Statement from Church of Our Saviour on the Aware saga. It is reproduced here in its entirety.
As the media reported on the AWARE saga, it brought up the fact that several of the new exco are members of Church of Our Saviour. This has created the perception that the church was behind the move.
This is not true. Church of Our Saviour did not initiate or instigate any campaign to take over the leadership of AWARE. The church withheld comment but the allegations have continued. This statement is to clear the air so far as our alleged involvement is concerned.
We have not, nor will we, allow our pulpit to be used to intentionally teach anything that would arouse social tensions, divisions and unrest.
Church of Our Saviour does not have an agenda against homosexuals. We are not antihomosexual. The Christian Bible says we have all committed sin in different ways – heterosexual and homosexual – against Almighty God. But God loves us so much that He sent Jesus Christ to take the judgment in our place. (Reference John 3:16, Romans 5:8). We believe homosexuals should be extended understanding, kindness and love like every other human being. No homosexual should ever be deprived of any right enjoyed by every other Singaporean.
However, Church of Our Saviour does have a stand against the agenda of activists promoting homosexuality as a normal alternative lifestyle. Just as much as the Bible commands us to love the homosexual person, it also states categorically that homosexual practice is wrong. (Reference Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:8-10)
Accepting homosexual practices and endorsing any education program that teaches our children that such practices are neutral or normal, would lead to the erosion of the sound family values on which Singapore society has been built.
We hope that AWARE members will go to their EGM without the wrong assumption that the exco is a pawn of the church or that it has intentions to turn it into a religious organization as that is totally untrue.
Senior Pastor Derek Hong
The following is a report from the Straits Times:
Churches: Don’t get involved
THE National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) says it does not condone churches getting involved in recent matters related to the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).
In a statement on Thursday, it said it did not condone pulpits being used for this purpose.
‘Our member churches are not involved in the present saga. In fact, our heads of churches have very recently reiterated to their clergy the standing instruction on the proper use of the pulpit,’ said the statement issued by Archbishop John Chew, president of the NCCS, and Mr Lim K Tham, NCSS general secretary.
The NCCS brings together Christian groups like the Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Syrian Orthodox churches, among others. Dr Chew is also the head of the Anglican church in Singapore.
Last week, it emerged that staff and members of the Church of Our Saviour in Margaret Drive, which is under the Anglican communion, were encouraging people to join Aware and support the new team in the society’s leadership dispute.
They said the old team at Aware had been promoting lesbianism and homosexuality, a charge the team has rejected.
In a weekend sermon, Senior Pastor Derek Hong urged the women in his flock to ‘be engaged’ and support new president Josie Lau and ‘her sisters’ at Aware.
The NCCS said it had been following the recent events related to Aware.
‘We are concerned that religion has been dragged into the unfortunate situation. The matters related to Aware should be solved by its own members,’ it said.
Some Christians are however uncomfortable that the saga has thrust their religion in the limelight, for the wrong reasons. In blogs and forums, many Christian netizens said religion has no role in secular organisations.