August 10, 2022
Dear Pastor Bong Saquing of CCF
An Open Letter from a Gay Pastor Who is Pastoring a Rainbow Flock.
RE: On Connecting Monkeypox with Homosexuals.
During one peaceful afternoon, my attention was called upon by a video clip of your Sunday lecture on the part where you discussed the 6th chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, verses 9 to 11. I’m assuming you were using the Revised Standard Version (RSV). When you reached the word, “homosexuals”, you made a connection between monkeypox and homosexuals. You said: “…Nor homosexuals. Eto yung talagang nakikipag-engage na ha. Nakikipag-engage na talaga sa homosexuality kaya nagkaron ng monkeypox”. Then you added, “Hindi ako nang-iinsulto ha” with an honest gest, “yung monkeypox, dinagdag ko lang.”
To say that, “nag-eengage na talaga sa homosexuality kaya nagkaron ng monkeypox”, is insulting, irresponsible, and spreading medical misinformation.
I will not go into an extensive critiquing of your exegesis and hermeneutics. After all, you seem to know some of the basics of text and context. I was curious that you saw the importance of checking the original koine Greek when you mentioned “porneia” (πορνεία). I did wonder on why you did not do the same in checking the original koine Greek of what was poorly translated as “homosexuals.” I’m sure that the word “homosexual”, a modern terminology, did not exist (nor was understood) both in the Greek New Testament text and during the time Paul was writing his letter to the Corinthians some 2000 years ago.
While at the same time, I want to affirm that it is within your universal and constitutional right of freedom of religion to believe and interpret your version of Christianity as you see fit or as you believe God tells you so. I will even stand and fight for your universal human right to believe that homosexuality is a sin. Similarly, I hope you will also fight and stand with and for me (and for others) for the same universal human right to believe that homosexuality is not a sin. The only way to guarantee freedom of belief, is to secure that same freedom for everyone, including those who do not share your religion or the version of your religion.
I acknowledge that we stand apart and on the far end of theological, exegetical, and hermeneutical spectrum of Christianity. We may not compel, force, or repress the other’s freedom to believe and think for themselves. Therefore, I am not asking you to change what you hold to be God’s truth against homosexuals or other people.
However, I take great offense and insult when those who speak in the name of God misrepresent both religion and medical science at the expense of stigmatizing other people. That brief yet irresponsible comment you made about homosexuals and monkeypox is a form of social stigmatization amplified by the irresponsible use of religious language.
We give it to you that you and your fellowship believe and preach that, “homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God”, based on your type of exegesis and hermeneutic using a poor translation of that passage. By all means, believe that your teaching is entirely biblical and Christian. But to connect monkeypox to LGBTQI+ people by inferring that the virus is directly related to or a consequence of sexuality is simply not acceptable, especially for someone whose bio-information says that he is also a speaker in scientific matters.
Anyone can get monkeypox, even the most pious and chaste Christian who follows the standards and teachings of your fellowship. Monkeypox is a viral disease that does not share your views or theological opinion. The monkeypox virus has no moral judgment and cannot even make one. The virus is passed on under specific physical conditions, one of which can be sexual interaction. But that is more incidental than objectively particular. Let me inform you, if you do not yet know, that monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Even those you deem morally upright married heterosexual persons may pass on the monkeypox virus to their spouses either through simple skin-to-skin non-sexual contact or during sexual intimacy. I can also assure you that many homosexuals do not have monkeypox. Their homosexuality has nothing to do with the virus. I will even go further to say that any person, whether homosexual or heterosexual, who has the experience of contracting the virus and struggling with it at this very moment, is not automatically immoral simply by having the virus.
I will not expect you, as it has been in many similar situations for other evangelical leaders (or even ordinary members), to recognize the problem or the offense of your short statement equating monkeypox with homosexuals. I will not even expect a proper apology knowing too well, how you and/or others will defend and justify “a teaching of a pastor in the pulpit.” I will not be silenced on a peaceful afternoon. I will publicly call out your morally problematic, offensively inaccurate, and stigmatizing statement.
Lest you and your congregants forget, I will repeat it, you may continue to believe and even preach whatever it is you think about homosexuals. It is within your constitutional and universal right as humans. However, for someone who preaches love and compassion, it is warranted for you to be more careful of what you pronounce and the truthfulness of every statement you make even concerning those you have considered as outside the kingdom of God.
In the name of the same Love you claim to preach,
Reverend Joseph San Jose
Open Table Metropolitan Community Church
A liberal, ecumenical, and LGBTQI+ affirming Church