Monday, February 21, 2011

Moral Relations

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All my life, I was taught to respect the Catholic church. Living in a predominantly Roman Catholic nation, and studying with the Christian Brothers, I grew up with the ideal that God was this supreme being that you'd need special shades to be able to see, and that Jesus was a kindly superhero who helped time travelers and their hapless robots, thanks to The Flying House and Superbook.

Recently, however, a spate of events have led me to reconsider, if not my faith, the elements that attribute to my faith.

Oh, it's easy to believe in a supreme and powerful God - if god did not exist, man's so screwed up that he'd need to create a Big Brother-type figure to keep him in check - but as that silly little pa-cool epithet so aptly illustrates, I don't have a problem with God. It's his fan club I can't stand.

And what a fan club. Here in this country, we've got holier than thou so-called leaders of the church actively seeking to mold the very substance that makes the Philippines tick. It's like electioneering, except that there's a higher calling involved.

Are the priests to blame? Partly. Most of the priests assigned to the "masa" focus less on educating their parishioners and more on the kind of sensationalism that'd put Perez Hilton to shame. I guess you can hardly blame them if they limit their duties to proselytizing and dissing the latest moral dilemma of the country, since it's easy to get to these impoverished parishioners by stoking the fires of their righteous indignation, never mind if this is done by leaps and bounds of sweeping generalization.

But the church in thePhilippines is no different than the church in Singapore, save for two very important aspects: we're a grossly predominant Roman Catholic republic, and we're spoiled democrats.

Neither of these two factoids are independently or holistically bad, but the Pinoy attitude is the UP student's attitude: militant to a fault. So when an issue like the RH Bill comes up, the fact that the country's constituents are active, vociferous believers brought up in the wake of EDSA cooks up a hotpot of violent, newsworthy reactions. And the church is like the Pinoy Justin Bieber, where the followers are nearly fanatical in their admiration. Take THAT into consideration, for a moment, and it's no wonder that religious fervor has overtaken basic common sense.

Just the other day, I was having a conversation on two reactions from opposite sides of the fence that had been published in the local dailies. The common sentiment was to give unto Caesar what is due to Caesar, and give to God what is due to God. I say, if the individual wants to take care of her reproductive health, that's well within her rights as a human. The church, or anybody else, may have their opinion, but in the end, there's something to be said for holding your tongue, lest you look like a moron.

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