ST Forum: Some erroneous claims in writer's views on gay debate (May 25, 2007)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

ST Forum

May 25, 2007

Some erroneous claims in writer's views on gay debate

I REFER to the article, 'Is homosexuality wrong?: Three factors to consider' (ST, May 22), by Mr David Garcia.

I would like to clarify a few points which I believe he misrepresented.

Firstly, Mr Garcia states that there is no official statement by the churchthat states homosexuality is wrong. This is an erroneous statement.

For instance, the bishops of the Anglican church in South-east Asia, haveissued an official statement in 2003, stating: 'A natural, holistic andconsistent reading of the Scriptures clearly shows that it is against the practice of homosexuality. In the context of orthodox and classical Christianity, the canonical authority of the Scriptures is taken to berecognised and received by the community of faith and not subject tomajority, culturally relevant or even theological voting.'

The Bible, the basis of Christian beliefs, also states categorically: 'Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor maleprostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.'

Hence, the Bible states that homosexuality is an offence, viewed in the sameway as adultery, theft and slander. A core Christian belief is that of repentance, meaning 'a change of mind' towards God. The Christian faith embraces people who repent from homosexuality but does not condone homosexuality as an offence.

Secondly, Mr Garcia states that 'stealing is a crime, not kleptomania'. Kleptomania is stated as a disorder in American Psychiatric Association official DSM handbook.

There is acknowledgement that kleptomania is a disorder. The DSM handbook definition of kleptomania is 'the recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal items'.

As I have worked with inmates from Singapore Prison, I can tell you that in real life, a person with kleptomania who has stolen things is still judged guilty in the eyes of the law. The assertion by Mr Garcia that an act of theft of kleptomania may be 'excused' is not true.

In a previous letter to The Straits Times, Dr Alan Chin asserted that homosexuality is a disease from a medical point of view. In fact,homosexuality is stated as a disorder in the American Psychiatric Association DSM handbook all along, until it was removed under political pressure from gay activities in the 1970s. Just as a person with kleptomaniais not excused by law when caught in the act of stealing, the law does not excuse people caught in homosexual offences.

Mr Garcia states that 'reason helps when religion gets unreasonable' and 'we must use reason to talk and discuss about religious and social matters'.

I would like to point out that reason and religion are not two opposingvalues that are to be weighed against each other. Is the basis of MrGarcia's reasoning based on atheism as a world view? Different people wouldhave different basis of reasoning based on their world views. This isespecially so in multi-religious Singapore where most people profess a religion. Thus, what is considered 'reasonable' can only be shaped by the values of a society.

Jenica Chua Chor Ping (Ms)