Heh. The Honorable Senator Emmanuel D, Pacquiao, Aka the world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, aka Pacman, who recently found religion, is now under attack.

Why? Well, it s seems that he has made a remark against gay marriage, and his website has some Biblical phrases that imply promiscuous gay sex is wrong.

Since Pacman has been known to have had ladies on the side before he rediscovered his faith in Jesus a couple of months ago, he is not exactly the one to throw the first stone.

But the incident shows a disturbing trend in America: that even trying to suggest that traditional marriage is a good thing will now get you ostracized by the PC who run the media in the USA.

However, here in the Philippines, Gay boycotts and ridicule by the American press will will only reinforce the idea of a decadent America who is trying to export their decadence to the world, and you will be ridiculed or worse if you dare support your religious beliefs against the dogma of sexual liberation.

So Senator Pacquiao may lose money if the PC boycott persuades Nike to drop him as a spokesperson because he opposes gay marriage, but ironically it will help him when he runs for president in the future.

You see, President Aquino, aka PNoy, is hitting corruption, but in social matters, he is viewed as a puppet for the US and their population agenda (government mandated birth control in public clinics, modern style sex education to high school kids, divorce and gay marriage). These program supported by the elites but disliked by the powerful Catholic church.

It’s more complicated than that: it is a human rights issue. Birth control here is being pushed as an economic issue: many discussions on the English Language TV stations insist that the Philippines will never climb out of poverty until we get rid of poor people, when the real problem is the widespread corruption that discourages business investment.

This mantra of “too many poor people” raises a flag with those of us familiar with how “population control” ideas resulted in human rights abuses in countries such as Peru, India and China.

Why not push family planning of all sorts and link it’s use with marriage, maternal health, and spacing children (which is how pious Muslim countries like Iran and Bangladesh have instituted sucessful family planning programs)?

It’s not like no one uses family planning: Catholics stress natural family planning, for example, and you can get condoms and the pill easily at pharmacies, private clinics and outreach centers.

Manny’s support of the Catholic bishops in their opposition to the “Reproductive health” bill may lose him supporters among the Manila elites, but ironically, his opposition to gay marriage, which is not a big issue so far among easy going Catholics, may win him support in the small but growing group of Evangelical middle class voters.

My take on all of this as an outsider: it is a fight between two visions of society.

The first idea, that of President Obama, is the idea of an independent individual who should be free to make any choice in how he wants to live his life: including which gender he wants to be, or who he wants to marry, or if he wants to destroy the children he begets. so that he can be successful in his career.

(yes, PC feminists, I am old enough to use “he” as a gender neutral pronoun, which implies both men and women).

The freedom from responsibility and family ties has a downside: who cares for you when you are sick? President Obama has the compassionate answer: In times of trouble, a huge federal government will come to the rescue.

Hence the “Julia” controversy, where Julia, when in need, finds a government program to help her life her life to the full.

Yet one wonders: Doesn’t Julia have a family? A spouse to love? The telling part of the Obama narrative is that family is only mentioned once, as a source of health insurance. And Julia spends her lonely old age helping in a community garden, not helping at church, caring for grandkids or a spouse with dementia, as many ordinary folks do.

But this is not the only way to construct a viable society.

The second vision is that of most countries: We are members of a biological family, and we are not free to live our lives as we chose to live them. We are part of a family, and both dependent on our family when we need help, and also responsible for the welfare of others in our family. Marriage is not just based on affection, but on duty, childbearing, and caring for each other. Marriage links one to the past and the future: it is not a weak tie of affection to be discarded when one is no longer “in love” but links us to parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and cousins of all sorts, with ties of affection but also responsibility.

So many people give up their own dreams of marriage and career to work, frequently in other countries, to support their extended families: and without the money from our “overseas foreign workers”, poverty would be even worse in this country.

So where does sex fit into this?
Sexual activity is “built in” to the family: it is used to reinforce the family, because for thousands of years, the majority of humans have linked sex and marriage and surrounded marriage with rules and prohibitions in order to protect the vulnerable, which in the says before birth control pills meant women and young children.

This is why polygamy is practiced in many societies: as an alternative to divorce, when the wife is too old or can no longer have children. And in the days when fertility was controlled by taboos against intercourse during pregnancy and breast feeding to space children, most societies recognized that men often have needs that make prolonged celibacy a problem. So most societies provided them with an outlet such as polygamy or sex workers, where children of those women would also have some protection.For example, here in the Philippines, we don’t have polygamy, but many rich men have mistresses, and a man who doesn’t properly support his mistress and their children is despised by others (The Pinoy joke is that our politicians all have family values: They support all of their families, referring to the common practice of having mistresses).

In the Asia Pacific area, homosexual behavior is not a big thing, partly because it doesn’t result in children. Like the “second wife” or sex workers, it is “invisible”: something unimportant, that has nothing to do with the family.

In Manila, the gay bar scene is reported to be a bit rough, but here in the provinces, gays and transvestites walk around openly, and no one seems to get upset about the matter. It’s not approved of if a man has a “boyfriend”, but if he is discrete, no one will point fingers. In the provinces, there are more important issues to worry about, like if the typhoon will destroy the next rice crop.

Hence, saying two people of the same sex who love each other should be able to marry is something seen as absurd: sure, they can do what they want to do, but what does this have to do with the Family?

This idea of the family has broad implications for the entire society. Even if they pass a “gay marriage” law, no one will care: Because the government has little to do with one’s every day life.

In contrast, in America, the family and clan ties are weaker, and usually family only means the nuclear family. But we have developed “intermediate” social institutions to fill the gap: So we don’t just rely on our family, but on churches, groups, and grass roots civic organizations. We may trust those we meet in church or a the Rotary club to do business with, for example.In America, morality is based on the churches and the Bible, not on social customs, and since Christianity insists we all are God’s children, the ideas of granting equal rights and non discrimination is actually an idea based on Christ’s philosophy.

So President Obama can correctly claim Christ’s law of love to defend his backing of gay marriage.

The problem with gay marriage in America however comes against the problem that moral rules are based on the Bible, which does condemn gay sex (along with other sins such as adultery, being drunk, violence, being greedy and being dishonest).

The Protestant Biblical ethic behind American culture insists on internal controls of one’s own actions, so frowns anyone who openly flouts the rules. This idea has been weakened from the “sexual revolution”, but nevertheless, there is still the idea that control in sexual matters is linked with honesty, and working hard.

President Obama’s problem is that religion is by it’s nature conservative, relying on ancient laws that change slowly if at all.

It is unlikely that either the mainstream Catholics or the Evangelicals will change their dogma to approve of gay marriage.

So for Americans, the gay marriage laws that insist on “non discrimination” threaten not just their private religion but a widespread network of religious institutions run by churches.

How serious is this threat?

Well, even the usually serene Anchoress is worried that Obama is openly attempting to cause a schism in the Catholic church in order to push the mandated birth control and abortion pills as part of his health care plan.

The Catholic bishops are balking at cooperation, and there is a very real danger that the catholic left will  secularize the schools and hospitals that they legally control, institutions that were built with money donated for the purpose of having them run according to church rules.

Can persecution of Bible based churches for refusing to do gay marriages be far behind?The recent kerfuffle of Obama wanting to refuse military chaplains the right to recuse themselves from perform gay marriages suggest how a simple “non discrimination” idea could do this.

Catholics are on the side of tradition and Catholic feminism recognizes rights and biology: the rights that men and women can do the same “jobs” but recognizing we are created with a body and a soul, so our masculine or feminine nature is expressed in the way we do our work, our vocation in families, and in cooperating with the gift of children.

Children are not a “choice” or a “punishment” for sex, but a gift of God, and our sexual expression is the way God blesses family life.
The problem not being discussed in the American media is not the question of “same sex” marriage per se, but the philosophy that is the basis for that idea: the idea that gender is a “choice”, that gender doesn’t matter, and that sexual expression should never be limited by morality, and that sex and children don’t have to be linked.

The modern intellectuals who are reconstructing the idea of marriage to be free of gender and reproduction is probably only a minor  problem for America, and but it could be a disaster in countries where a rich and powerful government won’t be there to pick up the pieces of destroyed families where half the children live in one parent families.

A Key quote about all of this comes from a film on the Anchoress’ blog:

“Tell President Obama to respect a woman’s choice to practice her beliefs…not his.”

this especially goes for Obama’s pushing his sexual mores on countries that still rely on strong family ties and customs to care for each other.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.

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