It seems that the Straits Times Forum is progressively discouraging any contributions that relate to the homosexuality debate in Singapore. I have not seen any such letters for the past one week. But in the last 6 months, there were at least a dozen of such letters weekly; of course, most were from the homosexual minority.
Since renowned Singaporean gay activist Au Wai Pang of www.yawningbread.org (and friends) had made some bizarre, and sometimes amusing, arguments in favor of sodomy and homosexuality in response to my brief letter, I felt it appropriate to write a concise response to at least two arguments being perpetrated in cyberspace in my next two posts.
Christians can always furnish them with a sound rebuttal using Scriptures. But in a secular debate, we Christians have to contend with one hand tied behind our backs. Why so? A secular debate, especially with the gay rights activists in Singapore, demands that we "do not use religion." But this de facto exclusion of religions does not include the exclusion of atheism, agnosticism, and secular humanism, all of which are religions in their own right.
So, pro-gay lobbyists have in effect established their humanistic presuppositions even before we can argue what those presuppositions should be. For example, can they prove that there is no God (i.e. epistemology)? Surely not! They, however, demand that we must leave God out of the equation in this allegedly secular, amoral debate.
To be sure, they are seeking political momentum in their quest to repeal S377a. Apart from the perennial chant, "Bring them out unto us, that we may know them (Gen. 19:5)," the gay rights activists want the law and the church to accept same-sex marriages and same-sex family units as legally, politically, socially, and perhaps, morally viable practices.
The Moral Argument and Majoritarianism
And here is a question to those who criticized my proposal that the majority consensus should determine what constitutes morality within a secular milieu, "How else would you determine morality?"
Those acquainted with the philosophy of religion would realize that to concede to a moral argument, you are basically acquiescing to the ‘moral proof’ for the existence of God. And the homosexuality debate cannot escape a moral argument. The allegation that S377a is legally unfair and discriminating is in fact a moral argument from pro-homosexual lobbyists. How would you contend that something is unfair unless you have a moral standard or rule by which you can measure your statement with? Without an objective moral standard, nothing is either fair or unfair. Everything is relative, and what is unfair for you may be absolutely fair for us. So please do not impose your sense of unfairness upon us just as you demand that we do not impose our "moral standards" upon you. The truth is, gay activists in Singapore are aggressively attempting to impose their sense of unfairness upon the general population’s sense of unfairness.
Is this not fair then?
Pro-homosexual activists, if you were to contend for subjectivity in the realm of morality, you are again shooting yourself in the foot. Advocates of Social Darwinism and secular humanism are strong supporters of relativistic moral values. But even these advocates are absolutely certain that their moral code is absolutely correct. Is not that absolutism? Besides, these advocates would never argue for morality based upon a minority consensus.
Now here is the main point: gays in Singapore cannot claim that S377a is "not fair." Nevertheless, I have heard a multitude of moans and groans, "But it is unfair for us! You must practice the Golden Rule of Reciprocity."
Let us be clear about a few points. Gays claim that what is morally wrong for the majority may not be morally wrong for the minority of homosexuals. And this is called moral relativism. Moral standards are relative, so they say. All right. For the sake of argument, let us accept this point and call it point A.
Gays also claim that S377a is "unfair." Again, let us be charitable and accept that point as well. We call this point B.
But my point to you is this: you cannot accept both points A and B. You can either accept point A or B. Not both. Again, I hear a multitude of disagreement, "Why not, you bigoted Christian homophobic extremist?"
Have patience, my fiends. Allow me to explain the simple logic behind my point that your points cannot be viable points in any sensible arguments. Point B claims that S377a is not fair. My question for gays out there, "Is this absolutely or relatively unfair?" For your point to even make any sense you have to say, "It is absolutely unfair." So, to rephrase your statement, "S377a is unfair for homosexuals, and it is unquestionably, absolutely, and intolerably unfair."
Now, let me come to point A. Since you had claimed, and even emphasized, that moral standards are relative, how could you turn around, betray your faith in moral relativism, and claim that anything is unfair?
To make a statement stating that anything is unfair is to make a moral argument and a moral statement stating that something is indeed unfair according to a moral standard, which has to be absolute in nature. If the moral standard that you abide by is indeed relative and fluid in nature, then there is nothing that you can put a finger on and say, "This is unfair!"
Is not that a fair statement?
For those who have concerns regarding majoritarianism within a democratic society, I would recommend David Beetham’s Democracy and Human Rights (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), 18-26. As this is a complex political question regarding the validity of democracy, equality, and the power of voting, I will leave it to Beetham to answer your questions.
As Beetham had aptly concluded, "we do not have to accept a stark contrast between majoritarian and consensual procedures, neither do we have to accept direct and representative democracy as mutually exclusive antitheses. Not only does a representative assembly, to be accountable and responsive, depends upon an active and alert citizen body, and on a variety of forms of direct participation in the associations of civil society; it is also possible, as the Swiss and other experience shows, to give political authority to a representative assembly while leaving an ultimate power of decision on legislation in the hands of the citizens themselves. (p. 25)"
I will publish an unpublished letter to Straits Times Forum in my next post, which will answer the question of, "What about the Golden Rule of Reciprocity?"