Category Archives: Culture

India last update? A Lament for the Poor and a final push for funds

Previously, we wrote for help to adopt the poor village of Chinna Karagraharam. This initiative blessed some 550 poor families. They came on foot and bicycles. Thanks to you, the church was able to be relevant to the village. This was a video taken on 18-Apr in Chinna Karagraharam (We also posted an update on our Facebook page the next day):

Outside a church building, volunteers hand out supplies to the queue of appreciative villagers.

Since then, our attention was directed to more than 10 churches who have reached out to Ps Johnson for help. We were unable to reach them all, but these are the churches that we have managed to help:

  1. Church in Kanuru
    • Pastor Raju
    • 45 families
    • $20 for each family
    • Transport $20
    • $920
  2. Church in Jonnalavari Modi
    • Pastor Suresh
    • 56 families
    • $20 for each family
    • Transport 25
    • Total: $1,120
  3. Church in Pedda Agraharam
    • Pastor Immanuel
    • 60 families
    • $20 for each family
    • Transport $20
    • Total: $1,220
  4. Church in Navin Mittal Colony
    1. Pastor Yoodha
    2. 42 famlies
    3. $20 for each family
    4. Transport $20
    5. Total: $860
  5. Church in Thallapalem
    1. Pastor Padmanabham
    2. 48 families
    3. $20 for each family
    4. Transport $30
    5. Total: $990
Truckload of supplies that are meant for the churches in need.
Smiles. “Thank you very much.”

However, there are still many churches and people who are in need, and our funds and doners have dried up. How many rounds of $1000 can one give? Needs are everywhere locally in Singapore too. We have read about how fellow Singaporeans have stepped up to respond to the poor in our midst. I won’t be surprise that there is now a donation fatigue.

However, the needs of the poor continue to pile up. Two articles broke my heart. First, an Indian mother in Uttar Pradesh threw her 5 kids into a river after she fought with her husband over the lack of food. The poor may survive hunger for a while but not the stress from the cries of their children. Couples can function separately but not when they are on lockdown and blaming each other at home. Second, in Thailand, the poor and lower-middle class who have failed in businesses are breaking down mentally and committing suicide.

Before we could die of famine, the devil gets us through sin in the form of stress, despair, worry, depression, anger and violence. Singapore is nowhere as dire, but even my own youths are sharing how restless they are in this lockdown – and how that leads them into sin.

The Word of God becomes more relevant than ever now. The depth of our relationship with God becomes the key to whether we as a people of God will make or break. People of God must know that Covid-19 is merely the beginning. Worse times than now are described in Matt 24:21-22:

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

Covid-19 is a smaller test for us, before we face the ultimate test. If we cannot even survive through this lockdown, how can we face the great tribulation? If we put what the Lord had already prophesied in the Bible into perspective, shouldn’t we even in our pain, wrestle till we overcome? For “he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mat 24:13)

Still, I can’t help but lament for the needs of the poor in India that is seemingly within our reach. Surely, we could still do more to help? What if a family that could have been saved by $20 have their peace and lives robbed by the devil? Yet I must know – we would not be able to reach everyone in India. We aren’t people’s saviours. God alone is. The solution is also never solely found in money. I prayed for these Indian brothers and sisters that the Lord will find them, before the devil robs them. Lord, please.

Then, my wife Roxanne and I texted brother Johnson. He is on our heart. He is our brother. We are burdened to check-in with him on the larger purpose we must all remember.

Leo: “Brother, how do the Indian poor cope? They have been poor for a long time. When famine and disasters hit, how do they adapt?”

Johnson: “There are different kinds of answers.. people like social activists, economists, politicians etc, give different kinds of answers. As a pastor, my answer is Jesus said to help the poor.. The question is, “How long do we help them?” I think there is no answer in the Bible. My personal opinion is, “as long as there are kind people.” (Gal 6:9; Isa 58:3-14). When the funds dried, I think God has used us for that time. Let us see what God will do. It may be time to give the final call.”

Roxanne: “How can we make this sustainable? Are there creative ways to help? In Singapore, there are people who will pick up thrown vegetables. In ancient Israel, Ruth went to pick up grains off Boaz’s land..”

Johnson then described how the poor coped, including collecting the thrown-aways. But the problem with India now is everything is stopped. He then sent a picture of people he met who are going to fish in the pits to feed their family: “People are trying to find their own ways.”

At the outskirts of Machilipatnam, people are trying to fish in the pits for food.

Leo:  “I am grieving together with you.. I appreciate your response that at the end, we must recognise it is not us but Jesus.. We as mankind are a small part of His bigger purposes. Your answer tells me you understood that. Nevertheless, I am grieved, and I hope God will still open the barn house to tie them through this crisis. Do you recognise in end times, there will come a time worse than this? We must all be prepared.”

Johnson: “Yes brother, that is what I am speaking to my church now..”

Thank you for reading thus far. We hope this article blessed you to see Jesus too. God knows our hearts. May God find our  hearts and prayers worthy and meet our brothers and sisters in India in their need. Perhaps, He will open the barn house once more.

PS: If you wish to support this final push to help the poor in India, please text Roxanne @ 90016790 (also the Paylah account number to India). All doners are invited to join a Telegram group with Ps Johnson. All accounts are transparent and available for scrutiny of donors. Thank you!

Petition to Heavenly Court at Purim 2020

Purim falls on the 10th-March in 2020. Since in Biblical context, a new day begins at sundown, this means that Purim actually begins on the evening of 9th-March.

For those who are unsure of what Purim is, they can refer to the book of Esther. An excerpt of Chapter 9 is presented here for a quick understanding:

“20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family.. these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.”

The word pur in Hebrew also means “break, bring to nothing, utterly take”, which was what God did to all the scheming of Haman. Purim is a kairos moment for intercessors to “reverse, annul; nullify” curses through repentance and righting of wrongs – spiritually and physically.

Purim last year was on 20 Mar 2019, which was also the 49th anniversary of abortion being legalized in Singapore (the Abortion Act came into effect on 20-March 1970). That meant the Abortion Act was into its Jubilee year. Jubilee represented a release from bondages and redemption. Therefore, there were intercessors who had prayed in hope that the Abortion Act could be annulled in its Jubilee year. Not wrong to hope.

However, as God’s word would teach us – faith always requires action. A promised land flowing with milk and honey might be God’s plan for the Israelites but they are still required to do something about it. We all know the story. They understood the spiritual promise but could not see through the physical requirement. They got afraid. Only Joshua, Caleb had the faith to persist to act. The rest wanted to back out. The promise fell flat and that generation died in the wilderness. Only Joshua and Caleb survived to enter the promise land.

On the Sabbath before Purim 2020, Jennifer Heng led the Love SG Prayer Meet. Then on Tue morning, 10-Mar-20, Purim itself, 3:16 Church (who leads Heartbeat Project) led it. Some feel, and I concur, these are not coincidences. God is putting a finger on the issue of abortion and directing the intercessors and His Bride to align with it.

So this year on Purim, a last minute meeting was called among groups of believers. They had gathered on 9th-March to petition heaven. One of these petitions is shared here, and was presented in front of a kneeling, corporate body who have acknowledged our sins and agreed to act judiciously with regards to the Abortion Act.

So before Jubilee ends, on Purim 2020, we presented this petition to the Heavenly Court. Nevertheless, the body of Christ must now grapple with the truth that it is not only spiritual prayers, but physical acts of justice and righteousness that must follow to right our wrongs.

It might be interesting to recap Lou Engle’s call for Esthers to reshape the abortion landscape, and also how Singapore might be coming into a cyclical review in 2018. Years have passed since these exciting words, but where is the Church now in terms of the abortion landscape? Where are our Esthers for the unborn? There is still an abortion gap (I will write about this again). We have to start wrestling with God. Christ will judge Singapore on what had we done with regards to the unjust murder of the unborn.

A last point of interest. For those who understands that the sun and moon exist not just for telling us the day and the year but also for “signs and for seasons” (Gen 1:14), we had a super moon on 10th-March 1.47 am Tue morning. This means that the moon was 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual on Purim 2020. What sign is God showing His people in Singapore?

 

Petition to Heavenly Court at Purim

“Dear Father in heaven,

Father how many of these repentance prayers do your people have to make before we mean it and act according to what we said?

Yet You have been merciful to us in Singapore. Yet a time is coming and has now come, that You will make recompense.

You said in Your word in Isaiah 59 that when justice and truth fails then Your own arm shall bring salvation for Yourself. You will put on the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. You will repay vengeance for Your own name.

Oh Lord as we stand here now, we plead with You – may You help the Bride in Singapore to arise so that we can be Your servants, share Your burdens, and partake in Your glory.

But Father we acknowledge we are weak and we seem few. For most have cared for religion, praises and fear of men more than for what burdens You. So we pray You will strengthen our feeble arms and legs and help the Church in Singapore even as we pray.

You do not see as man sees. Your thoughts and ways are higher than ours. Unfortunately, we Your people have failed to see as You told us to see. Our own ways have led us astray.

Therefore, we have not recognised the unborn as the most discriminated group of people today.

Lord You have given the unborn equal rights to life as a grown person in ownership of his life. In Exodus 21:22-25, You held the grown man accountable for the injury to the unborn child – “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise”.

But Father, we have not registered in our hearts and minds that abortion is the holocaust of the unborn. We have done little with regards to this blatant disregard of the sanctity of life. Our sins of omission as a passive, indifferent and faithless Church has abated the culture of death in many ways.

Today, we confess our sins before you. On the grave injustice of abortion – we as Your Church have not taken heed of Your call to set the captives and oppressed free. Instead, we have allowed countless unborn infants to be sacrificed to Molech under the justification of lies.

We have paid more credence to these lies, than to stand objectively and biblically on the right of the unborn child to life and protection. We have not spoken out against the grave injustices of this act culturally. We have not made our stand in our pulpits that this is wrong.

We also have not lifted a finger to help the unsupported widows and the fatherless, as exhorted in James 1:27. Unsupported single mothers who have chosen not to abort their child, have faced great difficulties in their journey alone, and have not witnessed compassion from the church.

Without compassion from others, pregnant and unsupported mothers are likelier to choose abortion. This point has however escaped our conscience.

Interestingly, The Straits Times recently published a report on 8th March (2 days leading up to Purim and this petition to heaven), revealing that teenage abortions have risen for the first time in 8 years. Abortions actually have been declining in every reported categories since 2010. But in 2018, abortions among teenagers rose from 320 in 2017 to 330.

As a Church, making this timely prayer now, should we not take heed of this rise? Check our own hearts and ask: where have we been for this group of teenage, pregnant and confused mothers? We realised as a church we have not really been available to encourage unsupported pregnant mothers towards “life”.

Even our own children would believe there would be no recourse and abortion will be their way out if they ever fail and get pregnant. Fear of man is stronger than true love in our church and Christian culture. We now repent.

We repent that as Fathers and Mothers, and as leaders of the older generation, we have failed in our roles to lead our children towards Christ’s values and His communities towards kingdom culture. They have not seen the ways of Christ through us. Father, forgive us. We are ashamed and we are sorry.

You say in Your word, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chr 7:14)

We hereby declare that we will be committed to be Your remnant who would stand in the gap against the genocide of the unborn. We would take heed of this injustice and be a mouthpiece of Your truth.

We would seek to act as One – according to what Christ has prayed over His disciples in John 17 – to seek to establish Your justice in our nation, on this issue of abortion.

We would obey Your call to seek to eliminate this unjust culture of death while acting in submission to our authorities, but also living up to our roles as the conscience of the state and as Your witnesses.

May it please You Lord as we pray these over our own hardened hearts and plead You for Your grace, strength, wisdom, enablement and supplication of all resources, to help us accomplish Your will for us on this issue of abortion.

Most of all, we plead for Your own hand to see to the rebuilding of Your House and the discipleship of our nation. Let Your will be established over Singapore, that we will fulfill Your destiny for us.

In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.”

Exposed Conference 2018

“It was very enlightening and useful, especially since it discussed the major issues a Christian is currently facing today.” – Cheryl

“It was an invaluable contribution to the Christian landscape in Singapore..” – Ruth

Features and highlights

Exposed Session 1: Panel – “A broken spirit and a contrite heart O God You will not despise..”

Freedom means not ‘you do anything’, but ‘you aren’t under fear anymore to follow truth’ – this panel shows us!

Excerpt:

Moderator: ..[C]an you give a headline of why you are here today?

Henry: First of all, I am very glad to be able to share my story with all of you today, and to have my wife alongside. We flew in from Hong Kong and arrived yesterday afternoon. About 8 years ago, I had been in jail for engaging in taking naked photos of underaged girls. The court psychiatrist clinically diagnosed me to be suffering from paedophilia, and he wrote in the court report that there will be no treatment for me as it is incurable.

Privin: ..I am a little more poetic.. Light (has come) – darkness cannot understand. If I should label myself with a worldly tag I call myself gay. Say gay and you will think of happy people, rainbows, parties, what not. Yes that is what they are but they are not. It is a pit of darkness actually. It is a pit of darkness that leads you to many other dungeons of darkness. Ten years ago I found light. And it is the light of our world. The Lord lifts me out of this pit. But each time I scurried back inside. And when I scurried back inside He still lifts me up and He turns me back from the pit.

Moderator: Thank you.. Henry you mentioned you were struggling with pedophlia.. Were you born that way or were there influences that you think might have resulted in your very unique attraction?

Henry: When I was 4, 5 years old, there were a few occasions that my dad led me to touch my mother breasts while they were having sex. I couldn’t remember whether I witnessed the whole sex process, but I am sure this happened a few times.

Starting from that time, I started to have a lot of sex fantasies. I fantasised on sexual scenes all the time, like when I was about to sleep, and traveling on MRT.

I started to engage in sex games with another young girl who is my close relative. She was only about 2 years old while I was about 5 years old, and we had these activities for 8 years until I was 13 years old when I became a Christian. Luckily, we didn’t have sexual intercourse. After I  became a Christian I confessed my sexual activities to my church mentors, who advised me to stop of course. They came to visit my mum and told her about the sexual activites. Since then, we stopped these acts.

However, even though I stopped those acts with my relative, I continued to struggle with sexual fantasies of puberty girls. When I was 19, it was the time the Internet became popular. I found some preteen girls websites and I was highly attracted. I don’t think pedophilia is a sexual preference I was born with, but the cause is highly related to my childhood sexual experience and the preteen girls websites.

(Note: Henry would later clarify with us that by “preteen,” he primarily refers to the age range of between 13-15.)

Moderator: Henry just to clarify – you were five years old when your dad got you in to “touch your mum?” That’s really young.

Henry: Yes it was. I could remember during that time when I was in kindergarten, I fantasised a lot – to have sex with my classmates and teachers.

Moderator: Wow. Often times we look at children as if they are invulnerable. I would tell you, as a professional counsellor. My own experience was that at five years old, I stumbled upon a pornographic magazine in my home. I didn’t know what I was seeing but I felt high within me. So my dad kept the magazine  but you know what, within days, I was climbing onto the bed opening up his shelves. I didn’t know what I was doing but I wanted to see the magazine again. Your story kind of reminded me.. 5 years old.. it affected me in later part of my years as I struggled with pornography.. I really want to say this as a counsellor that kids are very vulnerable. When you introduce a doorway into sexuality at a very young age, where you place stimulants before them, it can influence and affect their lives tremendously. We don’t need more encouragement to experiment with sex at that young age. I am very sure that your dad would not have done that if he knew the kind of influence it would have made in your life..

We are going to come back to this story. Now over to Privin. How about yourself? What’s very common out there is that if you are having same-sex attraction then you are born this way. I want to hear your opinion on that or what you think might have influenced you.

Privin: I have to work this in the reverse. 10 years ago, I became Christian in the darkest hour of my life. I was in a top school. It was a boys’ school. I was effeminate. The boys were not the kindest to me. They noticed. They bullied me. It got to a point when I started rejecting myself. There are two ways to go. One, I can reinforce my identity. The other, I try to fit in. Thank God I tried to fit in – because it failed miserably. So it was double the rejection.

When it was double the rejection, I rejected myself as a whole, depression set in. When depression set in, my grades started dropping. I was not myself. Willpower was gone. I was referred to the school counsellor. The school counsellor heard from me what kind of weird ideas I had of the world.  I was so depressed that I even rejected myself – there was no “ME”: I had these ideas of how we are born into the world with a brain that we have no control; it was given to us by our parents and their brains were given to them by their parents and so on and so forth. This brain when you come out of your mother’s womb interacts with an environment which you have no control over. Where is YOU? So I had no willpower at all.

I told this to my school counsellor and I believe she got a shock out of it. She’s seated amongst you today actually. I haven’t talked to her in about ten years. She’s now going to see the fruit the Lord has borne.

When I was referred to the school counsellor she referred me to Leo. Leo was a counsellor back then and you would think he would go through the routines of secular counselling – he did not. He listened to me and at the end of the session he asked me if I was willing to go for a talk with him and his cell group which I agreed to. I do not know why I agreed to it as well.

Moderator: I was very nice during the session maybe?

Privin: (Laughs.) We went to the talk – it was a talk by a prophet. The prophet just turned to me, he said my life is going to change. You know I  was new to all this and I thought prophet would always say such things. Little did I know such big words do not come by daily. And it did change. So that night, Leo prayed for me. And when he prayed for me there was revelation:

It brought back me back to a traumatic incident when I was five years old. My cousin was home and my father was around. He made my cousin sweep the floor and he threw sweet wrappers onto the floor. I got offended by that and I went up to him to just give a light slap on his cheeks. He got really angry. He carried me and he held me out of the window. It was so traumatic I was crying for hours after that. God brought me back to that incident just to tell me that I had resented my father and my problematic identity was because of that.

So you can see how gays out there without God in the equation will never come to such realisations. That traumatic incident would just have been a traumatic incident. But the Lord had to tell me I resented my father through that. It is very easy for gays to be thinking they are born that way because such traumatic incidents happen very early in their childhood and that’s the earliest memory they had of themselves being gay.

Moderator: Thank you Privin. Maybe I can help you share it in a chronological order. At 5 years old, a little incident at home – the dad held him out of the window. His life dangled before him – you didn’t know whether your dad will let go or not. But from that day onwards you rejected your dad. You have two main caregivers. One is the masculine version one is the more feminine version. So you rejected your dad. Then the only person you can turn to was your mum because you are going through so much turmoil, so you associated more and modelled after your mother. When you went to school you didn’t know that your mannerism was more like your mum and the children saw it. Kids being kids, don’t know how to handle friends who are slightly different from them. They started laughing; they started bullying and that wasn’t helpful. That caused you to be rejected further.

Privin: Yes my mother was my safe place. I took her as my role model in more ways than one. I became like her – my mannerisms – and the kids did not take well to it. They saw me as different.

Later on, a few months after I became Christian, the Lord again, showed me through a spiritual encounter…

(Click on the audio to listen to the whole panel from 17min onwards.)

Exposed Session 2: Finding Freedom in Surrender

Charis captivating the audience with her breathtaking sharing on freedom, intimacy and identity.

Excerpt

“I believe that we were created to have our identity and intimacy to align. I believe that it’s very important to everyone because we were designed that way. I believe that we are able to love when we know who we are. I believe that we discover who we are in the process of loving as well. I think that all these things have to be approached together. I believe that God is the original embracer of your individuality.. but not just in a physical way, but your spirit and your soul as well.. People are impacted when you see pass every layer to their spirit.. people are so used to being seen in boxes.” – Charis.

Exposed Session 3: Millennials ARISE – a Redemptive Vision and Mission of the Honour Generation

ARISE – Raphael inspires with his redemptive take on Millennials!

Excerpt

“The trait in itself is neither good nor bad. It’s how we use it, how we express it that makes a difference. When teenagers go through a phase called individuation the healthy expression of that is that they gain autonomy.. the unhealthy expression of individuation is rebellion. It is not an inevitable outcome that kids will grow up to be rebellious teenagers.. See millennials in a redemptive way… ARISE.. Authentic; Relational..; Inquisitive..; Socially Responsible..; Entitled.. hear me out, I will redeem this term..” – Raphael 

Exposed Session 4: Panel – Perspective on Law: Justice; Morals; 377a

Panel on Law Perspectives giving insights into biblical principles of justice

Excerpt:

Moderator: In the context of what we have been talking about – redeeming sexuality etc – do you think that biblical laws are still relevant in our lives?

Leo: .. The Law reveals who God is. Let me substantiate.. Now this conference – do you think we had objectives, or did we run it randomly? We had objectives. Same thing for law. Do you think God set his laws with objectives and purpose? Yes He does. Then you ask the second question. If He has a purpose for His laws, how about His purpose? Is it grounded on anything? Again if you ask this question, you realise His purpose and objectives are grounded on WHO HE IS. It’s not random. It’s not based on His whims and fancies. But the laws of God lends you perspectives into knowing WHO GOD IS.

Moderator: Do you have a concrete example?

Leo: If you study into the laws of God.. God has two principles behind His judicial system / law. The first principle – His laws are primarily corrective, or educative. This means that when God gives a judicial sentence, He does not seem to be so much to be doing so for the sake of punishment, but for correction or education. Secondly, I discovered that His laws are primarily preventive. What do I mean by this? If God has to remove an individual for the sake of safeguarding (protecting) the larger community, He would do it objectively and execute His justice.

Moderator: Since we are all presumably bible-believing Christians, are you able to show us how you got these principles, otherwise, why must we believe you?

Exposed Session 6: Biblical Justice and the Gospel

Part 1: What is God revealing prophetically through “1111” and the Gospel of the Kingdom

Further References:

  1. What is the Gospel of the Kingdom and why the “save souls” narrative is reduced: http://vow.sg/rediscovering-the-kingdom-of-god/
  2. A prophetic message – what God is saying to the Singapore Church: http://vow.sg/flooding-at-muar-house-what-could-god-be-saying-to-his-church/

Part 2: The critical piece to Intergenerational Restoration and the sin of indifference

Further References:

  1. Are we really saved? Two contradicting perspectives: http://vow.sg/reclarifying-salvation-the-debate-of-lordship-vs-easy-believism/
  2. Once saved always saved? What’s the missing condition? http://vow.sg/once-saved-always-saved-my-journey-towards-lordship/

Part 3: Closing conclusions on 1111, Biblical Justice and Intergenerational Restoration

Further References:

  1. VOW’s prophetic cry for the bride to get prepared for the Bridegroom: http://vow.sg/our-message/

“This conference is not by chance. There is a divine arrangement, collaboration that God had put all of us through.” – Ps Ian, 3:16 church

“I saw a picture of a spade, and I heard ‘dig deeper.’ I felt that God would use the conference to dig deeper into the foundations of things to strike at the core, to show everyone the heart of the matter. I sensed that God will use the conference to shine a spotlight on what He wants people to really pay attention to and focus on. When light is shone on these issues, it’s clear as day what they are and will be impossible to ignore.” – Raphael

“As I sit and listen intently, I can’t help but realised that it was a powerful prophetic moment where God’s spirit downloaded His vision and critical revelations. There was such congruence in the things each speaker shared that was beyond expectation – truth as indisputable, indispensable foundational bedrock for love; honouring our church fathers; justice and kingdom. Many teared when ministered to at the end. God proved to us that it was possible to impart His truth uncompromisingly and still carry it out with a strong spirit of love that will touch hearts.” – Leo, VOW

“Born Gay?” Why Sexual Rights aren’t quite the same as Racial Rights?

Up till about the year 2000, great thinkers throughout human history – and from every political community – thought it reasonable and right to view marriage as the union of husband and wife. 1

 

But today, a serious attempt is well under way to define opposition to same-sex marriage as nothing more than irrational bigotry.

 

This is done by equating the push for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement.

 

America’s civil rights movement fought on basis that racial minorities deserve equal rights. No one should have “less rights” because of their colour.

 

The movement heralded a new America on a moral argument. It was one of the most historic, celebrated, moral breakthroughs of the American society.

 

Same-sex marriage activsits are quick to equate their push for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement. Coining the term, “marriage equality,” they suggest that same-sex couples are denied the right to marry, hence, discriminated on basis of their “sexual orientation.”

 

In legislating for same-sex marriage in 2015, America’s Supreme Court compares the ban on same-sex couples marrying – with the ban on interracial marriages during the civil rights movement. Dissenting Judge Samuel Alito warns:

 

“In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent. 1

 

Indeed, if something as bad as racism or discrimination is presumed to be behind dissenters’ objection to same-sex marriage, dark days lie ahead.

 

But are dissenters of same-sex marriage akin to racists?

 

It all depends on whether “sexual orientation” is equitable to race.

 

  1. Conceptually Different: Sexual Orientation is linked to actions; Race is not

 

Ryan Anderson argues that sexual orientation and race are “conceptually different.” He draws the distinction at how one is linked to actions, while the other is not:

 

“[S]exual orientation and gender identity are linked to actions, which are a proper subject matter for moral evaluation, and race is not.. Race implies nothing about one’s actions. But in practice, sexual orientation and gender identity terms are frequently used with reference to a person’s actions.” 1

 

Race, straightforwardly, is a natural, physical quality. It is unchanging. A Chinese remains a Chinese throughout his lifetime. Race does not imply actions. If a Chinese commits theft, we cannot say it is because of him being Chinese that made him do it. There would be no justification in such a statement.

 

Sexual orientation, on the other hand, is subjective and ambiguous. It is a psychological quality, without observable physical traits. It also has implications on behaviours. For example, a homosexual orientation implies that same-sex relationships, and homosexual sex acts, are preferred.

 

Race does not imply any actions. So unlike race, sexual orientation is linked to actions.

 

  1. Conceptually Different: Race is innate; Sexual Orientation is not

 

Race is something we are born with. We can be Chinese, Malay, India, Arab, Caucasian from birth. Is sexual orientation something we are born with as well? Are some born heterosexuals, while others are born homosexuals? In other words, is there truth to the claim that some are “born gay?”

 

Examining History

 

Historically, even Alfred Kinsey, known as the “father” of the sexual revolution, didn’t dare claim that homosexuals are born that way. Alfred Kinsey, who had claimed in 1948, that 37% of all men had homosexual sexual encounters, 6 is incredibly modest in his claims of the number of homosexuals born this way. When asked how they “got that way,” he wrote in his book, that only 9% claimed to have been born gay. 2

 

Nearly the same percentage answered the same way in a 1970 study among 979 gays in San Francisco.2

 

Unlike today, born this way was hardly a dominant view a generation ago.

 

What caused the change?

 

Examining Science

 

Basically, in the 1990s, various media sources trumpeted specific studies and headlined claims that genetic links deterministic of the homosexual orientation have been found.

 

The studies included Simon LeVay’s analysis of the brain (1991), twin study (1991); and Dean Hammer’s research on the Xq28 gene (1993).2

 

However, the repetitive nature expected of the outcomes of these hypothesis – if they are scientifically true – was never observed. Later on, researchers of these studies have themselves admitted that nothing genetically deterministic of homosexuality was found.

 

The media never clarified.

 

However, while public opinion might have been misled by the media, the twin study eventually provided scientific consensus that homosexuality is a more of a result of nuture, rather than nature.

 

Twin studies looked at samples of twins. Identical twins are 100% identical genetically.

 

So if homosexuality is 100% inborn, it would mean if a sibling of a pair of identical twin is same-sex attracted, the other co-twin sibling MUST BE same-sex attracted as well.

 

With this, researchers predit concordance rates i.e. when both siblings of a twin pair are gays.

 

Concordance rates are expected to be 100% if homosexuality is completely inborn.

 

As studies begin to improve in representation sizes and methodology, concordance rates dropped correspondingly: 11% for males and 14% for females (Australia, 2000); 3 7.7% for males and 5.3% for females (U.S., 2002).4

 

The results i.e. concordance rates far lower than 100%, meant that nurture, rather than nature, is overwhelmingly the responsible agent, for bringing about same-sex attraction tendencies.

 

Examining Philosophy

 

But the most telling argument of whether gays are “born this way” lie in this question: If homosexuality is 100% genetic, how did the gene survive till now?

 

Insisting homosexuality is 100% inborn is like insisting infertility is 100% genetic.

 

Infertility means – the inability to produce offsprings. If a couple is infertile, no offsprings can ever be born by them. Should infertility be 100% genetic, this gene would die off in one generation of human evolution.

 

Likewise, if homosexuals are 100% born that way, and they cannot help but keep to same-sex partners, how could this gene be passed down over the long evolutionary history of mankind?

 

Some may argue – perhaps a percentage of them conform to social norms and married opposite sex partners.

 

However, even if you assume fifty percent of homosexuals doing that, and everyone of them producing one homosexual child among their offsprings, and a human evolutionary history of only fifty generations, mathematically, that would mean – even if there is just one pair of homosexuals left on earth today, there would have been 1.125 zillion homosexuals fifty generations ago!

 

“250 = 1,125,899,906,842,624!!!”

 

That’s 180,000 times the whole world’s population today!

 

The point I am making is simple, but overlooked. It is philosophically fallacious, mathematically impossible that gays are 100% born that way – considering the long evolutionary history of mankind, and the “anti-procreation” nature of the “gay gene.”

 

Therefore, be it from history, science and philosophy, we can conclude that sexual orientation is not innate like race. No one is “born gay.”

 

 

Conclusion

 

Equating the push for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement is ignorance at best, insiduous at worst. Sexual orientation is not the same as race, and sexual minorities are not the same as racial classes deserving of special protection or rights. Everybody is already equally protected under our law. If we persist in giving unproven rights based on unproven claims, e.g. “marriage equality,” we may end up robbing the proven rights of all others. PM Lee wisely clarified in his 2007 Parliament speech to uphold 377A,

 

“Nor do we consider homosexuals a minority in the sense that we consider, say, Malays and Indians as minorities, with minority rights protected under the law.”

 

Here and then, we would still hear of persons misinformed, touting the propaganda idea of how homosexuality is innate and “sexual minorities” are deprived of their rights. Now that we know, it becomes our role to clarify falsehood.

 

References

  1. Ryan Anderson, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.”
  2. John S.H. Tay, “Born Gay: Examining the Scientific Evidence for Homosexuality.”
  3. Michael Bailey, Michael P. Dunne & Nicholas G. Martin, Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orientation and Its Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample(Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, Vol 78(3), pp 524-536)
  4. Peter S. Bearman & Hannah Brückner, Opposite-Sex Twins and Adolescent Same-Sex Attraction (American Journal of Sociology, 2002, Vol 107(5), pp 1179-1205)

 

Read 1st instalment:

“Love”; Fatherlessness; Same-sex Marriage – How Family got Deconstructed in America

“Love”; Fatherlessness; Same-sex Marriage – How Family got Deconstructed in America

The breaking down of the family unit in a society is often systematic and hence, explanable. We are no longer playing with imagined theories. History and reality now provide us with real examples.

 

One example is Canada. 1 But as the unofficial cultural captial of the world, America is the focus of this writing.

 

Formally a conservative culture rooted in Christian tradition, America went through a sexual revolution in the 1960s. “Free love” i.e. the idea that sex was to be experienced freely with as much fun and as little responsibility as possible, replaced conventional mores where sex is to be kept for marriage.

 

Public nudity and sexual themes became a common feature on TV and in the theatres. Sexually permissive attitudes accepting greater sexual freedom and experimentation soon became the norm.

 

The scene quickly degenerated from carefree experimentation into a disease-ridden mess. From 1964 to 1968, the rates of syphilis and gonorrhoea in California rose 165%. 2 Genital herpes saw a 500% increase since 1976. 2

 

Today, one in four American teens have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). 2 Four in five American women above fifty would have got infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV). 2

 

These radical shifts in the moral landscape also brought about two critical legal changes to the marriage institution – developments that would tear down the family unit in the American society.

 

  1. No-Fault Divorce contributed to the Epidemic of Fatherlessness

 

The first critical change to the marriage institution was the introduction of no-fault divorce. With sexual permissiveness promoted in culture, much stress was placed on marriage fidelity.

 

Previously, persons seeking divorce would have to prove one of the 3As – abuse, abandonment or adultery. But in 1969, the State of California legalized no-fault divorce to simplify legal proceedings. 2

 

No-fault divorce permits divorce for any reason – or for no reason at all. Marriage is now less than a contract. You can’t tear up your insurance contract without consent of the insurance company, but you can now walk out of your marriage – anytime. Soon, virtually every state followed.

 

Culture influences law, and law changes culture. Divorces skyrocketed by almost two and a half times two decades from 1960. 3 Between 1970 and 1996, welfare expenditures amounting to US$229 billion can be attributed to the breakdown of the marriage culture. 4 But the most innocent victims are the children.

 

In the 1950s, only 11% of American children experienced the pain of seeing their parents divorce. 3 This grew to 50% by the 1970s. 3 Broken families beget brokenness in children. Children who saw their parents walk out on each other, see lesser of marriage, and are less inspired to be faithful partners.

 

Today, 40% of all American children are not even born to mothers who are married. Among the blacks, the number of births out of wedlock jumps to 70%. 4 American children are fatherless.

 

Is this a cause for concern? Sociologist W.Bradford Wilcox, upon summarising the “best psychological, sociological, and biological research,” writes:

 

“Studies of crime indicate that one of the strongest predictors of crime is fatherless families.. [B]oys raised outside of an intact nuclear family were more than twice as likely as other boys to end up in prison.. [C]riminals come from broken homes at a disproportionate rate: 70% of juveniles in state reform schools, 72% of adolescent murderers, and 60% of rapists grew up in fatherless homes.” 4

 

Fathers also matter for girls. Wilcox explains how teenage pregnancy correlates to fatherlessness:

 

“One study found that about 35% of girls in the U.S. whose fathers left before the age 6 became pregnant as teenagers, that 10% of girls in the U.S. whose fathers left them between the ages of 6 and 18 became pregnant as teenagers, and that only 5% of girls whose fathers stayed with them throughout childhood became pregnant.” 4

 

 

Even a left-leaning research institution Child Trends, concludes:

 

“[I]t is not simply the presence of two parents… but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development… [R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.” 4 

 

 

  1. Same-Sex Marriage Deconstructs Family

 

Fatherless boys grow up to be self-seeking men, not unlike how most bullies are once bullied. When one has not been loved, or empathized with, he grows not being able to give love or empathy to others. It’s not difficult to see why fatherless boys grow up to abandon their child or the mother (of the child), when faced with unexpected parenthood. The wounds of the society deepen with each broken generation. Finally, it is time to challenge the marriage institution altogether.

 

Despite the brokenness in America’s culture, same-sex marriage activists continued to face opposition in their push to redefine marriage. Even in the most left-leaning California, in a referendum known as Proposition 8, Californians voted “no” to same-sex marriage. Not known to be people who sit well with consensus, same-sex marriage activists sought to overturn the power of the people – by taking these outcomes to court. The Judicial began to play a most important role in this ensuing political war.

 

Understanding America’s System

 

To understand the significance of the role the Judicial played in this debate, it is necessary to understand America’s political system. America’s national government – or federal government – is delegated by 50 independent States. These States came together by a Constitution that governs them. This Constitution reads: “We the People of the United States.. do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

 

This implies a few things. First, it is the “We the People” that “establish” the Constitution i.e. the American people hold the highest power of governance. Second, the Constitution was established “for” the United States of America not “by” the United States of America. This means the federal government does not have preeminence over the States but the States retain autonomy to govern their people independently. 5

 

Furthermore, the federal government is made up of the Legislative (Congress), Executive (President and Cabinet) and Judicial (Supreme Court). Each has its specific functions: The Legislative makes laws. The Executive implements laws. The Judicial interprets laws. The system ensures a system of checks and balances, and no individual or group gains too much control. E.g. the President can veto bad laws passed by Congress; Congress can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances; Supreme Court can overturn unconstitutional laws. 6

 

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – Federal Legislation struck down by Judicial

 

The political drama began with a pre-emptive legislation, when in 1996, President Bill Clinton, supported by an overwhelming legislative majority, signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

 

However, in 2003, Massachusetts, acting on its autonomy as a State, legalized same-sex marriage. As each State has the right to govern her own people under the Constitution, DOMA, drafted and implemented at the federal level, cannot overwrite Massachusetts’ legislation. However, it soon became clear that people who do not play by the rules of the Constitution could abuse this political system.

 

Following Massachusetts, a handful of states responded likewise while others proceeded to pass same-sex marriage bans. This comes to a head when “married” same-sex couples fought for recognition of their marriages in the courts of those States where same-sex marriage was banned. The results of these decisions were challenged till it went all the way up to the federal Supreme Court, who took up the offer to be the final arbitrator of the debate.

 

In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA with a controversial 5-4 decision (United States v. Windsor). The means of Judicial tyranny – the idea where 9 unelected federal judges might possess power to overrule “We the People” in all 50 States of America – became a powerful activism tool to usurp the rights of the people (Proposition 8 referrendum result was overturned), overrule state and federal legislation, and stop all constructive debate among people.

 

Judicial Legislates Same-Sex Marriage

 

United States vs Windsor imposes on States that ban same-sex marriage, telling them they must give recognition to “same-sex couples” who are married elsewhere, regardless of their bans. It is not far to imagine what the Judicial would be called upon to do next.

 

In 2015, by the same means of appealing against outcomes of lower courts, the federal Supreme Court were called upon once again. This time, they ruled with yet another 5-4 decision, making same-sex marriage a constitutional right for all Americans (Obergefell v. Hodges).

 

In justifying their decision, the majority (the 5 justices of the Supreme Court who ruled in favour of same-sex marriage) wrote that previous generations of justices have somehow, failed to notice this right; and that with “new insight” that the Supreme Court now has, this “claim to liberty must be addressed.” 4

 

Hence, by granting this “liberty” demanded by the Constitution to all Americans, the Supreme court essentially legislates same-sex marriage, and fundamentally changed what marriage meant in “kind.”

 

Arguments of the Dissenting Judges

 

It is one thing to form an opinion based on what is ruled, but true sincerity, is to look into the best arguments of your dissenters. Informed decision can only be made when arguments on both sides are addressed, objectively and comprehensively, without partiality. This is the only way to move forward for societal good – when policies are based on facts, not mood.

 

The four Supreme Court justices who disagreed with the majority of five (in the 5-4 decision), wrote dissenting opinions telling of their understanding of the role of the Judicial, and of their intellectual foresight in critiquing the court’s decision. Their opinions are analytically sharp and worthy of reflection.

 

Chief Justice John Roberts, who helms the Supreme Court, was one of the four justices who dissented against the court’s decision. He opens his opinion with a reminder that the Supreme Court “is not a legislature.. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is (interpretative role), not what it should be (legislative role).” But the Supreme Court had acted as a legislative authority, legalizing same-sex marriage – the very legislation the Executive and Legislative government sought to prevent through DOMA, a legislation which the Supreme Court struck down in 2013. The tyranny of the Judicial has come full circle. Roberts decries,

 

“The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.” 4

 

With this overreach, the Supreme Court “invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.” How can the Supreme Court depend upon the mere will of nine, to redefine the nature of marriage which until two decades ago, meant the exclusive, complementary union of a man and a woman for every nation and civilisation? “Just who do we think we are?” exclaims the Chief Justice. 4

 

Justice Antonin Scalia who also dissented against the court’s decision, echoed,

 

“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themseves.” 4

 

The repeated overreach in role and power by the Judicial, affirmed by American elites who are vested in this issue, has turned the Supreme Court into an unconstitutional, super-legislative power. What can be more anti-constitutional than this? Scalia further reminds of the utter lack of representation in this unelected court of nine:

 

“[F]our of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between… Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about 25% of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination.. [T]o allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.” 4

 

But what about the right to “liberty?” The third dissenter, Justice Thomas Clarence addressed this main argument of the Court. In “the American legal tradition,” he writes, “liberty has long been understood as individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.” That the Government can grant people “liberty” by giving recognition of their marriage, is moot, if the liberty of people in same-sex relationships wasn’t being infringed in the first place. With this, Thomas notes:

 

“[T]hey have been able to cohabitate and raise their children in peace. They have been able to hold civil marriage ceremonies in States that recognize same-sex marriages and private religious ceremonies in all States.. Far from being incarcerated or physically restrained, petitioners have been left alone to order their lives as they see fit.” 4

 

Indeed, liberty is not found through external recognition. For the court to presume themselves as being able to grant “liberty” through government recognition is mind boggling. Also, should the court now grant liberty demanded by the constitution to other “sexual minorities” demanding different “kinds of marriage union?” The fourth dissenter, Justice Samuel Alito, addressed this point. He was sensitive to how the fundamental assumption the court made about the purpose of marriage – that it is based on intensity of romantic feelings and mutual consent – would have been different with people for the past millennia. “Marriage was inextricably linked to one thing that only an opposite-sex couple can do: procreate.” 4

 

Governments do not stick their noses into people’s love affairs. They do not survey populations on their love interests. Ministers do not find out who you are dating. States do not hold parties to celebrate you being in love. No governments have ever invested into the romantic interests of its people. Why? Because Governments have no interest whatsoever on our love lives. But Governments get rightly interested in marriage, because the union of a man and a woman is a procreatable one. When the nature of a union is one that can bring about offsprings, it makes sense that the State becomes vested and invested – because children are the future of all nations. This is the only reason why natural marriage is institutionalised and promoted by States in the first place. Alito rightly points out:

 

“States formalize and promote marriage, unlike other fulfilling human relationships, in order to encourage potentially procreative conduct to take place within a lasting unit that has long been thought to provide the best atmosphere for raising children.” 4

 

If the principle of marriage is merely to formalise unions because of strong romantic interests, why does it have to stay as a union of two? What principles would distinguish a “two-person” union from a “three-person” union – if the “three” claim to love just the same? Chief Justice Robers rightly wonders “whether States may retain the definition of marriage as a union of two people.” 4

 

“Although the majority randomy inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions.. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.” 4

 

In other words, by introducing same-sex marriage, the marriage institution is fundamentally changed in kind. Marriage isn’t merely about intense romantic interest. If it is so, what principles would distinguish the intense love within a two-person union, from the intense love within a three-person union, a five-person one, or any other kinds of union our imagination allows? The nature of a man-woman marriage is that it is an institution that is “child-centric” in kind. When we redefine marriage, the marriage institution changes fundamentally in nature – it is no longer of the kind that is “child-centric”, but becomes of the kind that centres on “intensity of love.” With “love” being such a vague, subjective notion, family essentially, can mean anything and everything. And if it means anything and everything, it really means – nothing.

 

Moreover, if family fundamentally is centered upon “intensity of love,” what safeguards are there to protect children against abuses, such as perversity, or sex-centric unions, as one can “marry” into any kinds of “harem structures” of his choice, then legally file for adoption as a “marriage right”? On top of fatherlessness and motherlessness imposed by same-sex parenting, the young and vulnerable will also be victimized by sexualization into alternative sexual lifestyles or behaviours. Sexual abuses are expected to increase under such environments and culture.

 

Therefore, the push for same-sex marriage is one which requires deep consideration of those who care for children and justice. We are forced to choose between giving priority to children’s rights, or to same-sex marriage activists’ “civil rights” claims – a topic worthy of discussion in my next installment.

 

References:

  1. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/04/14899/
  2. H. Khian Leo, “Sexuality Education: Unshakable Foundations.”
  3. Bradford Wilcox, “The Evolution of Divorce.” <http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-evolution-of-divorce>
  4. Ryan Anderson, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.”
  5. http://www.truthsetsusfree.com/StateVsFedCitizen.pdf
  6. https://www.usa.gov/branches-of-government

 

Next:

“Born Gay?” Why Sexual Rights aren’t quite the same as Racial Rights?