Christians are wrong, but not bigoted

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 4:22am

Boy, I have never seen so many Christians in one place in my life, at least not in Hong Kong. But the gathering outside the government headquarters of mainly Protestant groups last Sunday united against granting gays and lesbians equal legal rights was an impressive and depressing sight. The Catholic Church has expressed similar opposition but did not appear to field many followers that day.

And the Christians won - big time! The chief executive said in his policy address there would not even be a public consultation after credible reports claimed such laws would be considered by the government. If you are gay, the government's message is clear. Shut up and don't let anybody know, certainly not your boss or teacher. Who knows what religious congregation he might belong to?

The Christian protesters' fear that an anti-discrimination law would create "reverse discrimination" is absurd and exaggerated. But this is how our society operates today: Distort an issue, provoke public fear and anger, and then the government will surely back down.

And it was not just Hong Kong's Christians. The protest was designed to coincide with the massive rally of hundreds of thousands - a mix of Catholics, conservatives, Muslims and evangelicals - at the Eiffel Tower against French President Francois Hollande's plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption. Whatever you think about our local Christians, they were part of a global anti-gay response.

Let me be clear. I support equal rights for gays and lesbians. But I think it's also wrong for "liberals" to denounce those Christians as simply bigoted. For being Christian entails subscribing to certain core beliefs and values. And believing marriage is a union of opposite sexes and that gay sex is unnatural has to be understood as part of their belief system. Who are we to tell them what to believe?

I was once a Catholic but not any more because I no longer share their beliefs. Surely it would be absurd for me to insist on their following my new and non-Christian beliefs just so I could remain a Christian.

If you are gay, it is unnecessary for you to denounce Christians. But you do need to fight fire with fire, and force with greater force; you need to stage bigger rallies to demand equal rights by law.