ST Online Forum: Is homosexuality wrong? Three factors to consider (May 22, 2007)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

ST Online Forum

May 22, 2007
Is homosexuality wrong?: Three factors to consider

I REFER to the article, 'Is there a place for God in public morals debate' (ST, May 18), by Ms Chua Mui Hoong.

First, let me explain that there is not a single official statement of the church that says that 'homosexuality is a sin'. That would be like saying 'kleptomania is a crime'.

Kleptomania is a condition that inclines those who suffer from it to steal; just like homosexuality is a condition that inclines people to commit homosexual acts (sinful in the eyes of the church). Stealing is a crime, not kleptomania.

The Church believes that homosexual acts, not homosexuality nor homosexuals, are wrong. Neither does the church say that homosexual acts are necessarily sins, only sinful.

In the same vein, an act of theft of kleptomania may be 'excused' on the basis of the special condition of the person, although the act of theft has indeed being committed.

The law (and church) speaks about the wrongness of the act (sinfulness) ; the court (conscience) about the guilt of the person (sin). In other words, we must distinguish between the three matters at stake, the condition of the person, the free acts of the person and the culpability the person deserves.

This said, I cannot agree more with the point the author puts across: 'Public reason is accessible to all regardless of religious faith.'Reason and religion should complement each other. Reason helps when religion gets unreasonable; religion helps when reason loses sight of truth.

We must use reason to talk and discuss about religious and social matters because what is reasonable is reasonable to all. Law (and God's commandments) , human acts (sins or virtues) and responsibility (guilt or lack of it) are important social (and religious) matters.

Psychology should study the psychological condition, civil law (or God's or church's law) should establish the 'wrongness' (sinfulness or lack of it) of the act, and the court (or conscience) should establish the guilt and punishment the person deserves.

To discuss it, we only need to know where to put the brackets.

David Garcia