by Charles Jay
Were people climbing all over Manny Pacquiao for no reason at the start of this week? That may indeed be the case. Let’s put it this way – there’s been less of a reason than many people would like.
Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank
Pacquiao has had to endure the perception that he wished death upon those who would engage in homosexual activity and, while, still affirming that he is opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds, asserts that he harbors no particular ill feeling against them.
The incident has taken a rather circuitous journey to get to this point.
When you think about it, for Pacquiao to have a stance, when wearing his political hat, that opposed gay marriage is not all that unusual. It may not be your point of view, and it may not be my point of view, but it is not all that unusual. And frankly, while a slight majority of Americans may support same-sex marriage, it isn’t an overwhelming majority, so it isn’t as if Pacquiao was radically off the reservation in his opposition.
Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank
His problem, I suppose, on THAT particular day, coming on the heels of an endorsement of same-sex marriage from President Obama, is that Pacquiao trains in California and maintains a place of residence there, and in the Golden State, the level of support is higher than it has ever been, standing at 59%, according to a Field Poll that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle on February 29.
So perhaps it is not a shocker that some people jumped to conclusions. It all came out of a story published by a writer named Granville Ampong in the National Conservative Examiner on Monday. In it, he mentioned that PacMan suggests people “just believe” scripture when it came to making the decision as to what to do about the issue.
“God’s words first … obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man,” is one of verbatim quotes Ampong used, and whether he got that directly from Pacquiao is debatable.
Then Ampong decided to take some license of his own, and quoted scripture, specifically the Book of Leviticus, the third book of the Hebrew Bible, which states, in Chapter 20, that homosexuals should be put to death.
That’s where everything went haywire.
Even a careful reading of the story might not necessarily make it crystal clear that Ampong was doing this on his own, and NOT attributing the quotations of Leviticus to Pacquiao, and if one just glances over the piece, it certainly presented, at the very least, a confusing scenario. One might have assumed that Ampong took the ball and ran with it, making the rationalization that if Pacquiao referred to “scripture” in general, it meant ALL scripture, regardless of what it said, and so maybe he cherry picked a quote that could carry the most damaging implications.
Some have pointed to the method through which the Examiner pays writers (according to clicks) as a motivator, and that Ampong was purposeful in order to suggest a certain extremism in order to generate traffic, regardless of the consequences.
Well, in researching some of Ampong’s previous pieces, as well as quotes he has given to other writers, I find that he while he has been objective, he is hardly anti-Pacquiao. True, he considered the decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez in Pacquiao’s last fight to be, as he was quoted by one writer, “a travesty of justice,” but so did some others. When asked by journalist Gareth Davies about Pacquiao’s entry into politics a few years ago for a piece that appeared in The Telegraph (UK), Ampong said that Pacquiao was “not just an inspiration for people, but has been a saving grace for the Philippines government on more than one occasion.” He went so far as to credit Pacquiao from saving the country from attack by revolutionaries.
So was he calculating Pacquiao’s downfall? I would tend to think not.
I don’t want to be insulting, but the conclusion I come to is that while Ampong did this innocently, he got a little too fancy for his own good, and that’s a common thread that runs through much of his material. As a writer, he should be expected to construct his thoughts in such a away that would limit any possibility of ambiguity, but that certainly was not the case. And he has taken a lot of abuse for it. By the time he followed up with a clarification of his own words, the horse had already left the barn, so to speak.