Clash of Church and State in the Philippines

Once again, the sex obsessed Catholic Church is rearing its ugly head, this time in the Philippines over the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

The Independent reports in its news article, Church and State clash over sex and condoms in the Philippines:

A 13-year battle between church and state in the Philippines, one of the world's most devoutly Catholic nations, has come to a head over government plans to provide free condoms and sex education. Catholic bishops have threatened to excommunicate President Benigno Aquino over a reproductive health bill introduced into the Congress yesterday.


The aim of the bill is to control population growth, reduce HIV infection rates and eradicate the need for women to seek backstreet abortions. Mr Aquino, who is determined to see it become law, is prepared to be banished from the church, if necessary. "I have been taught in school, which was a Catholic institution, that the final arbiter really is our conscience," he said yesterday.

But the church, which has enormous clout in the Philippines, is not about to give way. Since 1998, it has quashed several previous versions of the bill. "Sex is not a game that should be taught to children, along with the use of condoms, supposedly to avoid disease," the Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Rosales, told an anti-contraception rally in the capital two months ago.

I appreciate the president of the Philippines for, effectively, holding the wall between Church and State. While I am not a Filipino, it is nice to see politicians do the right thing despite opposition from religious lobbies instead of succumbing to them.

But as usual, there are always some politicians happy to smear their religious beliefs all over their politics.

As well as the powerful church, Mr Aquino is opposed by one of the most popular figures in the Philippines, the world champion boxer turned congressman Manny Pacquiao.

Mr Pacquiao said this week that he would never have been born, or become a champion, if his parents had used contraception. "God said go forth and multiply," he declared. "He did not say just go and have one or two children."

What a vacuous statement. If your parents were doing ANYTHING other than fucking at that moment when they did have sex to produce you, you wouldn't exist. So? What's your point?

And may I ask why anyone is obliged to care what you believe your god said in an ancient book of inconclusive authorship? Thankfully, there is still sane people in their government to put this nutter in place. According to ABS-CBN news,

She (Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago) also criticized his use of the biblical quote, "Go forth and multiply."

"The Bible does not say, 'Go out to the world.' It sounds very much like God is encouraging us to go out and copulate in public. God said in the Bible, "Go forth and multiply." That meant that God wanted man, not necessarily to literally multiply, but to go out to work with the rest of the human beings of this planet and to apply the stewardship theory. Meaning to say, taking care of each other, who are all in the planet living together.

"I would like to say if this is going to be a debate of biblical quotes, then I will counter with a quote: 'The devil can cite scripture for its purposes,'" she said.

She also called on Pacquiao not to read and interpret the Bible to literally, pointing out that the Bible was not even written by God himself.

"It is very dangerous to be a fundamentalist. Apparently that's what Pacquiao is. He reads the Bible literally. The Bible was not written by God ... Nobody has a monopoly of the thoughts of God," she told Senate reporters.

Nice. More public figures should state that publicly, thank you -- 'cause it seems like nobody bloody knows that. She also said,

She also said the separation of church and state should be maintained.

"Because the principle of church and state, while we respect the freedom of speech of people of every persuasion across religious boundaries, still we have to stand up for the principle in democratic governance that the church cannot dictate to the state. So the State must always argue in favor of free speech and free conscience, that is why I call this a freedom of conscience issue," she added.

Here's another politician with his head screwed on right --  voicing the core reason for defending the separation of Church and State here as reported by Sun.Star Davao newspaper:

Duterte said the Catholics who believe in the stand of the Church and the warnings of the priests can do so, however, he said the Philippines cannot be ruled by the Roman Catholic Church.

"Iba-iba naman ang relihiyon. As I said, within this country, there are people who believe in God, and there are those who do not believe in God," Duterte explained.

The Church cannot speak on behalf of everyone, he added.

I'm not going to comment much about the Church's stance here -- it suffice to say that the Church's morals are "biblical", as in centuries behind on moral progress.