Open Letter to Pastor Lawrence Khong

(Written by Rev Miak Siew on Facebook, Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:33am. NB. The webmaster is unable to post or reply to any comments.)

Dear Pastor Khong,

I wrestled at length how to reply to your statement. I believe you spoke out from your own firm beliefs, and I respect your right to those beliefs and your right to speak up, even though I do not agree with you.

I want to point out several things you have brought up that need to be clarified. You are misrepresenting the truth.

You stated that “examples from around the world …have shown that the repeal of similar laws have led to negative social changes, especially the breakdown of the family as a basic building block and foundation of society.” Can you give me an example? And what do you mean by the breakdown of the family? Higher divorce rates? You see, you are repeating the rhetoric of the Christian Right in America. England, where we inherited Section 377A from, repealed their version of the law in 1967. I do not see the United Kingdom falling apart. The United States of America eliminated their laws in 2003. Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, New Zealand and India inherited the same British law like us in Singapore have abolished theirs. These societies are not crumbling.

The idea that “the family unit comprises of a man as Father, a woman as Mother, and Children” is not biblical. As Dale Martin, the Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, writes, “Most Christians assume that the current centrality of marriage and family represents a long tradition in Christianity, it is actually about 150 years old. One could even make the argument that the current focus on the heterosexual nuclear family dates back only to the 1950s.”

Strong families are not defined by their composition. I know of many families that do not fit into your mould of “one man as the father, one woman as the mother, and their children.” I know families of single parents, families of grandchildren raised by their grandparents, families of couples without children – some by choice, some by circumstance. But what makes strong families is the love that binds them.

In the Gospels, when Jesus was told that his mother and his brothers wanted to see him, Jesus refused to identify with his traditional family and instead shared a new vision how what family means in the kin-dom of God. He said, “Whosoever does the will of God, that one is my brother and sister and mother.”

The repeal of 377A poses no threat to families bound together by love. It is the continued stigmatization of LGBT people that you are perpetuating that is a threat to families – because you have placed obstacles in how parents understand their children who are different, and create huge rifts in these families.

Your statement not only hurts and stigmatizes LGBT persons, but also people who do not fit in to your cookie cutter idea of a “traditional family”. You have made people who do not fit in – whether they are single parents, divorcees, or children who are orphaned, whose parents are not around by circumstance – ashamed of who they are.

I am saddened every time I counsel straight people who come to my church because they fear that their own pastors would reject them like how they reject LGBT persons. That instead of being a place of healing, love and forgiveness, their home church has become a hostile place of condemnation and judgement.

As an activist who fights for human rights and free speech – I believe that you have the right to say what you want to say, even if it challenges the status quo and make people feel uneasy. Free speech is not just my right to say what I want to say, but everybody’s right to say what they want to say. That also means that I must be willing to allow other people who disagree with me to have their right to say what they want. One of the ten commandments is not to bear false testimony against your neighbours – and in that spirit, I ask you to please desist in your claims that I am attacking your religious freedom, or your right to say what you want to say. I am doing neither. Free speech also has to be responsible and based on facts and the latest research.

When you speak against homosexuality, I only ask you to think of the psychological and emotional damage you inflict on LGBT persons and their families. As Rev. Steve Chalke, Senior Minister of Oasis Church, London, writes, “Why am I so passionate about this issue? Because people’s lives are at stake. Numerous studies show that suicide rates among gay people, especially young people, are comparatively high. Church leaders sometimes use this data to argue that homosexuality is unhealthy when tragically it’s anti-gay stigma, propped up by Church attitudes, which, all too often, drives these statistics.” So many LGBT persons are broken by what you say and driven away from their families and their communities. So many have attempted to take their own lives, and some, sadly, succeeded in doing so.

I would like to invite you to a dialogue, so that we can listen to one another, in love, in respect, and learn to understand each other better, so we can work together to build a better Singapore.

Your Brother in Christ,

Rev Miak Siew

Pastor, Free Community Church


30 Responses to “Open Letter to Pastor Lawrence Khong”

  1. 1 wastenotwantnot 20 January 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Speaking of Lawrence Khong’s hypocrisy, a single woman with a child out of wedlock, is that ‘traditional family’? In biblical days, wouldn’t that said woman be branded an adulteress and stoned? His daughter that is, nepotised as a ‘Director ‘in one of FCBC’s subsidiaries.

  2. 2 Jason Ngin 21 January 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Dear Pastor Rev Miak Siew, I need to highlight all the examples you have stated about single parents, troubled families, divorcees, orphan and etc, has nothing to do with LGBT. Provided you are emphasing all the cases you have encountered is due to LGBT? Please enlighten us.

    In Yahoo news, it was stated that you are Gay pastor Reverend Miak Siew. Could you please enlighten all of us: Are you gay, or you are pastor especially being called by God to help LGBT?

  3. 3 Chris Wong 21 January 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Dear Pastor Mark, We love the person but not their practices and the negative influence in young mind which said that same sex parent is Ok, same gender marriage is Ok.
    The Law is given to safeguard the existing moral values. We have seen that our younger generation is a lot more self centered, having lower moral standard. Just take the MRT and Buses and you will notice the behaviour.
    We should not remove 377a, it is there as a moral standard and safeguard.
    Thank You

  4. 4 Daniel 21 January 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Have you forgotten it was the same God that have sodom and gomorrah destroyed? He is the same yesterday and I don’t think He has changed today. Some are indeed given in by their flesh and are blind to the truth.

  5. 5 pandamoony 22 January 2013 at 11:17 AM

    To: Miak Siew

    In reply to your “Open Letter to Pastor Lawrence Khong ”

    I wonder which Bible do you read from ? Bible obviously classified homosexuality as an abomination. I do not judge homosexuals nor condemn gays or lesbians, but you as a pastor should stand at the side of God’s words – the Bible.

    I know people do sin and at times their sinfulness tempt them to sin helplessly, I’m not asking you to condemn the sinner but at the least do not speak as if God gave you permission to sin and as if homosexuality is alright in the eyes of God.

    And do not read from the QJV (Queen Jame’s Bible), it is a homosexual bible altered by homosexuals. Verses which were against homosexuality were changed to make them feel good that the “bible” allow them to sin in homosexuality .

    You mentioned that UK did not crumble when they repealed their laws on homosexuality in 1967. For your information, the British empire crumbled since 1960s and they had to give up all their colonies in the entire world in regions like Singapore, India, Hong Kong, Malaya, Australia, Africa, New Zealand, Canada and America and now they are only dwelling in their own small place in one corner of Europe.

    Get your facts right before you argue.

    Below are the Bible verses against homosexuality:

    Leviticus 18:22 KJV
    Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 KJV
    If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    Romans 1:26-27
    Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

    Other verses:
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    1 Timothy 1:9–10

    From : Pandamoony

    • 6 ali baba 20 February 2014 at 3:33 AM

      Giving up the colonies you took from others outside of your country’s borders is NOT considered CRUMBLING.
      Secondly, this is not about whether this pastor believes homosexuality is right or wrong. It is about the right to live a life as one deems fit. Just like how people should be able to choose whether to follow YOUR BIBLE. You trying to ban homosexuality is like forcing everyone to take up Christianity.

  6. 7 Steve 22 January 2013 at 11:18 AM

    a load of rusbbish !!!

  7. 8 joe 22 January 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Pure nonsense. 377A must never be repeal.

  8. 9 Joe 22 January 2013 at 8:22 PM

    Why delete away comments on your post? If you write an open letter, then be open to what people think about your letter. I stand against the repeal of penal code 377A.

  9. 10 Joshua 23 January 2013 at 11:15 AM

    The first family in the bible was Adam and his wife Eve and their children. That was how God designed a family to be. Why would you say that this is not biblical?

    You are misquoting Jesus as he talked about a spiritual family, not a physical one for procreation.

    You need to substantiate your claim that the statement made ‘people who do not fit in – whether they are single parents, divorcees, or children who are orphaned, whose parents are not around by circumstance – ashamed of who they are.’ ?

    Homosexuality is unnatural to mankind is a fact, the bible says that its a sin is a fact. We can love and support the people who are affected and help them on the road to reconciliation with God but we cannot support the wrong actions.

  10. 11 BC 23 January 2013 at 11:18 AM

    “No one is sure why gay men are worse at making up after fights, but I have a theory: it’s less important for their sex lives. Probably because they don’t have women to restrain their evolutionarily male sexual appetites, gay men are more likely than straight and lesbian couples to agree to nonmonogamy, which decreases the stakes for not repairing. And according to a big study from Norway published in The Journal of Sex Research in 2006, gay men also consume more porn than everyone else, making them more “partner-independent.””

    Isn’t the above findings show clearly that something is real wrong with gay relationship which was not intended to be right in the beginning of Creation?
    ……consume more porn… greater tendency to be defiled?
    ……partner-independent….greater tendency to be unfaithful?

  11. 12 Dawn 24 January 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Thank you for being a sane voice. I am neither Christian nor LGBT but I believe that the world is big enough for all of us.

  12. 13 Bernard Yeo 31 January 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Hi Miak,
    You hv totally misquoted the bible, unknowingly or otherwise. You blamed all the woes of LGBT on the church. You even baselessly concluded that the high suicide rate among LGBT is the result of discrimination by the church. Isn’t this bearing false testimony? You quoted many bible verses to make yourself sounds Spritual. The bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin. Remember Lot? Remember how God destroyed Sodom? Let’s agree to disagree. You live your life n we live ours. You hv your space n we hv ours. At the end, we all answer to the same almighty God.

  13. 14 Disgruntled 3 March 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Excellent piece of work.
    Be a voice for the marginalized.
    Time to Stop the abuse & bully

  14. 15 Iris 7 March 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Should share more about families bound. How to support
    A family member who are sick ( cancer) not by just telling to the church member that we pray for her and not visiting her or give a consent call for months (own brother )

  15. 16 jimmytst 6 May 2013 at 7:21 PM

    “A word routed in hate
    Yet our genre still ignores it
    Gay is synonymous with the lesser
    It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
    Gender and skin color
    Complexion of your pigment
    The same fight that lead people to walk-outs and sit-ins
    It’s human rights for everybody
    There is no difference
    Live on! And be yourself!”

  16. 17 Jessica Tan 10 May 2013 at 2:56 PM
    The above link is from your church’s website. Even the secular would gulp at what is being defined as within ethics that your church believed in for ANYONE when it comes to sexual practices!

  17. 18 joshua onwonga 20 July 2013 at 4:23 PM

    i would to join you

  18. 19 Kolumne 17 December 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Hi there!

    This is a good article Open Letter to Pastor Lawrence Khong | Indignation – Singapore's GLBT Pride Season. It seems online writing had far surpassed print. Even proffesional journalists can’t make it up to what the web writers can provide in terms of informativeness, and conciseness such as on Reading news online has completely replaced current affairs for me.

    Bowens Santarelli

  19. 20 Wiranto 24 December 2013 at 11:33 PM

    The Bible should be one and only foundation in any Christian. One passage in the bible states,that even heaven & earth may pass away but the words of God remains forever.Even if you are a gay or lesbian and if you truly desire to follow God and his words, then you must abstain from all immoral sex between man & man or woman & woman.Even if you cannot get married to a woman or man,you can have a christian companion with a platonic relationship and endure or maybe suffer ,for God sake.You cannot be a true child of God by picking and choosing what you like or dislike from the bible.There are many things in the bible we may not fully understand,we just have to obey every word in bible and daily seek God’s guidance to live our life and draw close to Him.

  20. 22 Aaron Chiong 10 February 2014 at 4:49 PM

    To Miak Siew, may I suggest why don’t Free Community Church be all inclusive to bring into your fold fornicators, adulterers, polygamists, pedophiles and the like so that they can also come out of their closets? But you need to find a way to re-interpret John 8:11 so that Jesus actually meant as “Go and continue to sin some more”.

  21. 23 Bernard Yeo 18 February 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Dear Mark, I have nothing against LGBT. But you are also just repeating the same rhetoric and quoting or rather ….. misquoting the same bible verses over and over again. You intentionally misquote or misinterpret the bible verses to suit your situation or argument.

    You said you do not see UK falling apart and therefore you inferred that what Lawrence Kong said was wrong. How simplistic. My question to you is “Wud you live long enough to see UK crumble? ”

    Your argument about what constitute a family unit is also flawed. You don’t need the bible to tell you that. Use your common sense. If men are screwing men the world over, the world will be over soon. Biblical? No. Just plain Common sense. Make sense???? :-)

  22. 24 clxrrr 19 February 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Reblogged this on life in technicolor ii and commented:
    I am ashamed to admit that I live in a society of conservative bigots. just look at the comments section. I mean, come on; don’t like, don’t see. I am so, so ashamed of the community that I’m living in, really. I need a breath of fresh air.

  23. 25 Chye Tan 2 March 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Dear Rev. Miak,
    Thank your for being so brave despite all the nasty condemnation. They are entittled to their opinion. I believe you are speaking the truth because I am gay.
    It took me more than 40 years to “come out ” to my friends & relatives of all faiths. They have been very warm & understanding. They love me as I am. They KNOW I am no threat to the family or Society`s moral values. I do not hurt anyone. I cannot change my sexuality just as heterosexuals cannot change theirs. I did not choose this “Life-style”. God mad me this way & i know God loves me because I am a Good person. My message to Bigots: get to know Gays as people.
    Minority Chistians must not try to influence Govt. policy in a Secular society. The majority of Singapore have yet to speak up!
    Jimmy Tan

  24. 26 An 28 May 2014 at 2:40 AM

    Maybe we should stop eating pork, and appeal for law to reign in those who bear tattoos on their bodies? just as homosexuality is regarded as a sin – I mean literally from the bible, forgive me if I’m wrong — isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

    This is like kinda cheeky but rather than trying harder to prove a point (‘cos haters gonna hate), I just wanna distill complexity to a simple belief that I know for sure, God doesn’t like promiscuity. Straight or not, these are the value incurred from certain behaviors that are perhaps out of instinct and not reigned for a cohesive society.

    In an ideal situation of marriage between a straight couple, how does the parallel of a gay couple hurt you that they deserve to be loved any lesser?

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