Over the weekend, 8 time world boxing champion and senatorial candidate, Rep. Manny Pacquiao, got himself on the receiving end of verbal flurries from netizens and celebrities that were probably a lot more stinging than the beating he took from his arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez. This happened after he expressed his disagreement on same-sex marriage by reasoning what he believed to be the nature of things as exemplified by the animal kingdom. What seems to have made netizens and celebrities so infuriated was Pacquiao’s assertion that homosexuals are worse than animals. Now I don’t agree with Pacquiao’s assertion that homosexuals are worse than animals and his opposition to same-sex marriage is nothing new. What I actually find disturbing is the vitriol being spewed by the pro-gay crowd against someone who doesn’t share their views.
Consider singer and proud lesbian Aiza Seguerra’s words for Pacquiao:
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“I am so fuckin’ mad I don’t know what to say.
“You might’ve done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn’t vote for you.
“And yes, I think you are an ignorant, bigoted hypocrite.
“You made me lose all respect that I had for you, Mr. Pacquiao.”
First of all, I find no issues with Seguerra not voting for Pacquiao. Afterall, Seguerra is a proud lesbian and a believer in same-sex marriage. However, it is one thing not to vote for Pacquaio because he doesn’t share your beliefs, it is another thing to suggest why the whole country should not vote for Pacquiao just because Pacquiao doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage. Is Seguerra suggesting that the whole country ought to believe in same-sex marriage and ought to only vote for pro same-sex marriage folks?
So what is Seguerra’s basis for claiming that Pacquiao is ignorant, bigoted, and a hypocrite using Pacquiao’s views on same-sex marriage and homosexuals?
Last I checked, ignorant means “lacking in knowledge or training”. For Seguerra to call Pacquiao ignorant seems to suggest that she holds factual and indisputable knowledge about homosexuality. I find her description of Pacquiao to be quite arrogant as the topic of the nature of homosexuality itself is still being debated. I invite my readers to check out an interesting debate on the nature of homosexuality at http://www.debate.org. Mind you, the site merely offers a debate on opinions. The internet is replete with scientific claims and arguments on both sides. One striking question on the nature of homosexuality comes from Dr. Paul Vasey of the University of Lethbridge. If homosexuality is indeed natural and there is genetic basis for homosexuality, Dr. Vasey asks:
“How can a trait like male homosexuality, which has a genetic component, persist over evolutionary time if the individuals that carry the genes associated with that trait are not reproducing?”
This is certainly an evolutionary puzzle on homosexuality and I don’t believe there is a definitive answer to such a puzzle yet. So perhaps it may be argued that Pacquiao may be ignorant of the true nature of homosexuality, but this may go the same with Seguerra. I am reminded of an old Filipino proverb that says:
“The rattan basket criticizes that palm leaf basket, still both are full of holes.”
Next, is Pacquiao necessarily bigoted if he does not believe in same-sex marriage or even homosexuality as a natural phenomenon? The dictionary defines bigoted as being extremely intolerant of another’s creed, belief, or opinion. I don’t consider Pacquiao to be extremely intolerant of another’s creed, belief, or opinion. Actually, in comparing both Pacquiao’s and Seguerra’s words and demeanor, it appears that the latter has exhibited a closer description for the definition of bigoted. Although Pacquiao has been quite vocal and passionate about his religious beliefs, I haven’t seen any evidence of him persecuting other people who don’t share his views, let alone spew out the same level of venomous vitriol Seguerra has given.
Lastly, why is Pacquiao a hypocrite for stating his opposition to same-sex marriage? Last I heard, Pacquiao has never married a man throughout his life. So he believes that homosexuality is not natural and he bases his belief on his understanding of the Bible. So what? How does that make him a hypocrite? Doesn’t being a hypocrite entail actions that belie stated beliefs? Now one may argue that Pacquaio is being a hypocrite when he dished out a statement offensive to some of his fellow human beings (which is contrary to the Christian tenet of loving one another). But to say that he is a hypocrite just because he holds a different opinion on the nature of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is a bit of a stretch. I, for one, think that Pacquiao never intended to offend anyone when he stated his opinion. He was nice enough to apologize to the LGBT community while maintaining his views on same-sex marriage.
Last I heard, there is no law in the Philippines that abridges freedom of speech. I say this because I think this whole controversy is not just about perceptions of homophobia but the underlying threat of political correctness or mere appeasement to freedom of speech. Of course, the pro-gay folks would probably think that Seguerra’s hateful words on Pacquaio and her strong beliefs on homosexuality has nothing to do with her personal feelings for the need of self-validation. But what seems very disturbing is the notion that anyone who questions or even disagrees with the (liberal) narrative on homosexuality and same-sex marriage is automatically a bigoted ignorant homophobe. Can’t we see the irony there?
Calling a spade, a spade…