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Even boxers are not animals

The deplorable remarks made by a member of the Philippine congress and former world boxing title-holder, Manny Pacquiao, describing same-sex attracted people as being worse than animals, can only be described as vile and are to be condemned, rejected and repudiated in the strongest terms possible.

He has since apologised.

We, as humans, have to recognise and respect the dignity of every human person and end discrimination of all kinds, whether it be based on race, religion, gender, culture or social and economic status.

As Pope Francis says, “Who are we to judge?”

A presidential candidate in the United States of America election, Donald Trump, wants to build a wall to stop migrants crossing the border from Mexico, while at the same time insulting and condemning them as criminals and rapists.

He has also called for a banning on Muslims entering the country. In response, the pope said, “A person who only thinks about building walls and not of bridges is not Christian, this is not gospel.”

Christianity is based on the example and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth and the most important, outstanding value that he gave his life for was love, service of the poor and the needy, as well as equality among all humans—a value rejected by the secular and materialistic world that ignores what it means to be human.

Even children, and people in old age and those with disabilities have become disposable items, because of the economic cost of caring for them.

The tyrants of war are bombing, gassing and starving their fellow human beings into submission in Syria.

Everyone has a right to be accepted, respected, supported and free to love and be loved. It is a basic human right to have dignity and economic sustainability.

When 62 people have more wealth than half the world’s poorest, then we know that democracy has been declared wrong and might right.

Oxfam has found that since 2010, the wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44 per cent, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people fell by 41 per cent. 

The average annual income of the poorest 10 per cent has risen by less than US$3 ($23.25) a year over the past 25 years.

The billionaire boxer became a member of the Philippine congress and, like many others—not through wisdom and ability to lead or legislate for 100 million people, but through the mindless hoopla of a celebrity.

Movie stars have made it to congress in Manila with ease and failed to put on even a good act.

While there are good, decent and intelligent members of the 292-seat Lower House and 24-seat Senate, many have little or no ability to accomplish the task.

Some are there as representatives not of the people, but of the tycoons and barons they are beholden to.

Votes for the congress are bought and sold to approve laws favouring certain industries, business conglomerates or other foreign-vested interests.

In other words, congress is dominated by millionaires and tends to serve the rich rather than the poor. The poor are the teeming masses of inferior creatures living in the dirt and disease-infested slums squatting in the shadows of glittering condominiums.

Pacquiao’s comment should prompt the media to ask all candidates running for office in May to name at least three unique attributes of being human, or what makes one truly homo sapiens?

That question is usually met with a stunned silence. The wise philosopher advises know yourself.

The great dictum, Do to others as you would want them to do to you is a guiding light to a life of dignity. We must know and be aware that no person is lower or worse than animals. We are spiritual beings endowed with unique attributes and abilities. You have just to ask yourself what they are.


• Father Shay Culen