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愛本身才是家庭基礎,不是你愛的是誰 Love itself, not who you love, is the basis of family

湯漢樞機以及天主教會以不容忍的態度與偏見,宣揚他們對同性戀關係和婚姻的理解,方禮倫認為,他們代表本性的腐敗。他敦促香港天主教社群,應更加高尚、更人性化地宣揚愛的訊息,這才是信仰的真義。譯文由 Alan Chiu 提供,英文原文在譯文之下。

By promoting an understanding of homosexual relationships and marriage based on intolerance and bigotry, Evan argues that it is Cardinal John Tong Hon and the Catholic Church who represent a corruption of nature. He urges the Catholic community in Hong Kong to find relevance in their faith through a more noble, and humane, message of love. The Chinese translation is provided by Alan Chiu.

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上個周末,是一年一度的同志遊行,全球也有不同的慶祝活動。而香港的天主教會(再次)提醒我們,他們的信仰是多麼傲慢、無知與不容異己。

首先,湯漢樞機公開呼籲選民,在區選投票時,要留意候選人有關同志議題的立場。區議員是無立法權力,呼籲的真正政治意義,其實是向將會很快參選的立法會議員施壓。其後為了安撫外間情緒,輔理主教楊鳴章又將同性戀與吸毒比較。

他們是真誠地提出意見;天主教社群的大部份人都支持兩位主教的說話。從中,我們可看出現實的教會,扭曲「愛」的訊息。

發表這些意見的時機自然受傳媒注意——教會亦早已預計到。因為這些「恐同」與政治訊息怎樣看也不尋常。對同性戀的立場以及同性婚姻問題所產生的問題,教會經已政治動員教徒,最明顯的莫過於湯漢樞機 9 月 21 日發出的牧函。

湯漢以《人類生態與家庭:「鞏固婚姻﹔不應重新界定婚姻!」》為題,公開警告教徒以及社會大眾,,同性戀婚姻假如立法,即是承認同性關係和賦予同志跟異性戀相似的權利,這不單是不道德更是違背自然定律,而這種關係將會嚴重挑戰社會價值觀。

藉著天主教的「人類生態」概念,湯漢引用教宗方濟各所說:「人類生態也意味着另一深層的現實∶人類生命和道德律之間的關係。這關係銘刻在我們的本性之内,並且對建立更具尊嚴的環境來說是必要的。」以及「人也有一個他必須尊重和不能任意操控的本性」,否定同性戀的地位。

我們要記著,這種「本性」並非從理性或是科學角度出發,亦非從觀察與証據所得,而是盲從聖經經文——這種經文的詮釋亦時常被人用作奴役、種族屠殺和強姦的藉口。

同性關係經已在超過 450 種不同動物品種中記錄到,而根據 2012 年耶魯科學雜誌的一篇文章,現存於世的所有物種,當中有超過 10% 都有出現同性戀,是自然不過的關係。而且,我們也有確鑿的証據証明為何同性戀有演化的可能性,以及為何這種關係對生存更有利。該文章指出,加州大學的生物學研究發現,許多品種中的同性配對,「實際上減少離婚的可能性;允許種族成員有更高靈活性的伴侶關係,亦能減低異性間的壓力,從而加強社會的聯繫,減少競爭。」總之,同性戀關係會加強社會中存在的所有關係。沒有人天生「恐同」,自小,我們的本性是去愛人。

同性戀既非本性的腐敗,也不是不自然的。人類以信仰之名而「恐同」,才是本質上的腐敗。

湯漢的牧函又譴責美國最高法院 Obergefell v Hodges 一案同性婚姻立法的裁決。他說,婚姻關乎一男一女之間的結合,是「原始而客觀的真理」,又問:「法院是根據什麼獲授權去重新定義婚姻?」

這種「真理」從來都未有過,歷史亦告訴我們,婚姻在不同時代、文化也有不同的理解。今時今日,很多人都不再視婚姻為家庭的契約,而這卻曾是很多歐洲基督徒的歷史標誌。

婚姻作為一個概念與一種社會制度,早於基督教誕生之前經已存在。在很多基督教的歷史中,婚姻並非信仰的規管範圍,而是由國家所規定的法律合同。因此,美國法院的判決與「重新定義」婚姻相差甚遠,法官僅僅修改法律定義,以更好地體現社會價值,賦予適當權力給人民。真正的問題應該是,教會有什麼權利去定義婚姻?

信徒可能會聲稱這是來自神聖的權威。先不論別人支配我們選擇與誰一起的權利是否正確,但你相信權威,不等於能強加於不信的人身上。我自身的權威從自己的能力而來,並由批判性思考所塑造成而。「信仰」對非信徒來說半點意義也沒有。

現代知識型的社會著重進步與體諒。假如天主教會在這種社會中有地位的話(我相信是有的),它必須是個支持性的機構,促進愛、寬容和謙卑等的美德。教會說得很正確,這樣溫文的美德,因為社會經常被競爭和個人主義滋生的貪婪與自私所主宰,而於世上黯然失色。

但湯漢的牧函,無論內容和發表時機,突顯天主教會以謙卑包裝偏見和傲慢、以仁義宣揚不容異己、以愛的名義發酵仇恨。

現在是時候,香港市民和天主教社群向湯漢樞機與輔理主教楊鳴章發出明確的訊息,他們對於同性戀的理解是錯誤的。信仰沒有賦予他們權力去定義世俗機構的「婚姻」。請告訴教會,自然有自我的本質,並非每每都是他們樂於見到的——這是只他們為自己的偏見辯解。請擁抱我們本能的感受,不做偏見、不容異見和仇恨的奴隸。我們必須發出明確的訊息,愛是美麗的、是值得慶賀的;愛不是關於我們的性取向,而是伴侶之間的愛,這才是建立家庭的基石。

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Last weekend, as people around the world celebrated Gay Pride, a once a year event, the Hong Kong Catholic Church saw fit to (again) remind us of the arrogance, ignorance and intolerance of their faith.

First we had Cardinal John Tong Hon openly call for voters to take into account a candidates position on gay rights in the upcoming district council elections. Whilst district councillors may not have the power to legislate, this call is politically significant in the message it sends to legislators who will themselves shortly be up for election.

Seeking to ease the controversy, auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung then weighed in by comparing homosexuality to drug abuse. It is revealing that both these comments were made in good faith and, in the later case, as a conciliatory gesture. By-and-large the Catholic community have stood by these statements. In the Church’s distorted sense of reality, this is a message of “love”.

Whilst the timing of these statements meant they would – as was surely expected – catch media attention, the homophobic and political message is by no means unusual. The position of the Church on homosexuality, and the view that same-sex marriage was an issue around which the faithful were being politically mobilised, was evident in Cardinal Tong Hon’s pastoral letter of the 21st September.

Entitled Human Ecology and the Family, Cardinal Tong Hon’s letter was an open warning to both the faithful and the community at large that legalising same-sex marriage, in effect recognising and according loving homosexual relationships the same familial right as heterosexual ones, was both immoral and unnatural, and that such relationships posed a serious challenge to the values upon which our society is built.

Referencing the Catholic concept of human ecology, Tong Hon quoted Pope Francis in saying “the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment,” and that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.”

Let us remember that this is not nature as understood by either reason or science, or on observation and evidence; but on blind faith in scripture that has, at times and among others, been interpreted to condones slavery, genocide and rape.

Homosexual relationships have been documented in over 450 different animal species, and according to a 2012 article in Yale Scientific, is present in more than 10% of all prevailing species. Not only are these relationships natural, there is corroborating evidence to show why they likely evolved and why such relationships are beneficial for survival. As the article lays out, research conducted by biologists at the University of California have found evidence to suggest that same-sex pairing in many species “actually alleviates the likelihood of divorce and curtails the pressure on the opposite sex by allowing members to exhibit more flexibility to form partnerships, which in turn strengthens social bonds and reduces competition.” In short, homosexual relations strengthen all relationships that existing within a society. No one is born homophobic. From childhood, what we by nature relate to is love.

Homosexuality is neither a corruption of nature nor is it unnatural. What is a corruption of nature, and a trait found only in our species and only after the advent of religious faith, is homophobia.

Cardinal Tong Hon’s letter also castigates the US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges to legalise same-sex marriage. He speaks of “a primordial and objective truth, namely that marriage involves a union between a man and a woman.” He then asks, “What, then, gives the Court the right to redefine marriage in the first place?”

Not only is there no such “truth”, but history also shows us that marriage has been understood differently through the ages and between cultures. Today, for many, it is no longer the contract between families that it once signified for much of the history of Christian Europe.

As both a concept and as a social institution, marriage predates Christianity. For much of Christian history, marriage was viewed as being outside the remit of faith. It was a legal contract defined by the state. As such, far from “redefining” marriage, the courts are merely refining their a legal definition to better reflect social values and the people from whom their authority is derived. The real question should be on what right does the Church claim to define marriage?

The believer may claim divine authority. But a believed authority can not be imposed on those who do not believe, let alone recognise it’s right to dictate who we choose to live. My own sense of authority is derived from my own faculties, and shaped by critical reasoning. “Faith” means nothing to the faithless.

If there is a role for the Catholic Church in a modern, knowledge driven society that values progress and understanding – and I do believe there is – it must be as a supportive institution that fosters love, tolerance and humility. The Church is right in saying that such virtues – the gentle virtues – are too often overshadowed by a world dominated by competition and a sense of individualism that breeds greed and selfishness.

As Cardinal Tong Hon’s message illustrates, in both content and in its timing, the Catholic Church in practice dresses bigotry and arrogance in humility, preaches intolerance in righteousness, and ferments hatred in the name of love.

It is time Hong Kong people and the Catholic community send a clear message to the likes of Cardinal Tong Hon and Bishop Yeung that they are wrong in their understanding of homosexuality, and that their faith does not give them the right to define the secular institution that is marriage. Tell the Church to acknowledge nature for what it is, and not for what they want it to be – a justification for their own prejudice; to embrace what we feel instinctively, and not be slaves to bigotry, intolerance and hate. We should send a clear message that love is beautiful and should be celebrated, and that it is not our sex but the love between partners that is the bedrock on which a family is built.

For the sake of their Church, and in the best spirit of their more progressive predecessors who helped shape our society, they would do better to be a reflection of the modern, inclusive and progressive society that Hong Kong is at its best.

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About the Author

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Born and raised in Hong Kong, Evan is a writer, essayist and commentator. He has written and been published on a broad range of topics, from art, literature and aesthetic, to social and political commentaries, with a particular focus on issues of culture and identity.

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