By Erwin Lastimosa
It has been a tumultuous few days for the Filipino Boxer/Congressman, Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao. His opinions on the gay lifestyle and gay marriage made it’s way to the mainstream media, it’s deja vu, 2012 all over again.
Just like in 2012 he was preparing for a fight with Timothy Bradley, when he first vocally opposed gay marriage, he stuck to his Christian view of it not being biblical, he was met with huge backlash and boycotts, and it was because the original writer sensationalized the story by quoting Leviticus from the old testament a verse that speaks harshly on gays.
He was banned from the L.A. Mall “The Grove” and a petition was started to get all his endorsements taken away. The backlash died down when Manny did an interview with his TV host Mario Lopez clearing up his view and saying he doesn’t hate gay people. All was forgiven and the fight went on, Pacquiao eventually lost a controversial decision that had the public sending their angst toward Bradley who received death threats for getting a gift decision.
As Pacquiao dug deeper into his faith, holding bible sessions every single day, sometimes deep into the hours of the night with little sleep, he also had Evangelical pastors in his ear telling him all kinds of things. Fast forward to the present time, and he is in the same predicament only worse, because he had compared homosexuality to being lower than animals. He issued an apology, but it wasn’t accepted, and this time Nike made a statement to official cut any association with him.
Before all of this drama, Manny Pacquiao was a cradle Catholic, he was not perfect, but his mother always told him to pray the rosary in private and do the good deeds that normal Catholics do to remind them to always have faith and to be humble. Pacquiao wasn’t the best Catholic, he never really read the bible, he knew the Hail Mary and various prayers, but he was a party animal, a womanizer, a gambler, and a wild man in general.
Things changed when his wife Jinkee had enough after discovering he had cheated on her again, she was ready to leave, this was the time when Pacquiao had a spiritual awakening as he puts it, he had a dream that he had to change. He credits his Evangelical form of Christianity as changing him and his wild sinful ways, because when he was a Catholic he still cheated on his wife, did drugs, and gambled, but when he became a Born Again Christian who denounced the Catholic religion he was saved.
Instead of first going to a Catholic bible study to understand scripture, he was basically brainwashed by some prosperity preacher, you know the types, the ones who demand 10 percent for tithing, have boastful sermons, ask you if you are saved, real loud types who take the Bible literally. They were able to scare Manny Pacquiao, made him turn on his Catholic faith, to convince him that Catholics are the sinners, the idolaters, and all this other anti-Catholic rhetoric preached by many Born again evangelicals. When he lost to Bradley the first time one of his pastors told him it was a test, that he hadn’t fully accept Jesus, during this time Pacquiao still attended Catholic service, so when he lost he fully got rid of his Rosary, stopped doing the sign of the cross and fought the devout Catholic Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez, and got knocked out by a Hail Mary punch on the day of the feast of Mary. After he was knocked out cold, his pastor told him once again that this is a test of your faith!, no, maybe its a sign that Pacquiao should go back to being a humble Catholic who never judged others or was mislead by money grubbing preachers?
I hope people don’t hate Manny Pacquiao. He was wrong to say gays are lower than animals, but he is ignorant and mislead, and has been given the wrong approach toward what Christianity is. He can freely oppose gay marriage, but he shouldn’t speak as if he is holier than thou. He deserves forgiveness because he has done so much for the people in his country, he is the only politician who gives out of his own pocket, and is trying to fight against corruption and human sex trafficking in the Philippines. Let’s not forget all of the good he has done, he doesn’t hate gay people, he would give the shirt off his back if he saw a person on the street in need and if that person happened to be gay he would still help, because in Pacquiao’s own words we are all God’s children.
Erwin Lastimosa is a long time boxing fan and enjoys boxing discussion with his peers. Some of his favorite fighters are Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Muhammad Ali, Flash Elorde, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao.