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I am a straight man. I like women. I am a Catholic by choice. I am a social conservative.
I support the freedom to love.
Maybe that shocked you a bit. Indulge me a little and give me five minutes of your time.
I used to have problems with the LGBT community
I used to be a little more wary. I didn’t like the LGBT agenda, yes, there is a more militant, activist branch of LGBT rights and my LGBT friends should not kid themselves into believing that it does not exist. Does society still have problems with them? Yes, going around celebrating Mardi Gras and what not may seem like a liberating affair, but all it does is shock society and make a part of society more opposed to LGBT rights because LGBT people seem to only want sex, and want to flaunt their sexuality.
I used to think that way too, I was disgusted by the continual focus on sex by the LGBT community. Don’t get me wrong, sex is great but the overt focus on sex isn’t. I personally want to wait for my wedding night to find out how truly great it is, it is a religious conviction, but you don’t have to eat a meal to know it’ll taste good.
Then I enlisted in the army and I met gays and bisexuals. In an environment of pure machismo, macho showboating and testosterone filled behaviour I got to know friends from the LGBT community, who were bunk mates and unit mates. It was a shock to the system. I was sleeping in the same bunk as conservative religious men and homosexual men. I couldn’t tell them apart. We were all men.
You cannot tell a gay man apart from a straight man. There is no foolish checklist to tell you who is a homosexual and who is a heterosexual. I saw masculine men who were gay and feminine men who were straight; I saw straight man who were SNAGs and gay man who were less sensitive than a rock.
Then it dawned on me, we were all equally human. The only thing that separated us was whether we liked men or women. But unlike me, these LGBT friends had to put up with so many more obstacles. Desiring love is universal, finding a meaningful relationship that you did not settle for but deserved is hard for the majority of straight people and yet LGBT people have to put up with social objection, ridicule and rejection.
This was when it became difficult for me to accept the disparity of treatment on a human level. I cannot help myself when I find women attractive, but no one tells me that I have sold my soul to the devil in some Faustian pact. No it’s absolutely normal and accepted when I feel that way. Similarly, no one tells a woman that she will go to hell for having feelings for a man, look at Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey and Justin Bieber. Why are we so quick to tell an LGBT person that they will go to hell for liking another person of the same sex?
This is not an argument about genes, hormones, or environment. The argument is not as settled as either side likes to say. I am not talking about that (either way, it is poor logic to say that it is right because it is natural – the naturalistic fallacy. Both sides are guilty of that).
I am saying this – I cannot control how I feel to sexually attractive women, LGBT people can’t too. They just do it to people of the same sex or both sexes. It’s really not that big an issue.
Many people find LGBT’s fascinating, they chatter and point fingers, gossip about this and that. At the same time, they hate it when other people talk about them. LGBTs are not animals in a zoo, put up for exhibition; they are just regular Janes and Joes, like all of us.
What does that make me? Why pick and choose catholic?
I became a catholic, because it was a body of faith that spoke most to me on an intellectual and emotional level.
Yet this human problem became for me a difficult stumbling block. As a catholic, I found it difficult to square the catholic teaching on homosexuality with my beliefs. Would that not be living a lie?
Then I looked at it more closely. It actually wasn’t that controversial. Homosexuals are called to the same level of holiness as heterosexuals are. Homosexuals are not called to anything more than straight men and women are called to – the Catholic Church advocates sex only in marriage, that means anyone who is not married should not have sex. And since the church believes that marriage is the formation of a family unit with sex being open to life, it is actually not bigoted of the church to advocate its stand.
When you look at it from the logic of the Catholic Church, it is actually logically, intellectually honest and charitable.
It’s easy to criticise and look at LGBT rights as if they are some abomination to God, and recognising LGBTs will lead to the destruction and downfall of society (a girl and I stopped dating because we differed wildly on this view).
But will it? LGBT Singaporeans defend Singapore, strengthen the economy, help to put Singapore on the world stage, run for public office and can serve society just as straight people do. I may not agree with LBGT marriage because I subscribe to a description of marriage as above, but do I have the right to force my will upon someone else, someone who maybe does not believe in my religious views and someone else who has a different view on society as me? If we lived in a society aligned with a particular religious belief then yes, the moral values of the religion will be part of law. But Singapore is a secular state; religious people have a right to voice their disagreements and explain their rationale, but no right to dictate law – this is our reality, like it or not.
For the religious ones, I will use the words of St Francis of Assisi, “”preach the gospel always, when necessary use words””. Are our actions charitable and loving? Telling people what to do when they do not believe in your god is not charity; it is pompous, proud and self-important. You can only instruct your flock in faith and no one else. It’s not what we say it’s what we do. Live to convince people to join your faith and then share with them your views.
Personally, I subscribe to marriage as between a man and a woman. Life is a right, freedom is a right, safety is a right, but marriage is not a right – it’s a choice. I don’t think it is logically inconsistent. Supporting equal human rights for LGBT does not mean I have to accept everything or feel absolutely comfortable with everything.
So what exactly am I standing for?
This brings me to the point of this whole story. What exactly am I standing for?
I may not be fully comfortable with public displays of affection, but just as I accept heterosexual couples might enjoy it, so too I accept that homosexual couples might appreciate it. As long as there is nothing grossly indecent, what’s wrong? I am saying that we should live honestly with ourselves and look at a person not by his sexual orientation. We will never get rid of racial prejudice however hard our societies try but walk on the streets in Singapore, you see couples of every race and every creed. We all live a common human experience, we recognises the differences between us and come to embrace them. It is because we are so different that we are one (Pope John Paul II).
It’s fashionable nowadays to be liberal, to be progressive, to be pro-choice, to be pro-LGBT, to be pro-gay marriage and take part in many causes. But the fashion of today will go out of style tomorrow, take a stand because you sincerely believe it and it is consistent with your principles and beliefs. Feel free to disagree with me, why would you though haha, I’m just a random person. Still, to paraphrase Voltaire, I may not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it (as long as you do it respectfully). “