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Categorized | Politics, Religion

Be a Rational Hero

Noli_Me_TangereI was raised a Catholic, and as a child, religion was all about loving my neighbors, singing songs, reciting the prayers and believing in Jesus, so while I was young it was all nice. Later on it became a set of rules I was supposed to abide by — don’t lie, don’t kill, don’t steal — and it made sense still, so it was okay. But then as I grew older it became about sin, about how I was born sinful and how certain sins meant that I was scheduled for an eternity in hell, and the only way out of it was to talk to a priest and eat some wafer. Loving my neighbors had taken a back seat to getting into heaven, but still I bought it anyway. For a while.

And then I attended one too many Masses with burning incense and fragrant oils and flashy ceremonies with billowing robes and funny hats and large jeweled crosses and TV cameras, with people convulsing in the aisles and women mumbling unintelligibly with their hands raised. It was at this point that I grew up, the church became ridiculous, the Bible became just another story book, and I decided religion was not for me.

The Catholic Church is like a hospital gone wrong. It tells everyone they’re sick, and that the only cure lies with someone from an old story book. You can be the healthiest person in the world and still they insist you’re ill and don’t know it, and they shove their medication down your throat every chance they get. Some of them actually believe they’re doing you good, trying to save you. Some of them just don’t want hell-bound sinners contaminating their flock.

Fact is, the Catholic Church thinks you’re stupid.

It thinks you don’t know what’s good for you, and that you need them to point you towards the way, the truth and the light. If you think you don’t need them you’re obviously lost, and if they’re not trying to save you, they make sure you know you’re going to burn in hell.

And now the Church is getting its grubby hands all over our politics.

As I see it, the RH Bill aims to inform citizens of scientifically proven (and legal) methods of family planning and women’s health care, and to make these available to anyone who asks for them. Personally I’ve never found anything wrong with information and accessibility, as they neither change my moral convictions nor force me to go against them, but I can understand why the Church would be opposed to educating their flock. Education, after all, leads to informed choice, informed choice leads to an exercise of free will, and free will, when it doesn’t coincide with the Church’s teachings, leads to the dark side. So the Church wants to keep you uneducated.

The Catholic Church thinks you’re stupid, and it wants you to stay that way.

Instead of preaching to its flock to choose according to what they consider moral and good, the Church would rather keep Filipinos ignorant to the family planning options already available. Instead of trusting that Catholics live consistently with the Church’s teachings on hormonal contraceptives, the Church would rather meddle with politics to keep them inaccessible. The Catholic Church does not trust its flock.

If you’re Catholic, the Church thinks you’re a hypocrite.

The Church’s opposition to the Magna Carta for Women is something I consider more troubling. Here is a law empowering women, protecting them from discrimination and bias, and the Church opposes it because it goes against the “natural calling of women.” I find it terribly disturbing that the Church would allow single mothers to be denied education and forced to stay home, under-educated and unemployed, all for the sake of gender roles. The misogyny is sickening.

The RH Bill and the Magna Carta for Women are all about Education and Freedom — education about reproductive health and freedom of women — and the Catholic Church opposes both. The comparison to Padre Damaso is strikingly appropriate: the Church is keeping Filipinos ignorant and women subjugated. It is 1886 all over again, and the Church is abusing its power over Filipinos. What do you do?

You speak out.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.