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Bishops in the Philippines: 'Stop Gay Marriage!'
Philippine bishops: Committed, loving and caring gay relationship is wrong!
Why do religious leaders preach hatred and exclusion in today's day and age?
By Erwin Cabucos
Have the Catholic leaders in the Philippines lost the plot with the issue of marriage equality? Are they really serious of urging secular government leaders to stop by all means efforts towards recognizing gay marriage? Have they been true to the teachings of Christ for the 21st century?
Catholic bishops of the Philippines are clear and strong about their views on gay life and gay marriage - they are against it because it is contrary to the natural and divine laws. The recently released pastoral letter: 'Dignity and Vocation of Homosexual Person' are riddled with ill-informed arguments against gay people and their lifestyle. Read the document here: http://cbcpwebsite.com/Messages/dignity.html. More from the ABS-CBN website: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/31/15/catholics-urged-reject-same-sex-marriage.
It is saying that people should respect gay people, but not their actions. It is like telling your son that you love him, but you hate what he does. It is analogous to loving him but not his self. How can you separate the existence of the being from his actual existence?
The pastoral letter cites a few references from the Bible - interpreting passages and concluding that God does not love gays and their life. It is also questionable how much consideration is their interpretation of the text with the contexts and underlying backgrounds of the passage. The Bible is an ancient text riddled with cultural and literary constructions that may obscure the reading if the reader is not cautious.
Let's revisit those passages. First, Genesis 2:19-25. This has been used by Christianity that being gay is unnatural because the text refers to 'Adam and Eve' and not 'Adam and Steve'. Just because it is said so, that doesn't mean those unsaid are not meant to be. Similarly, just because coconuts, chillis, bicycles and forks are not mentioned in the bible, that doesn't mean they are not meant to be there - unnatural. We are now educated enough to realise that narratives in the Bible are told to reveal real meanings. The metaphorical richness of the Scripture should not be underestimated. Additionally, when the text refers to God making Adam's 'suitable helper or companion' we know that is not restricted to Eve alone just because she was mentioned. Similarly, God will be sad to see if his created gay person will not have 'a suitable partner' for himself just because the church has made it immoral.
Secondly: Genesis 19:1-13 'Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction'. We have to remember that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because men wanted to 'gang rape' the two angel visitors in Lot's house as a form of disgust and communal punishment to those who discreetly welcome someone in their place. God did not intend this to mean destroying gay and lesbian people who live lovingly and committedly with their partners. Not all gay people are sexually perverse. Similarly multiple related passages: Luke 10:10-13, Isaiah 19:13-14, Jeremiah 23:14, Ezekiel 16:49 and Zephaniah 2:8-11 which bible scholars and historians would say that God punish them because of their wickedness towards outsiders, not because they had sex with men per se.
Thirdly, Leviticus 18:22 'Mosaic Law Prohibitions' and 'Leviticus 20:13 'Mosaic Punishments for Violating Mosaic Law.' Culturally, it was discouraged to waste semen of men when it is not being in contact with a woman for procreation purposes. In context, the list of what are prohibited is ridiculous; if you apply all these laws today literally, you will not be eating shrimps, be vegetarian and sewing your own clothes.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is not in alignment with what the universal Catholic Church is going towards; Filipino bishops are divisive and immoral as they try to disintegrate the branches of Jesus' Kingdom of God. The Church in the Philippines is breaching the principles of the social teachings of the Catholic Church, namely, human dignity, equality and common good.
Plus, there is a simple fact: marrying gays does not necessarilly turn straight people gay, nor break up families, nor stop straight people making babies. The world will not end when gay people marry. Just as we believe that marriage is for love and procreation, gay people will procreate love, care, commitment, justice, hope, charity, peace and faith - things that are most needed today and that many straight people seem to have already stopped procreating.
Filipino Catholics should always question the appropriateness of the actions of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines if they are suitable, feasible and Christ-like for our lives today. Just like the character of Jesus who welcomes everyone offering himself for the sake of all, we should be more than ready to embrace inclusivity in our faith, not segregation.