Angry Doctor

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Take our rights... please!

angry doc is quite disappointed by this piece of news.

Now long-time readers will know which side of the 'religious vs. LGBT' divide angry doc is on, and new readers need only look at the sidebar on the right to know his alignment; it is precisely because of his beliefs in these causes that angry doc feels the making of the police reports represent more of a disservice to the LGBT community than help.

While our laws are currently biased against gay people (S377A) and in favour of people of religion (S298), angry doc does not believe that the solution to this state of inequality lies in appealing to the authorities to gag or punish those who speak against the LGBT community (or for that matter any segment of society).

By appealing to the law to take away the right of a person to express his opinion publicly, even if that opinion is wrong or unjustified, we are effectively supporting the belief that the law has that right. What is needed is not for more of our rights to be taken away, but returned to us. The solution to 'bashing' from religion is not to demand that they be silenced, but for the right to challenge the contents of that 'bashing' to be returned to us.

Regardless of the outcome of the police reports being filed, angry doc cannot see how the LGBT community can stand to win from this situation: if nothing comes out of it, then the police would have effectively given the 'go-ahead' for all other persons of religion to make similar speeches against them. If Pastor Tan is made to apologise and undertake not to repeat his speech, then we have merely reinforced the state's right in shutting people up without subjecting the issue to open discussion and debate. If we as a nation, as a society allow the right to openly discuss and support or condemn a point of view to be taken away from us, if we allow the decision of whether someone has a right to express an opinion to be made not collectively by us but by a few who are not endowed that right by us, then we will all become poorer.

If we say to the police: "shut this man up for what he says offends me," then can we really complain when the police tell us to shut up because what we say offends another man?

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4 Comments:

  • 100% agree!

    By Blogger skeptic, At March 03, 2010 8:57 am  

  • Your post is interesting. Your arguments are well reasonsed and I can see where you're coming from.

    However, shouldn't your logic also extend to RT's denigration of other religions? Why, in that previous incident, is the law applied (via ISD) to chill speech?

    Shouldn't Singapore also cultivate an environment where inter-religious misunderstandings are discussed openly, instead of being censured by authorities?

    If we should accept the view that it is disrespectful to ridicule, quite publicly, a group of citizens (Buddhists, gays, etc), why should it be okay, in the eyes of the law, to ridicule one group but not the other?

    Why should anyone be given the impression that it is okay to level insults or promote misinformation when it comes to the gays?

    Do we really think of gay people as lesser citizens with no dignity, and hence, deserved to be called all sorts of names?

    Perhaps this whole incident raises the question of how our laws have served free speech and how they should be applied to minority groups, such as the gays.

    Without laws, I wonder if minority groups will ever enjoy safety (emotional and psychological; perhaps even leading to physical) from the tyranny of the majority... because, let's face it. The majority of the population here seem to be anti-gay.

    By Anonymous Jeg, At March 05, 2010 1:54 am  

  • Certainly, Jeg.

    I believe RT has the right to state his opinions about any religion, gays, or any race, whether in his personal capacity or in his capacity as a religious leader, as long as we are allowed to challenge his statements regardless of the capacity in which he made them.

    I didn't comment on the RT vs. Buddhist episode because I advocate for neither Christians nor Buddhists - to me they can argue till Kingdom come about afterlife, but neither side can provide any concrete evidence of their own version, so it's just a waste of time.

    More importantly, the Buddhists or pro-Buddhist people did not make a police report (AFAIK). They did not ask the police to shut RT up - the ISD did so on their own accord.

    Now for a group that opposes the use of the law by the police to prevent us from expressing our opinions - banning picnics in the Botanical Gardens and group jogs along the river - it's ironic, even hypocritical, for us to demand that the police prevent another man from expressing his opinions.

    You are right that the majority of people in Singapore seem to be anti-gay; look at the comments on any major discussion forum and you can see dozens of people spreading hate and misinformation about gay people. But what you also see is people countering that with information and their real-life experiences. All this exchange is out there for people to read and judge for themselves. If we stop that, if we disallow any criticism of "the gay lifestyle", we will not be able to stop the hate, but only breed resentment in those who already hate us, and suspicion in those who do not.

    By Blogger angry doc, At March 05, 2010 11:03 am  

  • Ape like this...ape really like this.

    By Anonymous Ape, At May 14, 2010 3:36 pm  

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