The Bible considers homosexual practice sinful since it violates God’s moral order (using Biblical language), or natural moral order (using language of public discourse). See earlier post, LINK. Still, there is no need to single out homosexual activity for disapprobation as it is listed as one sin amongst many other sins. This theological truth is foundational for Christian moral teaching, but Christians need to supplement theological truth with sociological insights when they address the homosexual controversy in public discourse. In this spirit I offer the following propositions.
Proposition 1 – Respect is not Conformity or Compliance
YES, the rights of homosexuals to express their views should be respected in a pluralistic democracy,
BUT this respect should not be extended to demand approval of their views and compliance to new social policies that impose homosexual ideology on others.
It is a testament to the zeitgeist of Western society when it takes courage for someone to declare publicly his opposition to the practice of homosexuality and suggest that the norm for sexual and marital relationship should be between a male and a female. Be assured that such a person will be accused of promoting social prejudice and hate speech and roundly condemned by powerful homosexual organizations which dominate the Western media. School teachers have been sacked for voicing their disapproval of homosexual practices. Business companies have been targeted with organized boycott because their owners have dared suggest that they favour traditional heterosexual marriage.
Homosexual activists in the USA are not content that they have gained acceptance in public opinion; they will not tolerate any public disagreement of their sexual ideology. It is not enough that the Christian majority has conceded that homosexuals in a democracy have the right to advocate homosexual marriage; Christians must not be allowed to express publicly even their religious convictions which assume the traditional view of heterosexual relations. Indeed, homosexual activists pressure Christian owned companies to comply with laws favouring homosexuality and force individual Christians to act against their conscience and provide services for homosexual marriages – a Christian baker faced imprisonment for refusing to bake same-sex wedding cake. A Christian guest house owner was sued to bankruptcy when he would not accept homosexual tenants. Christian charity services and hospitals must provide assistance for contraceptives for sex outside marriage, carry out abortion on demand and refrain from providing counseling services to help clients grappling with the issue of homosexuality. The list goes on…
To these social pressures, Western Christians must insist that while they respect the democratic right of homosexual activists to advocate their sexual ideology, nevertheless this respect should not require acceptance of homosexual practices and conformity to laws that promote homosexuality as a sexual norm. They must protest against homosexual activism that denies them of their religious rights and liberty of conscience. Respect for democratic right includes freedom either to support or reject the sexual choice of homosexuality. It should be pointed out that this protest is relevant to Christians in the Majority World as Western homosexual activists are now exploiting international agencies to impose their sexual ideology onto the international community under the guise of promoting human rights for minorities.
Proposition 2. The homosexuality controversy assumes different moral significance in different social contexts.
YES, homosexuality is one sin amongst many sins listed in Romans 1, 1Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10.
BUT, it is presently THE sin that is most aggressively promoted and exploited as the instrument to expunge Christianity from the public arena.
Homosexuals may be a small minority in society, but the complete support by major Western media network and entertainment industry magnifies and projects their influence far beyond their minority status. In particular, the entertainment industry, which is saturated with values supportive of homosexual lifestyle, has successfully won the sympathy of the majority of the younger generation (65% for age between 18-29). Western lawmakers are quick to take note of this trend and accordingly, propose new laws that promote homosexuality.
Homosexual activists have gained control of important public institutions. They now make acceptance of homosexual practices a touchstone for access to public services. For example, some Christian varsity groups are banned from using campus facilities because they will not accept practicing homosexuals as office bearers in their executive committees. Any public figure who dares express his preference for heterosexual relations as a social norm is immediately vilified by major US media networks. The message is, “you cannot be a public figure and promote heterosexual marriage relations”. This hostile intolerance to public expression of Christian moral convictions reminds us of the hostility of authoritarian Communist and Islamic regimes who claim to respect religious freedom, but only so long as Christians confine their beliefs and moral convictions within their private lives. In effect, Christianity is expunged from the public arena.
It is hypocritical when homosexual activists claim to be victims of social prejudices in the West. They are presently the dominant force in public contestation. Truth be told, their orchestrated aggressiveness towards the Christian majority is not to protect the rights of homosexuals against social discrimination. It is in reality a sheer grab for power and control of public institutions with the ultimate goal of expunging Christian presence from the public arena. In this regard, homosexuality is now THE AGGRESSIVE SIN against Christianity in the West.
Proposition 3. Civil law should apply sanctions equally against heterosexual and homosexual relations outside marriage.
YES, homosexual practice should be sanctioned if it is deemed to undermine the social institution of marriage,
BUT, the social sanction should be equally applied to both heterosexual and homosexual relations outside marriage.
In general, Malaysian society censures both homosexual and heterosexual relations outside marriage as they undermine the stability of the social institution of marriage (defined as between a male and a female). Christians reject sexual relations outside marriage (whether it is heterosexual or homosexual relations) not only because they are against customs and traditions but because they are sinful violations of God’s moral order. It should be noted that the Malaysian Penal Code does not criminalize heterosexual relations outside marriage between consenting adults, but it criminalizes sexual acts between consenting homosexuals adults. It appears that homosexuals are unjustly treated in this case.
People who are concerned that unregulated display of homosexual relations may offend public sensibilities and unduly influence impressionable minors may rest assured there are adequate laws in place, laws that prohibit public indecency and criminalizes public solicitation of sexual favours (prostitution) and sexual exploitation of minors. These laws apply to both heterosexuals and homosexuals.
Proposition 4. The state has a greater duty to promote and preserve heterosexual marriage relationship.
YES, respect for the democratic right grants some legal recognition of homosexual relations between consenting adults,
BUT, this recognition does not preclude the greater duty of the State to support actively one of its fundamental social institutions, the family based on heterosexual marriage.
It is argued that respecting the democratic rights of consenting homosexuals would give some allowance for ‘gay-unions’ which enable these partners to enjoy legal rights like hospital visitation, appropriate tax deduction and inheritance of property. That said, gay unions should not be confused with marriage, traditionally defined as a union between a male and a female. The distinction should be maintained given the indisputable fact that it is only the traditional marriage that perpetuates society and provides a holistic environment for nurture of children who need the presence and support of both the ‘father’ and ‘mother’ figure. By the same token, there should be a limit to state recognition for gay-unions – while there should be no interference to their private lifestyle, the state should not allow gay-union couples the right to adopt children.
Indeed, the state should go further and provide additional resources to strengthen and support traditional heterosexual marriages. Marriage, like any human relations and social institution, is experiencing pressures from the corrosive forces of modernity. State support for the marriage institution would require intentional provisions like additional tax incentives, social support for poor families and community care for neglected children. It should be emphasized in passing that traditional marriage, despite its fragility, is a far more stable relationship than homosexual relationships, which are notoriously permissive especially among male homosexuals.
Proposition 5. The homosexual controversy should be addressed in Biblical proportion.
YES, homosexual practice is rejected in the Bible as a sin,
BUT, the Bible, including the Apostle Paul (who gives the clearest teaching on the subject) is not obsessed with the sin of homosexuality. A Biblical vision of sexual wholeness emphasizes nurture of Christian virtues and holiness.
It would do well for Christians not to be too obsessed in their response to aggressive actions by homosexual activists against Christianity. To be sure, Christians should not compromise in judging homosexual activity as sinful and displeasing to God. Indeed, the Bible deems pervasive homosexual practices as symptomatic of a society in active rebellion against God. Christians have a duty to give an articulate defence of heterosexual relations within marriage.
It may be noted that homosexuals represent less than 1% of the Western world (and certainly much less in the Majority World). Pragmatic consideration would suggest that Christians go beyond reacting to homosexual activism and address more significant moral issues facing believers and society at large today. It is more important that Christians witness with a positive agenda. That is to say, it is not enough to lay out the moral laws of God in the Bible. It is important to demonstrate the wisdom underlying God’s moral laws. It is imperative that Christians renew their commitment to build strong families which demonstrate how following the teachings of the Bible will strengthen the monogamous marriage institution and ensure the flourishing of wider society.
3 thoughts on “Homosexuality and Respect for Democratic Rights: YES, BUT – The Sociological Minimum”
Thank you, Kam Weng for a very well written article on this ‘difficult’ but very relevant matter. It is my prayer that we as the Christian community will not be so slow to state our stand clearly as both youths and older believers have to reckon with a world that has been and is changing very rapidly.
An excellent and insightful article with clear guidelines for readers to shape and express their views on this important subject.
An excellent article! Thanks to you for a well balanced articulation.
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