Over 6,400 Christians dressed in white on Sunday afternoon to attend a special “family worship” service conducted by Singapore’s Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC), according to organisers.
The service was held at a full-house Suntec Convention Centre and led by FCBC founder and pastor Lawrence Khong, who earlier called on his followers to wear white over the weekend to protest the annual Pink Dot gay rights rally on Saturday.
Khong, who supports keeping a Singapore law that criminalises sex between men, released a statement on Friday pointing to the Pink Dot movement as a “decline of moral and family values".
— FCBC (@FCBCsg) June 29, 2014
Into its sixth year running, Pink Dot saw an estimated record-breaking crowd of 26,000 gather at Hong Lim Park to discourage gay discrimination.
Despite the increasing number of people participating in Pink Dot annually, Singapore remains a largely conservative society.
In a survey on social morality released by the Institute of Policy Studies earlier this year, 78.2 per cent of respondents said sexual relations between two adults of the same sex was wrong, and 72.9 per cent did not agree with gay marriage.
“Pink Dot is right to protest for greater freedom and equality. I respect their push for greater inclusion,” said FCBC member Teo Yee Nam ahead of the Sunday service. “But I feel they have to be mindful of society’s stance on the traditional grounds of marriage.”
Other FCBC members Yahoo Singapore spoke to concurred, saying they were wearing white not to explicitly oppose Pink Dot, but to support their pastor Khong and the idea of a traditional family unit involving one man, one woman and children.
“We’re just coming together to worship God, and wearing white to have the spirit of supporting family,” said Maisy, a 39-year-old homemaker. “Pink Dot have their own position. We don’t have anything against them… after all, we’re all Singaporeans.”
The campaign to wear white was originally started more than a week ago by Singaporean Muslim teacher Ustaz Noor Deros, who asked Muslims to avoid Pink Dot and instead don white garments for Ramadan eve prayers on Saturday night.
Not all Muslims seemed to be aware of the initiative when Yahoo visited the prominent Masjid Sultan at Kampong Glam, but others elsewhere posted photos of themselves wearing white on social media under the hashtag “#wearwhite”.