Monday, October 04, 2010

A Call For Holy Disobedience

.:A Call For Holy Disobedience:.

Dear fellow Catholics, fellow Christians, believers in other faiths, agnostics, and atheists,

We cannot deny that the Philippines is statistically a Catholic nation. With 80% of the country’s citizens representing the Catholic church, there is no ignoring the kind of influence the church exerts on everyone within her sphere of influence. This is true. This is incontrovertible.

However, politically, the Philippines is not a Catholic nation. You see, we are a democratic country. Democracy is, at its purest form, a government by the people, for the people, and is as all-inclusive as possible to all sensibilities housed under this melting pot we call the Philippines.

The Philippine Constitution is the highest law of the land. Emphasized in it is the separation of Church and state. This state does not have an official religion. As such, any attempts by the Roman Catholic Church to pressure the state into going its way or the highway is only every bit as valid as the attempts by other groups to pressure the state into going the exact opposite way. The Roman Catholic Church, by virtue of our democracy, has a voice. What they are forgetting, though, is that those of us who do not agree with their opinion also have a voice. Furthermore, this alternative voice is every bit as valid as the church’s in the political plane.

If you are still reading after the cursory introduction to my main point, then you know you’re about to hit the good part of this whole thing.

In recent news, the Roman Catholic Church (Henceforth merely referred to as “church,” with no prejudice aimed towards any other churches of any other religions.) has been more than mildly vocal against the Reproductive Health Bill, all the while emphasizing that only abstinence and the rhythm method should be used for family planning. In a hilarious example of slippery slope logic, they believed that it was only a matter of time before abortion would then be legalized.

Even more hilarious is the fact that more than a few of the people against the RH Bill have never even read the bill in question.

As a response, the church has made a call for “civil disobedience” in case this law were to ever see the light of day. They want all the good Catholics out there to actively break the law of the Reproductive Health bill to protest that *gasp*, finally, we would have a basic attempt at actually giving people the option to plan their families.

In case the church hasn’t been paying attention, the RH bill was not designed to promote rampant promiscuity with no regard for the consequences. It was designed to help families plan their families. The spirit of the law is very clearly aimed in this direction, and not to cater to the worst fears of the CBCP.

Historically, the church has been notorious for preventing progress. From Galileo, to outright lying that condoms don’t stop aids, to what is going on at present, one cannot help but stare blankly at how anti-poor the church has been, all for this vague concept of “moral ascendancy.” Like the fear-mongers that they are, they claim that the RH Bill will destroy the very moral fibre that holds this nation together.

Really, CBCP? Pray tell, exactly how will this happen? What countries, upon adapting so much as basic reproductive health legislation (Which, make no mistake about it, is precisely what the RH Bill is: a basic piece of legislation.) suddenly fallen into the gaping chasm of Satan’s pit? Or have we simply ignored the fact that people would still have sex whether or not there are condoms, so the least we could do is make them aware exactly what happens when they have sex?

Worse, there’s even the implicit threat of excommunication being levied against the president. R-ight. Did the Italian president get excommunicated by the Vatican when they legalized abortion? Nope, didn’t think so, either.

Stop with the knee-jerk moral crusade, and get acquainted with the facts: we have a population control issue. A poor family with eleven kids will not magically stop being poor if they had a twelfth kid. The gift of life should come with the gift of a liveable life, and without the RH Bill in place, that’s obviously not going to happen.

Do you even know the history of your own leadership? Did you even realize that had he not died less than a month into his papacy, Pope John Paul I would have made sweeping changes to how the church would accept and understand hot-button topics like contraception? If even a Pope could have that kind of opinion, then surely, contraception is far from the all-damning evil that the church has been making it out to be.

So if you’re a person who doesn’t believe in how our Catholic Taliban is trying to run our country for us, and if you’re a person who doesn’t think that (supposedly) celibate men should be telling us lay people how to get laid, then I call upon you to act out our holy disobedience. Obviously, Carlos Celdran beat us all to the punch, but yes, we must stand against this act of bullying being carried out by the church.

A holy disobedience is every bit as valid an act of protest as the kid who refused to pledge allegiance to the flag until gays have equal rights. After all, where is this “liberty and justice for all” if gay rights are still being trampled upon?

Similarly, whenever the priest tells you to “believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church. The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting,” then you are morally imposed to not respond “Amen,” because it is not so. Where is this forgiveness? Where is this resurrection? Where is this peace that we supposedly give signs of? And in fact, if 90% of the priests out there will just use their homily as a chance to do political commentary, why even bother going to church when you can get better political commentary from The Professional Heckler? Pushing a political agenda is not part and parcel of what the church was set up to do. Pushing a political agenda also ignores the fact that not everyone is a catholic, and not everyone who is a catholic follows the CBCP’s line of (il)logic.

CBCP, why do you have such a huge grudge against progress? Worse, why do you have such a huge grudge against women, who stand to benefit the most from the RH Bill? Has it ever occurred to you that the only reason you feel it absolutely unnecessary to have an RH Bill is because unlike women, altar boys don’t get pregnant?

We have no desire to be stripped of our choices and our rights. What the church would have us do is to waive our choices in order for us to become morally upright people, never mind the fact that only a clear, conscious, and informed choice can be construed as a truly moral one. When your spiritual leaders tell you that “It is morally incorrect for people to decide right and wrong based on their needs,” then you know that they are seriously out of touch with reality now. What is right and wrong is perfectly determinable by the individual, and that the government will not stand in the way of what is not illegal should also imply that people who wish to be “moral” would have every chance to prove that they are because the other option is right there for the picking.

Or is the CBCP trying to say that when a “morally incorrect” option is presented to their average believer, then they are more likely to choose it than the morally correct one, which would be the only conceivable scenario where the “thorough moral degradation of the Philippines” is even remotely possible?

Well, if it is, then it only goes to show what kind of character the church has been building within its flock. Perhaps they should tend to it more than they tend to politics, which they shouldn’t have a say in, since they aren’t even paying any taxes.

We want our right to choose. The right to choose to do the right things. The right to choose to do the wrong things. The right to know what these choices entail, and the right to determine which choice is which.

In case the church has forgotten, God Himself gave us that right to screw up. Who are we to challenge His own design?

So dear CBCP, yes, you can call for "civil disobedience" if you so desire. However, this also means that we have every right to call for a "holy disobedience" as an appropriate response to your asinine and backwards beliefs that we wouldn't have had a problem with if only you didn't shove it down our throats.

(No penis metaphors were intended in the previous paragraph.)


Laya said...

Amen to that, bro. :P

Unknown said...

As I have been saying to every post out there that I've been agreeing with: SECONDED, THIRDED and FOURTHED. Brilliant piece. Will link wherever linkable.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

how about organizing a 'Do Not Attend Church Sunday' everywhere? people will instead mass as a huge peacefully protesting body in front of the cathedrals.

normsky said...

We are Catholics. and we are born Catholics.We are educated n understood that having children is a sacred obligation that we are committed to uphold. But is it a sin to plan the number of children that we can take care n protect? .We controlled our children in to 3 only so we can give them their basic needs. Does it make us sinners?, So most of those with less children are sinners then there will be less catholics in the Philippines. thank you

Guen said...

(Noey directed me here!) Well said, well said!

Daddy Yo said...

Does not giving donations/contributions during Mass considered "holy disobedience"?

Kel Fabie said...

It's time the church stuck to its strengths. Sex education and proselytizing from supposedly celibate people? NOT a strength.

Kel Fabie said...

Yeah. Not going to church, not donating to mass collections - all sound like valid acts of holy disobedience.

In case the CBCP has forgotten, they are, hierarchically, where the Pharisees used to be when Jesus Chris was pwning them left and right.

skysenshi said...

We actually have a moral fiber as a nation? Hehehe.