Singapore: Buddhist Fellowship president supports repealing Section 377A; But majority is still conservative

Buddhists monks

While the Singaporeans started to talk about Section 377A, after Indian Supreme court abolished the similar law on September 6, the Buddhist Fellowship's president said on Sunday, September 30 that he supports repealing the law, which criminalises sexual behaviour between consenting adult males, even in private.

A post on Buddhist Fellowship's Facebook page included a statement, where its president Lim Phang Hong clearly stated that the Buddha's teachings of empathy and compassion for all the living beings encourage the followers to develop understanding and care for everyone, regardless of the race, religion, language and sexual priorities.

While indication towards the Buddhist text called Metta Sutta, he stated that "with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings."

As reported, he also said that people should know the details about Buddha's teaching to understand his views on the law against homosexuality in the country.

This is no doubt a debatable topic in the country as most of its citizens don't support the repeal or changes in the colonial era law. Prior to this revelation, several other religious organizations in Singapore rejected the idea of repealing the gay sex law.

The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) said in a statement on Thursday, September 13 that they don't not the repeal of Section 377A and they also stated that such practices not only harm an individual but also affects families as well as the entire society. They also mentioned the Bible, where it is written that the book "clearly and categorically prohibits homosexual behaviour because it is a perversion of the way in which God has ordered human sexual relationships".

Even, The Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association also said that such changes would cause several "worrying implications".

However, while the Ready4Repeal petition, received 44,650 signatures and it was submitted to the Home Affairs and Law Ministries on September 28, the Please Keep Penal Code 377A petition with almost 109,000 signatures was closed on September 24.

On Sunday, the group behind the latest attempt to change the law about homosexuality, Ready4Repeal held its first town hall that drew 818 participants to Singapore Management University (SMU).

While speaking to the LGBT people, who shared how the law affects their life, the petition co-author Johannes Hadi told the audience that they should take these stories to their MP's.

There are some recent surveys, which showed still a huge majority of the Singapore residents are not prepared to face any changes. As per one survey, among 750 citizens and permanent residents, aged between 15 and 65, almost 55 percent people support the legislation and 12 percent of the participants stated the opposite.

Another survey included a question, which reads, "Should Singapore keep Section 377A?" While 59 percent of the people said yes, 32 percent said that they want a change.

This article was first published on October 1, 2018
Related topics : Singapore crime