Religious groups on teachings and sexual orientation

While Christian and Muslim groups have voiced opposition to the LGBT communities in recent years, leaders from other religious groups in Singapore said their religious teachings do not frown upon those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

"Hinduism does not condemn anyone based on their sexual orientation, and an LGBT person's orientation is not viewed as a fault of the individual as it is a human condition," said Mr S.Ravenderan, past vice-president of the Hindu Centre.

The Singapore Buddhist Federation's Venerable Seck Kwang Phing said the Buddhist scriptures have "no objection" to lay people of different sexual orientations. "But one should uphold moral expectations regardless of sexual orientation, such as restraining from extra-marital affairs if one is married".

Studies conducted by Nanyang Technological University academics, led by Associate Professor Benjamin Detenber from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, have found that Singaporeans' views on homosexuality are slowly becoming more positive.

In 2005, about 69 per cent of respondents had negative attitudes about homosexuality while 23 per cent were positive. Five years later, about 65 per cent were negative and 25 per cent or so were positive.

The NTU studies also found that religiosity is a major factor in determining attitudes towards homosexuals, with Muslims and Christians expressing the strongest opposition to homosexuality.

65%

Respondents in an NTU study in 2010 who had negative attitudes about homosexuality.

25%

Those who were positive.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said while it does not condone homosexuality, it "calls for the community to be respectful of others and advises to adopt a non-confrontational approach". "Muis encourages the Singapore Muslim community to continue to seek knowledge for the benefit and betterment of the society and to manifest good moral values always," added a spokesman.

Yuen Sin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'Religious groups on teachings and sexual orientation'. Print Edition | Subscribe