation.
i) Are gay publications and such meetings public? If so, then see above in my response number 2 where I showed that public discrimination is inevitable. Unless you can prove that homoseuxality is not immoral, then there is no basis upon which you can justify the charge od discrimination in the public sphere
ii) You haven't addressed the question of whether homosexuality is immoral. If it is immoral, then there is no problem. After all, do murderers complain that they are criminalized and made to feel ashamed as 'second-class citizens'? And what do you mean by 'acts of love'? Just because a sex act is committed doesn't necessitate that it is a loving act. What is the difference between that and an act between a man and his dog, which after all is 'loving'? Who defines what is loving and what is not? And lastly, why can't the same argument by utilized by incestous 'couples'?
iii) It is an endorsement because the law was there in the first place. If it wasn't there in the first place, its non-existence would not be an endorsement. As it is, decriminalizing it would state that such an action is not something which is wrong.
4) See my response point 1. We Christians do not share your rose-tinted glases. In fact, what we see is that society is growing more intolerant and bigoted towards Christians, especially in UK. Furthermore, unless you can prove that homosexuality is not immoral, then what you just said is inconsequential. Substitute the word 'homosexual' with 'murderer' to see why your reason is just plain wrong. Your argument here only makes sense if homosexuality is not immoral. As an aside, by stating that people hate homosexuals, I am mentioning those who hate because homosexuals are a minority group which they can bully, NOT those who reject homosexuality and refuse to celebrate it. For those people, any group will do, not just homosexuals.
In conclusion, I hoped that I have made my point clear. Unless the homosexual activists can prove that homosexuality is not immoral, all their charges of discimination etc have no merit. They are already allowed to conduct their immorality in private, but to allow their actions to be approved of in the public sphere is to force their views on others who refuse to compromise their moral standards, which includes most other people I may add. Maybe instead of using the emotional-loaded words of intolerance, discrimination, bigotry etc as bombs against the public, it would be good to try to justify homosexuality on moral grounds?