And Tango Makes Three And Secular Over Religious Space

Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious society. There should be respect for each others’ belief systems, if no respect, at least tolerance. Some Christians and Muslims might be offended about the gay culture and lifestyle supposedly rampant in Singapore in their eyes, and thus engineered for the removal of such “offensive” children’s books shelved in the NLB. This caused an equally righteous backlash from book lovers and open-minded people in general regardless of their religious affiliation. The police also allowed a permit for this protest, framed as a public book reading which attracted people in the hundreds.

There is space for religious doctrine but NLB and its books are shared space and public items for all. Religious doctrine should be left outside NLB, deposited in a locker for safekeeping. There are religious-based books e.g. CS Lewis’ lovely Narnia books, shelved in NLB which might be offensive to the shallow or closed-minded atheists,agnostics or someone from another religion, but they didn’t engineer for these books to be pulped based on the books’ Christian allegories and ideas.

Hence, these particular Christians and Muslims who are part of the anti-Pink Dot movement should respect secular belief systems in public and shared spaces like the libraries. More so if they want others to respect their belief systems in their own communities and spaces. Respect expects reciprocity. If some Christians don’t want their children to read such “offensive” books, which is their right to do so, guide their children accordingly. Just don’t tell other parents who don’t share their beliefs what their kids should read or not read.

Reading event at National Library Building draws a crowd

SINGAPORE ­– A reading event today (July 13) featuring two of the three children’s titles that were removed from public libraries drew about 400 people, according to estimates by the organisers.

Held at the National Library Building atrium, Let’s Read Together! seeks to highlight what the organisers feel is important in children’s literature, said co-organiser Jolene Tan, speaking at the event.

“We think that some of the books that have been withdrawn from the library are among the books that we think are useful for this purpose,” she said. “Since they are no longer available here, we thought it would be nice to have an event where we make them available to those people who would want to read them.”

It was reported on Tuesday that the National Library Board (NLB) had withdrawn three children’s book titles – And Tango Makes Three, The White Swan Express and Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families – as they did not promote pro-family values.

The organisers set up a makeshift library at today’s event, offering about eight to 10 children’s books, including And Tango Makes Three and Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families, for participants to borrow and read. The other books talk about different family structures and sex education. Participants also brought their own books to read or read to their children.

Vincent Wijeysingha’s Miscalculation and the Question of Honesty

In an attempt to question the Catholic Church’s rigid position on homosexuality, the former SDP politician alleged that he was molested by a Catholic priest before. However when pressed to make a police report or an official complaint to the Catholic Church so that the church would punish those responsible if the allegation was true, Vincent backtracked and said that it was not a specific allegation against a priest. It does not bode well on Vincent’s image and credibility as an honest person. If he was indeed molested before, he should allow the police or church to get to the bottom of the matter so that the culprit does not go unpunished and there is closure for other victims, if any, if the allegation is true. Until that happens,  his critics would seize the opportunity to say that he made it all up to attack the Church’s position on homosexuality, which is a very convincing argument in light of how Vincent mishandled his controversy.

 

Vincent Wijeysingha rejects Catholic Church request to lodge complaint over molest allegation
By Jeanette Tan | Yahoo Newsroom – Sun, Jul 6, 2014

After raking up a three-decade-old incident where a priest allegedly tried to molest him when he was a teen, Singapore civil activist Vincent Wijeysingha said he has rejected a request from the Catholic Church to file an official report. The Church has asked him to either file a police report or a complaint with an internal church body which can investigate the case.

In a Facebook status on Saturday afternoon, the former Singapore Democratic Party member said he received a letter from a representative of the Catholic Church’s professional standards office on Thursday, 4 July. In the correspondence, the representative invited the 44-year-old to lodge a complaint with the police as well as the office so that both parties can investigate the accusation he made last month.

Wijeysingha, who said previously that he is Catholic, had in an earlier Facebook note written that he “came into unfortunate contact with a priest who would engage (him) in play wrestling and attempt to touch (his) crotch in the process”.

“He once brought me to his bedroom and took a stack of pornographic magazines from his wardrobe to show me,” he added, saying he was 15 years old at the time.

This, however, is not a “specific allegation of abuse against a priest”, he said in a response to the Church’s letter to him which he published it together on Facebook on Saturday. “It was an attempt without any conclusion and therefore I consider myself neither to have been abused nor damaged subsequently.”

He prefaced this by saying that he “disagree(s)” that the church’s professional standards office takes “such matters” seriously, asserting that “one of the principal ways the Catholic Church abuses the trust of children is by the homophobia it propagates”.

Wijeysingha said that if the Church intended to show love and compassion for LGBTQ Catholics, the Archbishop would not have “made common cause” with the likes of Faith Community Baptist Church pastor Lawrence Khong and Islamic religious teacher Noor Derros, who led congregations in wearing white to protest the Pink Dot movement.

“I am sorry to have to say, therefore, I have no confidence in church agencies,” he added. “Until the church is willing to… undertake a sweeping reform of its teachings on sexuality, I cannot see any good that should come from engaging with the church.”

Slams Archbishop’s letter

In another Facebook note responding to a letter sent by Catholic Archbishop William Goh, who leads the Catholic Church in Singapore, he also asserted that in doing so, Archbishop Goh had “aligned himself and his church with the more homophobic elements emanating from other religious organisations in response to Pink Dot”.

“The church cannot hold a position on both sides of the argument that homosexuality is evil but homosexual people are not. This is essentially nonsense,” he added then.