Miriam Quiambao, Tolerance and Civil Discourse
Miriam Quiambao was once the most loved female personality in the Philippines, the first runner up at the 1999 Miss Universe beauty pageant. Now, she has been called a bigot, intolerant, hateful and other vile words.
Why? Because she expressed her convictions about homosexual behavior on
Twitter. In response to the Miss Universe pageant allowing a transgender contestant, she tweeted “Homosexuality is not a sin but it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth.”
The tweet caused an uproar and vicious comments were suddenly thrown at her even before the former beauty queen can utter the words, “world peace.” Filipinos who does not share Quiambao’s opinion channeled their inner Annabel Rama and filled Twitter and Facebook with criticisms and some expletives against Quiambao.
What’s amusing and obvious as Piolo Pascual’s sexual preference, Miriam Quiambao is extremely open about her Christian faith. Her tweets reveal that she is a Bible believing woman. Her views against homosexual behavior were based on her understanding of the Bible. Her message was consistent to what many Filipino evangelical Christians believe the Bible’s unfavorable stance on homosexual sin – her opinion should not be a shocker. Her tweet was also not angry nor hateful. Too bad, because she used the limits of 140 characters on Twitter, her message did not come out coherent to everyone.
The topic of homosexual behavior is a deep and controversial issue. One hundred forty characters are not enough to fully articulate ones true conviction and context about the issue – imagine Miriam Defensor Santiago reducing her 40-page Senate speech to 140 characters. Moreover, one’s public disapproval of homosexual behavior will always have political and religious ramification no matter one like it or not.
It is a legitimate topic for debate, but there should be no room for name-calling, demonization, and intimidation from both side of the aisle. Filipinos should disagree without being disagreeable – too late for Annabel and her nemesis Nadia Montenegro.
To Quiambao’s credit, she stated and tweeted an apology and seem to be moving on with her life. Unfortunately, her apology failed to reach some Filipinos and her opinion remains intolerable to those preaching tolerance the most loudly.
I cringed when I read Quiambao’s tweet because I know she poorly articulated her message and will be lambasted for it. As many hated her, many were also impressed including some members of the LGBT community who took her remark with a grain of salt and respected her opinion. She may have tripped and fell in her pursuit for the Miss Universe crown back in the late 90′s, but now, standing tall against criticisms, it seems she is pursuing a better crown-, not from Miss Universe but the maker of the Universe.
author: tatay blogger