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A vote for reason

In any society, but especially in one as diverse as ours, both culturally and religiously, balancing individual liberty against the ideal of equality presents daunting challenges. Perhaps Mr. Tong can explain large-scale moral and political change of this sort (repeal Section 377A), without having to evoke the efficaciousness of reasons. There is no evidence that those changes resulted from reason. More likely they resulted from avoiding the most important relevant questions of all: Is homosexuality itself morally, socially, and culturally acceptable? Without answering this question, we cannot answer the following question: Is homosexuality something that institutions (whether state, church, or community) should encourage by condoning and sanctioning it via a redefinition of marriage?

I just simply continue to be amazed at how such a phenomenal, God-sanctioned institution, marriage, is being so torn and reduced to some form of equality-based rights for members of the same sex. One of the reasons that marriage is so meaningful is that it has a mythical dimension (to put it bluntly) rooted in the complimentary otherness of sexual difference, as well as in its procreative form. These things don’t translate into a same-sex scenario. The poetry is off. Does this matter? Yes. “Man and wife” is a moral narrative that supplies meaning to our bodies and desires, that shapes and regulates them instead of congratulating us after the fact for happening, spontaneously.

There should be two distinct classes of ‘marriage’—–civil and church-based. Under the former, with any and all religious prohibitions removed, anyone can marry——gays, lesbians, bigamists, polygamists. In any combination or number. Three persons or thirty could marry, but for legal purposes, a ‘primary’ spouse could be designated as the beneficiary when it comes to employer or governmental policy. By the same token, religions and their churches should be free to choose those whom can marry within their walls and under their precepts. Thus, they are not denying anyone the legitimate right to marry, nor are their precepts being violated. Fair—-for everyone.

Fighting for a state-defined definition of the word and the institution seems to imply that the state should have more power over us (and that the state adds value above our religious institutions, which they want the government to get out of for nearly everything else) and that it is a more legitimate institution than they would claim if this were a different argument.

By not lifting the whip when Parliament votes to repeal the law seems to be saying, though, that religious beliefs should have no importance in political discourse, citing civil rights as an instance and saying, “what mattered for their political argument was that the principle of equal human rights has wide appeal among citizens of a democracy, regardless of their religious views.” This may be true pragmatically, but I expect a leader to behave according to a shared sense of morality, based on some mixture of religious, philosophical, and cultural beliefs, and not simply according to what has “wide appeal among the citizens.”

I want to have leaders with the courage to stand against the majority, not too often, but when necessary. I’m sure I will not always agree with their conclusions, but I still think this “vision” element is an essential part of leadership. So anyone can worship the devil for all I care as long as that doesn’t mean he/she wants other people to do so or creates policies based on his/her personal devil worshipping assumptions!

 

Sjorne Shen

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

29 Responses to “A vote for reason”

  • Extremist:

    Clearly the words of a religious fanatic or extremist. The Holy group versus the Satanic group.

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    We live in a society that prevent people from grouping together to discuss and ubderstanding their situations perpetuate OPPRESSION of freedom of choice…A whip is used to whip aworkhorse

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  • panyusg:

    The world has a large percentage that do not abide by any religious dogma.

    Nature has allowed people to have sexuality preferences. While Society must curb the extremes ( bestiality, pedophilia, etc.) homosexuality should be recognized as coming from Nature.

    Not everyone is a homosexual. Many are bisexual. The large majority are heterosexual.

    Laws and moral norms have evolved. Gays are not violent criminals. It is a lifestyle that has a basis in Nature…gays are born or during their formation years, they discovered their sexual preferences.

    Bisexuals similarly discovered they can adapt to both form of sexuality.

    Society has to draw line as what what is extreme. For instance, some wants to have sex with corpses, with animals, with children, resort to sadism, or adopt extreme sex experiences using various devices. Some may need professional treatment as sexual deviations can be a sickness.

    But in general homosexuality should be allowed. While religions have their dogmas, those who do not follow the religion should not be bound by such moral restrictions. Many believe in God but decided that their God will allow them to follow their sexual preference.

    There will never be total freedom of homosexuality. However, many countries have allowed gay sex.

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  • panyusg:

    The word “whip” has the connotation of sadism, or violence, or cruelty. I am surprised that Parliament in such enlightened times still stick to a medieval term…Whip.

    Do you need to “whip” people into submission? Or they cannot find a better term in the dictionary? Are parliamentarians modern slaves, to be whipped?

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  • theforgottongeneration:

    When Loong highjacked parliament for 2 days to air about his family personal issue on the Oxley house, does anyone think it is for the benefit of SG or for his own sake?

    Likewise this sudden repeal of 377A, will it be beneficial to SG as a whole, or one group win-lose, or simply it brings political points to Loong’s empty trophy cabinet of 18 years (aka again for personal glory)?

    What is the REAL reason, hor? What is certain is that it will further polarize Singaporeans. Oh….never mind, Singaporeans are daft and are Free Riders anyway.

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  • Let's reason:

    Surely you are not going to live by my will, my word, my limited intelligence and wisdom neither will I live by yours. Now multiply that wilful rebellion billions of times over and it is difficult not for humans to kill each other in the process, with moral/religious guidance or not.
    Even the voice of governments can’t be trusted all the time.
    You are doomed if you don’t even understand such simple logic.
    You need an “anchoring voice”. You don’t have that in societies thus you are here “reasoning”(actually defying logic/bickering most of the time) because you think you can have a choice in deciding “your voice”(democratically) when you actually stumble over what I had said earlier by doing that.
    When the flood comes, and it is here, you better know how to build the only boat that matters or you shall drown in your stupidity.
    Extreme? In any case, there are plenty of swines around. You are most welcome to challenge that and see the state of the world for yourself, especially if you think your city is a paradise(whiter than white)

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  • xoxo:

    Even putting religious reasoning aside,this is a food-for-thought article.
    Well written,author.

    Mother Nature dictates that Male-Female Reproductive Sex is the ORDER OF THE DAY,THE NORMALITY.
    Any deviation is not the norm.
    From calling each other *partners*,LGBTQ now want to be acknowledged as normal *husband n wife* and to have *families*?
    A husband is traditionally the man and father of the family; so too a wife,the woman and mother.

    LGBTQ IS NOT THE NORM EVEN IF MAY BE EXPLAINED SCIENTIFICALLY.
    To want to make LGBTQ AS A NORM IS UNFAIR N UNGRACIOUS of our fellow beings with such tendencies.
    We must not discriminate against LGBTQ as a *choice* but we,as a society,must not allow LGBTQ TO PROPAGATE such practices as a WAY OF LIFE for NORMAL people.

    Congrats SS for a insightful article.

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  • Angels and Demons:

    Extremist:
    Clearly the words of a religious fanatic or extremist. The Holy group versus the Satanic group.

    So which side you’re on?
    Humanism?? Idiots straight away one can tell. hahaha…….

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  • Stupid Singaporeans Vote PAP:

    Freedom of speech with a whip……whipocracy!

    Temusik Patriot:
    We live in a society that prevent people from grouping together to discuss and ubderstanding their situations perpetuate OPPRESSION of freedom of choice…A whip is used to whip aworkhorse

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  • theforgottongeneration:

    Report: Cardinal William Goh officially appointed by Pope Francis, first from Singapore

    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/cardinal-william-goh-officially-appointed-by-pope-francis-the-first-from-singapore-144513768.html

    ————

    LOL, this coming in the midst of SG’s sudden decision to repeal 377A. Did the catholics want to show Loong’s the middle finger? Or since this promotion of bishop Goh was (seemingly) planned months beforehand, then the pappies quickly jumped in to grab some political points to “promote” SG is a secular nation? After all, recall some months back, minister ET made it a big deal that he had a VERY brief encounter/meeting with the pope. (The pope probably does hundreds of brief encounters with various ppl each week! Maybe even thousands?)

    Any religion watcher can comment, least some trolls will say I am claiming to be expert in religions. I am already guilty of insisting that the Apollo landings were REAL.

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  • #$%^&*:

    thoughtful and well written…i salute you.
    pity that most Singaporeans are too stupid to appreciate the essence

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  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    Let's reason: Surely you are not going to live by my will, my word, my limited intelligence and wisdom neither will I live by yours.

    “my liberty ends where yours begins”
    There is another one that is said by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr in a more poetic way: “Your Liberty To Swing Your Fist Ends Just Where My Nose Begins.”

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Marriage is always between a man and a woman, and that’s natural, it is not dictate by government or religion! It is not only for human but also for other flora and fauna and insects too.

    No government or laws can change that. Government can ignore or criminalise the behaviour but the fact remains.

    Sex between same gender is not natural, it is not meant to be, it is just a behaviour or preference. Male and female are different and is created such. There are law protecting one gender but not the other. Will the law charges a female for molesting another woman? There was law against a man screwing another man!

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  • Joe Brown:

    When Members of Parliament need to be whipped like animals into obedience, I guess the rest of the people must be bed-bugs waiting to be squashed. Sad.

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  • theforgottongeneration:

    And coming soon after the “bombshell” that SG is repealing 377A, the gov announced carrots to attract more foreign talents here. Hmmmm … didn’t Peloski before her trip to TWN told SG companies to help promote more women and LGBT rights? Who is the biggest FDI here, hor? Loong and gang, saliva dripping, quickly open legs big-big again?

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  • Extremist:

    Why would sane people want to choose one of these stupidly defined sides? The best is to wipe out these artificial sides.

    “There should be two distinct classes of ‘marriage’—–civil and church-based. Under the former, with any and all religious prohibitions removed, anyone can marry——gays, lesbians, bigamists, polygamists. In any combination or number. Three persons or thirty could marry, but for legal purposes, a ‘primary’ spouse could be designated as the beneficiary when it comes to employer or governmental policy. By the same token, religions and their churches should be free to choose those whom can marry within their walls and under their precepts. Thus, they are not denying anyone the legitimate right to marry, nor are their precepts being violated. Fair—-for everyone.”

    Angels and Demons: So which side you’re on?
    Humanism?? Idiots straight away one can tell. hahaha…….

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  • Angels & Demons:

    theforgottongeneration:
    Report: Cardinal William Goh officially appointed by Pope Francis, first from Singapore

    LOL, this coming in the midst of SG’s sudden decision to repeal 377A. Did the catholics want to show Loong’s the middle finger? Or since this promotion of bishop Goh was (seemingly) planned months beforehand, then the pappies quickly jumped in to grab some political points to “promote” SG is a secular nation? After all, recall some months back, minister ET made it a big deal that he had a VERY brief encounter/meeting with the pope. (The pope probably does hundreds of brief encounters with various ppl each week! Maybe even thousands?)

    Any religion watcher can comment, least some trolls will say I am claiming to be expert in religions. I am already guilty of insisting that the Apollo landings were REAL.

    For me though the last straw was really the abysmal response of the Catholic Church to the sexual abuse scandal and the evidence that it revealed such a pervasive and longstanding problem. One that could only be botched by a deeply corrupt system of governance. I would very much like to be told the justification of such management in canon law. It doesn’t pass muster in secular law and rightly so.

    Unfortunately you didn’t realize that the Catholic Church hierarchy is entrusted with upholding and transmitting the mind of the Church even in spite of personal opinions that they as individuals may have. A dunce cap would be more appropriate headgear for ET for being an Useful Idiot.

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  • Reality:

    Can accept but should not be promoted.
    Reality is it is still a minority.
    Also mankind need babies to survive…

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  • theforgottongeneration:

    Angels & Demons: For me though the last straw was really the abysmal response of the Catholic Church to the sexual abuse scandal and the evidence that it revealed such a pervasive and longstanding problem. One that could only be botched by a deeply corrupt system of governance. I would very much like to be told the justification of such management in canon law. It doesn’t pass muster in secular law and rightly so.

    Unfortunately you didn’t realize that the Catholic Church hierarchy is entrusted with upholding and transmitting the mind of the Church even in spite of personal opinions that they as individuals may have. A dunce cap would be more appropriate headgear for ET for being an Useful Idiot.

    Yo, fully agree with dismal way the Catholic Church handled the sexual abuses. There are many layers of lapses, but of course everything boils down to the top management – as in ANY organization/hierarchy. However not to divert into details or the sexual abuse issue – let’s focus on the current issue in SG.

    Though I am not an expert Catholicism, still I don’t see how you can conclude that I didn’t realize the role of the Church hierarchy. I had helped various organizations turned their operations so understanding hierarchy is very likely within my capabilities. The “real” problems in under-performing coys are usually the leadership levels; humans being humans, that is probably an issue at the Vatican too. Unfortunately, one cannot burn the whole barrel of apples just because of a couple of rotten ones. Hierarchy, good or bad, must continue to exist.

    BTW are you Angel or Demon? Neither? Both?

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  • Angels & Demons:

    theforgottongeneration: BTW are you Angel or Demon? Neither? Both?

    I’m a Christian, and Christian theology says that I am who I am, a sinner, but also a being created in God’s image and who has opportunities to think and act like the self that God intended, but I do not live this way always. We are fallible.

    I would argue that every person in this world has a sense of who they wish to be and how the world ‘ought to be’, and that every person in this world has the same sense that they themselves are not everything they wish to be and the world is very far from how it ‘ought to be’.

    Hence we are designed as beings who have the ability to value and judge and choose, and also with the capacity to “reflect” as the author says, on our choices and values. We are complicated, and magnificent beings, and thank God that He loves us because He justifies us even when we are incapable of justifying ourselves. Hope that clarifies.

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  • myfirstscrew:

    Angmo religions had been expressive… they talk about love, respect and whatever… suddenly when you hear their views, you are shocked.

    Look at Buddhism and Taoism or even Hinduism, none commmented.

    In ancient times, religion tried not to involve in politics, only focus on its teaching and practice. And now you see religion getting involved in mudane affair.

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  • TheIrony:

    The gospel, hijacked by the religious, is not a personal self indulgence gospel in the “unseen”(easily exploited by religious leaders since they meddle with your mind or faith).

    Their gospel, and the irony, leads you deeper into Sin, which is to be “like god” or christ like. These people become obsessed with personal spiritual journey with their personal god inside of them and end up being divisive/divded/confused everywhere.

    But most damning to our world, it leads you away from “the hidden conceptual kingdom”, which is a social compact, on earth(expressed in the Lord’s prayer). This kingdom has been wrongfully taught as a kingdom inside of individuals and spiritual in dimension)

    Hence it is imperative you seek, according to prophecy, his kingdom(the concept in which it was purpose) and righteousness(in which your “fathers will” is expressed) ON EARTH. A righteousness which must exceed or transcend the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees( the hypocrites who exploit the laws).

    Hence it warned, “the deceived/misled(children)of the serpent/devil – metaphorically speaking – will come to you as “angel of light”.

    Vast majority of religious adherents end up following the…broad way

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  • TheIrony:

    BTW, it is not an established or authorised interpretation of a widely read book in Singapore so please feel free to discard my layman understanding of the book(plenty of more scholarly interpretation for your spiritual indulgence out there) knowing how the people are very accustomed to legal constrains in their existence.
    In Rome, do as the Romans do – the strength or power of Sin is the law.

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  • theforgottongeneration:

    Angels & Demons: I’m a Christian, and Christian theology says that I am who I am, a sinner, but also a being created in God’s image and who has opportunities to think and act like the self that God intended, but I do not live this way always. We are fallible……

    …..Hence we are designed as beings who have the ability to value and judge and choose, and also with the capacity to “reflect” as the author says, on our choices and values. We are complicated, and magnificent beings, and thank God that He loves us because He justifies us even when we are incapable of justifying ourselves. Hope that clarifies.

    Good philosophy. As your Lord said: “try to be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect”. Not easy for mortals (camel thru eye of a needle?). Some people will say: “Impossible to be perfect, so why try?”, which gives them the passport to commit all sorts of bad deeds. So they become what they are not, thinking it is OK because of Free Will/Free Choice, no accountability to anyone. So easy for mortals, hor.

    May your God bless you.

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  • panyusg:

    Marriage? It is just a common word…

    - The world is now “married” to the dogma of Covid vaccines being safe.
    - Two person decides to spend their lives together. Getting “married” either by law or by private agreement means the same…being together till divorce.

    If we are to amend the Constitution, then make sure that Divorce is also defined in the Constitution as a break-up of a marriage between a Man and a Woman.

    otherwise there is no possibility of a divorce since the Constitution has not defined it.

    What about being pregnant, having a baby…do we not need the Constitution to also define it?

    We keep going and enlarge the Constitution to a 1000 pages…

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  • Idiot's Guide to Theology:

    TheIrony:
    BTW, it is not an established or authorised interpretation of a widely read book in Singapore so please feel free to discard my layman understanding of the book(plenty of more scholarly interpretation for your spiritual indulgence out there) knowing how the people are very accustomed to legal constrains in their existence.
    In Rome, do as the Romans do – the strength or power of Sin is the law.

    Be they scribes or pharisees or pope. I think the issue is being looked at erroneously. A person’s religious beliefs should always be sacred (as long as they don’t infringe other people’s rights, religious or otherwise).

    Spirituality has to go to the depths of one’s soul, and be enacted in one’s life decisions and moves, in order to be real. Otherwise, it is merely an affectation. That, in a nutshell, is at the root of all well founded belief is an unfounded belief. You don’t need neuroscience and psychology to prove this, all you need is an armchair and a passing grade in philosophy 101.

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  • Pinky's Polka dots bikinis:

    I think Pinky and his sycophantic cohorts had opened the pandora’s box of crawlies worms. There will be fracas over holding of wedding receptions in restaurants, hotels and baking of simple cakes. lol

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  • Nature:

    The law of nature will always prevail..
    Go against nature and you will have to bear with the consequence.
    An example is the great flood in China and Pakistan…much destruction.
    Also now the great drought in China….the rivers are drying up.

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  • Bryan W:

    It illustrates how our attempts to manipulate the environment can backfire. Like manipulating laws to accommodate homosexuality. Ukraine is one fine example. Taiwan will be next. Singapore? Why pity these people?

    Nature:
    The law of nature will always prevail..
    Go against nature and you will have to bear with the consequence.
    An example is the great flood in China and Pakistan…much destruction.
    Also now the great drought in China….the rivers are drying up.

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