Bible scholars, HIV data back Pacquiao up on LGBT
REGARDLESS OF what his most savage detractors say about his Bible-based view on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao stands on solid ground in the bruising fight outside the ring he has started.
First, while his critics chorus that he takes the biblical passages too literally to support his position, the fact remains that the prevailing view among Bible scholars is that, indeed, the passages which refer to homosexuality mean homosexuality. As fresh proof of the dominance of this interpretation in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis himself only made guarded comments on the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) topic. Actually, the verses are so simple that even laymen could not miss their real meaning.
Let’s take 1 Corinthians 6:9, which Pacquiao cited: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.” I do not hear any hairsplitting in the interpretation of the other words referring to the other sins that the verse cites, so why should there be any on the phrase “men who have sex with men”?
Second, Pacquiao’s conviction that the male is meant for the female and, yes, the biblical prohibition on same-sex union, make a lot of sense when viewed against the fact that as a population class, homosexuals and bisexuals bear the overwhelming brunt of the HIV pandemic all over the world. In a report in July 2014, the World Health Organization stated that “men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to have HIV than the general population, and transgender women are almost 50 times more likely to have HIV than other adults” (www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/key-populations-to-hiv/en/). On the other hand, according to the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the local situation is as follows: Of the 22,527 cumulative number of HIV sufferers in the country at the end of 2014, 47 percent or 9,806 contracted the disease through homosexual contact while 30 percent or 6,254 through bisexual contact (www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S1201971215001356).
I beg to disagree with the people who say that Pacquiao has been knocked out because of the savage attacks he has absorbed in the wake of his controversial remarks. While he may have apologized for the part of his remarks where he compared people who engage in same-sex sexual activity as worse than animals, he has stood firm on the issue of the wrongness of homosexual practice and same-sex marriage. In short, he is still hanging on.
Personally, I would wait for the judges’ scorecards which will come in the form of the results of the May elections. If he wins, that would mean that the public in general agrees with his stance on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Whether we like it or not, with the controversy happening at this time, his run for the Senate has turned into a referendum on the twin subjects. With Bible scholars and HIV statistics backing him, how could he lose?
—ESTANISLAO ALBANO JR., [email protected]
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