Pacquiao and the Bible

>> Friday, February 26, 2016


Insisting God is on his side and posting a Bible verse suggesting death for homosexual relations, boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao refused to back down Thursday over gay slurs that have tarnished his reputation and cost him sponsorship deals.
The 37-year-old eight-division world champion said he had no intention of bowing to his critics.“What I am saying is right. I mean I am just stating the truth, what the Bible says,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao, who converted from Catholicism to an evangelical Protestant faith late in his boxing career, created a global controversy this week when he described homosexuals as worse than animals.Pacquiao issued an apology on social media after the controversy broke.
But Nike, his major global sponsor, immediately cancelled its endorsement deal with him, describing his comments as “abhorrent.”
Pacquiao, who intends to retire after his April fight against American Timothy Bradley to pursue a career in politics, said Friday his apology was qualified.
“What I did wrong was just comparing the people to animals, but you know what I am telling is the truth,” he said.“I mean I am just telling what the Bible says. We believe God and then we should honor the word of God.”
Pacquiao said the controversy had not impacted his training or dampened his morale.“I’m happy. I’m always happy because God is with me,” he said.
One of Pacquiao’s media handlers told reporters at a training session on Friday that they were not allowed to ask him any questions about the controversy.However, Pacquiao appeared eager to show he remained firm in his religious convictions, and happily accepted questions on the controversy.
A Nike statement released Wednesday said the company no longer wanted anything to do with Pacquiao because of his comments.
“Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community... We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao,” the statement said.
Pacquiao, one of the world’s highest paid athletes for more than a decade, continued to wear his Nike apparel at Friday’s training session.
An even more incendiary quote from the Bible was posted on his Instagram account early Thursday.
The quote read: “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
The post was quickly deleted, but not before ABS-CBN captured and published a screen shot.A Pacquiao aide in General Santos confirmed the post went on his Instagram account.The controversy has dominated the local media, and gay rights campaigners have expressed outrage.
However, Philippine companies that sponsor him or had previous endorsement deals were in no rush to follow Nike’s lead, with none publicly expressing concern this week.
Pacquiao, a former street kid with little education, has used his fame and fortune to launch a promising political career.Already a two-term congressman, Pacquiao is campaigning to win a Senate seat in the May elections. Surveys published before the controversy indicated he will win.
Despite the controversy, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will not drop Pacquiao from its senatorial lineup.“He has already apologized,” UNA standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay said.
Binay, for his part, said he would abide by the position of the Catholic Church on the issue of same-sex marriage, just like Pacquiao.
Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Paquiao would remain an adopted senatorial bet in his tandem with presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
He said there is no need to punish Pacquiao by dropping him from their Senate slate for his anti-gay statements since he was just expressing his religious belief.

“You cannot punish somebody for having an opinion on his religious belief. It’s like persecuting somebody for his religious belief,” Marcos said. So there, call it free speech in this so-called democratic nation. 


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