19 Jan 2006

Singapore govt gives $100,000 to Christian anti-gay group

Media release received via email. It had been written and was ready to go for a local newspaper until being pulled at the last minute by an allegedly unknown ministry.

So in addition to this matter being a question of good financial governance, it could well be a question of free speech too.

People Like Us Press Release
19 Jan 2006, 20.30h

Singapore govt gives $100,000 to Christian anti-gay group
By giving $100,000 to Liberty League, as reported by ChannelNewsAsia (CNA), the Singapore government is helping to promote a religious cause founded on unscientific and psychologically damaging methods.

Liberty League intends to "promote gender and sexual health" through "conduct[ing] sexuality talks in schools" - CNA report.

However, Liberty League's website promotes a book 'Freedom of Choice'. The book's subjects were almost totally from the Christian group, Choices, which runs programmes teaching that homosexuality is a psychological dysfunction. The book thus promotes this kind of pseudo-therapy propagated by fundamentalist Christian groups.

Mr Leslie Lung, the founder of Liberty League has long been known to be associated with "ex-gay" ministries. The "ex-gay" or "reparative therapy" movement is strongly associated with the more extreme churches in the United States. Liberty League's website itself uses terms such as "sexual brokenness", "addiction and abuse".

In a seminar organised by the Graduates Christian Fellowship on 13 October 2005, which described homosexuality as a psychological problem, Liberty League was touted as resource for counseling. It was recommended by Mr Tan Thuan Seng, the President of Focus on the Family, Singapore (FOTF-Sg) who is known to regularly give anti-gay talks in Christian circles.

FOTF-Sg is an affiliate of Christian- and US-based Focus on the Family as can be seen from the latter's website. The anti-gay, proselytising stance of Focus on the Family is well known. One may therefore infer that since it was recommended by FOTF-Sg, Liberty League shares a similar position regarding faith and homosexuality.

Liberty League is also lauded on the website of Exodus Singapore, the Christian ex-gay group, . It too speaks of "sexual brokenness" and teaches "God's plan for sexuality". On its Policy page, it says, "Exodus Asia Pacific cites homosexual tendencies as one of many disorders that beset fallen humanity. Christ offers a healing alternative to those with sexual and relational problems."

An 18-year-old student who had attended one of Mr Lung's earlier talks in her school wrote in her report (deposited with People Like Us) that she had to "sit through a one-hour treatise on why homosexuality was wrong, and if we had any same-sex attractions, we should immediately seek help and 'turn straight'.

"He made several references to God and the Bible during the talk," she wrote, and that "it was pretty insensitive to everyone non-Christian."

It should be noted that in his statement to CNA, Mr Lung spoke of "coming out of [homosexuality]". At first glance, this phrase appears similar to "coming out" - the well-accepted process of healthy psychological development for gay and lesbian persons - but it is in fact a trojan horse for the opposite: destructive self-denial of a person?s own sexuality.

PLU finds it reprehensible that while the World Health Organization and reputable psychological associations no longer treat homosexuality as a disorder, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) would still fund an organization that has been founded on this unscientific and damaging premise.

The government needs to explain why the NVPC thinks $100,000 is money well spent when given to a disguised religious cause based on unscientific psychotherapeutic approaches that seek to deform young people's sense of self-worth and psychological health.

PLU also notes that the published guidelines for eligibility for funding from the NVPC include the stipulation that all programmes must be secular, and believes the government needs to explain its grant to Liberty League when even 18 year-old students can so clearly spot its religious agenda.

The government also needs to explain how this grant is consistent with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's claim that the government is not homophobic, made in a comment to the Foreign Correspondents Association on 6 October 2005.

For more information, please contact:

People Like Us www.plu.sg


Tony said...

A very illuminating article. I do hope that MCYS was not involved in the 'killing' of this article, and that they plan to resolve this whole debacle as soon as humanly possible.

Is there any chance you could publish the essay written by the student? It would very informative to find out exactly what was said from a first-hand account.

If what these articles say is true, then I feel very strongly that the grant should be retracted. Perhaps MCYS can provide the public with the proposal that Liberty League submitted in applying for the grant so that we can see how the government was hoodwinked.

Anonymous said...

Yawning Bread's version of the story has more quotes from the sec school student, though it too says that PLU wants to protect her identity. Go to www.yawningbread.org and click on the article with "$100K" in the title.

Anonymous said...

the government is not "phobic" about gays; its control is not under threat from them

however, it likes to show that it is opening up, but at the same time, that it is in charge, by showing it has muscle (or money) to support what it approves of and work against what it disapproves of

pleinelune said...

My personal theory is that they want more babies.