The Pacman’s remark regarding homosexual acts has been making waves in the virtual sea the past few days. It generated an editorial piece at the Inquirer yesterday and one from the Philippine Star on the 18th, among others. The two pieces provide an interesting contrast too. The titles are one thing: the former piece was titled, “Startling bigotry” while the latter was, “Don’t jump the gun in Pacquiao vs homosexuality row.” Another would be the link in the Philippine Star’s article to same sex marriage. At any rate, the days that followed that fateful remark (“mas masahol pa sa hayop” referring to homosexual acts) have shown that there has been a cataclysm in the world of political correctness. If there is any value at all that can be salvaged from Pacman’s remark and the subsequent backlash, I guess it showed to some extent the status of discourse regarding LGBT rights. This little blog entry is simply dedicated to jotting down some observations on the past few days from the LGBT camp and the Pacman camp.
Language and inconsistencies
What the last few days show is the sheer power of controlling the use of language in discourse. Far too often do proponents of the LGBT agenda refer to their critics as bigots or generally uneducated apes living in a world of the past who have to make way for the future. The Inquirer editorial stated it succinctly, “The more insidious part of his remarks was the mentality that informed his world view.” Stalinist allusions aside, the value of adopting such a strategy is obvious: to impute an irrational prejudice on a contrary view excludes its assertions from any kind of serious consideration at all. Moreover, it establishes the proponent’s view as the exclusively reasonable one, relegating the others into a void of irrationality and bias. It must be said, however, that calling a critic a bigot is hardly any argument at all, but it does have the effect of undercutting the critic’s claim to an equal footing with the proponent since the latter becomes the rational one, while the former becomes an irrational idiot. I guess it can be said that one can win a race in two ways: by racing or by default.
This is not to say that the two sides have no intersections. Consider, for example, the way that bible-touting groups appeal to religious beliefs or God to justify a particular issue in policy or law or to make a value judgment on particular acts. Consider now the way that some of the LGBT groups make appeals to Equality as though it was a self-evident justification against any form of discrimination. The two both make appeals to a wholly Other, either in the form of a Divine Being or an Overriding Force. If the latter is acceptable as a means of arguing a position, the former should be equally acceptable as well. Therefore, if the former is merely bigotry and the latter is not, we can be sure that the irrational prejudice is not the former’s logic, but rather the object of its appeal: God. God becomes irrational, and Equality does not.
Appeals to religion and the Bible
Appeals to religion, tradition, or even the Bible just do not seem to be taken seriously at all these days. Especially from the reactions and reactions to the reactions on the Pacman fiasco. Perhaps the root cause is simply the lack of a common ground between the two camps to lay out the issues and dialogue in an understandable way. As mentioned in the previous section, calling one side as bigoted or what have you merely dismisses their opinion and hardly makes a positive case for the other side. Likewise, appealing to religion or faith without harmonizing it with reason is a pre-Christian concept. Since Pacman is a Christian, the views he espouses should have at least some basis in reason. Pending that, all we have now is basically a name-calling contest.
A couple of comments I’ve read revolved around the issue of whether the LGBT lobbying groups are imposing their views on everyone else. As a preliminary matter, it must be asked whether imposing one’s views is reprehensible at all. Democracy is a marketplace of ideas and this is expressed in the constitutional guarantees of speech and the press. Everyone and anyone is free to give their opinion about anything. This is then weighed and tempered through debate and public participation. When it comes to changing the law, however, things may turn out differently. The law, for one, enshrines the values and norms that a population has over time. For example, are groups lobbying for same-sex marriage imposing their views on everyone else or are traditional marriage laws imposing their religious views on others?
It must be noted that the issue is not simply one of broadening the rights available to heterosexual couples under Article 1 of the Family code. To consider it as simply “traditional marriage plus” is pure oversimplification. The issue is rather a choice between two definitions: an overhaul of the definition of marriage in Article 1. It is one which seeks to revise the nature, consequences, and incidents of marriage along with the policy considerations attached to it. Whether or not that is an imposition of a viewpoint is for you to judge. As to the latter question (whether traditional marriage laws are imposing their religious views on everyone else), it might be said that the marriage in Article 1 has nothing to do with religion since it is purely one of civil law (unless of course one would trace it back to the Spanish Code, to the Code Napoleon, to the Siete Partidas, or Canon Law…then maybe; but why single out Article 1 in the first place?).
As I was writing this, it appears that Under Armour signed Pacman in. I guess there is a silver lining after all.