29th June 2011
To Fellow Filipinos,
Peace and Goodwill!
As many have seen in the news, our mission Church, Metropolitan Community Church of Metro Bagiuo with the participation of Metropolitan Community Church of Quezon City and Metropolitan Community Church Philippines, Makati, has conducted a mass wedding for same sex couples last 25th of June, 2011.
With the event, there was uproar from the Catholic Church and several Evangelical Churches, as well as from some secular and governmental personalities. We have been called many things and we have been threatened legal actions due to the event. We are saddened that the so called people who are tasked to preach and promote the Gospel of Love are the ones, who right now are sowing seeds of hate and discrimination against people who simply want to have a solemnizing ceremony of their Love for one another.
The Metropolitan Community Churches is a Christian Church that specifically cares and caters to the spirituality of Gays, Lesbians, Transgenders and Bisexuals, with the firm belief that everyone are welcome and loved by God regardless of sexuality and gender identity. We believe that the love of two people for each other, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are legitimate and valid in the eyes of God and should also be valid in the eyes of human society. And this beliefs are back-up by biblical, theological, historical and scholastic research and studies of several Churches and scholars. More so, the choice of who to love and spend one’s life with is a basic human right, regardless of any religious doctrine or social custom.
We Filipinos have always had good relationships with our gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual brothers and sisters especially nowadays. How many of us, our mothers, sisters and even brothers go to the salon to have a hair service from a very talented transgender or gay person? How many of us have co-workers and friends in the call center; some of them are our bosses, holding managerial and executive positions and some are our agents and team mates? How many of us have lesbian sisters and aunties? How many of us have gay and bisexual brothers and uncles? How many of us have sons and daughters who are gays, lesbians and transgender persons who are bread winners, holding good and decent jobs? How m any real life stories of gays and lesbians who have provided for their families with the sweat and blood of hard work; who sent siblings, nephews and nieces to finish school? How many of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends have shared with each of us their pains and joys, struggles and triumphs, heart aches and love lives? Our LGBT brothers and sisters deserve societies respect and acceptance; Respect for their right to solemnize their love and acceptance for who and what they are.
The Metropolitan Community Churches has not violated any law or statute of the Philippines by conducting the religious rite of holy union. We conducted the holy union rite nothing more than just religious ceremony, which is protected by the constitutional right of religious freedom. We as a Church and as individuals never conducted marriage, nor have we ever claimed or promised a marriage to any same sex couples that we have solemnized through our holy union rite. Couples are made fully aware that the rite of holy union/wedding is not legally binding and has no legal or statutory implications and effects; it is merely a religious ritual or ceremony.
The right of religious freedom is a constitutional right whereas any form or religious expression of any Church or individual are permitted as long as it does not violate any other law or statute of the land. The provision on the constitution that states that “marriage shall be between a man and a woman” is not violated by our religious expression, since our ceremony of holy union is not marriage nor has been transact, claimed and promoted as such by the Metropolitan Community Church. We reiterate again that our Holy Union Rite is merely a religious ceremony that has no legal promise and effect within it, to anyone who partakes of it.
Any attack or legal action against our activity of Holy Union is taken by Metropolitan Community Church as a form of discrimination and religious persecution.
We appeal to the LGBT community to show calm and restraint against these attacks on our ranks. We ask to be more understanding to those who attack us and to show them love where they show us hate. We ask to the entire Filipino people, to respect our lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual brothers and sisters; as well as to accept them for who and what they are, and the love that exist between two people regardless of sexuality and gender identity. And to our detractors, our dear Bishops and Pastors of other Churches, we ask in prayer, that you would reflect on your actions and words against the LGBT community and against this Church of MCC; As Christ has said “Let him who has not sinned, cast the first stone.” And the Lord further said, “Judge not that ye may not be Judge… Condemn not, that ye may not be condemned.” For in the judgment day, we will not be asked of our sexuality or gender identity, rather the Lord of Love will ask, “have you fed me when I was hungry? Have you given me drink when I was thirsty? Have you clothed me when I was naked? Have you visited me when I was imprisoned?” What truly matters is if we have loved as Christ has loved.
Rev. Ceejay Agbayani MDiv.
Metropolitan Community Church of Quezon City