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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 10:10pm
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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.

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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.
forwhatitsworth
I’m not saying that we have to force others to become “modern”. If someone chooses to reject scientific evidence in favour of fairy tales written by a male dominated society years ago, then that’s their right to do so. Similarly, if someone in the future chooses to adopt the books of Harry Potter as a religion, that’s their right to do so as well.
It’s obvious that you don't accept homosexuals and that’s your right. The great thing about a civilised society is that we allow different points of views and lifestyles. We are fortunate that we don’t live in fear of being prosecuted or discriminated against due to our beliefs or lifestyle.
However, just because you don’t like someone does not mean they should be denied the same basic protection as everyone else. For example, your argument that the right to criticise a certain group will be categorised as “hate speech” is just an excuse. In the U.S. where there are anti-discriminatory laws, you are still allowed to openly criticise other groups and the KKK still exists. No one wants to limit your freedom of speech; they just want to protect the rights of others.
Likewise, your argument that churches will have to hire homosexual priests is again baseless. The point of a public consultation is to collect the views of everyone. How do you know that anti-discriminatory laws won’t allow religious groups to discriminate based on religious preference? Again, this just shows that your arguments are based on nothing but fear.
Camel
What a bunch of craps. Discrimination is not a right and can not be regarded as freedom of speech.
Otherwise racists as well can take the freedom of speech as a reason to insult and discriminate colored people.
Or chauvinists can take the freedom of speech and opinion to discriminate women.
One's right and freedom do not eliminate the other ones right and freedom.
pgrath1
The SCMP photo looks a lot closer to 50,000 than it does 5,000
jonhmli
While the reason given for the opposition to the proposal is a loss of freedom of speech, it's more likely the underlying reason is disapproval based on their teachings and/or fear of the unknown. Disapproval and fear dissapear quickly into compassion once you have understanding and increased awareness. If those in the protest had the capacity to engage and listen to the "other side," I'm sure many of their notions would be lost. Listen to your heart rather than someone's interpretation of someone else's interpretation of someone else's words.
gnowdranoel
Those people are products of brain-washing by their religions.
islemount
"Inclusive Love" through discrimination. Oxy-morons!
ruthleelsf
What has "being gay and acting gay" got to do with Christians? Why legalization of gay rights means the end of free speech for Christians, does it mean they can't criticise and discriminate as freely as before? If that's what they are afraid of, then the intention is not noble at all. It's draconian. Shame on them.
Dai Muff
You will have as much freedom of speech about gay people as I currently have against Christians. End of story.
jilljiu.cho
Haters are just confused admirers - Justin Bieber
shirleyolivia
Does anyone know where we can find a copy of the proposed draft-ordinance?
xiaoblueleaf
Don't suppose most Chirstians are against gay marriage or whatsoever - only a minority, mostly the Catholic Church and some extremists.
jyshen
when did allowing ppl to have different values than chrisitian ones become an infringement on freedom of speech? what a bunch of hypocrites
tomonday
idiots
choisuibun
Discrimination is bad. No question about it.discrimination happens much more frequent these days in hk where people are judged by their appearance, too short, slim, fat.,tall, or not pretty, than being homosexual. Why do we see such an urgency ? Can religious group express their concern about the anti-discrimination law? Homosexuality is a personal thing. However I would not given up my right to tell my kids and kids of kids that homosexuality is a choice some people make but is wrong.
commbus
Being gay is NOT a choice. FYI.
Dai Muff
choisuibun, I'd say if you think you could CHOOSE to be gay, you are certainly gayer than I am. I know I could not.
mymak
The question is - is it a choice? Is being a heterosexual a choice? You are obviously heterosexual, were you given a choice? Did you need to choose? Or were your feelings just natural? Is it a choice?
mymak
I just don't get what all the fuss is about. Surely the Hong Kong churches can see the situation in other countries that have such anti-discrimination legislation. It does not restrict religious freedom. Within the context of a given religion people are able to believe what is written or conveyed within the said religion. But, within those same secular societies you are just not free to be rude, insulting or to bring your beliefs into the wider public arena - either through verbal assaults or through discrimination in such things as employment.
The problem can only really be resolved over time. Different societies and different civilisations over time have demonised same sex relationships and we have been educated by those around us, by movies, by society in general to see boy-girl as the norm. Such legislation could help to create a more harmonious society. Such legislation would not end discrimination. Homophobes would just become better at being homophobes. But such legislation could lead to some brave male (within HK girls can already do this and no one pays attention) couples openly walking down the road and holding hands. When people get used to this then we can say that the problem has been resolved. But it will take a long time.
ianson
Hardly surprising that people who believe all of nature survived a global flood by hitching a ride in a boat made by Noah are also duped into thinking this law has anything at all to do with their freedom of speech.
mercedes2233
Discrimination against any groups for race, sex or whatever is abhorrent. It is astonishing that Christians should be against proposed anti-discrimination laws. And their 'Inclusive Love' concert is a misnomer. Shame indeed on these people.
Dai Muff
If religion won't stay the hell out of the lives of those who don't subscribe to it, it's time to ban religion. You have every right to believe your own fairy tales, but don't try to make them rule the lives of others. I am disgusted with you.
dienamik
LOL you talk about 5 cent because i used western running dogs. but you are the only one calling to ban religious freedom.
dienamik
free speech must be protected. it is amazing how western running dogs dont even stay consistent with their pretend values. well, actually maybe it is not that amazing.
Dai Muff
There were homosexuals in China long before there were Christians. Less foaming at the mouth, and more knowledge of history would be nice.
bobbylad11
So you support religious freedom now? Do you still get paid 5 jiao even when your posts make no sense?
TheFundamentals
These Christians were not doing the right thing. They can practice their Christian values all they want, but they must also respect some of these fundamental human rights.
-
Obviously they have not understood that there are differences in individuals; not yet anyway.
bobbylad11
oops, replied to the wrong person.
rpasea
That's not a very 'christian" attitude. I abhor religious influence in sectarian government and this is one reason why. The irony, lost on these folks, is the teachings of Jesus were inclusive.
robertnsparker@gmail.com
That display of intolerance is as embarrassing as Jackie Chan. Shame, Hong Kong. Shame!

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