Pastor hits out at Health Minister's reply on sexuality FAQ

Mr Khong (above) charged that MOH has condoned homosexuality through sanctioning the HPB's FAQ

Faith Community Baptist Church senior pastor Lawrence Khong has criticised Health Minister Gan Kim Yong for his parliamentary reply about questions and answers on sexuality that have become a subject of controversy.

In a strongly worded open letter, Mr Khong charged that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has "in effect condoned homosexuality" through sanctioning the FAQ put up on the website of the Health Promotion Board (HPB).

Earlier this month, Mr Gan said that the FAQ did not encourage same-sex relationships. He did so in a written reply to MP Lim Biow Chuan's parliamentary question on the matter.

On a statement in the FAQ that said "a same-sex relationship is not too different from a heterosexual relationship", Mr Gan said in his reply that it should be read together with the next sentence: "Both require the commitment of two people."

Mr Gan also reiterated that the Government had not shifted its stance on the family as the basic building block of Singapore society.

In his letter, Mr Khong said that Mr Gan's statement "amounts to empty rhetoric". He took issue with what the HPB said in the FAQ after the two sentences Mr Gan quoted, and charged that Mr Gan's claim that the first two sentences taken together contain a health message was "made in hindsight to justify the pro-homosexual slant of the answer".

Mr Khong also argued that being pro-family and pro-LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender) were irreconcilable. "These are two opposing sets of values and behaviour. One undergirds the institution of the Family. The other undermines the institution of the Family - as so clearly seen in the West," he said.

He also noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had made this point during a 2007 parliamentary debate on Section 377A of the Penal Code.

Mr Khong said Mr Gan's reply, and the MOH's view, was at odds with the Government's position on 377A, and also society's views on homosexuality, as reflected in the Our Singapore Conversation surveys and a recent one by the Institute of Policy Studies.

"By the argument in your written reply, MOH has in effect condoned homosexuality. In the name of public health, MOH is indirectly telling our young that it is perfectly okay to pursue same-sex relationships as long as all persons involved play it safe by sticking to one sex partner.

"That is like telling our young they can pump themselves up with illegal and harmful drugs as long as they self protect by not sharing needles," he said.

Mr Khong also asked that the FAQ be taken down until a full review is done. He said the call for such a review comes from a sizeable community that includes the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) and the National Council of Churches in Singapore.

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