Tag Archive | "homophobia"

FF Podcast (Audio) 47: Secular DepEd, Catholic Bullies, and Ramon Bautista

FF Podcast 47: Secular DepEd, Catholic Bullies, and Ramon Bautista

In this week’s jam-packed episode, we talk about the Philippine government, for once, respecting secularism by removing “God-loving” from the Department of Education vision statement. Then, we talk about Pro-Life Philippines President Eric Manalang and his homophobic and violent comments against Carlos Celdran. We also talk a bit about Ramon Bautista and his being declared persona non grata by the Davao City local government.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in audio podcast, Education, Politics, Secularism, SocietyComments (0)

In Defense of Miriam Quiambao

So former Bb. Pilipinas titlist Miriam Quiambao has been taking a lot of criticism from the pro-LGBT crowd for her anti-gay statements on a tv show and on her twitter. I regret that I too have tweeted some pretty angry messages about her regarding this issue. I should have taken my own advice about not tweeting when angry, because I now wish I could take back what I’ve written about wanting to take a shower after reading this Rappler article.

Miriam Quiambao (Photo taken from http://nudefilipina.blogspot.com .)

(Photo taken from http://nudefilipina.blogspot.com .)

Yes, Ms. Q has shown herself to be a homophobe. But it’s not her fault. Not really. Because she loves God — the one who says that the gay lifestyle is evil — and therefore she has to believe that homosexual behavior is immoral. She obviously doesn’t want to believe this — she says she loves the LGBT folks — but since her god tells her that gay sex is wrong, she clearly doesn’t have a choice. If a Christian saves a bunch of orphans from starvation, do we give them our gratitude for it? Of course not — you give thanks to the Chrisian God. Being a Christian, they didn’t have a choice but to save the orphans. In the same way, we can’t blame Ms. Q for her actions or her opinions. She was doing her duty. Like she said: don’t shoot her, she’s just the messenger.

This brings me to my second point: that getting angry at beauty queens for their opinions is silly. First of all, they’re not supposed to have opinions in the first place. At least not opinions of their own. Oh, I’m pretty sure a lot of of these contestants have their own views, values and opinions, and will stand up for them (I knew a lovely girl who once braved public derision in order to follow her heart, and years later she won the Bb. Pilipinas-International title). It’s just that they have to make it seem like these views come from somewhere that is acceptable, like their parents, their priests, and their gods. That’s why a lot of interview answers at pageants include disclaimers like “This is how my parents raised me”, “The bible says…” and “As a Christian, I was taught to believe…” After all, in this age of female doctors, female lawyers and female heads of state, beauty pageants are here to remind us all not just that a woman’s main role is to be decorative (that swimsuit competition is there so we can judge the size of her boobs, not her IQ) but also that she cannot have an opinion that goes against her society, her parents or her god. How many beauty pageant contestants do you know who espouse something really controversial like, say, insisting that women be not be paraded around like meat for entertainment purposes? Or that a person shouldn’t have to be skinny to be considered beautiful? Why, she’d be laughed off the stage. By taking absolutely no responsibility for her anti-gay views, Ms. Q has proven beyond doubt why she deserved to be crowned Bb. Pilipinas and declared first-runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant.

So yes, I apologize for my angry tweets. In my own defense, it was only because I have very strong opinions against people espousing prejudice and using religion as an excuse for their bigotry. Especially since I don’t agree with most religions and I’m not sure if the wars, witch burnings, child molestations and general oppression of women and gays that arise from them make religions worth having around. Furthermore, I absolutely claim these views as mine and am not blaming my parents or a deity for my views and opinions, but it just goes to show why (among many other reasons, including my unladylike fat hips) I, unlike Ms. Q, am not beauty queen material.

Tania N. Arpa blogs about being a geek in the city in The Entropy Blog. She is also on Twitter.

Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Religion, SocietyComments (9)

Michigan’s Religious Bullying Bill

With the reproductive health bill still stuck in legislation, our legislators need a lesson or two about religious freedom. But I hope they don’t follow Michigan’s example.

Michigan recently passed an anti-bullying bill, but instead of discouraging bullies, the bill seems to empower them with a familiar excuse: religion. The bill allows bullying so long as it’s done in the name of God. Anti-bullying? The bill should have been named “Religious Bullying.”

Imagine the following scene:

Harvey: Teacher, teacher! Billy is calling me names and throwing rocks at me!
Teacher: Why are you doing this, Harvey?
Billy: Because Harvey’s a homo!
Teacher: Who told you it’s OK to do this?
Billy: My dad told me that God told him it’s OK, and God hates fags!
Teacher: Oh, in that case, carry on then.

Ironically, the Religious Bullying bill is called “Matt’s Safe School Law,” after Matt Epling, a bullied student who killed himself in 2002. Understandably, Matt’s father is not happy:

Matt’s father, Kevin Epling, expressed his dismay in a Facebook post after the state senate vote on Wednesday. “I am ashamed that this could be Michigan’s bill on anti-bullying,” wrote Epling. “For years the line [from Republicans] has been ‘no protected classes,’ and the first thing they throw in…was a very protected class, and limited them from repercussions of their own actions.”

Last year, in the span of around a month, at least five teens committed suicide because they were bullied for being gay. States such as Michigan are trying to respond, but I doubt that sectarian solutions such as the Religious Bullying bill will do anything to prevent incidents like this from happening. On the contrary, it gives a religious justification to actual bullies and a religious motivation to potential ones.

And Michigan students do not need a law to motivate them to bully homosexuals. They only need to follow their parents’ examples:

At the federal level, they unsuccessfully fought for the inclusion of a provision protecting religious freedom when Congress expanded the definition of a hate crime to include crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation. They also strongly oppose legislation that would prevent discrimination against gay individuals in the workplace, charging that such a law would endanger religious freedom. A report on the Christian Broadcasting Network outlined one such concern: “The special protections for gay and transgendered teachers will make it extremely difficult for [public school] districts that might want to remove them from the classroom.”

In the Philippines, Catholic bullies use religious freedom to justify kicking out unwed pregnant mothers from Catholic schools. They use religious freedom to justify denying even non-Catholics the right to remarry. They use religious freedom to justify denying homosexuals the right to marry and be free from discrimination and violence. And to block the passage of the RH Bill, they use religious freedom to justify denying Filipinos their right to plan their families, protect themselves from HIV and pregnancy complications, and choose what’s best for their own bodies.

As Amy Sullivan wrote, they’re getting religious freedom wrong:

Social conservatives believe that efforts to protect gays from assault, discrimination or bullying impinge on their religious freedom to express and act on their belief that homosexuality is an abomination…

This belief, however, relies on a warped understanding of religious liberty. Freedom of religious expression doesn’t give someone the right to kick the crap out of a gay kid or to verbally torment her. It doesn’t give someone the right to fire a gay employee instead of dealing with the potential discomfort of working with him…

The same religious conservatives who applaud the religious exemption in Michigan’s anti-bullying bill would be appalled if it protected a Muslim student in Dearborn who defended bullying a Christian classmate by saying he considered her an infidel.

Worst of all, such abuses of the concept of religious liberty undermine efforts to focus attention on serious threats to religious freedom. A Christian pastor in Iran currently faces execution because he will not convert back to Islam. China openly represses religious minorities like Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims. Christians in Syria and Egypt continue to be targets of violence, and Muslims in Europe face civil penalties for wearing religious garb in public. Next to these realities, it takes a serious persecution complex to get worked up about defending the right of a Michigan high school student to target a gay classmate for ridicule.

I hope our legislators take the time to read Michigan’s Religious Bullying Bill. It serves as a perfect example of how religious freedom is done wrong.

Posted in Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (4)