LGBT Activists Attack Singapore Pastor Featured by RICE Media


“I feel very judged by those who refuse to acknowledge that I have, and I should have, a choice on how I respond to my attraction. I feel very judged by those who accuse me of being hateful whenever I speak about my experience or finding fulfilment for myself. I feel very judged by those who want to silence me on my own experience.” – Pastor Chang Tou Chen

You would think that after an emphatic callout of bad behaviour like that by an ex-gay man formerly featured on, those he was calling out would have felt some shame and taken pause for reflection.

Well if you did, you would also be wrong.

In early May, Singapore sociopolitical site Inconvenient Questions (IQ) posted an interview with Christian pastor Chang Tou Chen. Tou Chen reported leaving the “gay lifestyle” and having broken through the “grip of addiction” to sex, instead finding fulfilment in his Christian faith. He adds that he still experiences same-sex attraction, though he responds differently to it now.

Hosted by IQ Chief Editor and former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Viswa Sadasivan, the series seeks to be “robust but reasonable; hard-hitting but fair”. It seeks to openly and thoughtfully confront issues through “collective effort, meaningful competition of views and respectful listening”. IQ is produced by Strategic Moves in collaboration with RICE Media.

Shortly after RICE Media posted a brief clip of the interview on its Instagram account, it received a number of comments accusing it of promoting “conversion therapy” and harming LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.) people.

The clip was quickly removed from its Instagram account. Fortunately, the YouTube interview hosted on Inconvenient Question’s youtube channel remains online.

Surprisingly good work from RICE Media, but…

First, kudos where it’s due. RICE Media pleasantly surprised by defying the traditional liberal echo chamber and featuring the interview with Chang Tou Chen on their platform.

Likewise, Viswa Sadasivan demonstrated his integrity by making good on an earlier commitment to explore non-affirming approaches to Homosexuality while modeling fair-minded inquiry as Inconvenient Questions’ founding host.

This fairness is consistent with the ethos of Strategic Moves’ IQ programme, to address inconvenient questions surrounding LGBTQ+ topics, and to explore at greater depth, the experiences of those who do not conform to the narratives and slogans often seen in public debates.

However, RICE Media’s regrettable removal of the brief interview clip from its Instagram account as soon as pressure arose reflects a lack of backbone and commitment to basic journalistic values. It’s also the latest in a long list of instances in which local indie-media outfits in Singapore show that they’re more in service of ideology than they are of the free expression of views and the commitment to truth-seeking through open discourse.

Taking down the video reflected poor thinking because ⁠none of the accusations were ever proven to have had merit. Further, the removal cements the perception of RICE Media as a mere woke echo-chamber, deterring any participation with RICE Media in the future from centrists and reasonable folk. Third, capitulating to censorious pressure only emboldens social bullies to continue with their poor behaviour – especially now that they know that their performative outrage works.

The Left Will Eat Its Own

For the longest time, RICE Media has had absolutely no issues running pro-LGBTQ+ stories on its website and social media, as well as various content on polyamory, “sex work”, and more. One would think that their audience would be well aware of their editorial leanings.

RICE may recommend learning about relationships from polyamorists, but Regardless doesn’t.

And yet, the moment a reasonable non-affirming voice was featured, several activists piled on, lambasting the mere fact that the views of Tou Chen had been given a “platform”, characterising his view as “harmful.”

Some of the comments assumed RICE Media’s ideological leanings or biases by specifically questioning why RICE Media would produce or platform his views.

Needless to say, the irony of their censorious campaign was lost on them as they acted out, on-cue and as predicted, Tou Chen’s lament that individuals like himself were some of the most bullied by the LGBT community and their allies.

All of this was despite the fact that the IQ interview began with a fair and reasonable disclaimer: “The views expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not reflect the views of Strategic Moves and RICE Media.”

One might be minded to have sympathy for RICE, which didn’t do a half-bad job on this particular project.

On the other hand, they’ve long chosen their bedfellows through their editorial preferences, and as the saying goes, “You made your bed, now lie in it”.

Fortunately, the church that Tou Chen serves at has mounted a robust defence of the Pastor.

Cancel Culture

The incident reflects the cancel culture concerns which the Government noted and acknowledged during the debates over the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code, the former law which criminalised acts of “gross indecency” between males.

Back in 2022, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam expressed his concerns on cancel culture, noting that “We won’t allow five people to gang up and beat you up. That’s against the law. It seems to be possible and happens in a virtual sense, on the Internet.”

Raj Nadarajan | TODAY

In another interview, he said: “We should not allow a culture where people of religion are ostracised, attacked, for espousing their views, or their disagreements with LGBT viewpoints. And vice versa, whether pro- or anti-LGBT.”

Such cancel culture is intolerant, a threat to freedom of speech, and harmful for society as a whole. It harms the process of truth-seeking, even for those people who sincerely believe that the views espoused by the interviewee, Tou Chen are wrong and misguided.

As J.S. Mill wrote in his seminal 1859 treatise On Liberty, a person who “knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that”. Instead, in order to arrive at the truth,

“He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of; else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty.”

J.S. Mill, On Liberty

This incident involving RICE Media validates the concern about cancel culture, as well as Tou Chen’s concern expressed in the quote cited at the start of the article, revealing just how judgmental LGBT Activists are towards people like him and those who defy the convention of having to live as a out-and-proud gay man.

What is “Conversion Therapy”, and is it Harmful?

So, what are these allegations of “conversion therapy”, and is this “conversion therapy” harmful?

According to Independent Expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz in his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, “conversion therapy” is an “umbrella term” to describe “interventions of a wide-ranging nature”. These are “premised on the belief that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity, including gender expression, can and should be changed or suppressed”. He adds that such practices are “consistently aimed at effecting a change from non-heterosexual to heterosexual and from trans or gender diverse to cisgender”.

The problem with this “umbrella” term of “conversion therapy” is that the scope of acts being described is extremely wide. On one hand, there are acts which are clearly harmful, such as beatings, “corrective-rape”, isolation and confinement, and electrocution. On the other hand, there are other purely speech-based interventions such as prayer, counselling, and talk therapy.

The question around speech-based forms of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) was examined closely by a United States Court of Appeals in a 2020 decision. In that case, the majority of judges found that the documents cited before it (including a key 2009 report by the American Psychological Association) “offer assertions rather than evidence, at least regarding the effects of purely speech-based SOCE”.

The Court noted a “complete lack” of “rigorous recent prospective research”, and “no clear indication of the prevalence of harmful outcomes among people who have undergone” SOCE.

In fact, the same 2009 American Psychological Association report noted that some people reported “perceptions of relief, happiness, improved relationships with God, and perceived improvement in mental health status, among other reported benefits” after undergoing SOCE.

Giving a Voice to a “Micro-minority”

What this entire episode reveals is that the debate is more than meets the eye. It is really a debate over human nature or, to use a more technical term, “anthropology”.

To paraphrase the words of one Regardless contributor in a previous piece, LGBT activists assert an orthodoxy where ‘self-fulfilment’ lies in finding and expressing one’s ‘true self’ regardless of the dictates of one’s physiology, community or society, while change or suppression of one’s SOGI is seen as harmful and immoral.

The mere existence of people like Tou Chen and the platforming of his story contradicts that narrative, and presents a view that self-fulfilment can be found in ways other than living according to one’s sexual or gender desires. Instead, it shows that there are other ways to live one’s life and find happiness and fulfilment. For him, he feels that his Christian faith “did not leave [him] empty afterwards” after the experience but “very whole”.

At the end of the IQ interview, Tou Chen conveyed his appreciation to the interviewer Viswa for standing up for “micro-minorities” like himself who choose a different way of life:

“I think you’re doing the country a favour and even the world a favour in standing up for the right of minorities, and especially micro-minorities, to find out that they have a choice to be able to choose that choice without victimisation without bullying without harassment, without being silenced by slogans and to be able to express that choice celebrate that choice publicly without being cancelled and shut down.”

Will this continue to hold true, or will RICE Media continue to cave to the pressure of LGBT Activists and remain an ideological echo chamber?

Share this article

Recent posts


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent comments