There was a time under religion that I comfortably ignored the subtle and not so subtle attacks on the LGBT community. Although I had gay friends, I viewed their efforts to fight for equality as an “agenda”. I had chosen the supremacy of religion over the human rights of fellow citizens. My exodus from that warm blanket of Christianity led me to recognize a new world of humanity that was always there. The new Humanist life had new meaning and connection with the greater community. My look back and reexamination painfully made obvious my lack of empathy of what my LGBT friends had been experiencing for years. I had heard their stories but testimonials have new power when you become an ex-Christian Atheist/Humanist. You feel their pain. You understand what it is like to be forced to keep your real identity a secret. You see the costs of being real and true. I also was amazed at the Christian friends who did not abandon me. They were also the ones fighting for LGBT rights from within the church. I admired their insurgent efforts. I joined with other straights who value their gay friends. I see I have allies everywhere now: The Atheists and Humanists. The Christian humanists who recognize hate when they see it. The gay friends who included me in their circle of friends despite knowing I was both religious and straight.
Our alliance today is stronger and history is writing a truer story of redemption. The bigot and homophobe today will be our ally in equality tomorrow. Straights, Christians, and gays can work together to help the bigot discover a nicer world of love and mutual respect.
Pacquiao has a political, religious, and business agenda to degrade the dignity of the LGBT community. He believes he will gain respect, votes, and power. He will see a net loss in all three areas. He is still a gambler at heart and he bet wrong. The irony is that he just made it easier to make our case to the Christian and straight community.
Millions are choosing sides now, quietly and thoughtfully. They are asking themselves if the Philippines should come from hate or love. What is our real identity? Should we tolerate or feel the pain of certain citizens who are called “animals” for being who they really are?
The Filipino is asking who we really are going forward. Are we for Lea Salonga or Manny Pacquiao? Do we ignore the pain of discrimination or do we embrace the beauty of our full community?
Pastors and Priests who choose the “hero” Pacman over LGBT rights may forget that the congregation is listening closely now!
It is time for choosing. Manny will lose more than Nike dollars. He has lost his sense of history and which way we are going.
I look forward to welcoming all the new Christian and straight allies to our HAPI Humanist advocacy to promote Human rights for all Filipinos.
Written by: Alex Mendoza Wisner, happily married to a theist for 20 years, with 3 kids.
|Alex Mendoza Wisner is the HAPI Assistant Chairperson (Membership Dept)|