Bible verses invoked at House hearing to oppose anti-discrimination bill

MANILA, Philippines — Several experts quoted Bible verses during a House of Representatives panel hearing on the anti-discrimination bill to counter the proposal.

At a hearing held by the House Human Rights Committee on Tuesday morning, Bishop Leo Alconga of the Philippines for Jesus Movement questioned the need for the anti-discrimination bill.

Alconga argued that everyone’s rights are adequately protected by the Bill of Rights, which is part of the 1987 Constitution and is included in the Bible.

“We, on behalf of the Philippines for Jesus Movement, study this issue and, based on the general concept of protection of human rights, which is under the cover of the Holy Scriptures and also under the declaration of God himself, we question why there are a need for such a law? Alconga said in a mix of Filipino and English.

“We are concerned that this may be redundant, a mere duplication of what I mentioned,” he added, addressing the committee chair and Manila 6th district representative, Bienvenido Abante Jr.

Previously, Alconga had referenced various Bible verses and constitutional provisions to demonstrate that policy-making should be God-focused, since humans are created in God’s image: male and female, in an apparent attack on people. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex. , asexual community (LGBTQIA).

The LGBTQIA community is pushing for the anti-discrimination bill to be enacted.

“The introduction to our Philippine Constitution is beautiful; by virtue of the expression of our preamble, it affirms what is the true meaning of our constitution: nothing less than having at the center the importance of accepting the only true God who created heaven and earth, the God who has a glorious divine agenda with our people and our country,” said Alconga.

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“I hope you understand where we come from: according to Genesis 1:27, God created man in his image; he created it, male and female. He created them. If you can only look at this, you can see the value of life here, God’s plan, what kind of humans are there in front of God and what are we talking about this morning,” he added.

The House panel is currently deliberating four similar anti-discrimination bills: House Bill No. 188 authored by Abante; No. 224 of Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman; No. 1480 of Laguna 1st District Rep. Ma. René Ann Lourdes Matibag; and No. 2128 of Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez.

No decision has been made on the fate of the four bills that would be consolidated, and Abante said further hearings are needed, which may resume in early 2023.

In addition to Alconga, other members of the religious community were present, including Abante’s brother, Reuben Abante, who heads the League of Bible Believers.

Unlike Alconga, however, Reuben supported the call for an anti-discrimination bill, though he said the Equal Expression of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation (SOGIE) Bill and his brother’s bill proposal against discrimination against heterosexuals it would no longer be necessary.

READ: Public urged to see Abante beyond his proposal for a ‘Heterosexual Act’

Jesus is Lord Church founder and Cibac party list representative Eddie Villanueva y Abante, both preachers, also weighed in, prompting none other than Albay 1st District representative Edcel Lagman to say in joke you just heard a lot of homilies.

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Lagman, the last speaker during the hearing, is a strong supporter of liberal-oriented bills like the divorce bill.

The Albay legislator also responded to Alconga, saying that while the Filipino Movement for Jesus is right that anti-discrimination provisions already exist in the 1987 Constitution, these are not implemented on their own and therefore they would need a law for the government to implement them. .

“Mr. President, I just have an excess of homilies and advocacy, but they have not distracted me from my full support for the passage of a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill. I hope we can get this into law as soon as possible,” Lagman said.

“I fully agree that the Constitution is replete with human rights and anti-discrimination provisions, with the caveat that these principles and doctrines are mostly not self-implementing. Accordingly, there is a need to implement legislation such as a Consolidated Anti-Discrimination Bill and other similar bills,” he added.

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