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Sensationalist Blogger Draws Flak for Depicting Pacquiao as an Anti-Gay Religious Extremist

May 17, 2012

Boxing icon and politician Manny Pacquiao has recently caused an international uproar for his strong opposition to gay marriage, a highly controversial issue that could make or break President Barack Obama’s reelection bid. Pacquiao’s personal opinion did not sit well with America’s wealthy liberals who are ironically not that tolerant enough, as a mall owner in Los Angeles, California, announced on Twitter the freshman Filipino congressman would not be allowed “on the premises” for his unapologetic statements against same-sex marriage.

A number of liberal bloggers and journalists also strongly denounced Pacquiao for allegedly saying that gays “must be put to death.” Because of this, hundreds of netizens have supported a petition asking sportswear company Nike to drop the boxer as an endorser.

However, it appears that the main culprit behind the anti-Pacquiao mob is none other than a freelance writer who published an interview article with the boxing icon on the Examiner.com.

In his May 12 article, Granville Ampong said that Pacquiao rejected Obama’s “new twists” on the Christian bible. In his lead paragraph, the freelance writer informs his reader that the Filipino boxing champion, who supported the president, is strongly against the Obama administration’s endorsement of same-sex marriage.

“Obama insists on non-biblical justification, saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” a twist based on the Golden Rule which is outside of the context  of God’s everlasting command affecting marital relationship,” Ampong wrote.

Ampong said Pacquiao made the following response to Obama’s pronouncement on legalizing same-sex marriage: “God’s words first … obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man.”

The problem with Ampong’s article is that it simply reeks of sensationalism. By fudging his article with his own personal bias and opinion, he simply placed the subject (Pacquiao) at his own disposal.

Almost everything changed when Ampong peppered his article with biblical overtones, especially when he inserted  Leviticus 20:13 that read: “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.”

That controversial paragraph was unfortunately misread and misinterpreted by most liberal bloggers who immediately launched an all-out attack on Pacquiao.

For instance, a writer from the USA Today claimed that Pacquiao said that “ a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman” must be “put to death.”

Another writer  from LA Weekly also wrote: “Manny Pacquiao Says Gay Men Should Be ‘Put to Death.”

This prompted Ampong to make an update in order to call the attention of some “biased writers” who “grossly twisted Pacquiao’s view on gay marriage.”

The freelance writer clarified that the Filipino boxer “never said nor recited, nor invoked and nor did he ever refer to such context.” He also described the LA Weekly article as “ unfair, convoluted remarks, as a matter of opinion.”

Did Pacquiao actually quote a bible verse during the interview? Here’s what Ampong said:

As we see, nowhere in my supposition and integration of my interview with Pacquiao did I mention that Pacquiao recited this Leviticus 20:13 nor did I imply that Pacquiao had quoted such. I have simply reminded in my column how God made it clear in the Old Testament time that such practice of same-sex marriage is detestable and strictly forbidden, in as much as God wants to encourage his people practices that lead to health and happiness and fullness of life. As my style of literary writing suggests in almost all of my columns, the critical thoughts I tied up in the structure of thoughts I wanted to convey pertinent to this issue at hand do not translate Pacquiao’s point of view, however conservative I am in my exposition. (Emphasis not mine)

Ampong then put the blame on the “biased writers” who need “to apologize to Pacquiao.” “They, being writers for USA Today and LA Weekly respectively, should have a better reading comprehension than I do, rhetorically.”

However, a lot of Examiner‘s readers knew who exactly to blame.

Eddie Fangonilo from San Diego, California said: “Hey Granville, I like how you disguised that Leviticus quote so it looked like Pacquiao said it. And now that you caused this big issue, you are trying to backpedal out of it. It could be possible that Nike sever their ties with Pacquiao because of this the same way they did with Michael Vick. You, Granville, are going to get your @ss sued by Pacquiao and I think you realized this and are doing all you can to place blame on someone else.”

Adam Keawe Manalo-Camp also made the following comment:

I do not think it was the “biased” media’s fault nor Weir’s fault but Granville Ampong for his biblical commentaries in the middle of an article about Pacquiao, which is something you are not supposed to as a serious journalist, which confused readers. For example:

“Engaging a radical shift as manifested by his insights shared during Bible studies which lasted more than one hour, around 10:00 p.m., with a song and his substantive prayer, Pacquiao counsels people to ‘just believe’ what the Scripture says.

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.'”.

Granville Ampong should apologize for not writing clearly enough so that readers would know that he was not paraphasing something that Pacquiao said (which is what other assumed) and for putting Pacquiao in hot water. Ampong did a great disservice not only to Pacquiao but to all LGBTs, Filipino-Americans, and Filipinos by not being clear.

Juan Victor Reyes Valencia:

I think you should do whatever’s necessary to correct what your previous article just caused. I think the way you positioned the passage from leviticus really ignited this unfortunate misunderstanding. Probably next time, think before quoting dangerous passages from the bible. Not everyone’s really fond of people shoving their faith down others’ throat.

 Alec Rawls:

I don’t care how bad Granville’s English is, his claim that he did not attribute the Leviticus quote to Pacquiao is just a lie. He claimed that this was part of “Pacquiao’s directive for Obama.” That is putting it directly into Pacquiao’s mouth.

Granville also has no grasp of Christianity, which explicitly replaces the Old Testament “law of sin and death” with “the spirit of the law” (II Corinthians 3:6). The spirit of the law is a reference to the law of love: to love your neighbor as yourself. The idea that Christians are beholden to the Levitican death penalty for homosexuality misses the whole concept of Christianity.

So how does a guy who can’t speak and/or write English and knows nothing about Christianity end up writing about Christianity for an American newspaper? This is ridiculous. Pacquiao should sue him for slander. If only Christianity as a whole could do the same.

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