Tag Archive | "homosexuality"

An Open Letter to Miriam Quiambao: Let’s defend every word in the Bible!

The following piece was inspired by this letter.

Dear Miriam Quiambao,


Congratulations on standing up for the truth given by God in the Bible! Literally interpreting the Bible is what we should really do. The word of God is the word of God. Those who believe in God shouldn’t doubt the Bible: each word in the Bible, each punctuation mark, each syllable was written by the owner and creator of the universe, period. I love your zealous and unwavering faith that everything that the Bible says is true and that we should follow it.

I know that we should take the Bible as it is. There’s no doubt that God forbids cross-dressing; Deuteronomy 22:5 says that. Leviticus 18:22 implies that homosexuality is an abomination to God’s eyes as well. But I’m having some problems with other verses in the Bible. Please help me with what to do about them because, just like you, I want to live my life in accordance with the word of God.

1. According to Genesis, God only created men and women. Nothing else, no one in between. Just either men or women. Now, Genesis 1:5 says that God created only evening and morning. There was no mention about afternoon, dusk, dawn, midnight, the blue hour, etc. As a literal follower of the Bible, how should I regard these “other” parts of the day? To borrow your own words, are they the “lies of the devil?” Why do we have these abominations? Is God testing my faith?

2. I’m so confused about what to wear now, Miriam. I feel that I’m such an abomination in the eyes of God. You know why? Detueronomy 22:11. God clearly and literally forbids wearing clothing made of fabric that are combined together, such as wool and linen woven together. I have lots of clothes made of combined fabric. What should I do with them? Should I change my wardrobe and burn all these clothes, just like how God burned Sodom and Gomorrah? Miriam, please promise us, in the name of the Truth contained in the Bible, that you will never ever wear such clothes! Moreover, Deuteronomy 22:12 says that we should place tassels on the four corners of the cloaks we wear. Why didn’t your evening gown during the Ms. Universe pageant in 1999 have any tassels? Was this a flaw in the design? Or was the gown designed by the devil? Oh my God, Miriam, please burn that gown now, as that is not something God wants you to wear! Save your soul, sister!

3. I’m so disturbed by how marriage laws in our country work, Miriam. Clearly, this country will rot in hell. Why? It is not following Deuteronomy 22:13-20. We should include virginity tests for women before they get married. And if it’s proven that these women are not virgins, we should stone them to death just like how Deuteronomy 22:21 recommends! Miriam, please tell me you were a virgin when you married your husband!

4. I want to share the truth of the Bible to my neighbor, Miriam. Here’s the case: The woman’s husband died recently; and they have no children. Deuteronomy 25:5 clearly says that in situations like this, the woman is only allowed to marry her brother-in-law. They are not following this. Should I go to them and share to them this Universal Truth so that they can follow what the Lord wants?

5. Miriam, I wonder how we can implement Deuteronomy 25:13. It says that we shouldn’t have two different weights in our bags. Can you share to me the weights of the contents of your bag?

6. Leviticus 1:14-17 says that the smell of burning dove and pigeon is an aroma pleasing to the Lord. I tried to burn doves and pigeons yesterday as part of my daily routine in pleasing God but my neighbor stopped me. He said this is cruelty to animals. Can you help me pray over my neighbor’s soul so he can finally see the Truth?

7. I’m very troubled by the presence of Lydia’s Lechon in our neighborhood. Leviticus 3:17 clearly says that we must not eat any fat. Can you support my petition against Lydia’s Lechon?

8. Why do people go to dermatologists, Miriam? Isn’t this a clear violation of the word of God? Leviticus 13:2 is clear: We must go to a priest, not a dermatologist.

9. One of my neighbors is poor. I advised the father of the household to sell one of his daughters as a slave so they can have money. He told me that I was insane. I told them God clearly allows this in Exodus 21:7. How much do you think he should sell his daughter for?

10. Miriam, why do people work on the Sabbath day? Exodus 35:2 clearly forbids this. Should we start putting them to death as the Bible recommends?

11. A lot of Filipinas work as domestic helpers in other countries. Most of them are beaten by their employers. Should we condemn their employers or should we just allow them to be beaten up as long as they can get up after a day or two, as what Exodus 21:20-21 wants us to do? It does say, “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”

A friend of mine told me that these words should not be taken out of context. I told him, No! These words are the words of God and they apply in every context, at all times, everywhere and every time, as God’s words are eternal. Deuteronomy 26:16 is clear about this: “The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.” When I told him about that, he told me that God is shit. Oh dear, that comment ended our friendship. And I’m now actually planning the time and place where our entire barangay can stone him to death as recommended by Leviticus 24:16. Would you like to join us in fulfilling what the Lord our God wants us to do? Where can I send the invitation?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Let’s defend every word in the Bible!


Your number 1 fan,


Posted in Advocacy, Gender Rights, Humor, Religion, SocietyComments (18)

What Would a True Catholic Philippines Look Like?

It is quite clear that in an allegedly secular nation, politicians here in the Philippines are largely guided by their religion, which is more often than not Roman Catholicism. This is evident from the chapels in public institutions such as Philippine Science High School to the President’s “advisers” that invariably include at least one man of the cloth. And, there is truly no cause for complaint, if Roman Catholicism is, in fact, the one true religion.

If you allow that no politician is simply abusing the gullibility of their constituents and that they actually believe in the truth of Roman Catholicism, then the people who govern us are simply running on what they think are accurate observations of the universe. Every prayer before Congress and every “year of our Lord” in Presidential Proclamations are not mere statements of opinion or rhetorical flourishes, these are reiterations of accepted facts. Or, rather, “facts.”

The claims of the religious, whether moral or theological, are factual claims. For the former, moral claims are facts about conscious experience. For the latter, theological claims are facts about how the universe in general operates. Both are claims about how material stuff (particles and such) interact with the world.

Avoiding the unimpressive arguments for the existence of the specific Catholic flavor of Yahweh, let us, like millions of Filipinos, simply take this on faith. How would the much-desired fully-realized Catholic Nation of the Philippines look?

For a start, all faith-based holidays not in the Roman Catholic calendar will be erased. This is because the truth of Catholicism necessarily negates the contradictory truth claims of all other religions, from similar Paganism to largely foreign Hinduism. This shouldn’t worry kids who pray for school cancellations since there’s still pretty much a saint for anything and any day. Secular holidays such as Labor Day may continue to exist, but in the form of feasts for one of the myriad saints “venerated” by Catholics. It may perhaps be replaced by a day for Saint Joseph the Carpenter, a model laborer and cuckold, or for Saint Matthew the Tax Collector, to remind us of the price of civilization.

A Catholic Nation of the Philippines would be different from the Vatican in that it would be a real state—with a permanent population, a defined territory, a functioning government, and a real capacity for diplomatic relations with other states. These are the criteria for statehood set out by international law, which the Vatican arguably does not meet.

Assuming that the Catholic Nation of the Philippines will continue with its sham democracy label (as it does now), there will be an entirely new branch of government to buttress the executive, legislative, and judicial branches—the ecclesiastical. This branch will oversee all actions of the government to make sure that they are in line with the will of God. The head of this branch will be the person who is most keen to discern that will, most likely a Cardinal (someone who God “communicates” with, on matters such as who deserves to be pope). This branch will also supplement (maybe event supplant) departments such as Education, Science and Technology, Health, Treasury, and Public Works and Highways, through prayer. It will hire battalions of “prayer warriors” in lieu of civil servants, since prayer would be enough anyway.

Perhaps surprisingly, religious freedom will have a place in a Catholic nation. Albeit, this will be limited to the private sphere. The Church no longer has any teachings advocating hate against other religions. They have already apologized for their indefensible establishment of the Crusades and the Inquisition. The humanism of the Enlightenment has seen to it that even our historically cruel religious institutions will find the torture and sadism of their past unthinkable. However, religious tests will be required of all members of government to ensure that the nation maintains its course following the will of God. While citizens may be free to believe anything in private, to hold beliefs contrary to Catholicism, when Catholicism is true, is like believing that circles have corners. It’s just absurd. Given the fact of Catholicism, religious freedom would exist as the freedom to be ignorant or insane.




Judas' Cradle, one of the brutal eroticized torture methods used during the Spanish Inquisition


Needless to say, most changes in our legal system will revolve around sex, the favorite whipping boy of Catholicism. Of course, all kinds of pharmaceutical birth control will be outlawed. And, given their definition of human personhood as beginning at some vague point called “when the sperm meets the egg”, all miscarriages will need to be investigated whether foul play was involved. All terminated pregnancies, whether intentional or not, will require death certificates for the unborn. Reflecting the Church’s “pro-life” stance, in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be illegal, and those who participate in it will be accessories to murder (since IVF involves fertilizing multiple eggs and discarding some embryos). Sex outside marriage will be expressly forbidden and periodical hymen checks for the unmarried will help enforce this law. Unwed women who no longer have hymens as a result of strenuous activity (such as horseback riding) or due to congenital or medical reasons will require permits to walk around with their ungodly genitals.

Homosexuality, as a “disordered sexual inclination”, will obviously be regulated. LGBT persons will be sent to ineffective psychiatric care. While they may remain homosexual in orientation, they cannot engage in “homosexual activity,” which will be illegal. Anti-sodomy laws will be passed and those suspected of homosexual activity will be prosecuted.

Like here in our universe, child rapists who happen to be priests will continue to enjoy impunity from the Catholic Church. The worst punishment, if any, they will ever receive would be removal from Holy Orders.

Jails and prisons will continue to exist, and the Philippines might even serve as the Vatican’s prison system (like Italy). Convicts will be forced to undergo religious counseling in order to save their souls (which will include the Sacrament of Penance for baptized Catholics).

But what exactly would a Catholic legal system protect us from? While earthly laws might be used to protect citizens from physical or material harm, Catholic laws will be constructed to protect citizens from hellfire. Dying or temporal suffering is trifling when compared to eternal torture. It would only be rational to true believers of hell to frame all laws in this context. If an act will lead to the eternal damnation of a citizen, it will be forbidden. Since Catholicism is true and all religions are false, the Catholic government’s control over you will not end in death. It will merely be continued by the true celestial dictator in the afterlife.

To accept the rule of Catholicism means that we must surrender our so-called liberties in this life for salvation in the next. The only true freedom is the freedom to choose God’s will over that of our own. This is what gets the monastics through their ascetic lifestyles. This justifies the personal sacrifices of those in religious orders, not to mention the torture and execution of heretics in the past. What is a hundred years in agony and discomfort if it means eternity in bliss? What is the point of establishing peace on Earth if it lasts only in a world that is destined to boil in five billion years from a dying expanding star? The true point of life here is to prove ourselves for the next.

What I’ve painted here is fictional, though I assert that it is not very far from how our world would look if we take Catholicism to its logical conclusions. Because of the cherry-picking of cafeteria Catholics who largely comprise the country, we can be thankful that this vision is rather unlikely. The Roman Catholic Church is far from the monolithic bloc of devotees the CBCP likes to present. We do not live in this disgusting world because most people who identify as Catholics are unconvinced of the orthodox conservative Catholic lifestyle choice of the minority, which is so vastly disconnected from the reality of temporal suffering and tangible well-being.

However, it is only fair to point out that if indeed Catholicism is the right religion, this vision would not be so bad, since it would deter people from acts that would lead to eternal damnation. But it is irredeemably repulsive if heaven does not. This would mean that the sacrifices conservative Catholics force upon pregnant victims of rape and victims of child indoctrination are wasted on nothing. This would mean that we would have to actually build a lasting society here on Earth and stop worrying about what God thinks about our private thoughts.

We have but one life to live. If the conservative Catholics are right, the best way to spend this life is in strict conformity with the will of God. If they are wrong, as tens of thousands of incompatible religions necessarily assert, then the best way to waste your life would be to listen to them and avoid enjoying this life.

Image Credit: Weird Worm

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (104)

13 Comments that Put dboncan in My LGBT Spotlight

Dear dboncan,

Thank you for reading my article “Why LGBT people must get personal with the Catholic Church.” I read through the comments you made on the Filipino Freethinkers site and picked out 13 that I thought I could address immediately. The rest of your comments were clearly opinions that I know you will hold on to dearly so I will treat them with respect by setting them aside.

Let me be transparent with you. My objective for taking time and responding to you today is, at the most, to turn you into an ally, and at the least, to change some of your perceptions by giving you needed information.

Of course, this is only possible if both of us keep an open mind and remain calm and objective. So if, at any point, you show signs that you have closed your mind about the topic without hopes of turning you into an ally, or make personal remarks similar to your verbal attacks against the other commenters, then I will respectfully withdraw from the discussion.

Here goes.


Comment #1:

“Let’s see you are pissed because violence is done to them, well so am I. But the law protects everyone and if there is violence, are you telling me that the police won’t act on it just because the victim is homosexual?”

My response: Yes. There are several reported cases of police not enforcing the law because the victims or complainants were not heterosexual. There are even cases where police take advantage of the situation and harrass the complainant or extort money from them. If you need further information. I will refer you to the right organizations but I cannot post cases here because of confidentiality issues. The bottom line is, to say that “the law protects everyone” is only good on paper but it is not implemented in reality.


Comment #2:

Are you telling me that you want legislation that will penalize bullying of homosexuals… but what not weaklings, handicapped, etc… the bullying of homosexuals is because of the perception that they are weak.”

My response: Yes, we want that kind of legislation. But just because we cite examples of discrimination against LGBT people most of the time, it doesn’t mean we do not acknowledge the existence of discrimination against other vulnerable sectors. It only means that we are able to expound on these examples because they are closer to our daily experience. In the same manner, people with disabilities (PWDs) normally cite discrimination against PWDs but it doesn’t mean they don’t recognize the existence of discrimination against others, like, say, indigenous peoples. SB2814 is a bill that will give us, and other vulnerable sectors, that kind of protection.

“Legarda Hails Passage on Third Reading of Anti-Discrimination Bill” –http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2011/1122_legarda1.asp – accessed 2011-12-11


Comment #3:

“A comment above says he is pissed because he can’t hold hands in public without being looked at strangely, should we penalize staring behavior as well?”

My response: Please do not put words in my mouth. This is what I said:

“The truth is, the “Marxist mold” and the politics behind the LGBT movement are irrelevant to me when I can’t hold hands with my partner in public. To me, it is hardly political, it is personal.”

In the context of that paragraph, I did not say I was pissed, I did not say anything about being looked at strangely, and I did not demand penalizing staring behavior. All I did was illustrate my point that not everyone in the LGBT movement has a political agenda and not everything about LGBT activism is political. Sometimes, the discrimination we experience is very personal in nature and has little to do with the politics that Acosta was refering to in her presentation.

If you are referring to someone else’s comment, please post it here and I will gladly apologize for assuming I was the subject.


Comment #4:

“How can marriage be an absolute basic human right?”

My response: Because that’s what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says and as a member of the United Nations, the Philippine government has the obligation to protect, respect, promote, and fulfill this right as many countries have already done:

“Article 1. – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

“Article 2. – Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

“Article 16. – (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” – http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml – accessed 2011-12-11


Comment #5:

“Can minors marry? why not if it is an absolute right? can mentally handicapped people marry? can humans opt to marry their pets?”

My response: These are all false analogies. Please refer to Article 16 Section 2 (above). You cannot get “free and full consent of the intending spouses” if your intending spouse is a minor, a pet, or mentally handicapped.


Comment #6:

“Some “rights” are not absolute some are.”

My response: This is simply incorrect. Being absolute is not a characteristic of human rights. Human rights are “Universal, Inalienable, Interdependent, Indivisible, Equal and Non-discriminatory”

“What are human rights?” – http://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx – accessed 2011-12-11


Comment #7:

“Tell me how the LGBT are sidelined politically? Has any LGBT been disallowed the right to suffrage or to run for public office, given a drivers license, cedula, taxed higher, refused enrollment in school or refuses police protection solely by their orientation?”

My response: Yes. Ladlad Party List was disallowed in 2009 to run for public office. They were eventually allowed to run when the Supreme Court ruled in their favor but the case is a clear example of discrimination in politics based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, the Supreme Court blasted the Commission on Elections for using the Bible and Quran in its decision. Here are the first two paragraphs of the Supreme Court’s ruling:

“Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that “[n]o law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” At bottom, what our nonestablishment clause calls for is “government neutrality in religious matters.”[24] Clearly, “governmental reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality.”[25]

We thus find that it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for the COMELEC to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad. Rather than relying on religious belief, the legitimacy of the Assailed Resolutions should depend, instead, on whether the COMELEC is able to advance some justification for its rulings beyond mere conformity to religious doctrine. Otherwise stated, government must act for secular purposes and in ways that have primarily secular effects.”

“G.R. No. 190582 – SC Decision on Ladlad vs Comelec” –http://icj.org/dwn/database/Ang%20Ladlad%20LGBT%20Party%20v.%20COMELEC.pdf – accessed 2011-12-11

People who live with partners of the same sex and raise a family are taxed higher because in the eyes of BIR, the tax status of both individuals is “single” and not “married with dependents.” But in reality, their expenses are comparable to expenses of heterosexual couples who enjoy tax benefits of being legally married.

We have documented cases of schools who conduct masculinity tests and reject students who fail this test. This discrimination also affects even heterosexuals who show signs of femininity.


Comment #8:

“I oppose this because its repercussions introduce a society where morality becomes relative to a persons preference and taste!”

My response: Morality has always been “relative to a persons preference and taste.” What is moral for a Christian might not be moral for a Muslim and vice versa. Thankfully, our government operates on the rules of law and not the rules of morality. As I’ve already mentioned above, the Supreme Court favored Ladlad Party List and struck down Comelec when it used morality as grounds to bar Ladlad party list from running for the 2010 elections.

Same-sex marriage is already legal in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden

Can you explain the “repercussions” of same-sex marriage in these countries?


Comment #9:

“I oppose certain moves in granting homosexuals sweeping “rights” which should be rightly reserved for heterosexuals like marriage or adoption.”

My response: There are no rights that are “rightly reserved for heterosexuals” as this is clear violation of Article 2 of the universal declaration of human rights.

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”


Comment #10:

“it does not follow that just because someone is productive, they can also contribute to the growth of society in the sense of which i was referring to, i.e. propagate and raise children.”

My response: There are heterosexuals who are unable to propagate and there are heterosexuals who simply want to marry but do not plan on having children. Since they are unable to contribute to the growth of society in the sense that you are referring to, should they be disallowed to marry?


Comment #11:

“It falsely imparts to children that there is such a thing as a third sex when there isn’t.”

My Response: You are right. There is no third sex. There is a whole spectrum of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. And that is what children need to learn and understand.


Comment #12:

“It is a pretentious union with pretentious results.”

My response: I take offense in this statement. There is nothing pretentious about the celebration of two people being in love and committing their lives to each other. There is nothing pretentious about a person being able to claim inheritance benefits of their spouse, being a beneficiary to health insurance, visitation rights, etc. These results are very real and contribute to the well-being of a person. Please do not trivialize them by calling them pretentious.


Comment #13:

“cisgendered” seriously there is a term? the terms cis and trans used to be a chemical prefix and the word gender used to refer to parts of speech.” I am so amused, we get a chemical prefix and combine it with a reference to a part of speech and we have a sex that is somewhere in between male/female and homosexual.WOW!”

My response: Again, I take offense in your tone. All kinds of terms come up regularly in order to define human experience. Words like insulares, peninsulares, flips, chinks, jejemons, hipsters, dorks, nerds, squatters, kasambahay, whether with negative or positive connotations, were all coined because of the psycho-social need of certain sectors to create a group they can associate with or have an available term to refer to a sector of society. I highly doubt that international law experts, civil society groups, humanitarians, and diplomats said “WOW!” and were as “amused” as you were when they used these terms in drafting the Yogyakarta Principles and the UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also, there is no “sex that is somewhere in between male/female and homosexual.” Both males and females can actually identify as homosexual, transgender, or cisgender. Once you understand the intricacies of these terms, you might be less amused and might find more respect for the people who self-identify with these terms. Here are a couple of sites that might help you understand the terms:

“Transgender, Genderqueer, Cisgender… What Do These Terms Mean?’ –http://kinseyconfidential.org/transgender-genderqueer-cisgender-terms/ – accessed 2011-12-11

“TRANS 101: CISGENDER” – http://www.basicrights.org/uncategorized/trans-101-cisgender/ – accessed 2011-12-11


So again, I hope you take the information seriously. If, as early as now, you’ve already made a decision that I will be unsuccessful in either or both of my two objectives, then feel free to ignore this.

Thank you for your time.

Ronald “Ron” de Vera (aka rondevera)


| Read more from the same writer here |

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LGBT Pride March 2011: Putting the ‘Fun’ back in ‘Fundie’ (Again!)

The LGBT Pride March is one of the happiest days of the year for me.

Last year’s march, when my boyfriend and I suited up as Buttman and his Ladyboy Wonder, was great. It was one of my first major events with the Filipino Freethinkers, and the first time I ever photobombed a fundie and made out in public. FF even won Best Theme that night, although what our theme actually was still remains a mystery, even to us. Whatever it was, it was rewarding enough to be part of the celebration and show our love for the LGBT community. And make out in public.

A year later and FF is still putting the ‘fun’ in ‘fundie.’ We had a solid theme this time around: No Bigots, No Closets. We wanted to express our support for the newly established yet increasingly influential Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, as well as the passage of the anti-discrimination bill. (As of this writing, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines wants the bill stripped of its gay rights provisions, which is downright stupid and incredibly infuriating.)

The team put together three closet costumes and named them Dogma, Authority, and Tradition, then had one FF-er march in each, acting out their discomfort and despair (which wasn’t that hard, since they were, you know, in a box). We also had our usual Bigot Bishops, and was also blessed with the presence of none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Once fundies were spotted on the route, these characters came a-runnin’ and made fresh batches of epic photobomb goodness. Good times all around.


The other groups had great gimmicks, too. A personal favorite were the brawny blushing brides of the Metropolitan Community Church of Quezon City (MCCQC). It was also the first time for our friends from Deaf Rainbow Philippines to participate, and even though they were few, I was happy to see them there.  I actually saw a lot of familiar faces from the 29 Steps event from a few months ago; it really goes to show that the LGBT community here is very tightly-knit and highly supportive of one another.

Rarely do I get to walk the streets of Manila surrounded by hordes of happy, fearless people. The march is really a party of the purest kind, where individuals, no matter how they define themselves, just come to have fun. Hopefully, in the near future, more and more folks — LGBTs and straight allies both — join in and allow this event to evolve into a far greater celebration of humanity than it already is.

Oh, and “Kiddie Kollege?” Seriously, people.

Photos c/o Michelle Keng, Garrick Bercero, and Troy Espiritu

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Why LGBT People Must Get Personal with the Catholic Church

When Pope John Paul II formally apologized for the persecution of Galileo, it was an apology that took the Catholic Church more than 300 years to make.

If it also needs 300 years for the Catholic Church to apologize for the persecution of LGBT people, then there is no better time for LGBT activists to start working on this but today. And there is a great opportunity today to open minds and provide accurate information to refute the statements of Dr. Ligaya Anacta Acosta, regional director of Human Life International (HLI) Asia and Oceania, that appeared on two different articles.

In the article “Being portrayed as oppressed is best way to public sympathy, homosexual activists told,” Acosta asked the following questions:

“Are they really oppressed? We see many gays in the media… in fact, they lord it over [in the industry] so how can they say that they are being oppressed?”

I must say that this is perhaps the weakest, most misinformed reasoning that I have ever heard. The media is the last place Acosta should look at if she wants to have a glimpse of reality. This kind of reasoning is an insult to the couples who were almost declared persona non grata for committing their lives to each other. This reasoning is an insult to Hender Gercio who was denied the simple right to be addressed with the right pronoun in class. It is an insult to the gays and transgenders in Cebu who were attacked with pellet guns. It is a grave insult to the more than 141 LGBT Filipinos who were not only oppressed but killed because of hatred. Acosta must rethink her conclusions because they are based on a distorted version of reality. Otherwise, it would do her well to actually talk to the gay media personalities she is referring to and ask them what kind of oppression they had to go through (and are still going through) before reaching their current status.

Acosta has also claimed that the “homosexual revolution” is political as it is based on a “Marxist mold.” In the article “‘Homosexuals are born that way’ theory long debunked,” the article supports her claim with the following statement:

“Another significant incident in the history of the homosexual agenda was the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which turned out to be a political move rather than one based on findings of scientists.”

Acosta is then quoted as saying:

“Is homosexuality really normal? This all started in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association, under intense pressure from gay groups, removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. But we have to take note that [the organization] never did say that [homosexuality] was normal,”

This is another case of picking out facts that conveniently support one’s argument while leaving out the rest of the evidence, thereby suggesting an imbalanced perspective.

According to Eric Manalastas of the Psychological Association of the Philippines, “there are lots of studies that show being lesbian/gay is not a disorder.” Manalastas adds that this is “why the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) was revised — in response to better knowledge and growing understanding that the problem was not being gay/lesbian. Rather the problem was the stigma and discrimination faced by gay and lesbian people”

This also begs the question of how homosexuality was even included in that list to begin with. Acosta must present compelling scientific evidence to support the inclusion of homosexuality in that list. If she cannot, then it is irrelevant if the move to take homosexuality off the list is political in nature or not.

The truth is, the “Marxist mold” and the politics behind the LGBT movement are irrelevant to me when I can’t hold hands with my partner in public. To me, it is hardly political, it is personal. When children are bullied because of how they express their sexuality, it doesn’t matter to them what disorders are on the list of the American Psychiatric Association. To these children, it is hardly political, it is personal. When lesbians are raped to cure them of their “disease,” they don’t care much about how homosexual activists gain public sympathy. To these lesbians, it is hardly political, it is personal.

So stop referring to our activism as the “homosexual agenda” and start acknowledging our human rights. Don’t wait another 300 years before admitting you have been as wrong about us as you were about the universe 300 years ago. All it takes is a little love and compassion and you will see that our oppression is very real. Our oppression is very personal.


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Shedding Light on “Dr.” Acosta’s Gay Discrimination Lecture

It’s been a while since we’ve last heard from Dr. Ligaya Acosta, who drew acclaim for her sold-out performance at last January’s RH Bill forum at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. Everybody still remembers how her crazy antics had the audience rolling in the aisles…

Wait, what do you mean that was serious? Oh my.

In any case, Dr. Acosta’s at it again, but instead of more aneurysm-inducing presentations on the Reproductive Health Bill, she’s set her sights on the gay community. Ligaya goes through great lengths in her rhetoric to discuss the rising trend for gay rights, before attempting to dismiss its legitimacy.

I’ve taken the liberty of correcting her more salient points where necessary. After all, much like her, I would prefer to hear the truth of the matter 😉

Curing the “Disease”

Dr. Ligaya Anacta Acosta, regional director of Human Life International (HLI) Asia and Oceania told delegates to the “Philippines for Life” Congress that there is a need to alert the public about the campaign to promote homosexual practice, and to call people in all sectors— especially us in the Catholic Church — to make a firm and appropriate response and address different approaches available to men and women of homosexual inclination who wish to leave… the life of active homosexuality.”

Said “appropriate response” includes the use of conversion therapy from groups such as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which claims that it has means of curing homosexuality, as if it were a mental disorder.

The problem is, gay conversion therapy has long been debunked by the greater medical community. The British Medical Association (BMA) has declared conversion therapy to be harmful to patients, while the American Psychological Association (APA) has removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders all the way back in 1975.

You’re probably wondering why a good doctor like Acosta would be advocating gays to undergo quack treatment to “cure” their condition. *Hint hint*: She’s not a medical doctor. Acosta’s HLI profile indicates that she has a Doctorate in Management, and Bachelor Degrees in Law and Social Work. Note the lack of certification in psychiatry, or even a graduate degree in psychology.

Discrimination? What Discrimination?

Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, she reminded everyone that healing can be and has been found after living a homosexual lifestyle, and that “every sign of discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

Acosta noted that there is an agenda to advance homosexual rights by presenting gays as a discriminated minority.

Are homosexuals really discriminated against? Whether or not the answer is yes, presenting themselves as victims of oppression is one of the steps in advancing homosexual rights, ultimately to include the recognition of such rights by the law, she said.

Let’s humor Ligaya’s question, and see what a few minutes of Googling turns up:

  • The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) actively supported the passing of Proposition 8, which criminalized gay marriages in the State of California.
  • The Roman Catholic Church opposed the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which adds sexual orientation to existing anti-discrimination laws in the United States.
  • Catholic charities refused to allow gay couples to adopt children, and while receiving state money at that.
  • The CBCP threatened legal action for a gay wedding in Baguio…against a denomination that’s not even Catholic.

And these are just the Catholic cases. I have yet to cite the more recent examples from around the globe, such as Nigeria’s recent gay marriage ban, or Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill (which was in turn linked to anti-gay Christian fundamentalism.

So despite Ligaya’s baseless posturing, we have plenty of evidence to indicate that not only are gays being discriminated against, but that one of the groups responsible for this discrimination is the RCC itself. At least we now know why she’s being so evasive.


“Are they really oppressed? We see many gays in the media… in fact, they lord it over [in the industry] so how can they say that they are being oppressed?” Acosta asked a group of over 200 pro-life delegates.

While it is true that the appearance of gays like Vice Ganda in Philippine cinema can be seen as progress, it is also equally true that gays are still a discriminated minority that are the target of hate crimes. These two facts do not cancel each other out. As per the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, At least 32 were killed in 2011, and another 34 in 2010, with the victims being targeted because of their sexual orientation.

Following Ligaya’s logic, it’d be like saying it’s alright not to give a damn about the chronic problem of domestic violence our women face, or that 11 of them die each day because of birth complications, because we have Sarah Geronimo, KC Concepcion, Kim Chiu, and Shamcey Supsup in the spotlight.

Her reasoning is flawless!


 Being true to the pro-abortion, pro-gay rights monicker given to him, the president has established an LGBT Month (LGBT stands for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders), appointed homosexuals as key officials in government, and carried out other measures that have ended up bestowing illegitimate rights on homosexual members of society.

What Acosta calls “illegitimate,” most people see as progress to a more tolerant society that grants gays the same rights as any other person. They’re in the same vein as the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the legalization of same-sex marriage in states such as New York, and the enactment of more comprehensive anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws.

None of these measures grant any “special” or “illegitimate” privileges to the LGBT community. At the very least, they provide them with same rights as everybody else, and ensure that they don’t have to live in fear of being discriminated against.

Ligaya’s attempt to make the matter of gay equality an issue is tantamount to her crying over the fact that blacks can finally sit anywhere they damn want on a bus.

Gay Recruitment

“Hindi lang po ‘yan sa US because the policies of the United States of America affect the whole world… It’s actually also part of population control. If they cannot force us to legalize abortion or massively use contraception, then [they] promote homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. Start at kindergarten… and therefore we have to know what is the agenda.”

Yes. Because as everybody knows, going gay is the perfect alternative if your girlfriend refuses to let you do it because you’re not wearing rubber.

For the readers who’ve seen the Harvey Milk film, Ligaya’s “Gays recruiting your children in schools” argument should be familiar. It was the same mantra chanted by the Save our Children coalition founded by singer and notorious anti-gay bigot Anita Bryant.

The coalition was established to help repeal a Florida ordinance that made it illegal to discriminate based on an individual’s sexual orientation. And much like Bryant, Ligaya has yet to present any evidence that gays are indeed turning our schools into recruitment centers for their cause.

New World Order

“I have to tell you that there is a huge homosexual network all over the world, and although constituting a minority only of less than 3% of the population, we have to know that the homosexual movement is highly organized and very well-financed,” Acosta pointed out.

For once, Ligaya is right. Sort of.

There are a growing number of movements around the world that are advocating the eradication of discrimination against the LGBT community. One of the biggest being the United Nations, which passed a resolution this year declaring equal rights for all people, regardless of their gender identity.

There’s also the It Gets Better Project, established to provide moral support for LGBT teens who are being bullied and discriminated against in school because of their sexual orientation.

By contrast, Catholic-affiliated anti-gay groups such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has been losing legal ground over its accusations of experiencing harassment while advocating gay discrimination; One incident involved one of its members being given mean looks as he handed out anti-gay pamphlets.

And if Ligaya really wants to push the matter of highly organized and well-funded groups with an agenda, she doesn’t have to look further than her own Human Life International. Over its history, HLI has been knee-deep in scandals regarding the accuracy of its research and its blatant…well…insanity.

Here’s a few choice words from Father Thomas Euteneuer, HLI’s president from 2000 to 2010:

Fundamentally, Harry Potter indoctrinates young souls in the language and mechanics of the occult. The fact that the fake curses and hexes are not able to be reproduced because the “ingredients” are pure fantasy is beside the point. Curses are not pure fantasy. The fact that “curse” as such, and other elements of witchcraft, are presented in a glorified state throughout the Harry Potter series means that our kids’ minds are being introduced to and imbued with occult imagery.

Euteneuer subsequently left HLI, under a cloud of suspicion that he had sexually abused a woman he was performing exorcism duties for.

If there is anything we can take away from people like Ligaya, it is that they are running scared. They are terrified of the fact that in the past few years, several landmark decisions have been made that are slowly eroding the layer upon layer of lies that the Catholic Church sits upon.

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Fun With Fundies: On Victim-Blaming And The Bacani Conundrum

Oh no, you di’int!

It all started with an (in-character) Tweet.

Thanks to an offhand comment on my Twitter about Bishop Bacani’s objections to same-sex unions, I ended up looking into the man’s history with a little more depth than I would’ve wanted to. The comment was one of my typical one-liners, meant to imply that he finds it all sorts of wrong, yet doesn’t seem to have any objections about the numerous cases of pedophilia within the clergy.

For someone to demand proof of this is ridiculous, given the fact that for an activist bishop who has dipped his hand into the RH Bill issue, among other issues of sexual persuasion, it bothers me why he would deliberately sidestep the issue of sexual indiscretion among his own kind, and why his defenders always insist that we should let the Church handle these issues internally.

Why? Why should we let them handle an issue like this internally, when it steps well into the realm of the criminal? Why would a trial by the church hierarchy trump the legal procedure of the government who made laws against this very thing?

So this fundie attacks me and starts calling me ancient because I was condescendingly calling him “son”. Wow. He sure showed me. I don’t even know how old he is, but unless he’s ten, I doubt he’d have any room to call me “lolo”. Not that I mind, really. It’s not like being old is such a bad thing.

Clearly, being old has its perks.


In any case, after putting out multiple sources about the cases of pedophilia that have been swept under the rug by the church, he quickly dismissed them as “rumors.” He then quickly tried to make a fuss about the fact that my sources point to cases in the States, whereas I didn’t mention anywhere (How could I? I had only 140 characters to work with on Twitter!) that this “looking the other way” is exclusive to the Philippine situation.

When I pointed out the sexual harassment case that hounded Bishop Bacani about eight years ago, the fundie dismissed them as “lies,” which, to me, was a warning flag that I was fighting a battle of wits with someone who was woefully unarmed.

Clearly, in his mind, the clergy are immune from any kind of wrongdoing whatsoever. Apparently, this “infallibility” business that the Pope actually needs to invoke before being so rubs off on the clergy like some kind of divine STD.

This is the face of divine STD.


At this point, I felt compelled to look closer into the Bacani case. Eight years have passed. Why is there still no conclusive verdict? Why are the so-called wheels of justice turning so agonizingly slowly? As expected, though, a cursory glance at articles written over the matter painted a very clear picture of the whole sordid mess.

Now, see, I like what Bishop Bacani has done for the poor. Compared to certain other bishops, he relatively holds steady to his vow of poverty.

That doesn’t make him perfect or laudable in any way, though. He’s supposed to do that, because he took a bloody vow of poverty, obedience, and chastity. Anything less would be a failure on his part.

“Failure” is exactly how well he did with his vow of chastity. For a girl seeking “publicity,” she sure kept her identity pretty down low for the most part. It was actually a bit sad that the only defense Bacani’s supporters could muster was yet more victim blaming by assaulting the character of the woman who was sexually harassed. The thinking is, if she’s a woman of demonstrably “loose” morals, then nothing Bishop Bacani could do to her should be construed as sexual harassment, thereby proving how little they understand about the dynamics of sexual harassment. And we’re supposed to listen to these guys when they give advice how to conduct ourselves in the bedroom?!?

Newsflash: prostitutes can get raped, too. So even if you assumed the worst of Bacani’s secretary, you need to come up with something better than “but my hug wasn’t intended to harass!” to defend yourself from someone who believes you did. You are a powerful bishop who was heir apparent at one time to the late Cardinal Sin. She was your secretary. The imbalance of power was unmistakable, and no amount of handwaving your “natural attitude” should erase the fact that you are in a position where you can do something questionable and so much more all under your clear power over her. We don’t say that it’s a serial killer’s “natural attitude” to kill people at will now, do we?

Bacani’s admission was pretty damning: “I am deeply sorry for the consequences of any inappropriate expression of affection to my secretary.”

This indicates regret over the result of the act, but not the act itself. This is very typical of people in privilege, and is indicative of a lack of understanding over exactly what went wrong. It’s the same attitude typified by the CBCP “apology” over the Pajeros.

As far as the good Bishop was concerned, and most perpetrators of rape culture will share the same view, intent is mucking fagic. Apparently, because Bishop Bacani didn’t intend to sexually harass his secretary, suddenly, she has no right to feel harassed.

The fact that this instance was actually not the first time this happened should even be a bigger warning flag: true, I’m not a lawyer, but when you’re supposedly a shepherd of morality, I figure that prudence and discretion should take precedence over legalities and technicalities. If you know your secretary is upset by certain displays of affection, if you’ve already apologized to her for it before, then why would you do it again? Because you can go to confession and have it absolved or something?

I’m actually shocked that I have to explain such a basic concept to a man almost three times my age and someone who’s supposed to be my “moral shepherd” considering I’m supposed to be a Catholic apologist and all, but what may be an okay display of affection for you may not be an okay display of affection for somebody else. Precisely because they’re not you. No amount of spinning and pointing to intent can change that.

In the end, Bishop Bacani was, to paraphrase his own words, sorry only because he got caught, hence, “Sorry for the consequences of his act.” He is neither sorry because he trampled on the dignity of another human being, nor that he was insensitive to that fact. His apology was every bit as sincere as Vince McMahon’s was last Monday night on RAW.

“I’m sorry, you son of a bitch!”


To this date, we don’t know what the results of the Vatican “investigation” have yielded. It’s mysterious how slow their investigations progress, to be honest, but then again, maybe that’s really just how they roll. I suppose this is the kind of “temperance” that they are asking from people when it comes to their luxury vehicle issues at present.

It also seems to be the same kind of “temperance” that they are demonstrating in quickly calling any Catholics who support the RH Bill “fake Catholics”.

Are we saying that Bishop Bacani is guilty as charged? Of course not. What we’re saying is that the defense of victim-blaming is so tired, so sexist, and reeks of so much privilege, that it’s shocking someone who claims moral ascendancy would have to resort to such tactics instead of just actually proving that none of these morally questionable actions ever happened.

That we are now merely questioning the nature of these actions but taking the actual commission of these actions for granted may pass muster in the court of law, but it seems rather odd that instead of acting in a manner beyond moral reproach, one needs to resort to technicalities and legalities while still maintaining that very veneer of moral inculpability. Isn’t that having your cake and eating it, too?

True, if Bishop Emeritus Bacani were any other man, we probably would frown at his actions a bit, and not raise much of a furor over him beyond that. Unfortunately, he isn’t any other man: he is a man of the cloth, and someone who won’t hesitate to tell everyone what is and isn’t morally acceptable. When his own morality comes into question in such a flagrant manner, how do we expect his words to hold any water?

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RCC: Attacking our bigotry violates our human rights!

Proof once again that the Catholic Church is a big, spineless bully: Attempting to play the victim when people start calling out their anti-gay bullshit.

People who criticise gay sexual relations for religious or moral reasons are increasingly being attacked and vilified for their views, a Vatican diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said the Roman Catholic Church deeply believed that human sexuality was a gift reserved for married heterosexual couples. But those who express these views are faced with “a disturbing trend,” he said.

“People are being attacked for taking positions that do not support sexual behaviour between people of the same sex,” he told the current session of the Human Rights Council.

“When they express their moral beliefs or beliefs about human nature … they are stigmatised, and worse — they are vilified, and prosecuted.

“These attacks are violations of fundamental human rights and cannot be justified under any circumstances,” Tomasi said.

What pisses me off the most is that while this news report was written in the context of the church’s activities in Europe, it is also an issue I find close to home; One I literally found in my own backyard.

As you’ve seen in my previous article, the RCC has gone as far as attempting to indoctrinate innocent young minds with their brand of hatred, while their leaders have had the audacity to demand that matters such as women’s welfare should not be forced on their schools, because it would infringe on their religious “moral” teachings.

It’s a blatant double standard that’s become a signature of RCC apologists, and the more they try to play this game, the more I am convinced that these bigots deserve no respect.

They are, of course well within their rights to talk about their stance on homosexuality. But the same rules apply to us too. And while they may bitch and moan, they can’t invoke “blashpemy” or religious discrimination when we decide that enough is enough – at least not anymore – and actively call out these shameless motherfuckers for the cretins they are.

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Sex, Slavery, and the Pro-Life Movement

With seven Bataan village councils issuing unlawful copycat ordinances of the infamous Ayala Alabang one, it is time to call a spade a spade. This is not about unborn children. This is not about the RH Bill. What we are seeing is a war of attrition against sex, fought one village at a time.

Recently, Congressman and pugilist Manny Pacquiao was quoted as saying that if his parents had used contraceptives, he wouldn’t be here. Many RH opponents like him and Manoling Morato seem to be under the impression that contraceptives are depriving human society of celebrities like Pacquiao. The fact is, the odds against anyone’s birth are astronomical. Having contraceptives in the equation is a drop in the ocean of prerequisites necessary for anyone existing. Your exact set of ancestors going all the way back to the first sexual organism had to meet in the exact set of circumstances that led to your being. The millions in the batch of sperms in which you developed had to lose to you. For men, by choosing not to be procreating right at this moment, the next Einstein is now being reabsorbed into the male genitourinary tract. For women, by not being pregnant right now, the next Shakespeare is now being thrown out on a used tampon. And this is not even the half of it. Successful conceptions prevent the birth of other potential Newtons and Joyces. And these lost geniuses go unnoticed because they don’t exist and probably never will. If you weren’t here to exist, someone else will be.

Contraceptives do not make it any less likely in any significant way that any specific person will be born. The failure to understand this simple fact is what makes anti-choice superstars like former Chief Justice Davide embarrass themselves by disgustingly decrying contraceptives as worse than the tsunami that drowned thousands in their houses and cars in Japan.

The unborn aren’t a set of prefabricated people you draw out from heaven and into a vagina. They’re hypothetical permutations outnumbering the stars in the sky. Pacquiao’s line of reasoning was not only fallacious, it was unfairly self-deprecating for him. He was arguing that the only reason he has achieved what he has as an athlete was because he was born. It is a shame for someone like him who’s worked his fists to the bone to fall prey to manipulative quacks using his fame to impose their frumpy puritanism on the nation’s free citizens.

This has always been about sex. They want to dictate how it can be done. They want to dictate when it can be done. This is what keeps them up at night in cold sweats: someone at that exact moment may be enjoying themselves in a way they do not approve of.

The true intentions of the pro-life movement are betrayed by their obsession about an issue as innocuous and as private as the intimate relations of their neighbors. It is not just that they are anti-choice and against women having the right to do what they want with their bodies. What the conservatives of the Holy Roman Catholic Church want is to regulate sex. This is why even condoms, a mere physical barrier between an ejaculating penis and the womb, have to be lumped with contraceptive drugs. This is why former public officials like Lito Atienza compose hateful tirades about how gay marriage will destroy the Filipino family. This is why the pro-life movement of the Roman Catholic Church has always been about situations that involve sex and not about ethnic cleansing in Rwanda or the sectarian violence in Egypt.

Those who fashion themselves as more sophisticated than the rank and file opponents of the bill may use supposedly secular distractions such as “population collapse” in an attempt to mask their religious motives, but why is the burden of propping up an obviously flawed economy on our descendants who never chose such a fate? Since when has it again been acceptable to treat people as commodities and before they’re even born? Since when has it been honorable to deprive people of the informed choice to decide whether or not they want to have children? RH opponents have to resort to such shameful and despotic economic arguments just to hide their prejudiced belief that sex must be controlled at all costs.

At this point, if those disagreeing with me are even still reading, I have to address the old canard that sex is a gift from God and that liberals are trampling on it with their sex positive attitudes and their promiscuous lifestyles. Even if we were to allow this absurd and flawed premise, since when has a gift meant that the giver has total control over the use of said gift? Apparently, God’s gifts to man include the not insignificant requirement of human enslavement. Thanks, but, no thanks.

“Pro-life” is a misnomer. It is marketing speak for the larger culture war the social conservative movement is waging. It is a ruse to hide the desire at the core of the anti-choice anti-sex movement to become serfs ruled in absolute tyranny by an invisible thought police. In a bout of resentment against the freemen who reject such nonsense, conservative Catholics twist the arm of the national government to appease their sexual neuroses.

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It's *not* okay to be gay: A tale from a Catholic school

A few weeks ago, my sister was telling us about one of the more memorable presentations her class had in the Immaculate Conception Academy.

My sister is in high school, and for those of you who have never set foot in a Catholic school before, each school year includes a mandatory Christian Life Education (CLE) class or its equivalent, where students are taught the basics tenets of Catholic education.

Getting back on topic, sis narrated that one of the groups in class was asked to do a presentation on why homosexuality is wrong. To summarize the presentation’s points:

  • Homosexuality is a psychological problem.
  • Gays became that way because they experimented with what the media presents.
  • Gays shouldn’t be condemned for being what they are, as long as they don’t act upon it.
  • Gays should be pitied.
  • Homosexuality can be cured.
  • Gays only want to marry so they can have limes and lemons
  • Gay couples cannot be good parents
  • Marriage is only for straight couples
  • It’s not love unless it’s straight.

Granted there is plenty of data countering each of these points, but that’s not the reason I’m hunkered down in front of my laptop, and writing this short piece. My reason is simple: to illustrate the sort of “values formation” that a lot of these Catholic schools indoctrinate their students in.

It is an important point to raise, given that religious freedom is one of the more common arguments the Catholic Church uses against the Reproductive Health Bill.

That is, for their leaders, the RH Bill’s sex education program will teach people family planning methods not supported by their laws, namely contraceptive use. Practically any debate that starts up will begin with this argument from Pro-Lifers, who believe that anything contrary to the church’s teachings on sexuality is unacceptable, and is a breach of their right to teach.

And by extension, church leaders have also questioned the RH Bill with regard to how much authority it will leave with their own private schools. Recent discussions have gone in this direction, with Jesuits discussing the matter on whether Catholic schools should have the right to implement their own sex education curriculum, based on their religious beliefs.

The problem is, where does one draw the line on what Catholic schools – or schools owned by a religious institution for that matter – can teach their kids, when it’s become bleeding obvious that it’s become a platform for bigotry?

Values formation indeed.

On a parting note, I do leave with some good news. My sister also told me that virtually everybody in the class thought the presentation was bullshit, and hence didn’t believe it. Perhaps it’s worth noting that sis has also mentioned that their entire class admitted to being Gleek.

Kurt is awesome that way.

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CBCP Backtracks on Calling Gays "Homos"

Update March 5, 2011: Google cache is now pointing to a later version of the CBCP article. Consequently, the link here now has been changed to go to a PDF copy of the article containing the original “homo” slur headline.

The CBCP recently launched a book written by a missionary about a condition they called “SSA” or “same sex attraction.” The book merely reiterates the Church’s preposterous stance on homosexuality as rebuking not the orientation but the actions that define the orientation (e.g. homosexual relationships and activity). While they claimed that they did not condemn homosexuality, they do say that it is something that requires “redemption.” So, although they agree that it is a “natural disposition” and therefore, by their lights, a facet of God’s intentional design, homosexuality requires some level of atonement. Apparently, gays are created sick and forced to be well.

What was revealing about the CBCP’s whitewashing of its continuing history of homophobia was that when the article was first published, they called on “homos to come out.” The article was later surreptitiously revised with the more politically-correct headline of “Bishops urge homosexuals not to be afraid.”

What should homosexuals be afraid of anyway but of people meddling with their private lives and depriving them of equal rights?

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The Vatican, a Rogue Pseudo-State, Part 2

This discussion of The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse is a continuation of The Vatican, A Rogue Pseudo-State, Part 1.

Even if, however, the Vatican were an actual state, its international trafficking of child molesters and hiding rapists from the law via its secretive Canonical trials within sovereign nations breach the secular laws of those particular nations.

Crimen sollicitationis outlines how these trials must go. Once an accusation against a priest has been made, the accuser is made to sign an official denunciation against the accused. This begins the Canonical proceedings regulated by Canon Law, which is based on what the Vatican perceives as moral and spiritual commandments from the Holy Spirit. Thus, all participants are bound by “pontifical secret” upon pain of excommunication. The trial does not admit forensic evidence and is conducted entirely in writing. Those who run the trial are all colleagues of the defendant and it is a requirement for all those handling the trial to have undergone the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Right off the bat, the odds are in favor of the accused.

Should the allegations be found unsubstantiated, the documents are all destroyed. If the charges are of some merit, but judged to be inconclusive, they are kept in the archives. If evidence of the crime is “grave enough,” several punishments are in order. However, none are more severe than laicization, or the demotion of a priest to the lay state. This is a penalty that is apparently so dreadful that even Pope Benedict would not inflict it on Father Lawrence Murphy who molested over two hundred deaf children at St John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin. Even in the case of conviction, there is nothing in Canon Law that compels officials to file a criminal case against the offending priest. The punishment for leaking documents is a lot more grave than what any depraved child rapist like Father Murphy could ever possibly get.

According to the “new norms” sent out in 2001 as Sacramentorum sanctitatus tutela, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the successor to the Inquisition and the former office of Joseph Ratzinger, heads Canonical trials concerning child molestation cases, particularly those that involve the confessional. The CDF is informed of all these proceedings by the local Church, which conducts the trials, under strict confidentiality and subject to the pontifical secret. This was reinforced by Pope Benedict in De delictis gravioribus.

The Roman Catholic Church performs these confidential trials under the noses of the sovereign states within which the specific churches operate. In doing so, an alleged foreign sovereign state (the Vatican) tries foreign nationals on foreign soil. This comes into conflict with the jurisdiction exercised by the host state. What’s more is that, since all relevant documents are kept under pontifical secret, few believing Catholics would dare to blow the whistle or report to proper authorities the crimes that occur within the Church. Let us remember that excommunication carries with it grave consequences that may or may not result in everlasting torture in the fires of hell. Should the police have the opportunity, however, to investigate, the relevant documents are often whisked away into the safety of the Vatican archives where they cannot be subpoenaed due to diplomatic immunity.

While the rape of children is unequivocally disgusting and reprehensible, the true crimes that the Church, the Vatican, and the pope are liable for are their gross negligence, such as in its shuffling of priests to various parishes where they have sinned again, and their operation of a secret international legal jurisdiction that disregards local laws (including the withholding of evidence from proper authorities). To make matters worse, Canonical trials are ineffective and non-punitive.

The scale of the Vatican’s indulgence of its employees’ raping and sexual slavery of children is cause for concern. It might even qualify as a crime against humanity, something not even diplomatic immunity can defend against. Thousands of children all over the world have been tortured and abused by the very ministers and confessors that they had given their complete trust. These men who stand in for Christ at the point of consecration were allowed by the Church’s policies to get away with their crimes and to transgress in some other parish.

The Catholic Church has maintained that the cause of their crisis is not their refusal to cooperate with police or their obsession with controlling and denying the sex lives of its members, particularly its clergy. The pope’s right hand man, Tarcisio Bertone, asserts that homosexuality is the reason for pedophiles in the Church. The pope himself blames secular society, saying that, in the 1970’s, it accepted pedophilia as “fully in conformity with man and even with children.”

The Holy See governs the Vatican as a rogue pseudo-state that seems to be convinced that it is above international law. While the point whether the Catholic Church hierarchy is guilty of crimes against humanity is up to international criminal courts, they should at least be allowed to put the pope on the dock. The Church cannot hide behind its Santa Claus statehood for much longer. Just because many nations officially believe that the Vatican is a state, it doesn’t make it true.

In The Case of the Pope, Geoffrey Robertson QC details an effective examination of the viability of the Vatican’s assertion of statehood and the pope’s declaration of diplomatic immunity as well as the liability of his organization in the revolting sexual abuse of children by the clergy under its employ. Robertson skillfully conveys complicated legalese to lay audiences without oversimplifying the admittedly difficult nature of international law and the politics of foreign relations. It is an articulate analysis of the Vatican and the apparent crusade it is waging against human rights. Even if you are a Catholic, if truly love what you believe your Church stands for, do not give this book a pass.

The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse by Geoffrey Robertson QC is published by Penguin Global.

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The Vatican, a Rogue Pseudo-State, Part 1

A letter written in 1997 by Apostolic Nuncio Luciano Storero has recently surfaced and has elicited outrage against the Vatican regarding its, by now, undeniable complicity in the widespread rape and molestation of children by Catholic priests. The missive, which the Vatican defends as “deeply misunderstood” stated that “mandatory reporting” of cases of child rape by clergy gave rose to “serious reservations of both a moral and a canonical nature.” The mandatory reporting was a recommended solution by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Advisory Committee to the systemic sexual abuse crisis within the Roman Catholic Church. What Storero’s reservations refer to are specific tenets within Canon Law that demand absolute confidentiality.

The fact that mandatory reporting is even being debated among supposedly civilized company is disgraceful. Since when has the rape and torture of children not demanded immediate reporting to the proper authorities? Any other organization that shields its criminals from the law as shamelessly as the Roman Catholic Church has would have had its leaders taken to court by now.

The special treatment that the Catholic Church or, more accurately, the Vatican enjoys stems from its claim to state sovereignty. As the absolute monarch of 108.7 acres in the Italian city of Rome, the successor of Saint Peter boasts immunity from prosecution. This is the same privilege that is bestowed upon foreign ambassadors by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. But as Geoffrey Robertson, member of the Queen’s Counsel, writes in The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse, there is good reason to be skeptical of the Vatican’s claim to statehood.

The Vatican State as a Bully Pulpit

The Vatican state was unilaterally declared after a deal by Pope Pius XI with the fascist dictator of Italy, Benito Mussolini, in 1929. This deal, the Lateran Treaty, and the Church’s Concordat with the Nazis were unveiled at a lavish ceremony in Rome. The Vatican newspaper announced, “Italy has been given back to God and God to Italy.” Pius XI hailed Mussolini as “a man sent by providence” and promptly told all Italian Catholics to vote for him. Mussolini won 98.33% of the vote. These overtly sinister roots of the seat of the Vicar of Christ are not often taught in Catholic schools.

Since then, the Catholic Church has abused its position as the only world religion that has its own country, officially. As the only non-member state with permanent observer status in the United Nations, the Holy See has consistently led the charge, despite its lack of right to vote, against initiatives towards the equal rights of women and LGBT and the reduction of AIDS cases via the distribution of condoms.

Mirroring the Catholic Church in the Philippines’ current hijacking of the RH Bill proceedings, the Vatican has invariably attempted to derail the UN’s own reproductive health programs. In 1995, during the UN conference on population and development in Cairo, the Holy See said that reproductive health meant ‘abortion,’ which they call a “heinous evil,” as well as ‘tolerance of homosexuality,’ another “heinous evil.” In the Beijing conference on women that same year, the Vatican lobbied its Catholic allies as well as Muslim states to oppose any consensus text that included words and phrases such as “gender equality,” “unwanted pregnancy,” “reproductive rights,” and even “lifestyle.” It also tried to ban the NGO, Catholics for a Free Choice to attend.

Questioning Vatican Statehood

The Vatican has regularly taken advantage of its perceived statehood in order to propound its own fundamentalist dogmas and to bully other majority Catholic nations into enacting the Holy See’s own agenda. This circumvents its inability to vote in the UN. Despite its pretensions to statehood, however, Robertson argues that the Vatican does not satisfy international law regarding official state recognition. The Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States has four requirements in order for states to be recognized in the international community and they are as follows.

1. A Permanent Population

The Vatican has no nationals or residents to call its own. It is mainly home to the bureaucracy of the Roman Catholic Church. There are no permanent residents and “citizenship” is mainly authorization to remain in the Vatican until their status or employment expires. To cross from Rome into Vatican City, the only requirement is to have one’s baggages checked.

Citizenship may be extended to “the wife [in a sexist presumption that all diplomats will be male], children, parents, brothers, and sisters.” However, sons must leave Vatican City at the age of 25 and daughters must leave when they marry (another sexist provision, as Robertson opines). Unlike any other nation on Earth, citizenship cannot be acquired by birth. There are no “Vaticanians” born and there is no national community to speak of.

2. A Defined Territory

“‘Vatican City’ cannot properly be regarded as a territory at all,” writes Robertson. This is because all that Vatican City contains is a large palace, a few attached buildings, and a vast garden. It is not even a city since it is entirely within another city, Rome.

Real estate within the Vatican cannot be sold unless with papal permission. While, all of the basic services necessary for the upkeep of the Vatican (electricity, water, gas, and sewage) are run by the Italian government and its Italian citizens.

The government of the Vatican, the Holy See, does not even enforce its own supposed territory. With one of the highest crime rates in the world, the Vatican has its criminals apprehended by foreigners, the carabinieri (the Italian police). It is strange how a state can insist on its sovereignty when it cannot even exercise jurisdiction over its plot of land.

3. Government

The Holy See (comprised of the Supreme Pontiff and the Curia) is arguably the government of the Vatican. However, seeing as how it itself does not have territory and the Vatican has no population, this argument is rather tenuous. The Holy See governs the Catholic Church and the Vatican exists not for Vatican nationals but for Catholics all over the world, who are themselves citizens of their respective nations. The Curia operates the Vatican’s international affairs in the Italian city of Rome while defense and policing, as well as medical services, are provided for by the Italian government (which is supposed to be a foreign state). This defies the requirement of the Montevideo Convention for states to have some independence in conducting international affairs.

The Holy See cannot even punish crimes against its own leader. After Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II and was arrested by Italian police, he was held in Italian prison and was tried in Italian courts. Agca’s defense tried to argue that he had been unlawfully extradited to a foreign state. This plea was rejected, a fact that flies in the face of Vatican statehood claims.

4. Capacity to Enter into Relations with Other States

In order to be involved in diplomatic relations, consular relations are a necessary implication. Consuls are mainly concerned with the welfare of their nationals in foreign countries. However, if you are ever injured or attacked in Vatican City, do not expect help from your nation’s ambassador to the Vatican because they do not offer consular services. The envoy to Italy will take up this role.

Interactions by states with the Holy See are mostly involved with religious matters, such as arranging audiences with the pope. As the headquarters of a religion and not of a nation-state, the Vatican functions in the international community in a capacity unlike any other state.

Simply put, as both Professor Gillian Triggs of the University of Sydney Law School and Robertson agree on, “Vatican City does not meet the criteria for statehood.”

This discussion of The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse is continued in Part 2.

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Gay For A Day

I joined the Filipino Freethinkers at the Pride March last Saturday (Dec. 4) on Tomas Morato in Quezon City. It was my first.

I have a confession to make. I was a homophobic when I was a Christian, but I do not just blame it on my former religious beliefs. They say that Filipinos have this “macho culture,” so to be called a “bakla” is something to be ashamed of. In those times, I never really thought that gays are being discriminated. Who cares? They’re already a plague in our media and fashion industry. But that’s just plain stereotyping: screaming faggots (that what I used to call them) are better off working in beauty parlors and hosting trashy gossip shows anyway.

I was angry with gay people. I don’t know why, but maybe I just took it for granted that these confused perverts are just a product of a sexually deviant, evil society. My homophobia was the result of a culture and religion that already judged them base on some “moral standard.”

In this “macho culture” I was made to believed that only a man – the father, the man of the house, is the symbol of strength. It is the man who gives the rule and demands to be obeyed. He is the provider. Well, this is quite archaic, but that’s how people that were born in the time of the “baby boom” were raised to believed.

So it is a shame in the family to have a gay son or a gay daughter. A homosexual man or woman is a shame, an oddity. He’s a mistake in somewhere…maybe a screw-up in his growth. Men are expected to act as men and women to be women. That’s how society depicts them. I told you, it’s a stereotype.

Gayness is a sickness. Remember an old folk remedy that say to cure a homosexual son, you have to place him head first inside a drum filled with water. Most often, gay people retaliate by saying that if you place them inside a drum with water, they’ll just become mermaids. Funny, but it is just a reflection on how society in the early 70’s and ‘80’s look at homosexuality.

But it’s not only here in the Philippines. Sometimes in its history, society has considered homosexuality a deviant. The term ‘homosexuality was coined by a German psychologist, Karoly Maria Benkert in 1869 and the first attempts to classify homosexuality as a disease were made by the fledgling European sexologist movement in the late 19th century. In 1886 noted sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing listed homosexuality along with 200 other case studies of deviant sexual practices in his definitive work, Psychopathia Sexualis. Krafft-Ebing proposed that homosexuality was caused by either “congenital [during birth] inversion” or an “acquired inversion”. In 1952, when the American Psychiatric Association published its first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, homosexuality was included as a disorder. It was removed in 1973.

Now, thanks to modern science, homosexuality was discovered to be a natural behavior that is surprisingly, not only confined to humans. It was documented in over 400 species of animals. A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl ( Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, St. Martin’s Press, 1999) shows that homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1,500 species of animals and other new researches have found it common to animals like chimpanzees, birds, lizards, hyenas, dolphins, giraffes, bison, sheep and even in insects. According to Bagemihl, “the animal kingdom [does] it with much greater sexual diversity— including homosexual, bisexual and non reproductive sex — than the scientific community and society at large have previously been willing to accept.”

Modern thinking has transformed most Filipino family to accept homosexuality as normal, but society is still cruel. Gay people are still being discriminated. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals are still being marginalized by society. They have no legal recourse when they are the victim of public or private sector discrimination, whether at school, in the workplace, or health care settings since sexual orientation is not included in the Philippine civil rights code. What’s worst, the Philippines did not sign the United Nations declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, which condemns violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also, do you remember the issue concerning The Ladlad Party List? The Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) denied the Filipino LGBT political party Ang Ladlad’s petition to be allowed to run in the May 2010 elections, on the grounds of “immorality”.

If you’re going to look at it closely, both Christianity and Islam connect homosexuality with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s why we have the word “sodomy” which literally means the act of “unnatural” sex. Sodom and Gomorrah are that twin city in the Book of Genesis that becomes the synonymous with carnal banality and moral blasphemy. It now use by Christian as a metaphors for vice and homosexual deviation.

Conservative Christians blames homosexuality as the sin of those ill-fated cities. That’s why God destroyed them by raining down burning sulfur on both cities. According to an article by David J. Stewart (Jesus Is Lord.com), “God destroyed Sodom because of fornication and homosexuality.” In the Christian website GotQuestion.org, it stated that, “homosexuality was the reason God poured fiery sulfur on the cities, completely destroying them and all of their inhabitants.” In Stand to Reason, Gregory Koukl said, “The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many things, but foremost among them was the sin of homosexuality. In this section of Leviticus, God gives directives not just for ritual purity, but commands to be observed by every Jew, and even by every visitor.

Homosexuality was wrong for the Jews. It was wrong for gentiles who visited the Jews (“aliens”). It was even an abomination that defiled the land when practiced by pagans who inhabited Canaan long before the Jews came. Homosexuality is a defiling sin, regardless who practices it. It has no place before God among any people, in any age, then or now.”

In the Christian New Testament, the Apostle Paul considers homosexuality as a punishment given by God to those who fail to worship Him properly (Romans 1:21, 26-27) and here he was specific even to lesbianism. So I guess Fundamentalist Christians are wrong when they say that gayness is a personal choice.

In Islam, homosexuality and sodomy (Al-Fahishah) are considered synonymous. It is stated in 7:80-83 that it is sinful and perverted deviation from the norm that even jinns didn’t dare to commit. Many Hadiths discuss liwat (sexual intercourse between males). Ibn al-Jawzi records Muhammad as cursing sodomites in several hadith, and recommending the death penalty for both the active and passive partners in same-sex acts. Two examples are:
“When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes.”
“Kill the one that is doing it and also kill the one that it is being done to.”
(in reference to the active and passive partners in gay sexual intercourse)

There is at least one mention of lesbian behavior mentioned in the Hadith: “Sihaq (lesbian sexual activity) of women is zina (illegitimate sexual intercourse) among them.”
Different Islamic schools deals with homosexuality differently. The Hanafite school (currently seen mainly in South and Eastern Asia) teaches that no physical punishment is warranted. The Hanabalites, (widely followed in the Arab world) teach that severe punishment is warranted.
The Sha’fi school of thought (also seen in the Arab world) requires a minimum of 4 adult male witnesses before a person can be found guilty of a homosexual act.

The al-Fatiha Foundation estimates that 4,000 homosexuals have been executed in Iran since their revolution in 1979. 10 public executions of homosexuals have been performed in Afghanistan by the Taliban army.

Bigotry Continues
Religious bigotry continue, surprisingly even in a modern society. The Christian TV show The 700 Club on its December 24, 1973 telecast, Pat Robertson urge the US Government to discriminate homosexuals on the same basis that they discriminate “kidnappers, murderers and thieves” because of the homosexual agenda to “destroy all Christians.” Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Enrique Rueda emphasized that homosexuals should never be considered anything less than human.” Dr. Paul Cameron, an anti-gay propagandist even link gay to mass-murder and child molestation in his brochure entitled “Murder, Violence and Homosexuality.”

Death is the worst. Hate crime against homosexual are violent. On March 14, 2007, in Wahneta, Florida, 25-year-old Ryan Keith Skipper was found dead from 20 stab wounds and a slit throat. His body had been dumped on a dark, rural road less than 2 miles from his home.

And who can forget the story of Matthew Shepard? He was a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered on the night of October 6–7, and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries. The worst of the story was the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, led by a certain Fred Phelps, picketed at Shepard’s funeral as well as the trial of his assailants, displaying signs with slogans such as “Matt Shepard rots in Hell”, “AIDS Kills Fags Dead” and “God Hates Fags”.

Homosexuality is not the disease. Gayness doesn’t kill; it’s those hate crimes fueled by religious and cultural bigotry that do. As I now understand them – their real issues, the discriminations, the personal suffering…of both mental and physical harm that bigotry and prejudice have been doing , I got rid myself for this homophobia and I now say to myself in that Pride March that I was gay even for a day.

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