A follow up to my previous letter Rev Ou Yang Wen Feng is Painting Me as A Bigot is now up at Malaysia Chronicle, which again has plenty of discussion in the comments.
From Malaysia Chronicle:
As can be expected, the comments at this piece are far less insulting and adversarial than the previous one.
Again, see also Bible Passages That Oppose Homosexuality – Including the Words of Jesus and God Himself for the below-mentioned Biblical references.
As for how this post came about, it’s not just a response to the comments on my previous letter – as I stated in this comment:
In fact just this week I was pondering on the fact that ‘moderate’ Muslims don’t condemn and try and avert their more violent brethren nearly enough.
But what about churches who lend little or no voice of condemnation and chastising when groups like Phelps’ harass homosexuals and military funerals? If the rest of the world unfairly thinks that Christians as a whole hate homosexuals when we merely do not agree that homosexuality is permitted by the Bible, is that not partly our own fault for letting the loud minority get away with their antics?
With reference to Who Really Gives a Bad Name to Islam?.
Full text of the letter as published follows, with added links to the Bible passages:
True Christians support neither homosexuality nor hatred
Drowned out in the battle between abhorrence and tolerance, mainstream Christians need to speak up.
In my previous letter to Malaysia Chronicle (http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=18005:rev-ou-yang-wen-feng-is-painting-me-as-a-bigot), I noted that Rev Ou Yang Wen Feng’s very public declarations of Christian support for homosexuality had the effect of villainizing every other church and Christian who disagreed.
As evidence of this theory, I invite you to read the comments at my previous letter BEFORE examining my letter. From the angry remarks, you might expect that I employed homophobic slurs and calls to strip homosexuals of all rights – none of which appears in the slightest in my actual letter.
In sharing my view that mainstream Christians are being unfairly smeared as being bigoted… I have been unfairly smeared as being bigoted. Quod erat demonstratum.
Christians love homosexuals as persons
However, further introspection led me to realize that I and other mainstream Christians are indirectly responsible for the common misperception that Christians hate or discriminate against homosexuals.
First off, let me be absolutely clear about this: True Christians do not hate homosexuals or any other groups or individuals. We are rather instructed to love all people (Matthew 22:39) and treat them as we would ourselves (Luke 6:31).
However, we also believe that based on many passages and inferences throughout the Bible, God does not condone homosexual behaviour. Neither was it God’s original intent (Genesis 1:27-28), before the distorting influence of sin took its toll.
You could say that Christians love homosexuals as persons, which is why we want them to know what the loving God recommends to elevate and bless each of our lives.
That having been said, nothing in our faith condones or permits rudeness, cruelty or hatred towards homosexuals or anyone else. The best testimony of a Christian’s beliefs should be his or her exemplary conduct (Matthew 5:16, 1st Peter 3:15-16).
So why is it then, that Christians are perceived to be full of discrimination and antagonism towards homosexuals?
I believe it has to do with the response of mainstream churches towards the extremists who call themselves ‘Christians’. Rather, it is the lack of response when antagonistic groups spew hatred purportedly in the name of our God.
False dilemma fallacy
In this, the age of globe-spanning media and the Internet, most of us have seen belligerent public protests against homosexuals complete with distasteful placards – foremost of which must be the abhorrent ‘GOD HATES FAGS’ messages. One infamous example is the Westboro Baptist Church headed by Fred Phelps, which though small, regularly captures the headlines with their noisome and vulgar protests designed to provoke and intimidate homosexuals. (Lesser known is their desecrating funerals of slain US military personnel and celebrating deaths from all sorts of tragedies – from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to the 2011 Tucson shooting. Their entire existence is obviously to grab attention through shock value.)
Meanwhile, at the antipode of the hatemongers are the ‘homosexuality accepting’ churches such as that started in Malaysia by Rev Ou Yang Wen Feng. Though in the minority among Christians in Malaysia and worldwide, like other pro-homosexual groups they often very visibly proclaim their message of ‘tolerance’.
In contrast to the above polar opposites, very seldom do we read or hear of Christian groups publicly proclaiming the actual majority position – that Christianity does not condone homosexuality, but neither does it condone fomenting hatred against homosexuals.
Thus, to the casual observer there are only two options. Christians either accept and embrace homosexuality, or else they are one of those crazily screaming homophobes. If a church or individual mentions that they do not condone homosexuality – in however neutral or polite a manner – they are by default lumped into same group as Fred Phelps.
This is a false dilemma fallacy, an erroneous dichotomy. The best way to counter this misconception is to actively provide the correct information, to champion the truth.
I will begin myself. If through my previous letter I gave the impression that I hate homosexuals, or if I have been uncivil in any way, I apologize for causing such unintentional offense. At the same time, I maintain my stance that – in my honest personal opinion – the Bible does not sanction homosexuality.
I hope others who share my view will similarly begin to speak up. We need to lend our voices to neutralize the misguided cacophony of hate and replace it with a chorus of grace.
I have attended many churches of various denominations. Not once can I recall the sermon focusing on the topic of homosexuality. It simply is not a everyday or major issue to most Christians that they need regular guidance on the matter. However, recent events have turned it into a highly visible controversy – and a test of the Christian response.
If we remain the silent majority, it will not just be at our own expense – it will also be to the detriment of the compassionate God whom we profess.
So let it be known to all that God loves, and some men hate, but true Christians love.
– Scott Thong is a reader of Malaysia Chronicle
Comments from Malaysia Chronicle:
Tags: Rev Ou Yang Wen Feng