Worshipping God in a queer way: Art that educates, provokes, or offends? | Inquirer Opinion

Worshipping God in a queer way: Art that educates, provokes, or offends?

/ 04:05 AM April 22, 2024

In our continuously growing culture, art has been a huge platform where people show their opinions and beliefs or simply express themselves like how LGBTQIA+ members express themselves through the art of drag. Although many have been raising awareness of being queer, there are still some stuck in their out-of-date thinking of homosexuality being a “sin” even though it is not.

The performance of drag queen Pura Luka Vega (real name: Amadeus Fernando Pagente) where they are dressed as Jesus Christ while the remix of a liturgical song “Ama Namin” is used has caused chaos in the Christian community and has led people to choose sides.

Their statement brought light to a variety of viewpoints toward art. Art has no boundaries; it can be illicit or not. An artist like Pagente is a testament to this; they push boundaries, go beyond social standards, and pose provocative issues. Art is fascinating and influential because of this, giving art the ability to educate.


While some people understand its message, some have been offended. Negros Occidental declared Pagente persona non grata. According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, “the separation of church and state shall be inviolable.” Pagente’s issue is connected to religion, thus, the government should not meddle in the said issue. Declaring Pagente a persona non grata shows that the Philippine government is still a slave to the church’s conservatism.


Their intention was not for the people from the religion to be offended by what they had done. Pagente also said that the issue will not end their way of expressing and practicing faith.

For them, Pagente’s way of dressing up like Jesus Christ is like how Catholics do it during Holy Week for the Senakulo. Judging by the aggressive reactions the performance received, it shows that people of the faith are fine when a straight person dresses the same way as Jesus Christ with the purpose of deliberately ridiculing Him, but not if a queer person does it as an expression of their faith.

Taking everything into consideration, art can be used to express yourself. Pagente’s intention in their performance was to bring honor to the Catholic faith and worship God in a queer way. The issue making it to the national government shows that they would rather debate over a drag performance than tackle more pressing issues. Catholics should be able to understand other people’s points of view when it comes to practicing the faith. As Pagente said, “You may like a particular work of art but somebody else doesn’t. You can’t force anyone to accept or reject. Art may provoke; it may also soothe; it may spark joy or rouse anger, regardless of the artist’s intent. Appreciation may not necessarily match the intent.”

Art is a controversial matter. Faith, even more so. Both have the power to provoke, motivate, and educate. People do not need to stop making art just because some people dislike it. We as citizens should respect and understand others, and not be so quick to judge and criticize when a certain belief doesn’t resonate with ours.

Chandynee Domingo, Wesleyan University-Philippines

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