Lying in the name of the Lord

Updated: 2014-05-16 05:07

By Nigel Collett (HK Edition)

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Why are some Christians who oppose human rights so sneaky? It never ceases to amaze me that those who seek to impose Christian morality on the rest of us think it is fine to lie for the Lord. Take, for instance, what local fundamentalist and Roman Catholic Christians are doing on the UN's International Day of Families (annually marked around May 15). They are going to hold a rally on Sunday called "I Love Parents, I Love Family". A quick look at the website of the Family Value Foundation of Hong Kong will show that they intend to campaign under the slogans "One Man, One Woman; One Husband, One Wife" and "Man and Woman Build a Family, Children Have Dad and Mom". All very apple pie, until you realize that this hijacking of a UN human rights event is aimed at discriminating against anyone who does not fit their "Christian" idea of a family. So if you are not a member of a family with one father, one mother and children, which is actually a hell of a lot of us, you don't even start.

So why don't they say so up front? Are they so embarrassed by the lack of any sense in their arguments that they have to operate in disguise? Every time any issue of diverse sexuality is raised in Hong Kong, out comes the hogwash, the reams of paper citing spurious scientific cases, the lurid details from incidents in far-off countries that on closer examination bear no approximation to the truth, all of it a desperate effort to base a case on the impossibly shaky ground of some form of biblical interdict.

All this from those who claim to have a unique insight into the "truth". All coupled, too, with an attempt to shut out the real world by preventing the dissemination of scientific and legal opinion in debate. Students in our schools are not taught about the reality of sex, sexuality and gender, but instead taught some form of "morality" based upon the beliefs of minority religious sects.

Lying in the name of the Lord

The suppression of debate is a tactic favored by the government. A year ago, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups in the Sexual Minorities Forum (the SMF) walked out when they realized the government was using it as a fig leaf to prevent discussion and block change. The government was forced instead to set up an advisory group with the unwieldy acronym AGEDASM (the Advisory Group on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities). They included in its membership some who wished to continue the discrimination.

So what was almost the first act of these upholders of "morality"? They persuaded the government that all discussions in the group will be confidential. So now, with no news coming out, the LGBT community is no longer represented, and the government and some Christians have corralled and stifled debate yet again.

There are signs that Hong Kong is no longer willing to be so easily taken for a ride. This weekend is the commemoration of IDAHOT (the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), and local LGBT groups and their supporters and friends will hold a candlelight vigil at 6 pm today (Friday) in Chater Gardens. There is no hidden agenda here. The vigil will remember those who have died and suffered, mostly at the hands of, or at the instigation of those inspired by religion and bigotry, across the world and through the ages. Equal Opportunities Commission Chairman York Chow will speak.

Larger still will be the first Pink Dot event to be held in Hong Kong. This will be held on the afternoon of June 15 at Tamar Park, a non-political event to bring together the families and friends of lesbian, gay and transgendered people in Hong Kong, and those who honestly wish to make this a better place by acknowledging some people are just different and there is nothing wrong with that.

To deny sexual differences is to hide from reality, to pretend that part of the natural scheme of things is somehow unnatural. But this is what some Christians do. That is why they oppose the implementation of reforms pressed upon them by UN committees administering the conventions Hong Kong has signed, but failed to adopt. That is why they think it appropriate to hijack inclusive UN celebratory days. And that is why they have to lie in the name of the Lord.

The author is a correspondent for the Singapore-based LGBT online newsletter fridae.com. He is English secretary of the Pink Alliance, Hong Kong's largest grouping of LGBT organizations and he remains prominent in LGBT activism in that post.

(HK Edition 05/16/2014 page9)