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By Ronnie Nathanielsz

Sun, 20 May 2012

A small segment of the American media who were possibly waiting for any opportunity to get at Manny Pacquiao thought they had the chance ? and pounced on it ? when they were seemingly mislead by an article by Granville Ampong in the Conservative Examiner.

To be fair, the manner in which Ampong inserted the particularly offensive passage from Leviticus was clearly misleading and was an undisguised attempt by him to put forward his own position on gay marriages and his seeming dislike of US President Obama who is seeking re-election. He shamelessly sought to use the hugely popular crossover superstar Pacquiao as the front for his particular biases.

Pacquiao hasn?t received such a cheap shot even from an opponent in the ring and to think that it came from a Filipino-American rankles even more.

Regrettably, one or two Filipino media people also jumped on the erroneously attributed quote about killing gays when Pacquiao never said anything like it al all.

Pacquiao who is deeply and genuinely into Bible study and values the lessons he learns from the scriptures has completely changed his lifestyle from the past wayward ways marked by late nights, gambling, drinking and womanizing to a good and decent family life and anchors his day on Bible studies and the lessons he learns.

He has had the courage to openly admit his indiscretions and proudly proclaims that the Bible which he refers to as ?The Manual of Life? has changed him completely.

Instead of carefully reading the Ampong column and discerning the message Pacquiao sought to get across, some sectors of the US media waded into the ?Fighter of the Decade? erroneously and maliciously alleging that he said all gays should be killed which is something he flatly denied pointing out that he didn?t even read Leviticus.

The pertinent passage from Leviticus 20:13 states ?If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death, their blood will be on their own heads.?

While Ampong admitted that Pacquiao never even mentioned Leviticus and the passage about killing gays which was headlined in the US media, some angry Americans even used it to influence the Grove management to ban Pacquiao who was scheduled to be interviewed on site by his longtime and popular friend Mario Lopez.

In fact, if the story on the ban was true it was an illegal act because to discriminate against an individual because of his beliefs strikes at the fundamental law.

Some even went to the ridiculous extent of asking Nike to terminate his sponsorship agreement while striving to put pressure on other companies whose products he endorses and gives stature to ? while increasing sales in the marketplace ? to cut off their relationship.

Others criticized Pacquiao for taking issue with President Obama. Surely in the name of the freedom Americans love to claim they enjoy, why cannot Pacquiao come out against gay marriages if Obama can enjoy the right to favor them?

We must also remember that many times political leaders in the US have taken issue with other leaders in the rest of the world including the Philippines. It should never be a one-way street.

Ampong himself has suggested if not demanded that those who falsely attributed to Pacquiao the quote from Leviticus which advocated death to those of the same sex who live as man and woman or husband and wife, apologize.

It is doubly incumbent on Ampong to show the way and apologize profusely for what he did, or what he failed to do because he clearly hurt the wonderful image that Manny enjoyed not just among Americans but people around the world who admire his humility, his ability to break away from the bondage of his childhood poverty and to emerge as an eight-division world champion and one of the most influential athletes and a role model worth emulating.

We have known Manny Pacquiao from the time he was a 16 year old kid with explosive power in his fists and a Filipino blessed with indomitable courage.

We gladly bear witness to the change within him and reflect on the passage in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 which states ?Therefore, if anyone is in Christ. He is a new creation; the old one has gone, the new has come!? This is the Manny Pacquiao of today. God bless him and all he stands for.

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