• Fri
  • Nov 28, 2014
  • Updated: 9:50am
NewsHong Kong
RIGHTS

Christians in prayer rally to fight gay law proposal

Religious groups say their freedom of speech is threatened by move to protect the rights of sexual minorities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2013, 7:26am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 81%
  • No: 19%
14 Jan 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 462

Thousands of Christians staged a rally outside government headquarters yesterday to show their opposition to proposed legislation that would outlaw discrimination against sexual minorities.

The Evangelical Free Church of China Yan Fook Church, which organised the event, estimated that up to 50,000 people joined the "Inclusive Love Praying Concert" at Tamar Park, Admiralty, to voice their disapproval through singing and praying. They said such a law would restrict their freedom of speech on gay rights. Police put the turnout at 5,000.

"If this becomes the law, those who oppose homosexuality will have their freedom of speech restricted," said the Reverend Jayson Tam, convenor of the "praying concert".

In a separate public event, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying would disclose shortly whether a public consultation would be launched.

"In this regard, our colleagues have already made preparations. We are ready [for a public consultation] once the chief executive finds it is the appropriate time … Once there are further communications and public discussions [in the community], I believe there will be an opportunity to conduct a public consultation, details of which will be addressed in the policy address," Tam said.

The chief executive delivers his maiden policy address on Wednesday.

The Reverend Tam said there were examples in Western countries of similar legislation leading to "reverse" discrimination. He added they did not oppose the government launching a consultation on the law, but they would voice their opposing views.

Wong Man-leung, 55, a Christian at the event, said: "I respect [gay people]. But I may be in trouble if I carelessly say something wrong about them."

He said homosexuality was against the idea of family in traditional Chinese culture.

Ann Chan, 22, a student, said: "I don't want the legislation as homosexuality goes against our Christian values." She was open to a consultation but would express her opposition.

Openly gay lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen said participants were misled. "I believe they were mobilised to come because there were people saying if legislation is approved, they can't talk about homosexuality in church or even Christian doctrine anymore," he said.

Chan said he was not hopeful that the chief executive would include the consultation in his policy address, but he would continue fighting for it as the first step to legislation to protect gay rights.

A gay-friendly clergy said Christians should be more inclusive of homosexuality.

"The world has changed. We should give gay people more reasonable treatment," said Silas Wong Kwok-yiu of the Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship.

The South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday that there was no timetable within the government for rolling out the consultation because it wanted to deal with "livelihood matters" first, a government source said.

In November, the Legislative Council voted down a motion to launch a public consultation.

"The government is open-minded on whether to consult the public [about] the legislation of the anti-discrimination law. The chief executive will further explain the matter … in the policy address," the minister reiterated.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
39

This article is now closed to comments

Camel
Considering what accusations the Christian Organisations and churches, the Evangelicans and Roman Catholic Vatikan make towards China, that they do not tolerate their controlled organisations and churches in China but only CCP state approved and controlled ones, they themselve do not tolerate and allow other believes, religions and values. What a hypercrisy! There you can see what an ugly face those organisations are showing worldwide.
johndoe
Anyone claiming that certain groups have rights (implying that others do not) is a collectivist.
Pose this question: what if a company with a homosexual doing the interview rejected a heterosexual from employment, because the interviewer did not want to work with the heterosexual? Defining rights as a minority issue has unintended consequences.
This is not an issue of "those (christian) organizations worldwide". That is just a gross generalization and character assassination attempt of religious groups. The issue to begin with is that certain groups are, as a collective, asking for "rights", which is newspeak for using the government to further their own agenda by means of force. That is all there is to it. As soon as you belong to that particular collective, you suddenly have an additional right to claim that you are "discriminated". And as soon as you are outside, you do not have that right. In this case, obviously, heterosexual would not have the right to claim discrimation. Hence, homosexuals become a privileged class, legally speaking, which goes against equality in front of the law.
In case you have not noticed, there is a enormous difference between what the government in China does when it uses force to prevent freedom of association, and to use government force to promote "rights" of one group, which has the inevitable consequence of removing that freedom from another group.
Byebye
To all these Christans in the rally, please respect authority; laws are made to protect the people (see Roman 13 of the Bible). Christians must be careful, however to condemn only the practice, not the people. Those who commit homosexual acts are not to be feared, ridiculed, or hated. They can be forgiven, and their lives can be transformed. The church should be a haven of forgiveness and healing for repentant homosexuals. Galatians 5:13-15 "For you have called to live in freedom. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in ths one command: "Love your neighbour as yourself. But if you are always biting and devouring one anther, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. As Christian, we should not be slaves to sin, but to glorify God through loving service to others.
ralee
rrr
hedy.bok
I am Christian myself and I'm disappointed in seeing how these Christian groups have reacted to the anti-discrimination bill. Homosexuality is no bigger sin than theft or adultery, yet our culture has magnified it into this unpardonable behavior that would somehow relegate a person to an inferior caste. We can hate the sin, but didn't God also call us to love the sinner? We are not talking about passing laws concerning gay marriage here, but just a bill to protect the basic rights of a human being - to have a job and not to be insulted in public, for crying out loud! This is hatred and bigotry disguised as righteousness - the very thing that Jesus disapproved (remember the Pharisees?).
Is it really truth or freedom of speech that these Christian pastors are defending, or their pride? I hope to see some real Christian virtues displayed in these rallies - patience, understanding and love.
johndoe
There is no basic right not to be "insulted" or offended, only against defamation of the individual him/herself. Anyone can claim to be offended by anything. It seems well intended to provide a "right not to be offended" but if you go down that route, the next group to ask for "rights" often tends to be the religious groups asking to ban insulting religious figures etc, which is effectively banning blasphemy. Not every member of such groups may be tolerant of free speech. So, we do not want to go there.
MajorMajor
Followers of a bunch of fairy stories trying to impose their fanatical views on a minority is a very scary sight.
14u2nv
An "Inclusive Love Praying Concert" rallying against legislation that would outlaw discrimination against sexual minorities.
Irony 1 : Hong Kong 0
forwhatitsworth
The only thing worse than a bigot is an ignorant bigot. The arguments against anti-sexual discrimination because it will limit freedom of speech are just excuses for these bigots to hide behind as they continue to discriminate against others.
Having legislation to prohibit discrimination will still allow these bigots to continue believing in their fairy tales and blindly hating others, they just won’t be able to discriminate against them.
johndoe
Do you realize, that with this type of legislation, it may well become illegal for a church to reject a homosexual priest employment, which goes against everything that the church believes in and has stood for? Of course you may say, well they are wrong and we have to force them to change to become "modern". But then, who has the moral right to define what is modern and what is a "fairy tale"? You?
Also, it may become illegal for the church priests to criticize this type of sexuality in their preachings as this may be categorized as "hate speech" which is a reduction in freedom of speech.
Of course, a church should be able to voluntarily reject a homosexual from being employed and paid a priest. Otherwise, you are interfering with a basic human right, which is freedom of association: the right to associate with people of your own choice in private life. It is a dangerous and slippery slope to believe that one collective should be able to force other groups to accept association by means of force. No "legal right to work" can exist without an equivalent "legal obligation to provide employment".
Employers, particularly the government, can voluntarily set an example and institute anti-discrimination policies and promote those as their organization values. Then, other individuals can on their hand decide whether they agree with those policies or not and decide whether to work for these organizations.

Pages

Login

SCMP.com Account

or