SINGAPORE - Thousands of Christians will don white in support of the traditional family unit this weekend even as Hong Lim Park turns pink tomorrow (June 13) for the annual Pink Dot gathering that champions gay rights.
Some Muslims may also turn up in white at mosques when Ramadan comes around next week.
The LoveSingapore network has called on its about 100 churches to encourage their members to turn up for services over the weekend dressed in white. Network chairman and Faith Community Baptist Church senior pastor Lawrence Khong said: "It's a powerful statement of our belief. The natural family is a universally accepted norm and a public good."
At least 10,000 congregants of churches under the network wore white last year. This year, at least 15,000 people from 15 churches will wear white, said Mr Khong.
Last year, voluntary welfare organisation Touch Family Services had wanted to hold a "Red Dot Family Moment" event at the Padang, where supporters would wear red on the same day as the Pink Dot picnic on June 28.
But its application to hold the event was rejected. Touch Family Services is a non-profit group under Touch Community Services, whose board Mr Khong chairs.
Muslim religious teacher Noor Deros also started a Wear White campaign last year as a symbol of "purity" and to signal the community's opposition to homosexuality. He told The Straits Times he is again urging Muslims to wear white this year, on June 17, when the first evening prayer to mark the fasting month of Ramadan is held.
He said: "It's not a counter-reaction to Pink Dot. Wear White is about returning to fitrah (Arabic for natural) and this year we are focusing on educating Muslims on the concept of freedom and love according to Islam."
Last week, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association put up a statement on its Facebook page to remind Muslims that "Islam has clearly outlined the prohibition of attending any event that supports or approves transgression".
Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) church expects about 3,000 people to turn up in white.
Senior pastor Daniel Foo said: "Every human being is precious and loved by God and hence we extend our love for all. However, we will continue to stand firm as one to express our support for pro-family values and the preservation of our moral norms for the well-being of our society."
Pink Dot started with 2,500 people in 2009 and had a turnout of 26,000 last year. This year, several businesses along North Canal Road will give out freebies and sell Pink Dot merchandise.
On the Wear White initiative, a Pink Dot spokesman said: "We welcome any effort to strengthen family ties, and many of those who attend Pink Dot do so with family members who understand the need and importance of maintaining strong familial bonds."