Karen Ocamb

Boxer Manny Pacquiao to Gays: 'I Apologize'

Filed By Karen Ocamb | May 18, 2012 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: bad reporting, Leviticus, Manny Pacquiao, National Conservative Examiner, Nike

A firestorm erupted Wednesday, May 16, after a May 12 "exclusive" interview in the National Conservative Examiner with professional boxer Manny Pacquiao came to light in which the boxer cited the Old Testament.

Professional boxer Manny Pacquiao on Extra

Pacquiao’s directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not to promote sin, inclusive of same-sex marriage and cohabitation, notwithstanding what Leviticus 20:13 has been pointing all along: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

Pacquiao, bearing a conservative stance on the Reproductive Bill which is still pending in the Philippine Congress for approval even after contemptuous debates, believes the sweeping campaign of Obama favoring the gays and lesbians to legally marry is nothing more than a direct attack on the moral society and against the creative power and will of God.

Pacquiao continues: “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other.”

“It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old.”

Twitter and Facebook lit up and the Courage Campaign asked its members to call on Nike to drop Pacquiao as a spokesperson and Rick Caruso, developer and owner of The Grove and possible LA mayoral candidate, banned the boxer from The Grove mall where he was scheduled to tape an interview with Mario Lopez of Extra. The Grove tweeted: "@TheGroveLA is a gathering place for all Angelenos, not a place for intolerance."

But it turns out the National Conservative Examiner is a "community" site where people can post stories with little editorial oversight - and the writer of that "exclusive," Granville Ampong, subsequently revealed that he - not Pacquiao - quoted the horrid death-to-gays Biblical passage. And he blamed other reporters for not reading his story properly.

"I hereby demand both Weir and Romero to apologize to Pacquiao," Ampong wrote in his subsequent column. "They, being writers for USA Today and LA Weekly respectively, should have a better reading comprehension than I do, rhetorically."

Meanwhile, Lopez taped the interview with Pacquiao (who apparently participated in a music video, the proceeds of which benefited LGBT youth) during which the boxer apologized for the confusion. This is from Extra.

"I want to clarify that I didn't say I wanted all gays put to death," explained Pacquiao. "The reporter asked me a question. He said, 'Obama is in favor of legalizing gay marriage and what's your opinion?' He asked me about my opinion and I told him my opinion that that I don't agree, and I'm against same sex marriage, but I didn't say that I'm condemning the gays because, you know, I have relatives. I have gay relatives and friends. That's all I said to the reporter."

What would the fighter like to say to the gay community now? "To the gay community, I apologize. I'm against same sex marriage, but I'm not condemning you. My favorite verse is 'Love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbor.' So, I love everybody!"

In the portion of the Extra interview in this KNBC story, Pacquaio, who is also a legislator in the Philippines, notes:

“I didn’t say that, that’s a lie," he said. "I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet.

"I'm not against gay people... I have a relative who is also gay. We can't help it if they were born that way. What I'm critical off are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same sex marriage is against the law of God."

Caruso lifted the ban and Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs was "encouraged" that their mobilization "of a large, swift public response to Manny Pacquiao's anti-gay remarks forced him to revise his statement."

Jacobs said in a statement:

"Mr. Pacquiao clearly does not believe in equality and dignity for same-sex couples. I think that American sponsors are going to have to look very carefully at whether they can continue to pour money into his apparently empty soul. He makes a lot of money thanks to the United States and sponsors here.....

Public figures such as Mr. Pacquiao need to watch their words carefully because, like a well-aimed jab, they can hurt deeply. We will continue to hold public figures, especially elected ones, and their sponsors accountable for their statements."

But the issue may not be over yet for the boxer, a devout Catholic. The Christian Post reported that


The Filipino Roman Catholic Church has asked native boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao to be the country’s “Bible Ambassador,” hoping to set a trend among locals like NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has done with his faith in the U.S.

“We asked him to partner with us in promoting the reading of the Bible among Catholics,” Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) bible ministry, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Tim Tebow became very popular by promoting the word of God,” David said. “Some have referred to Manny Pacquiao as the Tim Tebow of the Philippines.”

Conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, who also runs the conservative online site Townhall, suggests the whole incident looks like Catholic-bashing by Rick Caruso. And as we’ve seen in other political campaigns, truth and correction never seem to get in the way of political messaging.

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