Lea Salonga: Twisting my words on same-sex marriage is ‘ungodlike’

Lea Salonga: Twisting my words on same-sex marriage is ‘ungodlike’
The acclaimed Broadway actress says her remarks on same-sex marriage were 'twisted' and misinterpreted in a CBCP News report

MANILA, Philippines – Acclaimed Filipino singer Lea Salonga on Thursday, August 13, slammed a report criticizing her remarks on same-sex marriage, saying that her words have been “twisted to create division.”

An August 12 report posted on the news website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) quoted netizens criticizing Salonga over her remarks in a recent Rappler Talk interview, in which she cited Bible commandments to explain her pro-same sex marriage stance.

Salonga took to her Twitter account to respond to the CBCP article, saying: “That my words are being twisted to create division is ungodlike…To be an advocate for the LGBT community is to stand up for humanity. To use the Bible to justify bigotry and hate is wrong.”

“I am not advocating for the Catholic Church to start performing LGBT weddings. That’s not it at all,” she added.

In the August 10 interview, the multi-awarded theater actress said that the Biblical commandment to “love your neighbor” should be all-encompassing.

“Jesus gave two commandments: ‘Love God with all of your heart and all of your soul.’ And the second one is, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ So did he say, ‘Unless that person happens to be gay, or lesbian, or trans’? Last I checked, those words were not in the Bible. I’m not going to make an assumption that Jesus Christ, more than 2000 years ago, made those exceptions,” she said.

The singer added, “For those of you who are against marriage equality, you have to ask yourselves why. I will not accept ‘Because my priest said so.'”

In the CBCP News article, critics of same-sex marriage said Salonga’s remarks seemed to condone what they considered immoral acts that are against Church teaching.

“Oh Lea, you are right in saying that we should love everyone, sinners and saints alike. But should loving everyone translate to allowing everyone to do as they please?” netizen Ryan Borja Capitulo said.

He added: “We should love pedophiles and pray for their conversion. Should we allow them to marry children? We should love serial killers and pray for their conversion. Should we allow them to continue with their killing spree? We should love corrupt politicians and pray for their conversion. Should we allow them to continue stealing?”

Capitulo also called on Salonga not to be a “cafeteria Christian,” a derogatory term used to describe Christians who selectively choose which doctrines to follow. 

Other netizens quoted in the CBCP article also commented that true Christian love should not tolerate “evil things.”

“Loving also means helping the person to avoid doing things that may harm his soul,” Shiela Borbon said.

Not about sex

In a tweet, Salonga said that her point was “absolutely misunderstood.”

“When I said ‘Love thy neighbor,’ it had nothing to do with sexual love at all. In Christ’s time there were segments of society actively being judged and shunned. Jesus embraced them all, which is a call to embrace and loved those who are marginalized. I would like to think that Jesus’ commandment is a challenge, a call to action,” Salonga wrote.

She added, “When I said “all-encompassing” I meant that everyone is deserving of God’s love, regardless of their sin. That is the godly way. An elevated love that we as humans need to learn.”

In the same Rappler interview, Salonga also said that the predominantly Catholic Philippine society is not yet ready to back same-sex marriage.

“We may be too religious as a society. I’m not saying that as a slam against religion, it’s just a state of our world, we’re not ready. This country is not yet ready,” Salonga said.

A Facebook trend showed that Filipino netizens support marriage equality, but a May 2015 poll conducted by Laylo Research Strategies showed that 7 out of 10 Filipinos oppose it. – Rappler.com

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