The Christian Worldview Project invited two special guests to discuss a very important and timely topic on S.O.G.I.E Bill. Both are Christians and lawyers, Ptr. Zigfred Macaren Diaz and Juris Doctor Deborah Palacio. In this blog, we will be listing the questions and the summary (paraphrase or in verbatim) of their answers. The reader is still encouraged to watch the complete video here to benefit much from the informative and Christ-centered exchanges. You can also grab a copy of the senate version of the SOGIE Bill here.
DEFINING THE TERMS
The first questions touches the foundational definitions before starting the discussion on the SOGIE bill. These definitions are important to understand the succeeding questions.
It is a rule of conduct, just and obligatory, promulgated by the competent authority for the common good of the society and for the purpose of regulating the members of society.
Since SOGIE bill (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression) is also known as the Anti-Discrimination Law, we define what is discrimination. It is an unjust or prejudicial treatment of different people depending on certain grounds (age, race, gender, etc). So in the case of the LGBTQ, they are treated less favorably than another person who are on equal footing on the grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity expression. This definition is essential because there are people who only feel discriminated.
This bill contains problematic provisions because it will grant rights contrary to the religious freedom and expressions. They are hiding behind the mask of tolerance while forcing people to accept their agenda.Tweet
Following up on the question regarding the definition of discrimination, we further ask: if there is an existing law regarding anti-discrimination for every single individual Filipinos why are they advancing it and is SOGIE bill the right bill for anti-discrimination?
We know that the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Civil Code and the Labor Code of the Republic of the Philippines are promulgated (directly and indirectly) as a call not to discriminate. The Civil Code states that, “Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith” (Civil Code Cp. 2 Art. 19). The SOGIE bill also indicates that there are existing laws (international, local and municipal) that it uses as a basis in promulgating the bill.
Since there are existing laws which protect a person against discrimination regardless of any distinction (status, race, religion), they are vocal in saying that they wanted acceptance. So they wanted a state supported or sanctioned law which will make their ideals acceptable to the society.
IS IT MERE ACCEPTANCE?
We know that they are being recognized, the society allows them to live as they want to. But in some context where, for example, they are denied of promotion, that will be a discrimination. But again, we have existing laws that protects anyone from such discrimination.
Juris Doctor Palacio remarks:
"As a Christian, we cannot do it since the term acceptance has a Christian roots because a person's acceptance and equality can only be properly understood in the Christian worldview, we are created imago dei. They cannot steal that and use it for their own ends. It is one thing to believe a principle and it is another to legalize it and to make a society embrace it."
At this point, we can say that they are already accepted by the society, otherwise as Ptr. Diaz pointed out, they won’t appear on television and other social medias. So it is not mere acceptance and tolerance, it is forcing others to adapt their beliefs. When this bill is pushed, we need to adapt what they believe in. Much more so, when it is legalized, it will render sanctions to those who won’t accept them. This bill contains problematic provisions because it will grant rights contrary to the religious freedom and expressions. They are hiding behind the mask of tolerance while forcing people to accept their agenda.
GENDER-NEUTRAL COMFORT ROOMS
Touching on the gender neutral comfort rooms, this is said to be whimsical since it will just lead to sexual assaults. Male and female have separate comfort rooms, it is always the case and it is a waste of money to support such programs. It doesn’t make sense on practical grounds. Our taxes should support greater and more important programs.
THE DANGER OF LEGALIZING THE BILL
When the bill is legalized, it opens thousand of possibilities to legalize other belief. You cannot legislate the acceptance of a belief. Whatever you believe, you have the right to believe it for as long as you do not violate the right of others. Again, it will lead to greater evil and any belief can simply be legalized. It violates our system of laws and individual property rights.
In addition to this, our speakers agreed that passing the bill would make way to accept other sexual orientations like necrophilia, pedophilia, bestiality, etc. if they are to be consistent. Before, it was only LG (lesbian and gay) then LGBT to LGBTQ+ or LGBTQIA. So there will be absurdities and repercussions when the bill is passed. It is happening it the USA now, there’s no reason for it not to happen here in the Philippines then.
Legalizing SOGIE bill also removes the parents of their parental authority to rear their children in the fear of the LORD. It is problematic legally and theologically. As Mrs. Palacio puts it strongly that:
"this law would shape our society... if we agree with this type of bill, we are saying that it is okay for our children to live in a society where promiscuity, homosexual acts are praised and normalized. Well it's not, and it should not be."
The state cannot act as parent patriae because children are under the authority of parents. This bill is contrary to religious freedom and expressions, freedom of speech which are fundamental freedom in a democratic and republic society.
GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUNS
To make it clear, Juris Doctor Palacio said that the bill doesn’t address the issue of addressing a transgender with “she” or using gender neutral pronouns. But she insists that these gender pronouns are clear categories since time immemorial. However, if this will fall under stigma, which is defined as dynamic devaluation of the person, then that person who doesn’t what to address another person as “he” or “she” based on his/her preference could be penalized under such circumstances.
Atty. Diaz admitted that language is evolving. If they wanted to change the pronoun address from “he” or “she” to “they”, it would certainly create confusion (read here for gender pronoun introduction). Essentially, they wanted to gain acceptance by changing the culture and the society as a whole. The bill lists the discriminatory practices which tend to annoy, insult, bully, demean, etc. So any LGBTQ member who are simply annoyed with a crew who addresses him otherwise has enough reasons to make that person liable for discriminatory practices. This belief would really stir up the society.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!Isaiah 5:20
In the recent case of Christine Dacera, some of her friends were accused of rape. But some argued that they can’t be accused because they are gay/bisexuals. According to Atty. Diaz, it is not a valid reason since the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 states that rape is committed by any person who shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. So their sexual orientation cannot be used as an excuse not to be liable of the crime.
DISAGREEMENT AS HATE SPEECH
Christians are sometimes accused of spreading hate speech when we expressed our disagreement with the bill. Juris Doctor Palacio acknowledges that this is a common accusation against Christians:
We are hateful people since we do not accept the homosexual lifestyle of these people. Legally, speaking hate speech is not illegal per se, because we have our religious freedom and we have our freedom of speech. However, when we are branded as being hateful, intolerant, we are called to be such scripturally. We rather offend people than send them to the highway of hell. We love them. but our relationship with them should not rise above our theological and biblical conviction. We call sin as sin. (Isaiah 5:22) If being faithful to the scriptures is tantamount to being branded as hateful, homophobic and those things, then so be it. What matters is we glorify the LORD with the things that we say, we act or do.
The common saying that “Truth sounds hate for those who hate the truth” as quoted by Bro. Jordan, speaks to the reality of this situation. We insist on the truth! Ptr. Diaz emphasizes that Christians, in terms of viewing things that happen in our society, primarily place over the lens of the scripture and try to understand and interpret things through the lens of the scripture. After Scripture, we believe that the government is ordained by God. So even when we use the law and logic, passing the SOGIE cannot afford any rational argumentation.
VAGUENESS DOCTRINE AND EXTREME PENALTIES
According to Section 4. L. Engaging in a public speech meant to shame, insult, vilify, or which tends to incite or normalize the commission of discriminatory practices against LGBTs, and which acts or practices, in turn, intimidate them or result in loss of their self-esteem.
Here’s the question: How can we weigh if there is really a shaming, insulting or vilifying committed against a person? Wouldn’t it be one sided since anyone from the LGBTQ can claim that they are insulted? They can use this section to penalize not less than 100k but not more than 500k fine. Then imprisonment of not less than 1 year but not more than 6 years (section 7) those who refuse to address them according to their sexual preferences.
The premise here is public speech where you deliver a certain speech that is meant to shame with an audience. However, according to Ptr. Diaz this is still problematic because normally when you make a point against LGBTQ, it is a religious speech. As a Christian, we oppose it. The bible has strong language against it.
RA. 11313 already has prescribed penalties against gender-based sexual harassment. But the proponent of SOGIE Bill militantly raised the penalty against anyone who mistakenly addresses a homosexual. The penalty should be commensurate to the crime committed.
Juris Doctor Palacio insisted on the clarity of provision which is criminal in nature since the bill offers no definition as to what it means to shame, to vilify, or how could it amount to intimidation or result in loss of theirs self-esteem. She also pointed out that a criminal provision should not be susceptible to many interpretation. If the provision is not clear there would be two repercussions: (1) a violation of the due process, because a person who violates the provision does not know what would penalize him; and (2) it gives the authority wider discretion in determining whether a person is violator or not. It is unclear, vague and unconstitutional.
IS THE BILL LAWFUL?
Again, Juris Doctor Palacio holds that as a believer and juris doctor that it is not lawful because on many levels, in order to consider a bill to be lawful it is multi-faceted. There are so many things to be considered. The first is the Constitution, the fundamental law of the land elevates or gives importance to religious freedom and religious speech which are primarily violated by the bill. On a practical level, it is not necessary, it is not practicable and it is not beneficial.
It is not lawful to begin with and there are lots of argument that can be used to strike it down as unconstitutional, as Ptr. Diaz simply puts it. Since there is a basic Bill of Rights with equal protection, no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech (Art 3. Sec. 4), which show that there are lots of provision in our Constitution violated by this bill. And if this Bill is passed, conservative Christians will file a petition to strike it down.
The last question is this: What can you say about those professing Christians and yet supporting the SOGIE Bill? Atty. Diaz puts it bluntly. Two things, it is either they are misguided or they just fail to grasp the fact since there are group of churches who already supported the Bill. They are misguided since the Bill has no basis in law and illogical. Secondly, these Christians have adapted liberal view in order to accommodate the Bill. If you are a Christian, it does not support LGBTQ lifestyle.
“The Christian who promotes SOGIE Bill should get his theology straightened.” This is the stark remark of Juris Doctor Palacio. She continues that he or she should study the Scriptures more and what it says about this matter. Our ultimate standard and authority is the Scriptures. Homosexuality is a crime. The scripture does not shy away in saying that homosexuality is an abomination against the LORD (Lev. 18:22). It is a call for us to search the Scriptures more and to seriously follow the LORD.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
All being said, our LGBTQ friends need the gospel. Even if we win the debate, no matter how great our arguments are, they need the gospel. We believe in the power of the gospel of the LORD JESUS CHRIST which alone can save them. Juris Doctor Palacio stresses on the power of the gospel. We do this with love, we need to live and preach the gospel by the grace of God. We preach the gospel that saves and that can cleanse them from their sins. The good news is, Jesus Christ lived a righteous life, suffered, shed His blood on the cross and died under the penalty of the law and the wrath of God against all our sins so that those who repent of their sins and put their faith in Him alone will be saved.
In all of these, it is a question of allegiance. What is your ultimate authority?
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
5 thoughts on “The Christian Worldview Project on Unmasking SOGIE Bill”
Praying for the Philippines
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Thank you. Is there a similar law like this in your country?
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I honestly lost track of it but I’m sure there’s something like that pending in the United States
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Got it! Thanks.
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Have a blessed new week brother