God commands me to hate who you are. I am just the messenger, spreading love.
The face and look of love.
(Courtesy of starmometer.com)
To say that her recent tweets have become controversial is an understatement similar to "Manny Pacquiao is a boxer Pinoys are fond of." The one that started it all was this: "Homosexuality is not a sin but it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth."
A cursory glance at her Twitter account leads me to believe that she must be taking up Divinity studies: Almost every single one of them involves a Bible verse, how she loves those who believe in what she believes in (calling them her siblings), or how she has finished chapters, assignments or books written by Christian authors.
And before you pounce at me, yes, I know, it is her right to believe what she wants to believe in. It's when she - and others who think like her - insist that we should believe in what she does, or risk being damned for eternity, that I have to digress: Save it for your prayer circle, church or "meeting". You can be as bigoted as you want in your own religious haven. But when you post something on Twitter, you mean to spread what you believe, and are not content in having the freedom to choose your own beliefs unless others are subjugated with those same beliefs.
I got a text message from a good friend last night: "Who knew Miriam was such a redneck?"
Who, indeed? For someone who is supposed to espouse "world peace", being a beauty queen has become her platform to parade her own brand of intolerance. News flash: It's 2012, and intolerance is something to be ashamed of, not bandied around like some badge of honor.
FYI (For Your Information), Miriam, as you seem oblivious to some facts. And I don't mean facts the way you do (you will be rewarded in an afterlife), I mean facts in a verifiable, historical, scientific way, aka in this life, right now.
1. Your right to your own beliefs means others have that same right.
You are thoroughly convinced that your God hates gay people, condemns them to hell, justifies your message of hatred masked as "love", ad nauseum. I have no quarrel in your right to believe in those, er, principles, which you take as gospel truth. (Literally.)
Well, OK, you did say "God loves gays", but only if they remain celibate or refrain from having a romantic relationship. (Don't do a Michele Bachmann.) I have to ask, did "God" tweet this to you, or do you have "God" on speed dial?
See, your desire to force others to believe in the same way you do infringes on other people's right to believe what they want to. One of your tweets reads: "The truth remains and I will stand by God's truth."
Question: Which "God" are you referring to?
"According to David B. Barrett, the researcher who compiles religious population estimates for the Encyclopedia Britannica and World Almanac, there are about 10,000 distinct religions in the world today.
Within Christianity, he counts 33,830 denominations."
You may think yours is the "true" and "valid" one. Again, that is your right. But 10,000 other religions and billions of people will disagree with you, and that is also their right. As stated in Barrett's research, in Christianity alone - which I believe is the religion you proudly parade, correct me I'm wrong - you are just one in 33,830 denominations. That means, there are 11,829 other "versions" of the same faith you profess.
When you claim to be "the only true one", be prepared to back it up with verifiable facts. And that is the problem (a problem with regards to the scientific method) with some religions: Most "facts" that are heralded as "absolute truths" are only verifiable when you are buried six feet under in this life.
Here's a fun question: Based on your current religion, what does it say about Catholics and their state of the afterlife? If they are going to burn in Hell for believing differently from you, aren't you "burdened" into telling them that your way is the "right way"? I mean, think of how many brownie points you will amass. Instead of focusing on gay people, you may want to change targets for "saving". More than 80% of this country identifies itself as Catholic. Isn't it your "duty" to tell them that they're headed to a fiery place once they die?
My video camera is set up for the ensuing events.
2. Using "God" to propagate hate does not absolve you of your actions.
After your infamous tweet that sparked this brouhaha, here is a collection of your subsequent tweets:
"I am not judging you."
"I have nothing against the LGBT."
"No offense to the LGBT but the TRuth is the Truth that comes from God. Take it or leave it. We will all face the judgement seat of God."
"I'm sorry that the truth offends some people but it is truth that comes from God. The truth will set you free. Love you."
"I can't save everyone but Jesus can."
Whenever people preface their statements with "No offense, but..." it usually means there will be an egg splattered across the intended audience's face in a mere moment. Quite simply, it just means the speaker is about to say something offensive but wants to disavow responsibility for it.
That is what you are doing, Miriam.
I would prefer speakers like Rush Limbaugh, who hate gay people, make no apologies for it, feel smug about it, and can sign their name across their own work. No matter what your intentions are, Miriam, you are responsible for what you say and do. Period. Don't say mean things then end your statements with "Love you".
Limbaugh essentially does not condemn parents aborting babies who will be genetically determined to be gay, should there be such a way to determine it at that level. He merely opines that pro-choice advocates would turn pro-life so fast should this method of determining sexual orientation come true. His silence on those who would choose to abort potentially gay fetuses is deafening.
Now that is being proud of one's hateful stance. You should take a cue from him.
(See http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/homophobia-rush-limbaughs-top-anti-gay-quotes/discrimination/2009/03/05/517 for more delightful quotes from Rush.)
3. The Bible has been used to justify personal biases. Always.
There was a time when women couldn't vote. A time when it was "proper" to own slaves. A time when interracial marriages where deemed immoral, sickening and against "religion".
The one thread that connected all of them was this: Defenders of these atrocious stances leaned on the Bible to justify their own hateful biases. Thinking that it cloaked them with moral ascendancy, these champions of human rights violations claimed the Bible gave them the moral persuasion to deny other people their rights.
"For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (1 Corinthians 11:8-9)
"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (1 Corinthians 14: 34-35)
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ." (Ephesians 6:5)
"When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property." (Exodus 21:20-21)
"God...hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation..." (Acts 17:24-26)
"Can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil." (Jeremiah 13:23)
An infamous case involving interracial marriages, Loving v. Virginia, had the Bible as basis for part of its ruling to justify racial segregation, and specifically, the ruling includes this passage:
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with this arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races show that he did not intend for the races to mix."
Your statements against gay people are also rooted in the Bible, Miriam - you yourself keep reiterating that is is "God's truth". That you have no choice but to obey.
If we are to follow every word of your morality manual, you should have a gag order, as women are not "permitted" to "teach or have authority over a man, but to be in silence." (1 Timothy 2:12)
Notice, many of these Bible verses are from the New Testament. Defenders of the Bible like to point out that the Old Testament is worlds apart from the loving provisions of the New Testament, and as these verses show, not really.
And before anyone accuses me of cherry picking the Bible, I don't. I believe the Bible was a collection of books written by different people, all men, and not a magic book that dropped out of the sky. All of it was written by men. Again, I've also heard how these have been "divinely inspired" to justify their authority.
It does not change the fact that is was written by humans.
And humans cannot help their biases. Obviously.
How else can you explain eating shellfish, wearing gold or pearls or taking a loan to be "abominations"? (It's an entire chapter in Leviticus, a list of all that's "abominable".) If we were to take that chapter literally word for word, no one is going to heaven.
4. Your life story excludes you from being a "proper representative" for any religion.
Seriously. You had a divorce, you posed for a "men's magazine", you used your body and looks to gain fame and fortune, you find nothing "wrong" with parading your body in a swimsuit televised for millions of viewers to see, you are fine with being judged solely on your physical attributes.
I don't know of any religion that would state these qualities as part of their tenets or beliefs.
I was told that you are a born-again Christian (correct me if this information is wrong). I was raised as a conservative Baptist, and let me tell you, based on my childhood religion, you have sinned over and over and over again.
To defend yourself, part of your tweets says "I never said I'm clean."
There's saying it, and there's there's living and acting it. Clearly, you have no compunction to do the latter. You remind me of anti-gay zealots like US Senator Larry Craig, who championed for "family values" in legislation and opposed all legal measures to give equal rights to gay people.
He was caught soliciting gay sex from a Minneapolis airport bathroom.
He publicly declared opposing gay sex, but secretly enjoyed it. You publicly declared you are imperfect, but act like you are the very definition of perfection.
I see no difference.
5. Know your limits.
You are the perfect teacher for those who want to know what it takes to win a beauty contest. You were first runner-up in what is believed to be the most "prestigious" of all beauty contests, and even though Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup are currently celebrated for being in the top 5 of the same contest, beauty contest "experts" never fail to remind everyone that you were the closest to clinching the Miss Universe crown since Margie Moran did it in the 70's.
Although you have not "academically" studied for it, you earned your dues in this area of life - a shallow, vain one, but one that is a collection of industries that earn billions of dollars - with your experience and achievements in this field, to grant you a legitimate status as an "elder" to those who are just now entering this same superficial world.
And anyone who is considered an expert in outer appearances is generally not the best person to consult in matters of the internal life, ethics, religion, faith, morals, all of which require deep reflection on what's inside as opposed to what's outside. I won't be asking "the meaning of life" from somebody who values a 36-24-36 figure as her crowning achievement to date.
You have made a living - scratch that, you have made a life dedicated to extolling the "virtues" of having a "perfect" outer shell. Focus on that.
Let me be clear: you are free to believe what you want. You can even state this publicly, as part of your right as a citizen of this democratic country.
But it is also our right, those who do not believe in the same way you do, and in what you do, to declare your statements a big bag of hooey. And when other people criticize, make fun of and generally treat your statements as meaningless, that is part of what you should expect when you make a public declaration over a forum as wide as Twitter.
Isn't democracy wonderful?