Lady Gaga target of religious and political puritans in Philippines

May 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

A group composed of Filipino politicians and men of unknown religious denominations held a press con last Friday, denouncing Lady Gaga’s forthcoming concert at the Mall of Asia, SM arena. I will not dignify what these people of the frock and men of politics accused Lady Gaga of one by one, I will just lump their statements together into one–indecency. They are accusing Lady Gaga of being indecent.

Lady Gaga is what you call a “performance artist”, someone who uses a variety of tools for her performance. She is what others call a “shock artist”–someone who shows very lewd actions to attract attention. Lately, there has been a slew of online material depicting her acts as “Satanic”, even accusing her of being a high priestess of Baphomet, a mythical demon in Christian theology.

What these people want is prevent Lady Gaga from performing at the arena. They accuse her of being Satanic, and of promoting indecent behavior.

I don’t know about you, but there is something sinister with the things these people are trying to do.

For one, this is not the first time Lady Gaga will visit and perform in Manila. This is the second time around.

The first time was when Lady Gaga performed at the Araneta, attended by thousands of screaming and shrieking teenage fans. At that time, no one protested. No Lito Atienza, former Manila mayor was there. No shadow of Congressman Benny Abante and his brother, the alleged leader of Bible International were there.

That concert which was held I think in 2009, was a smash hit. That’s why there is a repeat here at the SM MOA Arena.

Maybe because The Araneta is not like SM? Maybe because SM MOA is very near Manila, which happens to be the place where Congressman Abante and former mayor Lito Atienza sees as their turf? Which is why such actions are now justified because it can be used for political purposes, seeing that 2013 is just around the corner?

Last 2009, no one tried to bar Lady Gaga from her “weird” performance. No one actually tried to threaten her with criminal suits when she donned sexy dresses and sang “Bad Romance”. No one.

Now, maybe these political figures saw an opportunity to create a scene, and blow this up as an issue so that the people will talk about them, again.

An artist has every right to express herself yes. In the Philippines, freedom of expression is being recognized but with some limitations. If that expression has offended the sensitivities of others, then, it is tantamount to a criminal suit.

In this issue, these people are using religion as a cause for heightening political awareness of themselves.

What if, for example, Lady Gaga does indeed worship the devil. In democracies, worshipping the devil is a right enshrined by the Constitution. Religion is someone’s belief. When that belief opposes another belief is not in the realm of rights but in the realm of debate. Every one has the right to believe in something, and to be respected of such right is common in democracies.

Fact is, this issue opens up a discussion on what Filipinos do think about democracy. We are predominantly a Catholic country due to the sheer number of believers on Roman Catholicism, but it does not necessarily mean that we exclude other “religions” just because majority are Roman Catholics. No.

If we respect the Indigenous Peoples’ rights to believe in animism, why will we bar someone who believes in a religion contrary with Christianity? Whose rights will the state recognize–the right of the Christian or the right of a supposed devil worshipper? In democracies, both rights are recognized.

Hence, Christians have the right to be offended by Lady Gaga’s performances on the same vein that Lady Gaga has also the right to express her offensive views on Christianity. All is fair in democracies.

Now, puritans among us would really be very angry with what I wrote here, but, I’m sorry to say, that is the truth. We live in a democracy where respect of rights is one of the bedrock by which we live. If we always say that ours is a thriving and living democracy, then, we must, by all means, respect Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga is foremost, an artist. She is not a religious preacher. She is, by all means, a singer. If, at all, Lady Gaga sings songs which offend the sensitivities of others, then, by all means, hit her with all you got. Boycott her. But, do it personally, and not campaign against her. Campaigning against the likes of Lady Gaga is showing extremism.

Now, don’t tell me that if you boycott Lady Gaga, you will also boycott Madonna, Aerosmith, even Jessica Sanchez. These singers, like Lady Gaga, sing songs which promote a different kind of love. Jessica Sanchez sang Bohemian Rhapsody, something which puritans of religion in the seventies believe contain implicit lyrics which condone demon worship. Don’t tell me that Atienza and his gang of puritans will also bar Jessica from performing Bohemian Rhapsody here in the Philippines when she visits the Philippines for a concert tour?



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