Reactions of set-Up of Pro-Gay Church in Malaysia

Posted: August 11, 2007 in Freedom of Speech

It was really shocking to hear of this news from my good friend from Melaka who is a church leader. When she informed me of this news I was quite shocked that such a thing could even be brought up in a country like Malaysia who is so close-minded of everything. Gays coming out of the closet in Malaysia is not a very openly welcomed thing so when the whole idea of starting a church came about I think it sent shock waves throughout the country!

To be honest I have nothing against gays in personal but when the issue of starting to open up avenues in the sense of creating Gay Churches baffles me and I can’t say that I’m all for it. But before I go on further into the issue let me inform you of the reactions that this issue has garnered so far.

The Church of Malaysia has this to say;

Oyoung thinks this is America, and we could do everything freely like America . He wants to turn Malaysia into another Sodom & Gomorrah. The reason that he is so bold to confront the Malaysian churches because our leaders usually don’t want to be so-called “busybody! A few of us are trying to do something to stop the 2 meetings. You can do your part in these manners: 1) Praying for us. 2) Send an sms to Joseph. 3) Give a call to Sin Chew and speak to the Executive Editor.”

 

According to the Church of Malaysia, Ou yang is trying to launch this church by bringing over his senior pastor Rev.Troy Perry over to Malaysia that will be held on the 11th and 12th of August at Grand Olympic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. This was published by Sin Chew on July 29 and 31 respectively. Church of Malaysia is unpleased with the actions of Sin Chew that refuses to allow the Church of Malaysia to voice out their concerns (objections mostly) on this issue. The Star contacted Ou Yang who said that all he wanted to do is set up a church “where everybody felt safe and welcomed”. According to Ou Yang;

It is unfair to label it a gay church, he said, adding that the hate-mail had hurt him. This church is not limited to gays but serves all people. This will be an active church. We have so many community-centred plans, such as assisting the poor, charity work and upholding justice,” he said.

This being a controversial issue as it not only involves issues of sexuality but religion it would be wise to thread carefully when approaching this issue. Before that let me give you some introduction of who is Ou Yang is and a little brief on what this is all about.Ou yang is 36, a popular columnist with Sin Chew Daily.The nation’s first Chinese writer to reveal his homosexuality. A double-degree graduate and soon to be a double doctorate holder, US-educated Ou-Yang recently launched his book.

In an interview with Bede Hong of <“Malaysiakini”> after the recent launch of his autobiography ‘My Journey’, Ou yang spoke extensively on his past and what he wants for the future this is some excerpt’s of what was communicated to Malaysiakini through the interview;

You spoke of the possibility of joining the clergy and setting up a Christian gay movement in Malaysia. Is that your future plan?
Yeah, that is what I plan to do, what I’m going to do. I plan to start a church. I won’t say a gay church, but a church that welcomes everyone. An inclusive church that would help everyone grow spiritually and intellectually.I wouldn’t say Malaysia is an Islamic country. We should make a distinction between an Islamic country and a Muslim country. I believe Malaysia is a Muslim country, not an Islamic country.Even so, I believe it is not easy to do that, but I still think it’s possible. I believe it’s important to keep trying and to see what we can do. It’s good to come out. It’s not the end but the beginning. Something wholly good and wholly new, to try to come out with yourself, and your friends and to be an authentic human being.

What if Malaysians say that many marriages would be wrecked by what you are advocating?

I’m glad you asked this question. I’m not asking all gay husbands or lesbian wives to come out and say ‘okay I want a divorce’.When you enter a marriage, whether you are Christian or not, you have certain responsibilities. According to your religious and cultural background you have different understanding of what the obligations are, but still we have some responsibility or obligation. I think this is something that has to be decided between two people.I’m not saying that we should come out and leave out partner. I didn’t do that in my case. She (his wife) pulled me out of the closet. Of course I was the one who tried to tell her the truth about who I am, but she keep asking questions, she kept probing.And she already knew I was gay because she was a very intelligent woman. But still, she wanted me to articulate it myself. So in a way, I see her as pulling me out of the closet.This is a mutual decision to come out publicly and to leave the marriage behind. It’s not a decision where I decided ‘okay, I’m coming out and leaving the marriage’. It’s something that has to be resolved between two adults.

The full interview can be accessed at

<“Full Interview with Ou Yang”>

As I was alerted on this issue, it reverts my mind back to a church that was recently set up by Pastor Edmund Smith and his wife Pastor Amanda whom would be able to comment in a more balanced manner based on their experience and background in this matter.

But before that let me introduce to you the;<“Real Love Ministry”>

What is RLM? Christian, non-profit, voluntary& charitable organization

Purpose? Working with the marginalized community particularly the homosexual community all over Malaysia.

Goal? Bring “real love”, the unconditional love for the marginalized community.

Members? The Befrienders(trained to become befrienders to homesexual community)+(marginalized individuals who choose to receive help from RLM)

The Real Love Ministry whom was founded on the basis of reaching out to homosexuals in Malaysia has their take on the issue.According to RLM, and Ex-gay Vs Pro Gay Approach are very different from each other when talking about engaging the homosexual community. So what differentiates both approaches?

Ex-Gay Approach

Gays can change if they want to, with Jesus nothing is impossible, homosexuality is not God’s intention

Pro-Gay Approach

Gays cannot/shouldn’t change, the church should hold the pro-gay stance, homosexuality is a gift from god-so celebrate it

RLM says that it is not surprised that this issue has surfaced in Malaysia as in other countries even in Asia, such occurrences have been growing rapidly. RLM who takes the Ex-Gay approach and stresses that the Body of Christ in Malaysia needs to take a stand in this sense or more issue will arise later on.In respond to the outcry of The Church of Malaysia, Real Love Ministry has come back with this comments for the uprising of this issue;

1. Body of Christ in Malaysia has limited knowledge +not interest in the subject of Homosexuality and Ex-gay Lifestyle

2. Only 8 churches are up to support the cause of churches who practice the Ex-Gay approach while the rest do not acknowledge or ignore the issue.

3. Most churches suggest gays should be gay without any solutions thus leaving homosexual to fend for themselves and only come up when issues such as PRO-GAY churches arises.(RLM started an ex0gay churuch-2006)

4. The issue of Church leaders not wanting to be called busy-bodies when in right they should make this their business as if you don’t care for these people who will?

If you want to find out about this sort of thing to check out the;

<“Metropolitan Community Church website”> which is based in the US for an insight into church and gays. They have a very interesting outlook of things with an article<“Will Jesus discriminate”>I know that this issue might anger a lot of Christians, each of you have your own opinions no doubt but this sort of thing apparently happens a lot in the US and this is only the beginning as I see it. So what’s your take in this issue? I guess this issue affects all of us Christians or non Christians as the issue of homosexuality and religion includes all of us. I belief its better to face the issue then behave like our leaders and push it under the carpet no matter how sensitive it is.

* This post is not meant to offend either Christians, non-Christians, the gay community or anyone else and it is hope that the comments of this article is well written and do not get nasty as we have to be respectful to all despite our beliefs or inclinations.

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Comments
  1. Hedonese says:

    Cherwith, I am curious that the public statements by rev allen tan is taken to represent the ‘church of malaysia’… That is untrue bcos many christians actually dun feel his approach is the best one to take. Perhaps, for the sake of accuracy, a body like NECF or CCM or CFM wud represent the ‘church of malaysia’? 🙂

  2. cherwith says:

    I agree but most often then not you know how it goes….There are many out there like us who do not feel his approach is the best but I guess we are the minorities in this case.Do you know if any of this bodies has reacted or commented much about this issue publicly? If you do, let me know I shall update it here.

  3. Hedonese says:

    Gay pastor sparks uproar
    From The Star 10 August 2007:
    By LOONG MENG YEE

    KUALA LUMPUR: A controversy has erupted among the Christian community over what they claim is an attempt by a self-confessed gay pastor to set up a church here.

    For the past week, protest e-mail and SMSes have been sent to Rev Ou Yang Wen Feng, a Malaysian pastor who serves at the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in New York. He has been back here for about a week.

    According to the MCC homepage, the church is part of an international movement of Christian churches reaching out to all, including homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals.

    Ou Yang, 37, has drawn much flak from Christians for his plan to hold a Sunday service at a hotel this week.

    He came out of the closet about his homosexuality last year and is said to be the first pastor in Malaysia to do so.

    A columnist in Sin Chew Daily, Ou Yang went to further his studies in the United States on the daily’s scholarship in the 90s.

    When contacted yesterday, Ou Yang said he was merely trying to set up a church “where everybody felt safe and welcomed”.

    It is unfair to label it a gay church, he said, adding that the hate-mail had hurt him.

    “This church is not limited to gays but serves all people. This will be an active church. We have so many community-centred plans, such as assisting the poor, charity work and upholding justice,” he said.

    Ou Yang noted that the New York church served food to 5,000 homeless people and hoped to launch similar programmes here. He plans to return to Malaysia for good in 2010.

    He credits his former wife for giving him strength to be true to himself, acknowledging that she had endured much anguish during their seven-year, childless union.

    Asked if his church would solemnise same sex marriages, he replied: “Same sex marriages are illegal in Malaysia, so how can I perform them? However, I will bless the union.”

    Ou Yang said that his talk in Penang last week received much opposition from “faceless parties”. However, the talk saw a full house of about 200 people instead of the initial estimate of 60.

    “Many are just curious about me. They ask me many things about homosexuality and my life. They just want to know more and not to be converted by me,” he said.

    The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia secretary-general Rev Wong Kin Kong, when contacted, acknowledged the proposed worship on Sunday had sowed anxiety among Christians.

    “One of the reasons for the emotional reaction is because Christians do not want others to assume they condone such a thing,” said Wong.

    He added that the churches could not accept Ou Yang’s version of the church because “it is clear that the Bible prohibits a sexual relationship between people of the same sex. If a person condones same sex marriages, it is definitely violating Christian principles.”

    Wong said the churches had always welcomed all kinds of people, including homosexuals.

    “It is the deviant sexual behaviour we do not condone. We cannot stop him wanting to set up such a kind of church, but the evangelical churches will inform followers of our stand and advise them not to follow this teaching,” he said.

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