My Take

When beliefs are far from catholic

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 November, 2015, 1:10am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 November, 2015, 1:10am

The Catholic Church has again spoken out against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

First, Cardinal John Tong Hon appealed to the city's 379,000 Catholics to consider candidates' stances on gay rights when voting in the district council elections later this month. He said some social movements "are challenging and twisting" the city's core values on marriage and family. That drew fire from many sides.

Defending his boss, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung added fuel to the fire by comparing homosexuality with drug addiction. That has the entire local LGBT community up in arms.

READ MORE: ‘Homosexuality just like drug abuse’: Hong Kong bishop defends anti-gay stance of Cardinal John Tong Hon

I am a gay rights supporter and believe marriage should be legally extended to include gay couples. But I have no trouble with Catholic leaders - or anyone whose religion proscribes such sexual behaviour - speaking out against gays. I think Tong and Yeung have every right to speak out and profess their faith, including their religiously inspired opinions on sexual issues.

The three great religions of the world have been historically and fanatically against homosexuality. That's why I am glad I am not Muslim or Jewish, and am no longer Christian despite being baptised as a Catholic while still a baby. But it's all relative. Compared with what many Muslim countries are doing to gays, most Christian countries and the Jewish state of Israel look pretty enlightened.

Watch: Hong Kong LGBT protesters say city lags behind in gay rights

But if you are a believer, you are free to believe in all sorts of highly unlikely and, indeed, impossible things, from the miracles of Jesus to a god with specific attributes as mentioned in the Bible. And among those sets of beliefs have been the prohibition against homosexuality. I happen to think these are false beliefs. But far be it for me to stop people from believing or advocating them; they have every right to do so in a free society. If citizen A can publicly advocate for gay rights, citizen B certainly has the same right to advocate the opposite.

Perhaps the real moral conflict only happens to those who are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, and yet are gay. In that case, I suggest a simple solution, though I recognise it's difficult to do in practice. Abandon your religion because it's based on false beliefs anyway. Instead of whining about your religion and how it should adapt to the 21st century, just pack up and leave.