LADLAD party list and Comelec: Some scriptural reflections on the real meaning of discrimination

I.  Comelec, CHR, and LADLAD

A group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT), led by Danton Remoto, an English professor in Ateneo de Manila University, asked the Commission on Elections to approve as a Party List their group named LADLAD, a Filipino word which means “public display of homosexuality”.  The Comelec, led by the presiding commissioner Nicodemo C. Ferrer, dismissed the petition on moral grounds:

Petitioner should be denied accreditation not only for advocating immoral doctrines but likewise for not being truthful when it is said that “it or any of its party list representatives have not violated or failed to comply with laws rules and regulations relating to the elections.”

Furthermore, should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith.  Lehman Strauss, a famous bible preacher and writer in the U.S.A., said in one article that “older practicing homosexuals are a threat to the youth.”  As an agency of the government, ours too is the State’s avowed duty in Sec. 13, Article II of the Constitution to protect our youth from moral and spiritual degradation.

We are not condemning the LGBT, but we cannot compromise the greater number of our people, especially the youth.

(Scrbd article.  Note page 6 is missing.  This page contains I think the Oct. 2, 2008 detailed comment of the Comelec).

The LADLAD complained that this is gender discrimination.  And the Commission on Human Rights supports their claim:

CHR said however that the poll body’s decision “smacks of prejudice and discrimination.”  “There is or can be no basis in law to deny the registration of the party, directly or indirectly, on the grounds of homosexuality, much less on homosexuality equated to immorality. To make assertions based on their homosexuality is patently discriminatory,” she said.  “Homosexuality is not a counterculture. It is part of the diversity of Philippine culture. Homosexuals are part of the Filipino family and unavoidably must be part of our politics,” CHR chair Leila De Lima was quoted in the statement as saying.  “There is no governmental policy which characterizes homosexuality as illegal nor immoral,” De Lima said. (ABS-CBN)

II.  Discrimination in Scriptures: Clean and Unclean, Holy and Profane, Good and Evil

Discrimination has been defined as something bad, so that we have now invented phrases like racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and age discrimination.  These things should not happen, modern society says.  We must not discriminate.

But let us consider the etymology of discriminate and discrimination:

Discriminate.1620s, from L. discriminare “to divide,” from discrimen, derived n. from discernere (see discern). The adverse (usually racial) sense is first recorded 1866, Amer.Eng. Positive sense remains in discriminating (adj.) “possessing discernment” (1792).

Discrimination. 1640s, “the making of distinctions,” from L. discriminationem, noun of action from discriminare (see discriminate). Especially in a prejudicial way, based on race, 1866, Amer.Eng. Meaning “discernment” is from 1814.

To discriminate is to divide, to make distinctions, to discern.  If you read the book of Genesis, you will see that God is discriminating: God placed order in chaos by separating light from darkness, day and night, heaven and sea, sea and land, animals and fishes, plants and birds, male and female.  Creation can never be accomplished without discrimination.  And God said that it is good.

If you read the book of Exodus and Leviticus, you will see that God gave a precise rules for determining whether something is clean or unclean.  Thus Israelites have all these rules regarding water potability (don’t drink a cup of water if an insect falls on it), food (carnivores and and non-fishes cannot be eaten), leprosy (suspected lepers are quarantined), etc.

Why all these rules for clean and unclean?  Moses said to Aaron:

You must be able to distinguish between what is sacred and what is profane, between what is clean and what is unclean; you must teach the Israelites all the laws that the LORD has given them through Moses. (Lv 10:10-11)

Thus, the laws to distinguish clean and clean are laid out as a pedagogical tool to help the Israelites to know what is sacred and profane.  If you are a teacher, you will first teach students the arithmetic rules like 2 apples + 3 apples = 5 apples before you teach them the algebraic rules of 2x + 3x = 5x.  You first start with something concrete, then you go to something abstract.  Since God is a good teacher, he first teaches Israelites clean and unclean things and actions, then He teaches them why Israel is a holy nation and not like the other nations, why the priest is holier than the levites, why the Bread of the Presence and the Ark of the Covenant are holy, etc.  Material to Spiritual.  This is the divine pedagogy.

After teaching the distinction between clean and unclean, holy and profane, Moses commanded Aaron to teach all the laws that God has given them through Moses.  This is the third step: moral.  What is good?  What is evil?  These questions are answered by the Ten Commandments.

The sixth and ninth commandments are “Though shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”  On these two laws we can group all the sexual sins and among them are on homosexuality:

You shall not have carnal relations with your neighbor’s wife, defiling yourself with her. You shall not offer any of your offspring to be immolated to Molech, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination. You shall not have carnal relations with an animal, defiling yourself with it; nor shall a woman set herself in front of an animal to mate with it; such things are abhorrent. (Lv 18:20-23)

Notice that adultery, abortion, homosexuality, and bestiality are enumerated together. Adultery and abortion are the ones that will result if the Reproductive Health Bill pushes through; homosexuality if LADLAD becomes a Party List; and bestiality will not be far behind.

And God said:

Do not defile yourselves by any of these things by which the nations whom I am driving out of your way have defiled themselves. Because their land has become defiled, I am punishing it for its wickedness, by making it vomit out its inhabitants. You, however, whether natives or resident aliens, must keep my statutes and decrees forbidding all such abominations by which the previous inhabitants defiled the land; otherwise the land will vomit you out also for having defiled it, just as it vomited out the nations before you. Everyone who does any of these abominations shall be cut off from among his people. Heed my charge, then, not to defile yourselves by observing the abominable customs that have been observed before you. I, the LORD, am your God. (Lv 18:24-30)

If Filipinos do not wish to vomited out of the land called the Philippines, God says that we must never do these abominations.  God is faithful to his promises.  Let us reject the Reproductive Health Bill and not allow LADLAD as a Party List.

So is the Comelec discriminating towards lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders (LGBT) in LADLAD?  Yes, Comelec is indeed discriminating, because God Himself is discriminating.  We must purge the evil in our midst.

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