- insights from Nehemiah and an old national song
For more than a decade now, the momentum and pressure regarding gender identity and sexual preferences have weighed heavily on Christians. On one hand, to have a law that criminalizes a private act, and one that will not be enforced seems a tad tenuous. On the other hand, we know that any group is not monolithic and there is evidence that a political agenda is embedded in activistic efforts.
The emotionally charged and intellectually demanding challenge of the issue often feels overwhelming to busy Singaporean Christians who are not used to public discourse and political engagement. The internet era also introduced unhelpful habits that often worsen and complicate human dynamics, which for an Asian society like ours, where respect and give-and-take are more the norms for exchange, is highly discombobulating.
A sadness and a pall hung over many of us. Most of us cherish our familial ties deeply and the polarising effect we felt was painful and grievous. The stream of anecdotal and documented stories of what happens to countries that bend to gender redefinitions and the knock-on politically motivated demands, which led to changes in education and workplace ethics worry many of us within and outside the church that Singapore was in for a sea change.
Many huddled to watch the National Day Rally speech and even though church leaders were told to anticipate what was to come, a lump of disbelief caught in our throats to hear our Prime Minister inform us that a repeal of 377A was indeed coming.
In our arguments to retain the law, we have appealed to how it serves as a wall and bulwark against the deterioration of morals and the disintegration of the heteronormative family unit.
Yet, this same wall is seen by others to divide, isolate and discriminate.
Standing on different sides, it may be that if we are not careful, we end up with shouting matches to be heard across the wall.
The Bible contains many references to walls, physical and metaphorical. One of them is the story of an exiled Jew who finds himself summoned to action, to rebuild the wall that is needed for the safety of the city. Could there be helpful insights there for us…