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But eating shellfish is also an abomination…

Sass Rogando Sasot on the extreme right’s penchant for selectively using verses in the Bible to advance only their ways of seeing.


My dear Commission on Elections (COMELEC) of the Philippines:

I wish to congratulate you for doing such an act of pure love and piousness when you upheld God’s Law in your decision regarding the petition of Ang Ladlad LGBT Political Party. Invoking Romans 1:26-27 was a brilliant idea! I feel so blessed that you guys are doing the job that the Constitution of the Philippines mandated you to do. And I feel so relieved that you guys are there to save my soul from being infected by the presence of a lesiban,gay, bisexual, and transgender political party in the 2010 elections.

I try to share the wisdom of your decision with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I’m really convinced that you are very right. You know, just like you, I take the Bible seriously in a very literal way because the Bible is the word of God and God is definitely very clear in whatever He’s saying. However, I do need some advice from you regarding some God’s command in the Bible. I will deeply appreciate if you tell me how to best follow them:

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exo. 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? How much did you sell your daughters for? I’m really, really curious.

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense. Do you allow your female staff in COMELEC to work during their menstrual period?

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this doesn’t apply to us, that only Chinese people can have us as slaves and not the other way around. Can you clarify? Why can’t I have a Chinese for a slave?

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e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exo. 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Oh, am I allowed to kill President Arroyo when she works during the Sabbath? And, YES, am I allowed to kill you if I caught you working during the Sabbath?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? I know a lot of our political candidates eat selfish! O No! Please the 2010 Elections can’t be infested by them!

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. A lot of political candidates are wearing glasses, a lot of our former Presidents wore glasses. Are they immoral too?

h) Most of our male political candidates get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. Can we tolerate such immorality among our political candidates?

i) I know a political candidate who has a farm. I think he violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

j) A lot of Filipinas work as domestic helpers in other countries. A lot of them are beaten by their employers. Should I condemn their employers or should we just allow them to be beaten up as long as they can get up after a day or two as what Exo. 21:20-21 wants us to do: “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”

k) Erap Estrada seems intent to run again as President. I just wonder whether you’ll approve his candidacy, specially that he is a well-known adulterer. The Bible said the punishment is death, why is he still alive? Is there something fishy going on?

l) Deut. 23:20 said that we shall not demand interest from our countrymen on a loan of money. Are our banks immoral? How should they be punished?

I know you guys have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. I still have many questions but that’s all for now. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

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Faithfully yours,
Juan de la Cruz


Written By

Since 2001, as she was about to turn 19, Sass has dedicated herself to the LGBT Rights movement in the Philippines, most specifically to issues of gender identity and freedom of gender expression. James Green, an international transgender rights activist, served as her mentor via email. She started giving discussions on transgender rights and issues in Luneta Park in Manila. In December 2002, she co-founded the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP). In 2003 & 2004, together with Drs Sam Winter and Mark King of the University of Hong Kong, she did the first comprehensive study on transgender women in the Philippines. The study has been published in the International Journal of Transgenderism. In 2009, she was one of the LGBT activists invited to speak in a historic United Nations General Assembly side-event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In 2013, she received the ECHO Award, given annually to excellent and promising migrant students in the Netherlands. In 2014, she received the Harry Benjamin Distinguished Education and Advocacy Award from the World Profession Association for Transgender Health. A nomadic spirit, Sass loves to write, walk, read, cycle, and cook. Together with the love of her life, Sass is currently based in The Hague, The Netherlands. She graduated with a Combined major in World Politics & Global Justice, minor in International Development (Magna cum Laude) at Leiden University College, which bestowed her the 2014 Global Citizenship Award. She is a contributing writer on TG issues for the mag, through The Activist.


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