Nov 22, 2006

[Pink News] The Philippine Union of Church and State

House Bill 634 entitled, "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Therefore," or better known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill is the Philippine's answer to enacting measures to prevent discrimination against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community. It's long overdue considering the global movement towards recognizing the human rights of the LGBT community and has been well-supported in many circles, despite the country's conservative Catholic majority.

Enter - Representative Bienvenido Abante, Jr., Chairperson of the Committee on Civil, Political, and Human Rights, Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church, Administrator of the Metropolitan International Christian Academy, Chairperson of the Alliance of Baptist Councils, President of the Abante International Ministries and President of the Bible Believers League for Morality and Democracy. Despite leading the committee on human rights, Rep. Abante has pulled out all the stops to block the passage of House Bill 634.

In a bold, and perhaps insane, move, Rep. Abante delivered a privilege speech entitled, Rejecting a Culture of Death on Monday, November 20, 2006. In his speech, he claimed that he had backing of "around 35,000 churches all over the country" in making this particular speech to the assembly. This initial statement alone had me personally fuming - I didn't know that our government was now similar to the US but instead of electoral colleges, we have Churches? They do not have a political say in the ways of government.

But I digress.

His his ten page speech, he goes on to condemn House Bill 634 primarily on moral grounds since the passage of such bills would promote "death to the most cherish Filipino values of Godliness and moral rectitude." While some of his initial arguments seemed factual since he was questioning definitions and the wording of certain parts of the bill, he quickly changed tracks to attack the bill on moral grounds while providing insane analogies and quoting the Bible left and right.

Now I ask you, whatever happened to the division between Church and State? Were Rep. Abante's statements made by him as a congressman or as a pastor? Heck, is he even able to separate the two positions? Clearly his statements are highly religious in nature and show that he is not making his decisions in government based on law but more based on his own religious agenda.

Most of his speech was more of the same religious prattle, quoting this book and that while using these as basis to challenge an actual bill in the House of Representatives! He further asserts that passing the bill would be unconstitutional, that it goes against the definition of a family and actual discriminatory against heterosexuals. He went even further by taking the time to let loose a few pot shots at House Bill 3773, the Responsible Parenthood and Population Management Act, as well since he felt obligated to also challenge birth control since he claims the bill is actually promoting "moral and social decadence, promiscuity, violations of constitutional principles, and yes, legalization of abortion," which is so far beyond the scope of the actual bill.

The man is a crackpot who blatantly touts religious dogma as a legal imperative. He is not treating this as a secular post but merely another religious office to hold, another pulpit from which to make his firebrand statements all supposedly in the name of God.

This entry is not one against the Christian Nation - they are entitled to their own beliefs of course. What this entry is all about is showing how this member of government is bringing his religious ideals and principles into Congress, into the creation of laws given his warped view that the Constitution requires that we support a religious agenda in all things. I don't know how that's possible, but he actually thinks that the Constitution "is a living testament of our recognition of an Almighty God in a direct and personal way." and yet refuses to enact any laws that would legally recognize the existence of LGBT citizens since he believes that the Constitution requires that laws should "be guided by what is right before God."

Pardon me for living and breathing!

LAGALAB, the Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network, has called for the immediate resignation of Rep. Abante and is running a campaign against the congressman. They're calling on the LGBT community, the human rights community and all those who find his statements unjust and inappropriate for a member of the secular government to file letters of protest with his office or directly with the Office of the Speaker of the House in order to call for his resignation.

The Geeky Guide supports LAGALAB in this call and urges all readers who agree with this stand to send in their letters of protest and have Rep. Abante removed from office or at the very least bar his re-election in 2007. Contact information can be found below:

Office of Representative Bienvenido Abante, Jr.
Rm. 407, South Wing
House of Representatives,
Batasan Hills, Quezon City.
Phone: 931-5001 local 7248 or 9315691 (telefax)

Office of House Speaker Jose De Venecia
Rm MB-2
House of Representatives
Phone: 931-5001 local 7446, 9315071-9315073

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