Tell it to SunStar: Only Christian in name

Tell it to SunStar
Tell it to SunStarSunStar file photo

By Kej Andres, national chairman of the ecumenical youth group

Student Christian Movement of the Philippines

We deeply question and condemn the recent arrest of Filipino drag performer Amadeus Fernando Pagente, more commonly known as Pura Luka Vega. They were arrested and held by the Manila Police District on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Their arrest came from said violation of Article 201 of Revised Penal Code of their controversial “Ama Namin” performance in July last year. The arrest came from cases filed by the Philippines for Jesus Movement, co-founded by Representative and pastor Eddie Villanueva.

Christian only in name, those who orchestrated Pura Luka Vega’s arrests are the modern Pharisees and Sadducees. Christian youth question the aggressiveness of their actions while lacking condemnations over legitimate issues of our time, like growing income inequality, human rights violations, and threats of ruling politicians to extend their terms.

While it is true that we, Christians, may get offended by the performance of Pura Luka Vega, it is troubling that our sense of blasphemy is surface level, when Jesus would have been outwardly more offended by the injustices and poverty under a sinful Marcos Jr. administration, as well as churchgoers turning a blind eye to these signs of the times.

If there is someone to be arrested, it should be self-labeling “Appointed Son of God” Pastor Apollo Quiboloy who has used the name of God in his “ministry” as a justification for his sins, namely becoming a serial sex offender and becoming a minion of corrupt politicians.

The pastor is set to face hearings next week, yet the progress his criminal charges have faced is relatively very slow, partly owing to crucial connections to politicians like former president Duterte.

Moreover, we see this as a bigoted attack particularly against the LGBTQ+ community, long tagged by conservative Christians as “indecent,” “sinful” and “immoral.”

There is scathing hypocrisy over those who filed cases against Pura Luka Vega despite a number of performers and comedians who have mocked religious symbols. Pura Luka Vega’s arrests ultimately galvanize greater systemic repression of the government against marginalized sectors. Those who set up this injustice complement the state’s ramping-up of human rights violations.

We ask fellow Christians and youth to reflect on the situation, to use the Lenten season to go to the marginalized sectors themselves, those whose dire situations are truly systemically sinful.

We ask fellow Christians: What would Jesus do? A God of mercy and justice, he would not condemn the LGBTQ+ and their expression. Rather, He would definitely condemn the hellish conditions experienced by the poor; those who set up these societal conditions; and those who choose to overlook the least, the last and the lost. The core message of Ama Namin or Our Father is for God’s will of justice and equality to be done on earth as it is in heaven.


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