No, the Catholics here in the Philippines are not boycotting Lady Gaga: these are Protestant protests.
The Catholic bishop’s website is worried about the ecology and corruption, but not Lady Gaga.
Even the activist group prolife Philippines is a bit tepid, saying she is a bad example and advises you to refrain from attending the concert, but does not recommend that their members take part in the demonstrations. Similarly, the Katolikong PinoyÂ Â facebook page doesn’t mention her.
The dirty little secret is that this is a publicity stunt: a protest by small Evangelical churches who seek to be seen as “holier than thou” (i.e. not like those Pinoy Catholics back there who sin all the time and don’t know the Bible).
And, of course, Lady Gaga’s publicity agents are milking it for all it’s worth.
(Editorial cartoon from the Inquirer)
It’s like the Paquiao kerfufle:
The American press loves to see rigid doctrinal Christians and paint them as fools. The Pacquiao kerfuffle was started when a blogger then added homophobic biblical verses and the press attributed them to the boxer.
Uh, Catholics here aren’t big Bible quoters even in the USA (one learns about God’s love via stories and fiestas, although most of us know the stories of the gospels). Pacquiao wasn’t even aware of such quotes existed.
So was this a vast left wing conspiracy? (Michele Malkin, a right wing FilAm writer, notes how fast the attack spread, and suggests it was a planned ambush, i.e. that progressive groups had already made the plans and were waiting for a misstep to implement their plan for political reasons).
Pacquiao rightly points out that, like most Pinoys, he has gay friends and relatives and is not homophobic. True. We are more Confucian than Christian. Here gays are connsidered “born that way” and so accepted in a way that is not seen in most areas of the US.
On the other hand, in a country where corruption and weak government make rule of law weak, it is the family, i.e. the extended family that helps you out in times of trouble, and the idea of duty toward familyÂ is important.
So you are gay and have a boyfriend and a wife? No problem as long as she doesn’t object. And if you chose to live the gay lifestyle, wear makeup and live with your boyfriend, again no problem. True, you might not get hired if your appearance doesn’t meet standards, but since here job applicants are limited by age, weight, height, neatness, personality and often who you know, this is not a gay issue per se.
A similar cluelessness can be seen on the reports about “protests” on Lady Gaga here in the Philippines.
Entertainers are supposed to be brash, insulting and pushing the limit, but there are limits.
The last “religious” kerfuffle was when one of our comedies had the priest drop the communion host into a lady’s cleavage and had to rescue it. A lot of good natured discussions followed that movie, but since the comedian was a Catholic, no one got too upset.
Similarly, Lady Gaga’s songs about “born this way” was not seen as political: partly because here gays are believed to be “born that way”, although gay behavior is seen as a choice. Even my ten year old granddaughter instructed me it was about accepting people as they were.
The same thing goes about protests. They protest here about everything.
Two hundred protesters in Manila? That is nothing. The IglesiaNiCristo can get thousands out to protest for their political views at the drop of a hat, and the thousands in prolife marches in Manila and the provincial towns are so common that the press usually ignores them.
This news story insists Lady Gaga got off her plane in private for fear of protests, but the real reason was that she would have been mobbed by thousands of fans if she came through the old airport when she landed.
Translation: They are milking a tiny protest for publicity.
Confused? You must be a puritan, either a strict evangelical puritan or a fundamentalist atheist puritan.
You need to read Chesterton’s book “Orthodoxy”, or one of Father Greeley’s pot boiler novels.
Catholicism has lots of rules, and isn’t going to change the important ones to conform to political correctness, but when it comes down to individuals, the church is easy going in enforcing them, because we rely on the mercy of God for forgiveness of our own sins, so how can we condemn the sins of others?
So the Catholics see the protests, and just shrug. That good atheist Joyce once describe Catholicism as “here comes everybody”, and we figure that includes Lady Gaga.
But the press is missing the real story of these protests: the rise of strict Evangelical middle class who live according to Biblical rules, not only here in the Philippines, but in Korea and China. This Protestant emphasis on strict morality in everyday actions has deeper implications than fake kerfuffles about gay marriage: It has the potential to clean up the ever present culture of bribery and corruption, and is a powerful voice for human rights, not only in the Philippines, but in China.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines