Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Defeating Homophobia

IGNORANCE breeds fear for lack of understanding. What's strange about it all is that people seem to fear the understanding more than the ignorance itself.

Now we come to a complex issue - gay rights.

Some people find this issue too difficult hence, homophobia. What is it?

ho·mo·pho·bi·a [hoh-muh-foh-bee-uh] –noun: unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.

Take note, homophobia is an unreasoning fear or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.

Like I said, it is a complex issue and herein lies its difficulties. It is simply too unreal to say one is pro-gay or anti-gay.

I myself consider my convictions about the issue to be centrist because I find myself advocating both liberal as well as conservative positions. My main argument though and one that I will not compromise with is the issue of human rights for gay people.

First of all, let me put this argument in the proper context -

The last great age of War thrives on a mindset of division. Where these mindsets have become firmly entrenched in the people, some cultures of persecution will persist.

Here in the Philippines, my honorable compatriots, we shall make every effort to successfully enter into the door that will lead our nation to promise in this new age.

We shall, as one nation, work to prosper our peace. This means we shall both clearly define and continually safeguard individual human rights as a vital element requisite to our integral sense of a national common good.

Because, honorable Filipino brothers and sisters of the Promise, without the real development of individuals there can be no true national development and there can be no real development of individuals without individual rights.

- selah -

In this sense, speaking for myself as a citizen, I am more concerned about the fear and ignorance that feed the phenomenon of homophobia than of homosexuals per se as a minority segment of our common humanity.

It is easier to reject than to respect and to forsake love rather than to embrace it. Hate blinds the faith that causes our reason to see further than it normally could, by the grace of God.

This is why in the case of minority human rights issues, above all other considerations, force of law is a requirement we can never do without.

This means that - especially in the case of the weaker segments of any society - the force of free human choice must be augmented by the prevailing law of the land.

But we can not have law without resort to reason and we can not use our reason (naked or otherwise illuminated by faith) without first accepting that homosexuality is not the problem, the phenomenon of homophobia is.

As a Roman Catholic Christian, though my stance on the matter is the traditional one and is well known to all, I am also additionally concerned about the abuse of my Christian faith by those who seek to use it to persecute my fellow human beings (homosexual or not) first of all, and the protection of my faith tradition from the excess of those who for selfish reasons, seek to make it more or less than what it should be (homosexual or not).

I do not believe in same-sex marriages. As far as I am concerned, we should just politely leave church weddings out of it.

But I do believe in the equality of homosexuals (and all human beings) before the law - specific civil contracts should be fine. And I mean this primarily to protect their property rights as fellow citizens equally engaged in our one Republic undertaking.

I believe in the dignity and the promise of the homosexual person as a fellow human being upon this earth but I will never endorse the homosexual act as a legitimate act of conjugal love.

I do not believe in legislating conformity as regards to anybody's private personal preferences as long as both the integrity of the human community and the common good of the nation are not threatened by it.

I am of the religious opinion that the homosexual state is a unique calling to serve in the chaste single state and must be explored in that context. Homosexuality is not a disease. It is a distinct calling to serve. That's my religious opinion.

Furthermore, I believe not in judging homosexuals but in helping them realize also their God-given right to be happy not by a false freedom that will consume them but by the freedom that will liberate them in the truth - that their lives too have purpose and meaning from God if only they shall seek to avoid conformity with the spirit of the world and fall in love with the Spirit of Jesus Christ the Lord.

Besides, how can one help those one has already, in his or her heart, condemned to be beyond help? And the homosexual person is never beyond help - no one is.

"Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins." (2 Peter 4: 8)

Absolutely speaking, I do not believe in using my religion as a weapon against other people.

My honorable compatriots, the future we are choosing to bring forward today belong to all Filipinos - it shall belong to all Filipinos or none at all.

Within the week, I shall be issuing our next monthly challenge for this month of August 2011.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. (Ayn Rand)

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