A pastor of a megachurch in Singapore, who once referred to the LGBT rights movement as the ‘onslaught of the evil one’, has revealed himself to be behind an anti-gay petition which was launched two weeks ago.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Lawrence Khong said he has been putting ‘all (his) effort’ in the past week to mobilize Christians in Singapore to demand that the health minister conducts a ‘public enquiry to uncover who is responsible’ for an online brochure which ‘failed to warn the public of the high health risks associated with the homosexual lifestyle.’
The ‘FAQs on Sexuality‘ posted by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) on its website had gone viral earlier this month. It states that ‘homosexuality and bisexuality are not mental illnesses’ and that a same-sex relationship is ‘not too different’ from a heterosexual relationship.’
While the FAQ has been received positively or thought to be objective and in line with modern scientific understanding of homosexuality, a person who only goes by the name ‘Aaron’ on Feb 3 started an online petition to demand that the health minister conducts a ‘thorough, non-biased, comprehensive review’ of it. As of today, it had garnered 22,000 signatures since its launch.
A counter-petition was set up a day later by 20-year-old student Melissa Tsang. Her petition, which has 4,668 signatures to date, calls for the HPB to restore some of the information and links to counselling and support groups which were removed since the media furore.
Although ‘Aaron’ declined to reveal his identify despite having given interviews in the mainstream press, the petition is now known to be an effort by Khong, a senior pastor and founder of Faith Baptist Community Church (FCBC) which claims to have a weekly service attendance of 8,000.
He had made a dozen anti-gay posts on his Facebook page in the past week while he’s on skiing holiday with his wife and children in in Salt Lake City, Utah.
On Feb 6, FCBC paid to sponsor a Facebook post to promote the anti-gay petition.
Neither Khong nor FCBC had claimed to be behind the anti-petition until Khong himself posted a status update on Feb 14 saying: ‘FCBC, do not remain silent. Let our voices be heard and sign the petition at gopetition.fcbc.org.sg to request the Minister for Health to conduct a thorough review of the information on HPB’s website. We are aiming for at least 25,000 signatures so that our message is clearly heard.’
Meanwhile Health Minister Gan Kim Yong is expected to address this issue for the first time on Monday after MP Lim Biow Chuan, who told the media that he disagrees with the health’s board’s objective views on homosexuality, asked the health minister to clarify its position when Parliament next sits on Feb 17.