Monday, August 22, 2022

The catastrophe of repealing S377A in Singapore

In his National Day rally speech, Singapore Prime Minister LEE Hsien Long took the step of announcing the decision to repeal S377A of the Singapore penal code. This part of the law has been assaulted by the LGBTQ+++ lobby in Singapore (that take its social cues from the West) for many years, and it seems that the pressure of the pink dollar is getting too hard to bear.

Section 377A of the Penal Code state thus:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

Many people have seen S337A as expressing social disapproval of homosexuality, as well as being the defence against a militant LGBT+ activism. However, many Christians have not thought through the issue clearly, and it shows. S377A did indeed perform those functions for some time, but the reasaon why any society should be against LGBT+ was not well thought through. While certainly, Christianity abominates homosexuality, there is a more systematic reason why homosexuality should not be entertained by any human society secular or religious, and the reason has nothing to do with institutional religion at all.

From a Christian perspective, God is the same God who has created the world. He has set forth His order in creation, and this order is seen in what is known as Natural Law. Natural Law is that part of General Revelation that concerns the creation and moral order of the world that is partly stamped into the Imago Dei. Man always have a sense of Natural Law with him. While ethicists can debate issues of ethics, no professional philosopher has to tell any human that killing and stealing is wrong, even though killing and stealing are found in all societies on earth. Even where killing and stealing are somehow excused, it is excused only in relation to "outsiders," never to those in one's tribe. This proves the reality stated in Scripture, that

For when Gentiles, who do not have the [Mosaic -DHC] law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. (Rom. 2:14-15)

That LGBT is wrong is found in the Natural Law, encoded into creation that marriage is between a man and a woman. Polygamy, while a violation of the moral law, is not a violation of the creation norm that man and woman together makes a marriage. In the entirety of human history, normal marriage is seen as normative. LGBT+ activists love to point out instances of homosexuality in history, but that's not the issue. The issue is what has always been considered normative versus what was seen as non-normative. Normal marriages are the norm, and homosexuality always as not the norm, even if that particular society did not consider it a sin.

LGBT+ activists love to assert that allowing for LGBTQ+ does not affect the rest of us. That however is a false statement. It affects us by normalizing LGBTQ+ as an alternative. If these are normal, then for those of us who continue to believe in the truth, would we now be considered "hateful" and "intolerant" for speaking what most people in the past had always believed to be true? That is the issue, not whether LGBT+ identified people are present, but whether LGBTQ+ is to be considered normal.

For those of us in Singapore, the sad thing is that many Christians evidently think nothing of the repeal of S377A. Many have bought into the lie that those who are not LGBTQ+ would not be affected in any way by the repeal. But perhaps worse of all is that we have actual theological resources that speak to this situation: the situation of how ethics and morality interact with the State.

When Reformed Christian talk about the moral law of God, which is binding on all humans, most of us focus on the first and third uses of the Law. The first use of the law (the Gospel Use) is that the Law shows us our failure to obey it and thus drives us to Christ. The third use of the Law states that the Law shows us God's standards and therefore show us the way we should live (the Regulative Use). What has been misssing in much of our conversations all this time is the second use of the Law: the Civil use. As its name suggests, it is the use of the Law for civil society, precisely because this use of the Law reflects Natural Law back on to society and call society both to the order of creation and to the moral law they have already in their consciences. The Civil use of the Law is meant to restrain sin, and thus it has a communal aspect. It applies to the entire domain of creation, and therefore has no regard for one's religious affiliation or lack thereof. As the atheists kindly tell us, one does not need Christianity to know murder is wrong, and penalizing murder is not an imposition of religion even though all religions are against murder. Thus, likewise, one does not need Christianity to know LGBTQ+ is wrong, and penalizing LGBTQ+ is likewise not an imposition of religion even though many religions consider it wrong.

Singapore Christians, and even entire churches, who have no regards for S377A show that they have neither thought through what Scripture clearly teaches, nor have they contemplated the Natural Law given to all people everywhere. Now that the decision to repeal has been announced, these Christians and churches are culpable for how they have contributed to the normalization of what Scripture calls an abomination. They will answer to God for their crimes, and it is indeed a crime to call what God calls evil good.

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