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An update on the Pura Luka Vega sitch: Christian leaders file complaint vs drag queen

by Gaby Agbulos

LAST month, drag queen Pura Luke Vega courted controversy when a video of her dressed up as Jesus Christ and mouthing along to a remix of Ama Namin made the rounds online. 

Since then, there has been a mix of both positive and negative reviews coming from the public. Some are saying that their performance was disrespectful, while others reason that it was meant to be a form of art, and was not meant to be looked at as offensive or mocking. 

Luka themself has stated that the performance was their way of praising God and that they aimed to embody Jesus for their audience. 

“People have weaponized the Bible to go against the LGBTQIA+ community, referencing scriptures to deny us basic human rights,” said Vega. “I just want to create a narrative that despite all of these, Jesus, as the embodiment of God’s love for all, does not forget about the oppressed, including the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Since then, Vega has stated that they won’t be apologizing for their actions, and that while they do understand the sentiments and thoughts of others, no one has the right to tell them how to do their drag, or how they should practice their faith. 

Vega continues to stand by her performance. But her detractors also continue to criticize her, and now Christian leaders have filed a criminal complaint against the drag queen. 

Church leaders file a case 

On Monday, members of the group Philippines for Jesus Movement (PJM) went to the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office to lodge a complaint against Vega, or Amadeus Fernando Pagente. 

The PJM is a religious movement made up of several people, including the leaders of a number of Christian churches in the Philippines. At present, its Facebook page has over 800 people following it.

The members of the group, led by its president Bishop Leo Alconga, said Vega’s video was blasphemous, offensive, disrespectful, insulting, unacceptable, and outrageous to the whole of Christianity. 

They said Vega’s actions were in violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Article 201 penalizes immoral doctrines, obscene publications, and exhibitions, as well as indecent shows Violators may be fined P6,000 to P12,000 or face six to 12 years’ imprisonment, or both. 

Excommunicated, persona non grata

This is not the first time that detractors have moved to take action against Vega since the release of their video. 

Last July 21, the General Santos government declared the drag queen persona non grata, meaning that they would not be welcome in the city. 

Last July 16, Change.org member Joseph Machete also posted a petition calling for the excommunication of Vega from the Catholic Church. 

As of posting, only 36 people have signed this petition.

Netizen reactions

Until now, the responses from people online continue to be a mix of both support and shaming of the drag queen’s actions. 

“There’s nothing offensive about it in my point of view, but for most people whose religion is Catholicism, offensive siya since nobody wants na gawing biro yung pinaniniwalaan nila,” said 22-year-old Luigi Angelo Pagdato, a student from the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. 

With regard to the backlash Vega has gotten since the video was posted, Pagdato said that it was to be expected given the high number of Catholics in the country and the lack of openness in exploring topics such as this one.

“In a country na ang religion talaga is Catholicism, [marami ang] hindi open-minded sa mga ganyang bagay, [at] marami talagang magagalit,” he added. 

In defense of Pura, some Twitter users have started looking for videos online that they feel can also be labeled as offensive to religion. 

Twitter user Fabgelous called attention to one video of an individual playing lato-lato while a series of church songs play in the background.

“Where is the Catholic outrage?” the netizen asked. “Bakit singled out si Pura Luka Vega palagi?”

A number of Vega’s fellow drag queens have also taken to the internet to show their support, with some Drag Race Philippines contestants like Nicole Pardaux and DeeDee Marie Holliday showing them love. 

“If you’re not offending anyone, you’re not doing it right,” tweeted Holliday.

Drag Race Philippines winner Precious Paula Nicole was also interviewed alongside co-contestants Viñas Deluxe and Brigiding. 

“Ang tapang ni Pura na ipakita kung ano yung art niya talaga; siya, at least na-express niya kung ano yung gusto niyang i-express nang hindi natatakot,” said Viñas Deluxe. 

When asked if they would do the same, Nicole and Brigiding said no because it’s not the type of drag that they do. 

Meanwhile, Viñas said that she’s done something similar in the past, wherein she dressed up as Mama Mary.

She explained that she feels one of the reasons Vega was bashed was because of the latter being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and that in reality, people have been doing things similar to what Vega did for years now.

As such, some people on Twitter have taken to labeling Vega as an NPA criminal, even comparing them to Satan, which are both extreme stretches, to say the least. Others have said that Vega deserves what she got. 

republicasia has reached out to Vega for comment through her Instagram and email accounts, but we have yet to receive a response.



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