August 23, 2011
From Loh Seong Wei, via e-mail
Mr Ou Yang Wen Feng, in his letter to Malaysiakini dated Aug 18, 2011, pleads for homosexuals to be treated with respect and dignity. As Christians who by faith seek to live out the will of Jesus in loving our neighbours, we do not discriminate between heterosexuals and homosexuals.
However, what Mr Ou Yang desires for is more than respect and dignity for homosexuals. The church is being asked to accept and by extension celebrate homosexuality, which is condemned in the clearest terms possible in scripture, as natural.
The Scripture not only condemns homosexual acts as unnatural (i.e. contrary to the “order of human nature”), but homosexuality itself. For “thought” precedes “action”, and Romans 1 castigates homosexuals who exchanged natural affection for unnatural one.
Since Christians in Malaysia have normally understood St Paul the Apostle to be speaking under divine revelation rather than talking from experience, we cannot in good conscience recognise homosexuality in the “theological context.”
The unnatural state of being is grounded in how the homosexual perceives his self-identity. Self-identity is “who I am/ who you are” and thus goes to the very definition of a “person.” This makes a person unique, unrepeatable and ultimately mysterious and at the same time (simultaneously) sharing a common nature with the rest of human beings.
Whilst nature in its psychological and physical – psychosomatic – functions can be sensually or consciously experienced, the person (i.e. the “I”) is the “subject of faith.” In other words, it is something taken for granted as a fundamental fact of life.
One may question whether UFOs exist or not but our very own existence (the I/Ego) is a given (literally by God and not generated from within the person since person = “I”; and if person is created by God, then the “I” only exists – as a gift – from God).
Even the notion that life is an illusion acknowledges the existence of an “I.” Homosexuality is not reducible to (i.e. exclusively understood in terms of) the mind and the body. As part of human self-understanding and identity, homosexuality is central to who a person is.
After all, despite the biological anomaly in homosexuality (at least compared to heterosexuality where sexual expression of love and pro-creation go naturally hand in hand), homosexuals nevertheless insist on their sexual identity.
Furthermore, science has yet to probe the depths of human existence in all its complexity and mystery. The Book of Genesis offers simple clues as to whether homosexuality is natural or not.
The Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden caused by their lack of faith in the Creator resulted in “Original Sin” so that the entire person (epitomised by the I/ Ego) is no longer at peace ‘and’ harmony with God and creation (nature).
Wars, greed, poverty, environmental degradation, etc. are the concrete symptoms that is part of our world. Homosexuality proceeds from Original Sin where ‘prior’ to the Fall, the “immutable” basis for human life was determined by the Creator, namely heterosexuality – man and woman.
So that, sexuality always imply two distinct (but inseparable) sexes/ genders. Jesus Himself reaffirmed the original creation order in Matthew 19 where a man shall cleave to his wife and become one flesh. Marital union from the religious viewpoint is always and only heterosexual.
Unless of course Mr Ou Yang denies a literal account of the six-day creation. Still Mr Ou Yang should now know that the unconditional love of God who died on the Cross and proclaimed in the Gospel restores man and woman to their original state of being prior to the Fall.
The whole person is re-created by the Creator who is at once Saviour. So profound is the change that it can only be perceived by faith (in God). As it is, Mr Ou Yang and his fellow homosexuals want to place “nature” as constituting their identity rather than the “person.”
By doing so, we are merely confirming our Original Sin since human beings are by ‘nature’ sinners. That is, the sinful nature determines the identity and acts of the person. In the Gospel, the situation is reversed whereby the person is now free from sinful nature, and the person is free to give meaning to his new nature and to live according to his or her identity given freely by the Creator.
In the “political context”, the church in Malaysia cannot also agree or support the legalisation of homosexuality and the concomitance of same-sex marriages (civil or religious). Just as Mr Ou Yang is bound to his conscience, likewise the church is bound to its conscience.
Mr Ou Yang has no right to “force” the church and state in Malaysia to emulate the example of the State of New York and others. What the church can do and will do is to urge the government of the day in Malaysia not to persecute homosexuals. But it is the moral and legal responsibility of the church and state to ensure that homosexuals in Malaysia are subject to prosecution where necessary.
So, I ask Mr Ou Yang to understand that whilst homosexuals in Malaysia are equal under the law with equal political rights, they cannot expect to practice and advocate their lifestyle normally and openly as in the West. Secularism does not hold the same meaning in Malaysia as in the West.
Secularism in Malaysia does not mean separation of religion and state or a “liberal” interpretation of religion. On the contrary, both religious and secular values and principles exist side-by-side in harmony, and where applicable one takes precedent over the other. So, please do not try to impose Western secularism on Malaysia with your homosexual agenda.
Many people in Malaysia, some of them are my friends, some are total strangers, gay and straight alike, have sent me blessings and congratulated me when they learn that I will be marrying my lover. I am deeply touched and moved by their gestures. My country, however, fails to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is therefore particularly disappointing.
For too long, gay people have suffered from discrimination not because of what we do but simply because of who we are. Our constitutional right as a human being, taxpayer, and citizen to be treated equally has been denied.
Due to ignorance and prejudice, many gay people have to pretend to be someone whom they are not. Many have to hide themselves in the closet of heterosexual marriages, and it hurts their heterosexual spouses deeply. Thus, what I am doing in Malaysia, is not only for gay people, but to send a strong message to heterosexuals that you all deserve to be loved passionately by heterosexuals, and no one should cheat on your love for the sake of survival.
Thus, I urge all reasonable and open-minded straight people to come out and speak up in order to break the conspiracy of silence, because silence kills. By keeping quiet, many good people have inevitably and unfortunately given their tacit consent to the oppressive culture that promotes homophobia and perpetuate ignorance.
When straight people who have known better about homosexuality refuse to speak up for gay people, they are guilty of the injustice done to gay people and also to themselves indirectly. It is therefore critical for everyone, especially heterosexuals, to come out and speak up in favour of homosexuals in order to challenge homophobic or social discourse and practice.
As a Christian, I believe in love and I live in hope, I strongly believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. If we all are willing to work together, I have no doubt that soon and very soon, love and fairness shall win.