Reply To Media Query On DPM’s Statement, 14 May 2009

National Council of Churches of Singapore
Public Statement
(For immediate Release)

REPLY TO MEDIA QUERY ON DPM’S STATEMENT

14 May 2009

The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) appreciates and welcomes DPM Wong’s helpful comments and observations.

DPM Wong’s statement that the government’s position on the issue of homosexuality articulated in 2007 by the PM has not changed is reassuring to the majority of Singaporeans and will be welcomed by them. The NCCS supports the stand of the government. The majority of Singaporeans, including Christians and people of other faiths hold to the traditional heterosexual family values that the government has promised to preserve in our society. This is important if we want to maintain harmony and confidence in our society.

The government has also stated that lobbying against this position is not going to change its policy. I think the message calls for people to accept this position and not push lifestyles or values that will only cause strong reactions and disrupt the harmony in our society.

The NCCS Statement on the AWARE issue expressed concern that religion was

unnecessarily dragged into the debate, and here the DPM’s pertinent comments on some of the shortcomings of the media must be noted and welcomed.  The press also has a responsible role to preserve public order.

The NCCS Statement specifically clarified that churches should not get involved in the internal matters of a secular organisation like AWARE.  However it also clarified that this did not preclude individual Christians and churches from engaging in public square issues within the rules of engagement. I think the DPM states some of these rules and welcomes the participation of individuals and communities in matters related to the well-being of our society.

Our participation must be for our common good and take the multi-religious and multi-racial nature of our nation into consideration so that engagement will always be within accepted norms.  It is in this sense that the NCCS has added its voice in recent public square issues such as medical ethics and the IRs.  In the issue of homosexuality, the churches have also articulated their position. In fact in this particular issue, the majority of Singaporeans, regardless of race or religion have a common conservative view. It would not be helpful to single out Christians in this regard. It is more an issue between the majority of Singaporeans and a minority with different views rather than between the church and others. More so than this is the fact that churches have been actively involved in providing community services and sharing their resources in providing for the well-being of our fellow citizens and nation. We will always be committed to this cause.

When the NCCS issued its statement, church leaders also contacted leaders of other faiths to help explain our position and to hear their views and to deal with possible misunderstandings or concerns if any. In Singapore there are many platforms for religious leaders to build understanding and to maintain good relations. The NCCS  welcomes this and will continue to engage responsibly in our society in a way that expresses our common concerns and aspirations for our nation.

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon
Vice-President, National Council of Churches of Singapore