Pastor defends publication of pro-377A guide

SINGAPORE — A guide on how to support Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code — a leaked copy of which has gone viral, triggering strong reactions online — was meant to be confidential and disseminated to about 120 senior decision-makers in churches here, said LoveSingapore Chair Lawrence Khong.

In response to TODAY’s queries, Mr Khong confirmed that he was the main person who drafted the guide, but added that it was meant to be circulated internally “as a private communication to group leaders for their personal reference (and) study, and for their wise and discerning response”.

Mr Khong, who is also a pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church, said: “It is similar to a classified document circulated at senior management level in any company or organisation. The objective was to ensure that the leaders would then educate and guide their members on how to respond correctly and courteously. It is our civil approach to moderating the conservative ground within the Church as we do not want any impassioned individual to overly react and make foolish comments online or offline.”

He added that there is a silent majority who feel strongly about retaining Section 377A, which criminalises sex between men.

“But they do not know how to engage our lawmakers and policymakers. Guidance is needed — how to speak up on a national issue that has far-reaching implications down many generations,” he said.

The guide, dated January last year, was published by LoveSingapore, a network of churches.

It was primarily distributed to those who attended the network’s annual Pastors’ Prayer Summit and “key leaders in our friendship circle”, Mr Khong said.

The guide garnered a variety of responses online, with some criticising the concerted planning and astroturfing. Others, however, supported the network for taking a clear stand.

The seven-page document teaches people how to show support for Section 377A, such as by explaining what to write in a letter to a Cabinet minister or what to post on Facebook.

Among other things, it states that “people who practise alternative sex are not our enemies” and it was important for a pastor to “first identify an Action Group comprising the like-minded and the aligned — those who wish to give feedback to (the) Government and who need advice on how to go about this in an acceptable manner through the available channels”.

Mr Khong said he had no issues with the leak.

“In fact, I think it is good that everyone sees it as it reflects the heart and spirit of the people who care about our nation’s future. It’s obvious that we are not against people, not even those who practise alternative sex,” he said.

“As a pastor, my principle is this: The best way to help like-minded believers is to help their pastors. Guidance must come from their pastors. In this way, we ensure ownership and accountability. So, our position is clear. Let the respective church leaders take the lead.”

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