Dear Straight People,
Contrary to popular belief, not all religions are against the LGBT+ community!
Here are 6 religious organisations in Singapore who reacted positively to Singapore’s repeal of Section 377A.
1 & 2. Handful Of Leaves & Rainbodhi (Buddhist Organisations)
In a joint statement provided by Handful of Leaves and Rainbodhi Singapore, the two buddhist organisations provided the following heartwarming statement celebrating Singapore’s repeal of Section 377A.
Dear members of the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore, allies, and friends,
We rejoice over the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code. This is significant progress made towards the vision of creating an inclusive Singapore.
The Buddha taught us to be kind towards all beings and was a strong proponent of non-discrimination. After all, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, abilities, etc, we share the same desire to be happy and to be free from suffering.
May we continue to focus on what we have in common despite our differences.
May we continue to cultivate the skillful qualities of compassion and be kind towards ourselves and those around us.
May we work on ourselves to be better humans.
Through these, we are hopeful that the world can be a place that is harmonious, free from animosity, and that we can all live with ease.
As your friend on this path of peace, we’d like to extend our loving-kindness to you and your loved ones.
With loving-kindness,Rainbodhi Singapore & Handful of leaves
3. United Hebrew Congregation
The United Hebrew Congregation, or UHC for short, describes themselves as ‘an egalitarian, inclusive, Progressive, Reform Jewish Community‘.
Registered as a religious society in Singapore since 1995, the UHC is currently led by Rabbi Beni and Rabbi Miriam.
Your c“Zeh Hayom Asa Adonai, Nagila V’nismecha Boh
This is the day that God brought forth, let us praise and rejoice in it” – Psalms 118:24
As a welcoming spiritual community, we rejoice in the news just announced that the government will repeal Section 377A. This important step decriminalises homosexuality in Singapore, and is an important milestone in safeguarding all of Singapore and her multiplicity of inhabitants.
As Jews, we firmly believe that each person is fashioned b’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught that since God is beyond physical form, a person then becomes a symbol to the Divine, a strong marker of the sacred presence in our lives.
The UHC then indeed rejoices in this wonderful day of miraculous significance. For now our society recognises that a person’s sexual orientation is no crime, as we have always preached and lived by the understanding that it is also no sin.
We, as primarily an expat community, are lucky to call Singapore home. Today, we are ever more proud of belonging to such vibrant social fabric, and are grateful for the opportunity in sharing paths with all of our neighbours.
Love is love is love is love. May God bless each of us with the ability to receive and return sacred love, in all of its forms.
Let us then rejoice!Adam Neale, President
4. Centre for Interfaith Understanding
The Centre for Interfaith Understanding, or CIFU for short, is an NGO that aims to ‘promote an engaged community with a deep understanding of interfaith ideas and practices, through knowledge-production, research, consultancy and community engagement activities.’
On 21 August 2022, CIFU published the following statement on their social media platforms supporting Singapore’s repeal of Section 377A.
CIFU supports the government’s decision to repeal Section 377A, which is a step in the right direction.
As a civil society organisation promoting interfaith harmony, we advocate deeper engagement and dialogue among all Singaporeans. In particular, we urge all civil society groups, including both conservatives and liberals, to build bridges and broaden our common spaces.
We also affirm the need to share spaces and engage in meaningful dialogue with people whose views differ from our own.
We are resolute in our aim to protect the rights and dignity of minorities in our midst, as well as to provide support for the vulnerable. CIFU stands in support of all who have suffered from prejudice and discrimination.
This repeal of Section 377A is not merely about the removal of a law inconsistent with the principle of equal protection accorded in our Constitution, but also about deconstructing the barriers that impede dialogue and understanding between Singaporeans, regardless of race, language, religion, gender and sexuality.
At the same time, CIFU affirms the right to freedom of religion and/or belief, without essentialising communities to a single view, representation or identity. Freedom of religion and/or belief is a right that does not include the right to impose and coerce others, other than for reasons that conform to civil and democratic need for public health and public order as defined in our laws.
When encountering differences, we call for civil dialogues in the spirit of promoting the greater good in our diverse society.CIFU
5. Buddhist Fellowship
Not only did the Buddhist Fellowship put out a statement in support of the repeal of Section 377A, their president was actually one of the signatories for the Ready4Repeal petition held in 2018.
You can read their beautifully crafted statement here:
The Buddha’s teaching of empathy and compassion for all living beings encourages us to develop understanding and care for all communities regardless of their gender, race, religion, language or sexual orientation. We followed this teaching in our 2018 statement supporting the repeal of any discriminatory law.
The repeal of 377A marks a milestone in building a more equal and harmonious Singapore.
To LGBTQ+ Singaporeans, as fellow Singaporeans, friends and family members, we extend loving kindness to you and your loved ones.
We sincerely hope for a harmonious journey of peace and understanding for families in Singapore as she grows toward an ever more inclusive Singapore.
“With a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings”- Metta SuttaBuddhist Fellowship
6. Free Community Church
Led by Pastor Miak Siew (read our interview with him here), the Free Community Church is Singapore’s only LGBT+ affirming church.
A strong proponent of the repeal movement, the Free Community Church put out a supportive statement regarding the repeal of Section 377A together with other LGBT+ community groups such as Pink Dot and The Greenhouse.
HERE’S TO A MORE INCLUSIVE SINGAPORE
The backlash from some religious organisations in Singapore to the repeal have been disheartening, especially for LGBT+ folks who are religious themselves.
So it’s heartening to know that there are some religious organisations in Singapore who stand together with the LGBT+ community, and believe in building a more inclusive and accepting Singapore.
Do let us know if we missed out on any positive reactions by pro-LGBT religious organisations.
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