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Nov 01

The secular ideal



(Above: video of “Anti DEATHS” rally mounted by Catholic Church in Cebu City last July: DEATHS is the acronym thought up by the wife of Kit Tatad and represents the Church’s advocacy against Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Family Planning, Homosexual Unions and Sex Education)

Felipe Medalla some months back recounted to me that whenever President Marcos thought the Catholic hierarchy was becoming too antagonistic, he would make a big to-do about dusting off a draft Presidential Decree instituting divorce in the Philippines.

So long as Marcos was at the height of his powers, and there was a Julio Cardinal Rosales to counterbalance Jaime Cardinal Sin, the ploy worked. But as time wore on, and Marcos’ legalism gave way to cruder methods to stay in power, the manner in which he concentrated all power in his hands meant that as his own physical and mental condition decayed, no one beneath him could really do anything except scheme against fellow subordinates. The result was a power vacuum that only the Communists or the Catholic Church could fill -with the hierarchy worried that its clergy were drifting in to the clutches of the Communists.

As I wrote twelve years ago, the Catholic hierarchy exorcised the demons of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 by taking a lead in the People Power Revolution of 1986. Just how thoroughly Church has ended up appropriating the functions of the State is best seen in the opposition, with its reliance on mass mobilizations for masses, and how opposition and administration alike fuss over the hierarchy and whether they will order the Catholic studentry into the streets.

Both Marcos and Estrada, traditionally contemptuous of and hostile to the hierarchy, paid the political price, not realize how thoroughly eroded the traditional secular reverence for their office had become. Ramos was more clever; Arroyo, cleverer still, in appreciating that the hierarchy can be upwardly mobile, too, in their aspirations, and if flattered and courted and plied with cash, can become pliable, too, and a source of strength and not subversion to the incumbent.

And yet, the cozy relationship’s being challenged, and the challenge is in the form of a bill.

It is 2008, and in comparison to say, 1938, it seems unclear whether secularism is once more resurgent, or whether the Church Militant is poised to be triumphant and retain the privileged position it secured in our national life in 1986.

I like viewing things in cycles so let me explain my approach to the problem.

In 1938, Filipino leaders, most of them with memories of the Spanish era still fresh in their minds and themselves heirs to the anticlericalism of both the Propaganda Movement and the Revolution (a shrewd exploration of this can be found in Frederick Marquardt’s 1954 article, Quezon and the Church), debated and ended up defeating the proposal to teach Catholic catechism in the public schools. See The Church, July 2, 1938. Efforts by Catholics to have catechism taught during class hours in public schools, passed by an obliging National Assembly, ended up vetoed; a line was drawn demarcating the separation of Church and State (a line first established by statute in 1898, thoug even the Malolos Republic seemed more inclined to pursue establishing a national church more along the lines of the England of Henry VIII).

This line would hold so long as there were Filipinos alive who remembered the Spanish era and bore the anticlerical attitudes of Filipinos of that time. The apogee of that generation and its attitude towards Catholicism was the passage of the Rizal Law: see The Church Under Attack, May 5, 1956. Yet victory in Congress -the law was passed, against the impassioned opposition of the Catholic hierarchy and a new generation of bold Catholic apologists in politics- turned out a pyrrhic victory.

You could say the height of the anticlerical era was from 1896 to 1956; and in turn, the Catholic era began in 1956, and peaked in 1986 -with the Edsa Revolution taking on the characteristics of a Marian Deliverance- and, just as the anticlerical era began to wane in 1938 when the National Assembly, indicating how local-minded politicians were willing to take their cues from local prelates, approved religious instruction in the public schools and so showed the sign of political submission to the Catholic hierarchy to come, so did the influence of Catholicism -its naked triumphalism in the wake of Edsa, and its lingering assertion of religious supremacy over the secular, as demonstrated every day by the insistence of Catholic schools in having invocations and prayers come ahead of the national anthem, an act that would have caused a riot fseventy, sixty, even forty or thirty years ago- begin to wane at its point of maximum influence, when patently Catholic principles concerning the family and sexuality were enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

The debate over the Reproductive Health Bill, then, has characteristics both modern and ancient: and aspects that echo the 1890s, the 1930s, the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s, too. But what too many overlook, I think, is how the Catholic Church is now fighting from a position of strength: not just in terms of organization and the enfeebled notions of citizenship and political identity of the electorate, but also, from a position of statutory advantage.

From the preamble of the Constitution, which dispensed with invocation of a Deist “Sovereign Legislator of the Universe” of 1899, or of the studiously non-denomenational “Divine Providence” in 1935 and 1973, our present Charter invoked “Almighty God,” and despite retaining the official separation of Church and State in Art. II, Sec. 6 (while providing, in the Bill of Rights, Article III, Sec. 5, from any specific Church being favored over the others, while forbidding any limits on the exercise of religion, as much a limit on the State as it is an encouragement to members of any particular faith), the Constitution moves on to providing for Catholic Doctrine as the core principles of the State:

Article II, Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

And while Sections 13, 14, and 15 may nominally ordain concern for the youth, gender equality, modern health policies, etc., there follows a provision that subordinates all these, quite clearly, to Section 12:

Section 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

Here lies what is arguable a Constitutional exhortation to limit anything related to health, including reproduction, to the Church-sanctioned Rhythm Method, or “natural” family planning.

For this reason, I believe that the debates raging in and out of the blogosphere, in the public sphere and wherever people take either their citizenship or religion seriously, when the debate focuses on the duties versus the rights of individual Catholics as pertains to their conscience, is a waste of time. I say this as a non-practicing Catholic who is entirely uninterested in whether or how people reconcile the tenets of their faith with their political and social conscience. It is a question only of interest to practicing Catholics but no one else (and even for the practicing Catholic, I think it’s futile: either have faith, which is beyond science and reason, or exalt science and reason and become an apostate; there can be no compromise between the two if one actually takes seriously the fate of one’s immortal soul).

So if the question of whether one can salve one’s conscience and not imperil one’s soul is immaterial and irrelevant for non-Catholics and non-practicing Catholics, how then, should the question of the Reproductive Health Bill be approached?

First, the actual provisions of the bill are no longer relevant or material. I say this, because the bill itself has been turned into a litmus test.

On the part of the Catholic hierarchy, the only choice is whether the bill can be defeated outright in Congress, or so thoroughly amended as to turn it into a law more fully supportive of Church aims.

On the part of supporters of the bill, the provisions are less interesting for what they contain -it is, after all, only a law, liable to be enforced more with talk and less with any real action- than for what they represent: an assertion of a non-Catholic, ideally non-sectarian, morality for the state.

The battle lines having been drawn, the battle has been joined and it would be dangerous to prematurely gloat that indications of broad public support for the bill is some sort of death knell for the influence of the Catholic hierarchy in the political sphere.

For an entire generation, Filipinos have been allowed to subordinate the state to God, daily seeing sectarian prayers given priority over the national anthem; this underscores, day in, and day out, the subordination of the state to the Church.

While this period -the generation since Edsa- only represents a third of the lifetime of our modern-day political institutions, it encompasses the living memory of fully two-thirds of the population.

In other words, in the generation since Edsa, where God has day in and day out been demonstrated as superior to flag, anthem, and republic, at least half of present-day Filipinos were born and their attitudes towards Church and State, molded; Filipinos reared in the strict subordination of religion to the State, a subordination demanded by historical experience, are the minority.

During this period, when our sense of the proper distinction between God and Country has been literally turned on its head, our civic sense, our political consciousness as a people, has been enfeebled. The weakening of our political institutions and the political culture upon which the proper functioning of those institutions is premised, also means that in the absence of a vibrant civil society, the best-organized, best-motivated, and best-funded sectors can hold state policy, including the formulation of laws, hostage.

Those wasting their time sneering at Catholic dogma, who want to debate the superiority of Reason over Faith, and so forth, are wasting their time either preaching to the converted, or egging on the religious to new heights of missionary zeal and fantasies of martyrdom.

Public opinion, in this era of apathy and how legalism and naked force trumps all public sentiment, is worthless. As both leaders and the led become increasingly local in their mentality and dismissive of anything that smacks of the romanticism and impracticality of the national, then the political strength of the Catholic hierarchy exponentially increases.

The clergy have never elected a president, a senator, even a congresssmen; this is a truism of our politics. But the other truism is what matters: a politician, whether local or national, is asking for trouble if he incurs the displeasure of the bishop. The hierarchy may not be able to get people elected; but they can seriously harm the prospects of a candidate for election.

And the hierarchy has brought two presidents to their knees; and they helped make the difference between being down and out, or living to fight another day, for the present chief executive.

So let me disagree with Blackshama and others in terms of how they’re framing the debate on this bill. There is no reason to frame the issue in terms of what’s going on in the United States; the proper frame is our anticlerical heritage from the Propagandists and Revolutionaries of the 19th Century and the Catholic Countereformation since the 1950s which achieved its aims in 1987. That heritage has been swept aside by demographics and the rot in the educational system and the sapping of the strength of the body politic.

When Stalin sneeringly asked, “how many divisions has the Pope got?” it was a classic case of the pragmatist being unable to recognize the motivational power of faith; he could sneer at Pius XII, yet it was that same Pope who ordered even cloistered nuns to go out and vote and keep Italy from having a Communist government; and it would be one of Pius XII’s successors who was given great credit (exaggeratedly or not) for bringing the Soviet era to a close in Eastern Europe.

In a society that has taken to accepting, at face value, the administration argument that all politics is a “numbers game,” then the Catholic Church has the numbers; the supporters of the bill, on the other hand, may have public opinion on their side but it is an opinion that cannot find a practical expression -or one practical enough to negate the negative influence prelates can have on the countless political contests officialdom’s already gearing up for in 2010.

As Blackshama tellingly points out -Galileo may have provided inspiration for generations of scientists and freethinkers, but his daughters became saintly nuns. The students who will be mobilized to show their numbers should the debate over the bill reach the point of requiring mobilization, may be attending their chemistry classes today, but they and their parents are already being primed with the incontestible battle cry, “what does it profit a man to gain the world, but lose his immortal soul?”

I have been advocating an effort to reeducate people when it comes to their rights and obligations as citizens. Secularism is far from dead, but at no time since the Revolution has it been so feebly understood and unappreciated by the public as now. We are not alone in this, and not just in terms of Catholicism. See an appeal for the secular ideal, in terms of Muslims, for example, on British subjects -not God’s by Ed Husein.

If I were a betting man, I’d say the odds are in favor of the bill being defeated, and that the odds are getting better for the Church every day. At the very least, they can water down the law so it becomes meaningless.

But even if they fail to derail the bill, let’s not forget what the Catholic Church has done, and continues to do, ever since it lost the showdown over the Rizal Law: it interpreted it as it pleased, and flouted it more than it obeyed it. And the secular schools have not been able to compensate and have even added to the general uselessness and essentially counterproductive results of the passage of that law.

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  1. UP n grad

    What the CBCP do not make clear is that divorce is NOT the objective (in other words, everyone buy everyone wishes that when he and she gets married, that they treat each other with respect and well enough that the marriage lasts until one or the other dies. Divorce just says if there is savagery in the marriage, then killing the other is not the only way to obtain freedom. One can just apply for divorce via the courts (and where the courts are required to protect the interests of the children).

    Repro-Health, likewise. There is no requirement that the male has to put on the condom when there is intercourse, nor is the woman required to buy pills or to insert an IUD. No requirement at all. BUT if husband and wife want to space their children, then the condom or the IUD becomes available without difficulty.

    Euthanasia is NOT part of the Repro-Health Bill.

  2. Liam Tinio

    yet, a person with machiavellian tendencies can do away with the debates and have his way towards the achievement of a goal.

    people debate too much so as to draw a line between two positions where there is, actually, a gaping grey-area between the two points.

    my take(sorry to borrow from you mlq3), the bill passes, the president vetoes(rather unforcefully), then congress shoves it 2/3. provided the bill will not see the light of June 2009.

  3. mlq3

    UPn, but there you go, the clergy have a snappy acronym -DEATHS- and whether the bill in question provides for these things, their view is obviously that the bill, if passed, would open the floodgates to these things.

  4. richard

    mlq3,

    in our case though, religion has given the country more harm than good.

    our stagnation has a lot to do with the kind of religion that dominate the landscape.

  5. mlq3

    richard, you know, I’m not too sure. it’s amazing the amount of pre-hispanic attitudes to the supernatural and the mores and ethics of our ancestors, that has survived colonialism and christianization. we are, pretty much, lax catholics. just as from thye little i know, most filipino muslims are much more relaxed and broadly tolerant than other muslims.

    you want to know what we’d be like if people really took their religion seriously, and were properly disciplined and truly obedient? see the iglesia ni cristo and the evangelical christians, and the truly radical islamists. and it is their ranks that are growing; our generation has seen the percentage of catholics (nominal or not) drop from what, 90, 80, percent to the 70s and dropping? and the ranks of other, more politically uncompromising faiths are growing exponentially.

  6. mlq3

    incidentally, thius brings up something overlooked in framing the debate within the context of the catholic church still being the majority religion. it’s that other faiths would more likely than not, find common cause with the catholic position on the bill, particularly as framed by its DEATHS acronym. they may not explicity support the hierarchy but would implicitly support them.

  7. George Evangelista

    I appreciate MLQ3’s defense of secularism, but I disagree with his opinion that religion is deserving of respect and that atheism is in principle just as intolerant as religious fundamentalism. He is wrong on both points. Respect for people and their right to religious belief isn’t identical with respect for their creed. A secular democrat is obliged to engage religionists in a continuing debate to the extent that these religionists invoke religious prejudice and exploit their connections with earthly powers to propagate sexism, racism, obscurantism and/or elite privileges – not to convert dyed in the wool religious fanatics– but rather to enlighten a public, presumably influenced by religious dogma but not totally blinded by them (as the recent SWS survey on popular responses to family planning and reproductive health bill suggests). Furthermore, religionists who preach on TV and who lobby against the reproductive health bill rarely if ever show courtesy towards unbelievers whom they demonize as immoral and deserving of eternal damnation. These religionists deserve the same level of thrashing that a homophobic former Supreme Court judge received from MLQ3 for impugning the morals of reproductive health advocates and deliberately misrepresenting their stand on ethical issues.

    I also take exception to MLQ3’s disapproval of atheism and apparent privileging of religious faith and philosophical agnosticism over science with respect to human existential questions. Atheism is simply lack of faith in any particular deity or any specific system of beliefs about a supposed supernatural world and should not be confused with “scienticism” of ideologues who seek to replace faith with their own brand of secular creed be it that of Comte, Lenin, Mao, Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman. Science also deserves greater respect than a simple approval of its utilitarian value. The scientific outlook is more than just set of cut and dried procedures for tackling technical problems; it is a mode of inquiry that generates objectively verifiable and cumulative knowledge about nature and practical human problems through logic, critical thinking and empirical tests. As such, the scientific outlook is inextricably linked with the democratic secular state that has to rely on publicly accessible and verifiable knowledge as a guide to policy.

    Against sweeping claims for the benefits of religious faith, some empirical studies indicate positive relationships between piety and social ills. In “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in Prosperous Democracies”, researcher Gregory Paul examines the correlation between religiosity and indicators of social health and social ills in 18 economically developed countries and discovers that the U.S.A. which scores the highest in religiosity has also the highest crime rates and the poorest marks for societal health. Western Europe and Japan, which are more secularized, exhibit superior societal health and significantly lower crime rates and indicators of social dysfunction. Even in the U.S.A. itself, the strongly theistic, anti-evolution south and mid-west show markedly worse rates of homicide, mortality, STD, youth pregnancy, marital and related problems than the northeast where societal conditions and secularization approximate Western European norms. Gary Jensen’s study, “Religious Cosmologies and Homicide Rates among Nations” which covers a bigger sample of nations and which deploys multiple regressive analyses, establishes a positive link between the propensity for homicide and specific religious attitudes, namely, credulity and a dualist notion of the world that demonizes people outside the faith as evil and deserving of death. (Gregory Paul, Journal of Religion and Society, Vol. 7, 2005; and Gary F. Jensen, Journal of Religion and Society, Vol. 8, 2006)

    Though the above studies are modest in scope and refrain from theorizing on the superiority of either religious or secular values over the other as drivers of good governance and good citizenship, their findings provide adequate cause for guarding against proposals to anchor state institutions and policies on religious values rather than secular ones (even if these religious values were defined in generic terms inclusive of the shared beliefs of all sects). A democratic secular state provides mechanisms for the deliberation of policy as well as dispensation of justice, education, social security, and other services and infrastructures vital to the citizens’ free exercise of their rights and advancement of the community at large. It cannot, however, provide guarantees for a solution to every person’s existential woes, as theocratic regimes and religious sects promise to do often at the price of imposing their sectarian values on the world at large. Democratic secular institutions, though fallible, have at least the merit of being open to public deliberation, scientific scrutiny and continual tests.

    The attitude of deferring to religious faith in matters that are not directly susceptible to scientific inquiry is uncongenial to secular democracy. Practitioners of science (as distinguished from scienticism or pseudoscience) can never be certain of the “truth” of their theories as theologians are of the truth of their religious doctrines; nevertheless, the predictions of scientific theories are very often sufficiently close to certainty that we can bet our lives on them, such as when we take a trip in an airliner or submit to a surgical operation in a hospital. When predictions are that reliable, we can rationally conclude, if not prove, that the theories on which they are based must have some universal validity. The application of science to social, political and economic affairs has contributed in no small measure to the progressive though globally uneven demise of slavery, racial and sexual stratification, trial by ordeal, virginity tests for betrothed maidens, stoning of adulterers, burning of heretics, and other barbarous practices that once enjoyed the unequivocal support of most world religions and major churches.

  8. richard

    mlq3,

    the catholic ranks dropping?

    that’s good.

    but the other sects are growing?

    uh-oh, not so good.

    our progress or, if you may, our evolution as a people can be catalyzed – speeded up – if we wean ourselves away from the stupidity of religion.

    i disagree with you that irreligion will produce a stalin or a hitler in our midst. mankind is capable of goodness and compassion on his own nature and does not need the establishment of organized religion to be so.

  9. missingpoints

    “Homosexual Marriage – is not really a good idea if you’re worried about the survival of human species. But that’s just me. It could also be argued that we are overpopulated and homosexuality is nature’s evolutionary response.”

    So you’re assuming that we all want to get married to the same sex and only the lack of an official ceremony is preventing us? Let them get married so that partners can enjoy legal benefits of living and raising families together. It is of no danger to straight marriage.

    Funny how the people “defending marriage” are the ones who want less people to get married. Besides, no one is forcing any church to marry off gays.

  10. George Evangelista

    I appreciate MLQ3’s defense of secularism, but I disagree with his opinion that religion is deserving of respect and that atheism is in principle just as intolerant as religious fundamentalism. He is wrong on both points. Respect for people and their right to religious belief isn’t identical with respect for their creed. A secular democrat is obliged to engage religionists in a continuing debate to the extent that these religionists invoke religious prejudice and exploit their connections with earthly powers to propagate sexism, racism, obscurantism and elite privilege. The object of such an engagement is not to convert dyed in the wool religious fanatics but rather to enlighten a public, presumably influenced by religious dogma but not totally blinded by them (as the recent SWS survey on popular responses to family planning and reproductive health bill suggests). Furthermore, religionists who preach on TV and who lobby against the reproductive health bill rarely if ever show courtesy towards unbelievers whom they demonize as immoral and deserving of eternal damnation. These religionists deserve the same level of thrashing that a homophobic former Supreme Court judge received from MLQ3 for impugning the morals of reproductive health advocates and deliberately misrepresenting their stand on ethical issues.
    I also take exception to MLQ3’s disapproval of atheism and apparent privileging of religious faith and philosophical agnosticism over science with respect to human existential questions. Atheism is simply lack of faith in any particular deity or any specific system of beliefs about a supposed supernatural world and should not be confused with “scienticism” of ideologues who seek to replace faith with their own brand of secular creed be it that of Comte, Lenin, Mao, Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman Science also deserves greater respect than a simple approval of its utilitarian value. The scientific outlook is more than just set of cut and dried procedures for tackling technical problems; it is a mode of inquiry that generates objectively verifiable and cumulative knowledge about nature and practical human problems through logic, critical thinking and empirical tests. As such, the scientific outlook is inextricably linked with the democratic secular state that has to rely on publicly accessible and verifiable knowledge as a guide to policy.
    Against sweeping claims for the benefits of religious faith, some empirical studies indicate positive relationships between piety and social ills. In “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in Prosperous Democracies”, researcher Gregory Paul examines the correlation between religiosity and indicators of social health and social ills in 18 economically developed countries and discovers that the U.S.A. which scores the highest in religiosity has also the highest crime rates and the poorest marks for societal health. Western Europe and Japan, which are more secularized, exhibit superior societal health and significantly lower crime rates and indicators of social dysfunction. Even in the U.S.A. itself, the strongly theistic, anti-evolution south and mid-west show markedly worse rates of homicide, mortality, STD, youth pregnancy, marital and related problems than the northeast where societal conditions and secularization approximate Western European norms. Gary Jensen’s study, “Religious Cosmologies and Homicide Rates among Nations” which covers a bigger sample of nations and which deploys multiple regressive analyses, establishes a positive link between the propensity for homicide and specific religious attitudes, namely, credulity and a dualist notion of the world that demonizes people outside the faith as evil and deserving of death. (Gregory Paul, Journal of Religion and Society, Vol. 7, 2005; and Gary F. Jensen, Journal of Religion and Society, Vol. 8, 2006)

    Though the above studies are modest in scope and refrain from theorizing on the superiority of either religious or secular values over the other as drivers of good governance and good citizenship, their findings provide adequate cause for guarding against proposals to anchor state institutions and policies on religious values rather than secular ones (even if these religious values were defined in generic terms inclusive of the shared beliefs of all sects). A democratic secular state provides mechanisms for the deliberation of policy as well as dispensation of justice, education, social security, and other services and infrastructures vital to the citizens’ free exercise of their rights and advancement of the community at large. It cannot, however, provide guarantees for a solution to every person’s existential woes, as theocratic regimes and religious sects promise to do often at the price of imposing their sectarian values on the world at large. Democratic secular institutions, though fallible, have at least the merit of being open to public deliberation, scientific scrutiny and continual tests.

    The attitude of deferring to religious faith in matters that are not directly susceptible to scientific inquiry is uncongenial to secular democracy. Practitioners of science (as distinguished from scienticism or pseudoscience) can never be certain of the “truth” of their theories as theologians are of the truth of their religious doctrines; nevertheless, the predictions of scientific theories are very often sufficiently close to certainty that we can bet our lives on them, such as when we take a trip in an airliner or submit to a surgical operation in a hospital. When predictions are that reliable, we can rationally conclude, if not prove, that the theories on which they are based must have some universal validity. The application of science to social, political and economic affairs has contributed in no small measure to the progressive though globally uneven demise of slavery, racial and sexual stratification, trial by ordeal, virginity tests for betrothed maidens, stoning of adulterers, burning of heretics, and other barbarous practices that once enjoyed the unequivocal support of most world religions and major churches.

  11. UP n grad

    In my opinion, DEATHS is sloganeering. DEATHS and associating euthanasia to the RH bill is propaganda, not intelligent discussion. The CBCP does not ask Filipinos to think of the issues; the CBCP message is that the reward for those who favor the RH bill is life after death in everlasting agony engulfed in flames.

    The CBCP does not want a discussion of the features of the RH bill. Fr. Bernas’ article in the Inquirer is a great example. It is well-written and engaging BUT it is distracting. DEATHS is like the Bernas article. No mention of what is right or wrong about teaching 13-years and older kids which between holding hands, a kiss, or sperm-contact with-egg-cells results in babies and “why do they make condoms anyway???”

  12. mlq3

    upn, the same could be said of militant atheism. which brinfs me back to my contention that the debate on this bill is essentially a sterile one, as far as those most motivated and mobilized to do something, politically, about the bill.

  13. mlq3

    although let me add that the critics of religion have a point when you consider this:

    http://genius-master18.blog.friendster.com/2008/09/god-bless-you-mama-mary-loves-you/

  14. d0d0ng

    I admire your difficult position Manolo on this very controversial subject and your articulations.

    It is a reflection of the growing concern of the Catholic church globally not just the Philippines. Despite its vast power and influence in politics, the embedded church doctrine in Art II section 12 & 16 as state policy have brought on economic hardships due to unchecked population growth and weakened family as basic unit when parents seek job abroad producing generation of parentless children.

    The Church is not democracy and it will sought to implement its will. The president can kill the RH bill even if it ever survive the house. There is no question about that.

    But at what long term cost when in the business of saving souls and losing its flock?

    There is reason to frame issue based on what’s going on in the US. Despite liberalism and church scandal, the faithfuls have not abandoned the church. The cafeteria Catholics are not faithless. In California, they cling to the marriage of man and woman despite court ruling and fight for parental notification in state mandated abortion right. The greater strength of the church is in its people when it put its faith on the line.

  15. allister

    @missingpoints,

    “””So you’re assuming that we all want to get married to the same sex and only the lack of an official ceremony is preventing us? Let them get married so that partners can enjoy legal benefits of living and raising families together. It is of no danger to straight marriage.

    Funny how the people “defending marriage” are the ones who want less people to get married. Besides, no one is forcing any church to marry off gays.”””

    You are missing my point 🙂 In fact, I’m not “defending marriage” in the sense that conservatives do. I don’t even have a strong opinion for/against homosexual marriage. I’m just saying the fact that homosexual marriage does not serve any procreative role, and hence does not support the propagation of the human species. But of course, marriage in our time is not just for procreation; nor is procreation solely done by married couples.

  16. d0d0ng

    missing points on, “Funny how the people “defending marriage” are the ones who want less people to get married. Besides, no one is forcing any church to marry off gays.”

    Traditional marriage is based on faith and morality draws that line. That is what you are missing. A loving relationship between lesbians or homosexuals is no different from loving relationship in an incestous relationship (father and minor daughter). Both are morally offensive. You cannot force your lifestyle on believers of traditional marriage either.

  17. missingpoints

    allister: “But of course, marriage in our time is not just for procreation; nor is procreation solely done by married couples.”

    Then you’ve answered your own question. Marriage is a legal contract between two people who choose to engage in an exclusive, domestic, economic, and sexual relationship with each other. Why limit it between a man and a woman?

    d0d0ng: “Both are morally offensive. You cannot force your lifestyle on believers of traditional marriage either.”

    Only according to your faith. No one is forcing you to marry a gay man, but by preventing gay marriage YOU are the one enforcing your beliefs on them.

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