Churchgoers dismiss controversy over Adam Lambert's Singapore gig

Adam Lambert performs at VH1 Divas on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. A church council in Singapore has received complaints over his upcoming Singapore concert. (AP photo)

Several churchgoers that Yahoo! Singapore spoke to dismissed the recent controversy over a complaint reportedly filed to the National Council of Churches (NCCS), over openly gay singer Adam Lambert performing at a venue owned by a church's business unit in Singapore.

Adam Lambert and his concert entourage flew into Singapore late Wednesday afternoon fresh off the Hong Kong leg of his world tour to promote his latest EP, Trespassing. Lambert is set to perform Friday night at The Star Performing Arts Centre (The Star PAC) situated at the new Buona Vista mall, Star Vista.

The performing arts centre is fully owned by Rock Productions, which is the business arm of the New Creation Church (NCC). NCC is part of NCCS, which represents 200 churches in Singapore.

While the singer himself has not commented on the issue on his Twitter channel, @adamlambert, a 22-year-old NCC churchgoer, who is an undergrad, told Yahoo! Singapore that she is “cool” with the gig.

“The church is made up of the people, not the venue. If we come together to praise and worship, that is the (composition of) the church. In order to maintain the venue, at times, it has to be leased out for other purposes,” she explained.

One churchgoer, who attends weekly services at NCC with her two children, said that she and other worshippers she knows are "not at all" bothered by Lambert's performance at The Star PAC.

“It’s a performing arts studio, after all, and we use it as a place for the gathering and worship because we don’t have any other place big enough to fit all of us,” said the manager, who is in her 40s. "They’re (The Star and New Creation Church) are completely separate entities; none of us are bothered by it (Lambert’s upcoming concert) at all."

Audrey Tan, 19, student, also shares a similar opinion. She believes the concert does not compromise the church's standing.

"I know that on non-church days, the venue would be used for commercial concerts as well. I’m not very particular about the concerts that would be held. Last time when we were at the Rock Auditorium, it was also leased out for other performances.

I’m not really a fan of Adam Lambert, but I’m quite neutral towards him. I don’t have any reservations because of his gay lifestyle," said Audrey.

Reactions on Twitter were largely of shock towards the reported complaint. @siricedlatte tweets, "New Creation Church must not be thinking straight", while @foeshitzme tweets, "I applaud New Creation Church for not being affected by what's being said. Plus, it's purely a business decision and nothing else."

Screaming fans welcome Adam Lambert at airport

Lambert was welcomed at Changi Airport by an army of screaming "Glamberts", as his fans are commonly known. Decked out in dark shades and a cap, he smiled briefly for the fans as he was quickly escorted and whisked into his waiting private transport.

Known for his flamboyant fashion sense and soaring vocals, Lambert came out as openly gay after finishing runner-up in the eighth season of American Idol.

While this is not the first time the popular 31-year-old singer is in town to perform, the buzz this time centres on the choice of venue for his gig.

According to The Straits Times, NCCS general secretary Lim K Tham said the council received a complaint from a Christian that “the gay lifestyle may be promoted at the concert, and that the concert venue is owned by a church”.

Lim said to The Straits Times that the NCCS “has conveyed this concern to New Creation (Church) so that it can make a response".

The Media Development Authority (MDA) said it had also received feedback from some members of the public, who “expressed concern” over the Adam Lambert concert.

On Wednesday, the MDA gave the concert an advisory rating for those 16 and above. It also gave the advice that it will have "some mature content" as it will feature two songs of which the lyrics are based on the singer's personal experience and lifestyle.

New Creation Church responds

Responding to the issue, NCC pointed to a statement on 9 February that the performing arts centre “is a commercial entity” under Rock Productions.

NCC said, “The Star PAC operates its business independently from NCC with a strict arms-length policy in place.”

The church also noted that all public events must have a public entertainment licence from the police, and that government bodies, including the Media Development Authority, will deal with “issues of public decency”.

“Any event or concert presented at The Star PAC should not be misconstrued or misunderstood as having NCC approving of its artistic presentation or endorsing the lifestyle of the performer. Concerts are a celebration of the arts and the artistes,” said NCC.

NCC also noted that its senior pastor and founder Joseph Prince does not sit on its board and “is neither involved nor kept abreast of management decisions of the business entities under Rock (Productions)”.

No mention in the statement was made about Adam Lambert or his performance.