We’ve been told by our own elected state officials that “This [Reproductive Health] bill offends God…” and that we should “obey God.” I’m genuinely curious to find out how they could possibly know what this God thinks and how this God feels. What evidence do they have to justify such claims? And why is it that God’s opinions always consist of bland moralizing? What does God think the solution is for the nuclear disaster at Fukushima? What is his stand on M-theory?
It’s always interesting to watch the irony whoosh by a bishop’s head as he proudly tries to justify his views about sperms and eggs and pharmaceuticals using scientific arguments (tune in to this Sunday’s broadcast of The Grand Debate on the RH Bill on GMA to witness this exact phenomenon). If only he could subject his own faith claims to the same level of critical inquiry.
This double standard maintained by the Church is certainly worthy of reflection. A few hundred years ago, they were able to dictate what science was and what knowledge was available to the people. Now, their storied opposition to free information has been pared down to more modest aspirations and is driving the Church opposition against the RH Bill. They have an intense distrust for self-determination and a juvenile expectation that just by having a condom and knowing how to use it, any person would magically be able to find someone to have sex with.
When once it was an imperialist force to be reckoned with (now it is just an imperialist force), the Roman Catholic Church now has to play the evidence game it has so fervently sought to quash in the past. Religionists are figuring out that it is no longer sufficient for them to simply claim something on faith. Filipinos are now becoming less and less acquiescent to such fraud. The Church is out of step with the Filipino people who have realized that compassion for those neglected by society is more virtuous than infantile and dogmatic obsessing over purity and virginity.
Churches are losing influence and attendees by the day. After brutal defeats in the land of facts and sciences, the Church is making its last stand on the field of values and morality, and even here their own Catholic members are skeptics as represented by groups like Catholics4RH, which has been consistently and derisively considered as a “fake Catholic” organization.
As much as conservatives and sex-starved puritans would like to decry the RH Bill as “immoral,” people are finally understanding that the Church has no monopoly on morality. In fact, the Church’s medieval definition of morality often proves itself dangerously obsolete. In a world of nuclear weapons and global pandemics, the Church has chosen a crusade against sex as its priority and mission on Earth. The Church’s own prime concerns betray its parochial origins of pre-scientific Bronze Age Palestine and belie its pretensions of divine mandate.
The fear of the Catholic Church, which isn’t often publicized but was stated explicitly by the honorable congressman Rep. Pablo Garcia, is that the RH Bill will allow people the choice to enjoy their bodies. This (sex without the intent of having children), they believe, is a mortal sin. And sins, they believe, will result in the eternal torture of the souls of the poor who had the gall to decide for themselves what they think is right for their families. The Church believes that whatever good the RH Bill does on Earth, it does this on loan from the Devil himself. These are seriously the kinds of childish fables that are currently being entertained on the national stage and in the House of Representatives. And, really, are these claims any less ridiculous and unfounded than FamilyRadio.com’s May 21, 2011 apocalyptic prediction?
Advocates of the Church often point to their programs for the needy or to their opposition to corruption when trying to distract from the latest rape coverup hitting the headlines. But, notice that it is only when the Church manages to appeal to our common human solidarity without mystical gobbledygook that they begin to become agreeable. Let us not patronize the Church. When they occasionally happen to act like decent human beings, let’s not pretend that they deserve a pat on the back.
Because of the progress we’ve made as a species for these past centuries (independent of divine revelation), the Church is now compelled to engage in dialogue, or at least try to fake it. It often doesn’t seem fair now to even debate the clergy and their conservative defenders. But let us not underestimate the feeble and decrepit old Church. Let’s not forget how the Church was when it was strong. Let us not forget how the Church behaved when it ruled not just in practice but by law.
Tyrants flourish in places where ideas are immune to criticism. Until we stop taking faith claims at face value and start questioning what the priests assert on the pulpit (not just on the RH Bill), we will always be dragged behind and there will always be sectors in society that will be prejudiced against and some thinking and breathing human beings will never be treated like equal citizens. We will always be forced to sacrifice the health and well-being of real mothers for the sake of an imaginary supernatural mother Church.
As long as we allow the spiritual baggage of the Roman Catholic Church to steer our discourse, we will never be able to improve our society here on Earth because they expect us to believe that heaven awaits the servile and the gullible.