Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao‘s wins inside the ring have turned him into an international star and a beloved representative of the Philippines. Since he’s gotten into politics, though, he’s been earning attention for a very different reason: Bible-thumping bigotry.
Pacquiao told television station TV5 earlier this week: “It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female.”
“If men mate with men and women mate with women, they are worse than animals.”
For obvious reasons, not everyone appreciated these comments. So he responded with the religious version of the classic sorry-not-sorry apology:
I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt. I still stand on my belief that I'm against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I'm not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I'm praying for you.
“I’m sorry for comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt,” Pacquiao said in a video post on Instagram, his arms crossed.
Pacquiao said he was not condemning homosexuals but was standing by his conservative Christian faith.
“I love you all with the love of the Lord. I am praying for you.”
As long as comparing people to animals is an act of Christian love, it’s all cool. And bonus points for reminding people that he’s praying for them. Pacquiao would be right at home in the GOP.
Though, not even people Pacquiao doesn’t consider to be worse than animals can expect too much from him:
He currently represents his wife’s impoverished home province of Sarangani in the House of Representatives but is notorious for his chronic absences, favouring boxing training over legislation.
In one of the rare times he spoke at the legislature, Pacquiao quoted heavily from the Bible as he vigorously contested a proposed law, since passed, granting free condoms to the poor.
Pacquiao seems to fancy himself more as a soldier of God than a representative of the people who elected him. For what it’s worth, God doesn’t seem to return the favor — it was God after all, according to Pacquiao, who decided the biggest fight of his career.
And God chose the other guy.
Too bad voters in the Philippines won’t do the same.