Suspension of Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘religion

Close encounters with pro- and anti-LGBT Christ believers during Pride

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Outrage Magazine | 6 July 2017

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“They’re here again,” a gay man in his 40s said.

He was referring to the religious protesters during the annual Pride parade in Metro Manila, making their presence felt with their on-your-face way to (supposedly) teach the LGBT community members about everything that’s “wrong” with their way of living.

“I came here because I love God. And if LGBTs face God, they face their sin. And if they face their sin, they will know how much God loves them,” John, a Born Again Christian from Francisville, angrily yelled.

John was on the sidelines, separated from the protesters by some policemen. But whether they’re there to protect the LGBT revelers or the so-called Christian protesters is up for questioning – the latter may be vociferous, but the former have the number (it’s Pride parade, after all).

Another Born Again Christian protester, Angela, added: “We are are here so people will know that they would need to repent because God loves them. We love them. They need to repent so they will come to know Jesus. LGBTs need to repent in order to come to the kingdom of heaven.”

In various English versions of the Bible, homosexuality was mentioned in several books.

For instance, in Leviticus 18:22-23:

22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is detestable act. 23 You must not have sexual intercourse with any animal to become defiled with it, and a woman must not stand before an animal to have sexual intercourse with it; it is perversion.

Romans 1:26-28:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

1 Timothy 1:8-11:

8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebel, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

And for these protesters, the Bible should be interpreted to the letter.

Surprisingly, Christian leaders themselves are against this very approach.

For instance, Pope Benedict XVI, former leader of the Roman Catholic Church, said that “an authentic interpretation of the Bible must always be in harmony with the faith of the Catholic,” as he criticized ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘literalist’ interpretations and urged a “renewed appreciation for the symbolic and spiritual interpretation techniques used by the ancient fathers of the church.”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic faith, still one of the strongest religions that exist, encourages people to embrace gays and transexuals. “Each case must be welcomed, accompanied, studied, discerned, and integrated. When a person (who is gay) arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, ‘Go away because you are homosexual,” Pope Francis was quoted as saying.

So much for leadership, though, with the flock not taking heed.

In a poll conducted by Gallup, three out of four Americans actually believe that the Bible is the ACTUAL WORD of God and should be TAKEN LITERALLY. This is even after taking into consideration not only the inconsistencies, but the outdated perspectives in the Bible.

The surprising thing is the nitpicking of chapters and verses from the Bible seemingly to justify personal positions.

Take for instance Sodom and Gomorrah, which has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Even the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has stated that the LGBT community should not be condemned and should be given respect.

And there’s Leviticus 20:13, which states that “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

So anyone who would take the Bible literally must also campaign for the execution of homosexuals.

“We never said we hate LGBTs. We never said LGBTs do not deserve to be happy. They just need to repent and welcome Jesus into their lives again. We never said LGBTs are bad. What they are doing on the other hand… they need to change it,” Angela said.

Her companion John is louder: “They (LGBTs) are hypocrites! How can they know God if what they are doing is wrong?”

But then also at Pride, there are other Christians who are openly asking for apology for all the hate caused by religion/s to LGBT community members.

And so yes, these Born Again Christian protesters are entitled to voice their opinions while quoting Bible verses left and right. And these Christians asking for the LGBT community’s forgiveness are also entitled to air their side.

In the end, it’s safe to say that with the Bible, it’s a matter of interpretation and… morals. But judgment is anchored on the discourse of human rights; and here, alas, who’s on the wrong and on the right side of fence?

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(Established in April 2007, Outrage Magazine remains the only publication exclusive for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and allied community in the Philippines.)

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Swaying into Obando Church

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Outrage Magazine | 28 March 2013

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If you’re up for a road trip this Holy Week season (and if you’re one of those who don’t fancy Boracay or Puerto Galera this season), this historical church in the Northern part of the Metro might be an option for you.

Built during the 1750′s, the San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church or most popularly known to many as the Church of Obando Bulacan, is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The construction of the church during the Spanish occupation was commissioned by the Franciscan Order, led by Rev. P. Manuel de Olivencia, who was also the first parish priest of the church.

While the church was destroyed during the Second World War (in the 1940s), when it was greatly affected by the clashes between the Japanese and the American-Filipino joint troops, later on, through the efforts of the Obandeno parishioners and Rev. Fr. Marcos Punzal, it was rebuilt again (in two years).

The structure of San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church was altered a bit over the years from its original form – from what used to be a fully abode wall, now the facade and most of its exterior were painted, which gives it a more “modern” feel instead of an old rustic impression. The octagon shaped bell tower was also polished with paint, compared to other bell towers of other old churches; its five-story structure has a more “modern” feel to it.

The church’s interior, though, still manifests the Spanish structure concept, e.g. having minimal designs, a detailed painting on its arc and an antique chandelier with Capiz lights to give the main altar a more dramatic illumination.

On its main altar, the icon of San Pascual de Baylon stands. San Pascual, a Spanish friar and a Franciscan, is the
foremost patron of Obando Church.

“San Pascual de Baylon is one of our patrons here in Obando Church. It is believed during the early times, that San Pascual was the patron who helped the early Filipinos fulfill their wishes. And the college here in Obando, Bulacan was also named after San Pascual de Baylon, to honor the blessing he has bestowed upon. Our parish also manages the school,” said Rev. Fr. Avelino Sampana, priest of Obando Church.

And in the middle of the main altar stands the statue of Nuestra Senora de Salamabao. The Blessed Virgin Mary is shown with her hands clasped together in a prayerful manner while standing on a net, while a fisherman on the side is shown holding a small net. She is the patron of fishermen; it is believed that the image was found when a group of fishermen thought they caught a big fish, though when they retrieved it, they saw the image of the Virgin Mary standing upright in the net.

“Our Lady of Salambao, on the other hand, is believed to be a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was found by a group of fishermen. It was also during that time, when the harvesting fishes was close to scarcity – but then they retrieved the image of Our Lady of Salambao. The fishermen tried to bring back the image to Navotas, but they experienced several hardships, so then they eventually decided to bring it to Obando instead,” Rev. Fr. Sampana said.

Salambaw is a fishing net with bamboo frames that support the catching tool.

On the right side of the main altar is the image of Santa Clara.

San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church is most famously known for its fertility rites or the Obando dance. The church’s parishioners and other Catholics strongly believe that if a couple or a family is encountering difficulties in conceiving a child, all they need do is go to this church of Obando during its feast day in May or every Sunday to join the Bulakenyos in the famous dance ritual.

Contrary to what most people know, the Obando dance is not only for couples who want to have a healthy conception of children, however, as it is also for people who have other personal petitions, like abundance in their farms, improvement in the careers, or betterment in their school ranking.

“People always mistaken the Obando dance as purely for people who are experiencing fertility problems, but it is not. A lot of people, especially the locals, joins and mastered the dance – they go to this church every weekend to participate in our celebration. Especially during the feast of our church, when we parade our patrons around Obando, our parishioners would gather around the patrons and dance,” Rev. Fr. Sampana said.

Like some of the churches in the Philippines, San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church also has several activities during the Holy Week, when its parishioners and other Catholics can go to and attend the celebration.

“I encourage everyone to visit San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church or most commonly known as the Obando Church, so you can see and experience how miraculous Our Lady of Salambao is and join us in celebration of our faith through the dance of Obando,” Rev. Fr. Sampana said.

As the way to celebrate Holy Week continues to evolve, this may not have the flashy lights and the wide selection of boys to be met in the party beaches, or the magnificent views that the “piso fare” flights can offer, but, hey, for those up for it, this is a perfect chance for those interested to reflect on their religious well-being.

 

(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)

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