NEW: Commission on Human Rights says freedom of thought, expression, religion protected
Christian group's leader expects two thousand protesters outside Manila venue
Lady Gaga's Filipino promoter is run by a born-again Christian
In Indonesia, her promoter is still trying to secure a permit
Christian groups in the Philippines planned to protest Lady Gaga’s performances there Monday and Tuesday, just after Muslim protests have cast doubt whether she will be allowed to perform in Indonesia.
“This protest is not against Lady Gaga as a person but on her music and on how she declares distorted views about the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Reuben Abante, bishop of Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church and secretary-general of Biblemode Youth, which is leading the protests.
Reached by phone, Abante said he expected a couple thousand protesters outside the Manila venue, Mall of Asia Arena, Monday night for a grand prayer rally before the concert. “We are Christian Filipinos. She comes to our land. For us, this is something that should not be shown to the youth we have.”
His brother, the group’s president, is former Congressman Benny Abante, himself a pastor.
Of particular offense to the group is the pop star’s song, “Judas,” with lyrics like, “Whoa whoa I’m in love with Juda-as, Jud-as,” “Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to I cling to.”
Lady Gaga’s Filipino promoter, Ovation Productions, is run by Renen de Guia, who is described on the company’s website as a born-again Christian. Attempts to reach him were not successful.
When asked if Lady Gaga’s concerts could contravene Philippine laws, Loretta Ann P. Rosales, chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights, replied in an email, “The Philippines is proud of the fact that we do indeed have one of the best Bill of Rights in our Constitution that has the widest latitude as all other Constitutional democracies in protecting freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of religion.”
“I have heard raves over her concert by Filipinos who have watched her,” she added. “Maybe I shall have a chance to enjoy her concert too one day.”
It is not the first time Rosales and Abante have faced off; in 2006, while both were in Congress, Abante had blocked passage of an anti-discrimination bill co-authored by Rosales aimed at protecting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
For Lady Gaga, the protests in the Philippines are the latest in her problematic Asian tour. Her provocative lyrics and risqué costumes have prompted conservative Muslims in Indonesia to call for the cancellation of her upcoming concert in Jakarta.
As of Monday, her Indonesian promoter, Big Daddy Entertainment, was still trying to secure a permit, and the June 3 event was still on, according to its website.
When she opened her tour in Seoul, South Korea, last month, it was to concertgoers aged 18 and above after the Korea Media Rating Board banned the show for minors, even with an accompanying parent or guardian.
At the heart of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” tour is her message to gay youth to embrace and accept their sexual identities.