Why Filipinos are not ready to fully embrace ‘gay rights’

Any discission on the future of the “gay rights” movement in the Philippines has to start with the teachings of Filipinos’ Christian faith — because, at the moment, religion is stubbornly baked into Filipinos’ sense of identity. But, Christian teaching in general — and Catholic dogma specifically — categorically lists homosexuality and its derivative lifestyles and aspirations as inherently sinful.

So the question is, What’s it gonna be?


The true sustainable foundation that needs to be laid to pave the way for gender and sexual orientation equality is to put the secular state over and above the Philippines’ Catholic cultural roots when evaluating the question of gay and gender rights. For now, prevailing notions on sexual orientation in Philippine society draw heavily from Christian teachings. The popularly-perceived place held by homosexuals in Philippine society is framed by religious thought from which originates the stigma of the “sinfulness” of their lifestyle.

The trouble lies in the manner with which Filipinos choose to practice their faith. Most Filipinos are Christians when convenient. When there is a need for spiritual inspiration, Filipinos turn to prayer and to God. But when it comes to their lifestyle choices, God and dogma become mere afterthoughts. Thus…

Filipinos are Christian in need, heathen in deed.

Unfortunately for Manny Pacquiao, in quoting bible verse to issue his indictment of homosexual lifestyles and aspirations, he hit Filipinos at their most sensitive spot — the space where Christian teachings come in direct conflict with their lifestyle choices.

Suffice to say, Filipinos are sexually active outside of marriage, are generally open to homosexuals and their lifestyles, practice artificial conctraception, and separate from their spouses whether or not they have the Church’s blessings to do so. All of these are, absolute violations of Church teachings.

Yet, Filipinos are also a prayerful lot. Worse, this prayerfulness and deference to divine will and intervention is intricately interwoven into their politics and state affairs — routine full-on (even institutionalised) contravening of the doctrine of separation of church and state.

So, on one hand, Filipinos strongly profess their Catholic identity and, on the other, also aspire to be seen to be espousing the un-Christian trendy progressive liberal attitudes towards sexuality and gender that are being discussed in Starbucks cafes all over the world. Perhaps that aspiration to be seen to be “progressive thinkers” and a part of that whole fashionable movement is what motivates many of these part-time Catholics to join the howls of protest against Pacquiao and, for that matter, anyone who dares express the conservative position on the issue of “gay rights”. Indeed, Interaksyon.com columnist Jessica Zafra goes as far as asserting that this progressive — and trendy — position is not subject to debate.

This confused way that Filipinos cling to their Catholic moral framework (when convenient) while angrily pumping their fists about “gay rights” (when in a trendy mood) merely makes for an amusing case study — the spectacle of a backward society trying to be part of a modern global discussion on next-generation social conventions that, in practice, can only be built on a solid foundation of secular institutional governance. Unfortunately for Filipinos, theirs is a society that, at the moment, as neither. Secularism continues to play second fiddle to a de facto theocracy propagated by an entrenched medieval-style oligarchy that counts as its key member the powerful Philippine Roman Catholic Church. And institutional governance? That’s an even bigger joke in the Philippine setting. There is none such in practice. Institutional governance — like Roman Catholic practice — is a facade that masks a primitive feudal regime that is motivated more by patronage than by the spirit of the written law.

In short, Filipinos, in the process of living double lives miss the point of both (1) being Catholic and (2) aspiring to be a modern people. Because, really, you cannot be both. Catholicism is built upon a medieval non-negotiable belief system that is written in black and white that constrains the efforts of no less than the pope himself to “modernise” its institution.

Modern social ethics are being built upon a thought framework that is open, invites critical scrutiny, and encourages debate.

The call to action, therefore, is for Filipinos to make a clear choice.

Do Filipinos want to be good Catholics? Or do they want to be good members of a modern secular society.

It is not an easy choice for most Filipinos — because making the right choice requires one to apply a lot of modern thinking.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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46 Comments on "Why Filipinos are not ready to fully embrace ‘gay rights’"

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Ren Car
Many filipinos are Christian In Name Only. They proudly proclaim their articles of faith, or morality, wherever they can and many are quick to judge the morality of others or lack thereof but they themselves willfully and repeatedly committ the same sins, or other sins that they so denounce. The self-righteous hypocritical bible thumpers are worse of the worst. Their defense to this blatant display of hypocrisy? Well, they claim that nobody is perfect (I pretty much agree with this) and they strive hard to correct their mistakes – fair enough but, how can you so be fking hypocritical and… Read more »
Do Filipinos want to be good Catholics? Or do they want to be good members of a modern secular society. Wrong. A lot of Catholics are good members of modern secular society. The notion that one has to abandon belief to be a good member of a secular society is laughable. It is not an easy choice for most Filipinos — because making the right choice requires one to apply a lot of modern thinking. Wrong. Even those who are for globalization who claimed that nationalism is no longer the way to progress are regretting it today. A lot of… Read more »
Ren Car
@toby. The Philippines is a secular society only to an extent. Of the country is a secular society, how come Divorce, same-sex marriage, and abortions are illegal? The Church has a very strong influence in government. Another assumption is that secularism is going to replace christianity when it’s gone? Have you read any historical books lately, or ever, about how secularism replaced Christianity all throughout western and some parts of europe during the middle ages? Toby, here is the deal. I suggest that you should read more facts before you start pulling a plethora of B.S From your ass because… Read more »
Pepe Rep
Hi benign0! Your piece has a false dilemma, but only if the horns are not misrepresented. I don’t think Christian, or even Catholic doctrine is at odds with modernity and in fact it is within a Christian framework that the ideals of secularism is able to thrive. Now, are the horns misrepresented? Yes, but not by you entirely. I am with you that Filipinos across social strata have misrepresented Christianity/Catholicism and may misrepresent secularism as well. So I don’t think it is the problem if “religion is stubbornly baked into Filipinos’ sense of identity” if the right approach to religion… Read more »

When you say “gay rights”, what are those actually aside from freedom from discrimination and hate crime and a right to wed? Because like for example a person is murdered or abused, whether he’s gay or straight, same law will be applied.

Also, whenever I hear LGBT community, it felt like heteros are outsiders to their sphere. Who separates themselves to equality? Isn’t there just a single community for both? Somehow the divide was made prominent when they made distinction to the community where it’s normal for all genders and ages to belong.


Filipinos should just strive to create a good modern Catholic society in the vein of Poland, Austria, Hungary, or Slovenia. Only problem is that Failipinos are too primitive and inferior to make such a thing happen.

My thoughts on the matter of gay rights and being a Christian: First, being a Christian for me, is being a follower of Jesus. There is a relationship. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Jesus being the Lord of my life means His will is above my will, His statutes above my life. I cannot be a follower of Jesus without surrendering my will to His, without obedience to God, to His Word, the Bible. That is why homosexual activities including gay marriage and whatever “gay rights” constitute (except when it is a basic human right) is simply not tolerable.… Read more »

There’s a reason why Yano’s “Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo” remains relevant today.

At least one gay person said, all they want is protection from harassment. No one to successfully oppose their relationship. For example, they don’t want someone breaking down their door and forcefully dragging them out and apart. But I’m certain there are some other people who want that. And that’s the problem.


May be off-topic.
But, a friend whose daughter got married said fwg at the end of his speech at the wedding reception. Liked it so much that I asked for future use. Marriage is not all honeymoon.

Here it is:

I raise my glass to you and say:

May you have:
Enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough hope to keep you happy,
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough wealth to meet your needs,
Enough enthusiasm to look forward,
Enough faith to vanish depression,
Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday.


Roman Catholicism is a religion of most of Filipinos. The religion was imposed to us, by the Spanish colonizers.

Conflict of teachings occurs, when religion goes far as exerting influence, over the affairs of the Republic.

This is why we have the separation of the Church and the State.

Jesus Christ was clear on this issue:”Render unto Caesar, things that are of Caesar’s. And, render unto God, things that are of God”…

In the Christian, or Roman Catholic Church teaching. This is a very clear boundary line between the church and the state.


There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did. To the best of my belief, our case was in the last respect a rather common one.