Forum: Common ground between religious moral values and secularism amid LGBTQ matters

I disagree that the separation of state and religion in Singapore means religious groups do not have the right to impose their beliefs on non-believers (Religious beliefs should not dictate laws relating to LGBTQ matters, Aug 3).

In Singapore, a secular state, contentious moral issues such as Section 377A are best communicated not on the platforms of religious language but on secular ones. Nevertheless, this does not mean the non-influence of religious values.

In 1991, the Government formalised the five shared values of Singapore, part of which concerned morality and religion.

It was stated that the Government recognised that "religion is for many Singaporeans the source of their sense of morality... (and) religious faith is a constructive social force".

The separation of state and religion does not imply the separation of the state and religious moral values. This separation is impossible in Singapore's context.

There is a common ground between religious moral values and secularism, which is natural law. Natural law provides a common ground for the secular society and the religious community to discuss ethical issues based on the belief that there is an objective, universal human ethic.

That is why humanity shares common moral values such as "do not kill our fellow person", and different states share common laws that protect society.

Deep inside most of us, we know marriage is formed when two heterosexual persons commit to one another to build a family, whether one is a believer in a religion or not. This objective understanding reflects the existence of natural law.

The Catholic Church calls for the Government to protect traditional marriage if it were to repeal Section 377A because natural law is the foundation of religious moral values which promote traditional marriage. A non-believer can share that value without becoming a believer.

Jervin Lim Teng Lai

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