Archive | July, 2011

Shepherd and Sheep

Shepherd and Sheep

Democracy and with it, freedom of choice, are among the best moral ideas that we have developed, a “universal value” of the 20th century according to the economist and philosopher Amartya Sen. Poor and powerless people do not have much of both, but most will agree that having more is the right way to go. I say “most” because believers of one-man, one-party or one-religion rule do still exist and assert that orders from above work best, or that people are like sheep that constantly need a shepherd for direction. Consider this gem of such thinking from CBCP president Bishop Nereo Odchimar as told in the report “CBCP renews opposition to RH bill ahead of SONA”:

“The bill ignores moral and religious considerations in the name of democracy and freedom of choice in a pluralist society,” he said. … He said the people’s right to choose must always be guided by the Gospels and the teachings of the Church. “To ignore this principle is to ignore the light that illumines an upright conscience,” Odchimar said.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” is a popular saying that most people agree with. Both deep and practical, it is something you can repeat to yourself as you overhear your neighbor enjoying the current brain-stopper on TV, or as you read the latest inanities of anti-RH groups. Well, Bishop Odchimar just upended that guide to good-neighborliness.

We know that Catholic doctrine states that contraception is intrinsically evil. But the bishop’s statement is not about the evil of contraception anymore, but the evil of democracy. Odchimar is saying that beyond his right to proclaim his brand of morality, democracy must also give way so that only his moral choices remain. We have the freedom to choose as long as we stick to what he chooses. He must think that we really are dumb sheep.

The RH bill upholds the moral and religious views of all precisely through freedom of choice, and seeks to become law through a democratic process. Unlike Odchimar’s proposal, no one will be forced. All can live with or without RH services. Even funding will depend on people’s choices. If Catholics shift from artificial to natural family planning (NFP), then public money will also shift to funding NFP training costs.

The CBCP should be more careful about devaluing democracy and freedom of choice. Odchimar’s claim about the RH bill ignoring moral and religious considerations is false. However, the country has had plenty of disastrous experience with the reverse, when democracy and freedom of choice were ignored in the name of interests cloaked in morality and religiosity.

Spanish friars came to the Philippines and amassed wealth and power as part of conquest, colonization and Christianization. We lost 300 years of national freedom. If those events are too distant to remember, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s sham presidency should be memorable enough. Just two months after the May 2004 election, the bishop-friendly Arroyo was hurriedly anointed with legitimacy with these words from the CBCP:

It is the view of the bishops that the results of the elections reflected the will of the Filipino people.

Years after Arroyo’s election cheating and large-scale corruption sparked popular protests, the majority of bishops continued to prop her rule through open collaboration* or acquiescence. All in the name of her anti-RH, conservative politics.

“Ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw” was Susan Roces’ ringing sound bite on Arroyo’s power grab. Bishops who wish to impose their morality after inflicting a corrupt and unelected ruler on us deserve a similar rebuke: Ang kapal ninyo!

————————————————-

* In 2009, Arroyo released public funds to Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos who asked for a 4×4 vehicle as a birthday gift and to Bishop Diosdado Talamayan who asked for contributions to a clergy retirement home. A year before, the two bishops were reported to have “spent thousands of pesos for a full-page ad in a major broadsheet to express support for the Arroyo government and insist that the [bishops’] call for ‘communal action’ should not be interpreted as a call for people power.”


 

The image of shepherd and sheep above is from a public domain work of Martinus Antonius Kuytenbrouwer d. J. (1821–1897), available at Wikimedia Commons

Posted in Featured, Religion, Society14 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio) 006: State of Secularism Address 2011

FF Podcast (Audio) 006: State of Secularism Address 2011

In this episode, we discuss President Benigno Aquino’s second State of the Nation Address, and we deliver our own State of Secularism Address.



You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, Media, Politics, Religion, Secularism, Society0 Comments

FF Podcast 006: State of Secularism Address 2011

FF Podcast 006: State of Secularism Address 2011

In this episode, we discuss President Benigno Aquino’s second State of the Nation Address, and we deliver our own State of Secularism Address.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes



Posted in Featured, Media, Podcast, Politics, Society0 Comments

His Deafening Silence: A Quick Take on P-Noy’s Lame Excuse

His Deafening Silence: A Quick Take on P-Noy’s Lame Excuse


(Video from GMA News TV)
 

President Noynoy Aquino’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), apart from being the most shameless reheating of a metaphor in recent literature, was not much else. Yes, we get it, the man loves talking about his wangwang, but what of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, among other dire matters? Suffice it to say that many people were sorely disappointed by P-Noy’s deafening silence regarding the sundry issues he failed to mention, and clamored for a follow-up.

Sadly, P-Noy’s response was just as disheartening.

Regarding the RH Bill, he said:

Anong pakinabang nino man na ‘yong proponents and ‘yong antagonists of the bill to discuss it when we are almost at the stage na tapos na ‘yong debate (What’s the use of discussing it when we’re almost at a point where the debate is over)?”

The debate’s almost over? That’s news to us, dear President. When you say something is almost over, you can see a definite conclusion hovering around the corner, and I’m afraid all of this hemming and hawing from Malacanang the past year regarding the RH Bill–most notably the one being held behind closed doors with a bunch of old, virgin men–has prevented any semblance of a conclusion from being formed. On the contrary, the moment you decide to reign the CBCP down from the heights of unwarranted privilege is when we can finally see an end in sight.

Ask any person on the street if they can definitely say whether or not the RH Bill will be passed into law–not whether they are for or against the Bill, but whether they know the state the government is in regarding that matter. Odds are that they will struggle with their answer.

That was what the SONA was for, P-Noy. We weren’t even asking for a dissertation. A comprehensible sentence or two on what you thought about it was enough, but you couldn’t even give us that. If the issue really was nearing an end, shouldn’t you have at least said so instead of leaving the entire country hanging? In the spirit of your tired metaphor fetish, if we really were your boss, we would’ve fired you already not only for your shoddy report, but for taking us for fools and making up such a poor excuse.

Posted in Featured, Politics, Society1 Comment

July 30 (Saturday) Fort Bonifacio Meetup

Location: Fort Bonifacio Starbucks, 32nd Street (in front of MC Home Depot) (Google map)
Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011
Time: 3:30pm – 6:30pm

RSVP on Facebook

With the Mind Museum’s Cafe Scientifique being on the same weekend as our meetup, we’ll be organizing this meetup around Cafe Scientifique. This Cafe Scientifique looks to be a really interesting session on the science of moods. Because of the overlap with our regular schedule, this meetup starts later than usual, at 3:30 PM.

This meetup also coincides with the meetup of our Davao chapter. If you’re at Davao this weekend, do consider going to the meetup and saying hi to one our regular writers, Jong A. (innerminds).

Discussion Topics
– Cafe Scientifique
– Norwegian killings
– Ugly rights II: Fat rights, with a vengeance
– SONA 2011 Reactions
– The return of Freethinker Open Mic

After the meetup we go for dinner and/or beer drinking at a nearby restaurant. If you’re not a meetup regular and can’t make it for the meetup but would like to go for the post meetup, please indicate on a post in the wall or comment so we can contact you.

Got questions about the meetup? Contact us at 0927 323 3532

* Newbies are welcome.
* Look for the FF sign (or the group of smart, sexy people).
* There is no required age, religion, philosophy, or IQ level.
* Discussions are informal yet intelligent (most of the time).
* You don’t have to talk; you can just sit in and listen.
* You don’t have to buy anything from Starbucks.

Posted in Meetup0 Comments

Blessed are the Poor, said the Billionaire Bishops

Every night, millions of poor Filipinos pray that when they wake up, they’d no longer be poor. Answering these prayers would take nothing short of a miracle. And a miracle, by definition, is highly improbable; just witnessing one is considered a blessing by many.

But a miracle might just be what Romulo Macalintal has performed. Together with Lito Atienza, Macalintal led a campaign to replace the vehicles returned by Catholic bishops in the wake of the recent PCSO scandal. In less than two weeks of fundraising, donations exceeded a million pesos.

But it’s not the amount of donations that I consider miraculous. Nor is it the fact that they were collected in less than half a month. The fact that Macalintal managed to convince so many that the bishops needed money — now that’s a miracle.

Because as friend and fellow RH advocate Elizabeth Angsioco pointed out, the bishops are filthy rich:

Based on Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) 7 July 2011 records, their holdings in these corporations are now worth a whopping P18,040,238,371.80.

There are a few more minor holdings that are not included here and many more corporations can be examined. Even without touching the RCC’s real estate properties (which are surely worth many billions), and its highly profitable businesses like schools and hospitals, it is quite clear that the RCC as a church, as well as its various entities are FILTHY RICH.

What 18 billion can buy

18 billion Pesos. That’s 18 thousand pesos multiplied by a million. Or 18 million pesos multiplied by a thousand. No matter how I put it, few Filipinos can fathom what it means to have such a huge amount. Maybe it will be easier to understand in terms of what the bishops can buy with all that money.

Consider the Araneta Coliseum. It can hold 15 to 16 thousand people. Picture every seat in every row occupied by a person, from ringside to general admission. With 18 billion pesos, the Catholic bishops can afford to give every person in a packed Araneta Coliseum their own SUV[1]. To be exact, the bishops can buy 15,272 SUVs[2].

If the bishops can afford this much, why did they have to ask PCSO for SUVs? Whatever the reason, it wouldn’t be the only time a bishop asked for something he could have paid for himself.

In Cagayan, the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao asked PCSO for money to pay for the operational expenses of a retirement home for priests. The PCSO gave them P200,000 plus an unknown amount for “finishing touches” on the renovation of the said retirement home. Forget about the fact that this is a clear violation of our Constitution and PCSO’s charter and consider this: Although P200,000 is no small amount, it’s nothing compared to the more than P100 million pesos the Bishop of Tuguegarao has invested in San Miguel and Ayala. With that P100+ million, the bishop could pay for the operation of 500 retirement homes, and he’d still have several million left.

Anyone can use a calculator and plug in the values, but I think there’s something wrong with Atienza’s arithmetic:

“We can do this quickly. If 8,000 Catholics donate P1,000, we could have the P8 million. If 16,000 give P500 or 32,000 donate P250, we could also reach that amount,” said Atienza

Atienza, who helped launch the Piso Para sa Obispo campaign in Cebu, can do the Math. But there’s something wrong when you divide the burden of raising P8 million among poorer people, especially when the beneficiary can afford to give P8 million each to 2,250 people (18B/8M).

The sin of obscene wealth

Surely if there’s anyone that should be doing the donating, it’s the Catholic bishops. Instead, they keep their billions invested where all it does is make the bishops even more rich. Angsioco discovered that from May to July of this year, the value of the bishops’ investments appreciated by P567 million. When Atienza said you can be sure that what you give to the church comes back to you (“Kapag nagbigay ka naman kasi sa simbahan, alam mong babalik din sa iyo”), he might have been referring to the stock market.

And while the billionaire bishops become even richer, millions remain poor and hungry. An organization that claims moral ascendancy should find something wrong with this picture, especially one that calls itself pro poor. Apparently it’s not only wrong — it’s a mortal sin:

The Vatican has revised the traditional Catholic “Seven Deadly Sins” with new ones, including “being obscenely wealthy.” Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, announced the new sins in an interview published on March 10, 2008, in LOsservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper… Bishop Girotti explained that the sin of obscene wealth consists of “the excessive accumulation of wealth by a few.”

Are the billionaire bishops guilty of “excessive accumulation of wealth by a few”? When a few people have enough money to give SUVs to 15,272 people, the answer is obvious. And the bishops owe society a lot. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that the bishops start giving away Pajeros. All I’m saying is that if you’re really pro-poor, you should be the ones giving to the poor, not the other way around. The question is, Have the bishops accumulated wealth so that they could be pro-poor? Or have they pretended to be pro-poor so that they could accumulate wealth?

The problem of evil

Anyway, let’s correct Atienza’s Mathematical mistake and see how much we can divide the bishops’ P18 billion among the people who really need it. According to a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, 15.1 percent of Filipinos (14.2 million) are hungry and 2 percent of Filipinos (around 1.88 million) are severely hungry, having nothing to eat often or always. The billionaire bishops can feed all hungry Filipinos for more than a month. If they chose to help only the 1.88 million who are severely hungry, the bishops can provide food for more than nine months [3].

The billionaire bishops are in a position to perform a real miracle in the Philippines. For more than a month, they can end hunger; for almost one year, they can put an end to severe hunger. The bishops are able. But as Epicurus asked in his early formulation of the problem of evil, “Are the bishops able but not willing?”

***

[1]
Assuming the average price of the 7 vehicles given to the bishops

[2]
P18B = value of stocks owned by CBCP and other Catholic organizations
Cost of 7 SUVs (Sacred Utility Vehicle) given to bishops = P8.25M
P18B / P8.25M x 7 = 15272.72727

[3]
Population of the Philippines = 94M
94M x .151 = 14.2M = hungry Filipinos
94M x .02 = 1.88M = severely hungry Filipinos
P974 = how much a Filipino needed in 2009 to meet his/her monthly food needs according to the National Statistical Coordination Board
P974 x 1.88M = P1.83B = amount needed to feed severely hungry Filipinos for a month
P18B / P1.83B/mth = 9.83 months = months the bishops can afford to feed severely hungry Filipinos
P974 x 14.2M  = P13.83B = amount needed to feed hungry Filipinos

Posted in Featured, Politics, Religion, Society16 Comments

[Press Release] Filipino Freethinkers remind PNoy to pass RH and avoid GMA’s mistakes at Purple Ribbon RH March

(July 22, 2010) Manila – Filipino Freethinkers marched to Mendiola and Malacañang with other RH advocates from the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) and other pro-RH organizations.

One of their members dressed as ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), pulling behind her seven huge PCSO checks. Each check was carried by a member dressed in a bishop costume. The recipients and amounts listed in the checks are based on the details of the recent PCSO scandal, wherein 7 Catholic bishops were given PCSO donations approved by GMA.

“We want to warn PNoy not to commit the same mistakes of the past president,” said Kenneth Keng, RH advocacy director of Filipino Freethinkers. “GMA bought the bishops’ silence during the Hello Garci scandal by blocking the passage of the RH Bill during her term. The recently exposed PCSO donations to several bishops are only the tip of the iceberg. There may be more bribes that have yet to
be uncovered.”

Filipino Freethinkers also echoed the call for PNoy to clearly support RH during his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA). Keng said: “It is our hope that showing the President the broad based majority support that the most recent SWS surveys confirmed (70% of filipinos nationwide in favor of the RH Bill) and the dire consequences of delay in terms of innocent lives lost (100,000 maternal and infant deaths and 4,000,000 abortions since a vocal minority of religious opposition began opposing the bill 10 years ago) can enjoin him ahead of his upcoming State of the Nation address to take action in making the priority passage of the RH Bill this year a reality.

“We want to remind PNoy to fulfil his promise to provide RH for all,” said Keng. “He has unequivocally given his support to the RH Bill in public fora such as the recent UP commencement address. We’re here to celebrate this new promise while gently reminding him of the need to help push the Bill past all of the shameless, underhanded and undemocratic stalling tactics of groups led by the CBCP in both houses of Congress”

# # #
If you’d like more information about this, or to schedule an interview with Kenneth Keng, please contact us
or send an email to [email protected].

Posted in Featured, Politics, Press Releases, Religion, Society5 Comments

The Ethics of Secularism

The Ethics of Secularism

One of the principles of secularism is doing good for goodness’ sake: “Whether there be other good or not, the good of the present life is good, and it is good to seek that good.” The English secularist George Jacob Holyoake, who coined the word “secularism” in the mid-19th century, asserted, “Individual good attained by methods conducive to the good of others, is the highest aim of man, whether regard be had to human welfare in this life or personal fitness for another. Precedence is therefore given to the duties of this life.

Since this utilitarian ethical principle is not grounded on the moral dictates of a transcendent being, i.e., God, it is not surprising that theists are quick to criticize it as lacking an ontological foundation, meaning there is no basis for conceptualizing such moral system in the first place. They then proceed to cite David Hume’s is-ought problem and G.E. Moore’s naturalistic fallacy, insisting that it is impossible to derive an “ought” from an “is” or to infer moral obligations from mere observations of nature, and that what is naturally pleasant or desired is not necessarily “good”.

While Hume wrote in A Treatise of Human Nature that it surprised him to find an ought instead of an is, there seems to be nothing in the book expressing the impossibility of bridging the is-ought gap. Hume only said that “’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

Moreover, the rules apply to both theists and nontheists, and if the requirements for bridging the gap are set to go beyond common sense and into ontological obsession, I doubt that even Divine Command Theory can bridge it. Someone claiming that God exists and has laid down certain rules (an is statement) is also expected to explain why we ought to act accordingly, and after all the rationalizations have been exposed and eliminated, it all boils down to one thing: we ought to obey and please God for the welfare of our souls.

While the secularist does not necessarily rule out the possibility of a life after death since it’s unprovable either way, he gives priority to his welfare in this life: “For a future state Secularism proposes the wise use of this, as he who fails in this “duty nearest hand” has no moral fitness for any other.” And since claims of divine revelation are all hearsay and our common sense dictates that the Bible is a dangerous guide to morality, secularism “offers the guidance of observation, investigation, and experience. Instead of taking authority for truth, it takes truth for authority.

The word ought was originally used to express duty or obligation (and this is probably how Hume intended to use it), but modern usage has expanded its meaning to also indicate advisability or desirability. Since the secularist believes in the improvement of this life by material means and that science is the available Providence of man, if he wants to be happy then he knows what he ought –  what he is well advised – to do, and that is to seek happiness in ways that are conducive to the happiness of others so as to encourage mutual effort in perpetuating everybody’s happiness.

As for the naturalistic fallacy, while it is true that “pleasant” is not necessarily tantamount to “good,” it seems that all of mankind’s conscious acts are ultimately motivated by pleasure. The blogger Philosophy Bro put it succinctly:

“People want to be happy; that seems pretty clear. What makes people happy? Why, pleasure makes people happy…Pleasure is the only thing people want for its own sake, as an end; everything else people do is to attain some final pleasure…For some reason dudes keep insisting that there’s more to life than pleasure. And to them I say, “Really? Like what?” When they start listing shit like literature and the arts and human excellence, I know they’re not paying attention because all of those things are pleasurable.”
.

As for the theists who define “good” as something that God commands or desires, the is-ought problem is thrown back at them: why do we ought to do good and obey God? And if they are honest enough they will admit that it’s because they want to have a pleasant eternal life in Heaven and avoid perpetual torment in Hell.

And so it seems that for the theist and nontheist alike, morality, or at least the standard by which a person judges actions with either approval or disapproval, is ultimately rooted in the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. In Of Vice and Virtue, Hume wrote, “For granting that morality had no foundation in nature, it must still be allowed, that vice and virtue, either from self-interest or the prejudices of education, produce in us a real pain and pleasure.” An article in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy paraphrases Hume: “[I]t is because we are the kinds of creatures we are, with the dispositions we have for pain and pleasure, the kinds of familial and friendly interdependence that make up our life together, and our approvals and disapprovals of these, that we are bound by moral requirements at all.”

And while the secularist does not concern himself with ultimate or eternal scenarios of pleasure and pain as much as the immediate and foreseeable consequences of his actions, it does not mean that his morality is inferior. In The Science of Good and Evil, Michael Shermer explained that “like everyone else, I face judges that are in their own ways transcendent and powerful: family and friends, colleagues and peers, mentors and teachers, and society at large. My judges may be lowercased and occasionally deceivable, but they are transcendent of me as an individual, even if they are not transcendent of nature…real people whose lives are directly affected by my actions, and whose actions directly affect my life.”

The secularist’s judges may not be as fearsome as a deity capable of sentencing people to eternal torture, but he nevertheless respects them deeply and holds himself accountable to them. That’s because in this life, which is the only life we really know exists, these human judges influence our welfare and happiness in ways that we can clearly see and foresee. As such, we are accountable to them because we are ultimately accountable to ourselves.

Posted in Featured, Society20 Comments

A Most Unworthy Cause

A Most Unworthy Cause

Apparently Willie Revillame is giving away P100,000. That’s a lot of money, and in the right hands it could do a lot of good, but instead it’s joining almost 1.5 million pesos put together by Senators, other personalities and lay people for, of all things, cars. Cars for bishops.

Macalintal and former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza are leading the fund raising drive in support of seven bishops who bought utility vehicles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office donations in 2009…

Macalintal said they are looking at seeking donations from Catholic parishioners to raise P8.2 million, the amount that the prelates received from the state-run lottery.

So let me get this straight:

  1. They ask for money.
  2. They receive money they know they shouldn’t have.
  3. They buy cars.
  4. They get called out on their hypocrisy.
  5. They return the cars.
  6. They get money?

God damn I chose the wrong line of work!

Now I’ve seen a fair share of envelopes passed around the office or classroom – for a classmate whose father died, for a colleague who lost everything he owned to Ondoy, for a friend who had cancer – and none of them were for a reason as shallow as “because I had to return my car.” There are a lot of people who need real help, a lot of severely underfunded charities, a lot of dilapidated public schools and hospitals, and compared to them – hell, compared to anything – buying a half dozen SUV’s for some bishops just doesn’t seem like a worthy cause at all.

Of course, if people like Willie Revillame and other personalities want to donate their own money to this fund, it’s entirely their choice. They are private citizens, and as long as there is no violation of church/state separation going on they are free to do with their money as they please. I just hope that before handing them the money, Willie makes the bishops do a little dance first.

(Image taken from Single Father at Work)

Posted in Religion, Society9 Comments

God in Our Constitution

God in Our Constitution

For many who had expected the July 13 Senate hearing with the “Pajero 7 bishops” to be more than just an occasion for face-saving apologies or Pilatean hand-washing on the part of persons involved in the PCSO plunder scandal, the whole affair turned out to be a letdown. What could have been a forum for investigating in aid of legislation public officials’ conduct in appropriating GOCC (government owned or controlled corporations) funds for the wealthiest and biggest sect, instead, became a pretext for condoning the routine practice of showering administration-friendly religious leaders with state largesse on secular grounds!

Santiago’s Speech

Senator Miriam Santiago virtually acquitted the “Pajero bishops” and preempted all discussion, by pointing out to her colleagues the secular purpose behind the bestowal of funds on the bishops and by berating the COA officers, mass media practitioners and common people for their supposed intrusion into the Supreme Court’s dominion as the ultimate interpreter and arbiter of legal issues concerning church-state relations. Though Santiago made a number of valid comments regarding discretionary powers that enabled incumbent public officials and PCSO officers to exploit charity funds for private gain and partisan political uses, she buried the whole issue of clergy influence-peddling and preferential treatment of administration-friendly sects beneath a mountain of legal apologies for religion’s presumptive right to state support.

After Santiago’s pandering speech to clergy sensibilities, the Senate hearing followed a descending path, with Enrile casting the whole blame on the former PCSO officers, Estrada cracking a few quips about the propriety of a bishop’s acceptance of tainted funds from the Devil, Bishop Pueblo explaining his reasons for backing GMA and assuring P-noy of his support, and finally, PCSO Chair Margie Juico apologizing to the bishops for her scandal-causing tautological lapses (confusing second-hand pickups with brand new big name luxury SUVs) and assuring the Bishops of PCSO’s openness towards supporting the Catholic Church’s charity work for the poor.

The Church and the State

The problem of church-state relations in our country does not simply lie with corrupt public officials and influence-peddling religious leaders who take advantage of their respective offices. The problem lies with the Philippine State itself which has yet to shed off its feudal and colonial connections that bestow undue economic, cultural and quasi-political privileges on religious institutions, not accountable to the citizenry. Modern democracy is the fruit of the common people’s earthly struggles for social justice, welfare and development, against politico-economic systems that perpetuate elite monopoly over resources and power without accountability. The democratic ideals and values of freedom, equality, justice and fellowship draw their strength from the ascendancy of reason and science as guides to public morality and public policy, over and against supernatural creeds that have historically nurtured despotic regimes that self-servingly claim a mandate from god and his ordained hierarchy of nature.

Ironically, it was the February 1986 Uprising that paved the way for the adoption of our present Constitution which is riddled with conflicting provisions concerning democratic rights and state guaranteed religious privileges. Due to the ruin wreaked by state terror on mass media, social institutions and people’s organizations during the darkest years of martial law, many progressive priests either joined the underground movement or made use of their offices and social action programs to resist the Marcos regime, aid the peasants, workers and urban poor in their struggles for ameliorative reform, democracy, and justice for the disappeared or incarcerated victims of the regime, often against their superiors’ desire for amity with the dictatorship. The murder of opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983 triggered a shift in the bishops’ critical collaboration posture towards the Marcos regime, as unprecedented mass outrage over the atrocity moved hundreds of thousands in street protests throughout the country including Makati its key financial district. The political awakening of the normally conservative middle class and clergy marked a huge advance towards the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship, but it also imposed severe limits on how far democratic change could proceed. Though the Catholic hierarchy in the person of Jaime Cardinal Sin played a crucial role in the overthrow of the Marcos regime in 1986 — when it was already enfeebled by fourteen years of popular struggles for democratic change, armed rebellion, intra-ruling class conflict, and chronic crisis — they played an inordinate role in the making of the Constitution to an extent unequaled by any church in past regimes.

Given their mixed composition, the drafters of the basic law came up with a Constitution replete with contradictory principles that endanger the state’s commitment to democracy, namely:

(1) All persons have the right to freely practice their respective creeds or worldviews, to the extent consistent with the rights of everyone else. Article III, Section 4 of the Bill of Rights declares that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances”. Section 5 of the same article further affirms: “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”

(2) Though Article II section 6 declares that the “separation of church and state shall be inviolable”, other provisions bestow on religious institutions pecuniary privileges and special accommodations that comparable secular institutions cannot claim on a presumptive basis. Section 28(3) of Article VI of the Constitution limits tax exemptions to church-owned assets and improvements “actually, directly, and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes” while section 29(2) of the same article restricts state support for religion to funds for religious ministers “assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium”. Though these provisions apparently limit state support for the church to secular purposes wherein church and state have a mutual interest, they in fact transform into enforceable law religious beliefs that are discriminatory and amenable to slipshod sectarian interpretation. Religious groups invoke the separation of church and state doctrine, not to protect the state and society against undue sectarian influence, but rather to hinder the state from enacting measures beneficial to society at large but possibly injurious to their sectarian interests.

God in the Machine

The drafters of the 1935, 1973, and 1899 Constitutions were content to invoke “Divine Providence” or “Sovereign Legislator of the Universe” in deference to adherents of different faiths, Buddhists, deists, pantheists, animists and even agnostics and atheists who accept “Divine Providence” as a metaphor for the sum total of the laws of the physical universe. In contrast, the 1987 Constitution invokes the “almighty God” in apparent reference to the God of three major monotheistic faiths, namely, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

But the one provision of the 1987 Constitution that imposes sectarian religious beliefs about life and socially constructed institutions is Section 12 of Article III: “The state recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.” This provision has been abused by ultra-conservative and reactionary religious groups to sabotage every progressive proposal from the Magna Carta of Women to the present Reproductive Health and Divorce Bills which aims to empower and liberate women, spouses and children from misogynistic moral codes embedded in numerous families and religious sects.

If the slippery and unscientific notions of “conception” and the “unborn” were construed to elevate the status of a still non-sensient human cell to that of a human person, then every sexual act that involves the use of contraceptives could indeed be labeled as “abortion”, which is illegal under Philippine laws. It was on this basis that former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza issued an ordinance banning the provision of contraceptive pills, condoms and other reproductive health services in public hospitals and clinics. Serious public discussion of abortion as an option for women and child rape victims afflicted with unwanted and life-threatening pregnancies becomes taboo even among liberals and progressives.

Likewise, the invocation of the family as a sacred “autonomous social institution” renders bad marital unions and dysfunctional family traditions impervious to reform and unresponsive to the needs of real life couples and their children. Without divorce and its attendant provision of alimony, spouses who have no love for each other, abused spouses and abused children who need a violence-free family environment, are denied the means of getting out of their predicament and starting life anew with a new pair of spouses like people trapped in a burning building without a fire escape.

Freedoms

The principle stated in number (1) is unassailable but is often mislabeled by religious interest groups as “freedom of religion”. The democratic principles and rights enumerated in Articles II and III are for all citizens and will hold true independently of any religious doctrine. Regardless of whether an individual person is a believer or an unbeliever, male or female, gay or straight, leftist or rightist, colored or white, and endowed or not endowed with an immortal soul, he or she should be entitled to the same rights to life, health, freedom of expression and association, and pursuit of happiness as everyone else.

Regardless of the factuality or fictitiousness of any god or gods, people will discern common human values and affirm the need for reason-based state laws vital to the maintenance of societal health and civilized life. Unlike principle number (1), principle number (2) is philosophically unsound, legally incoherent, and morally indefensible, because it automatically confers undue privileges on members of influential sects and unjustly foists on unbelievers the duty to conform to worldviews other than their own. Consider the following cases that demonstrate the feebleness of legal and political doctrines that purportedly extol complete freedom of religion and non-discriminatory policy towards all creeds and sects.

In the U.S.A., Mormon parents can raise their children according to their faith but may face criminal prosecution for denying their sick children proper medical treatment on account of their belief in the sinfulness of blood transfusion. A woman, not of the Muslim faith, marries a Muslim man and freely decides to settle with her husband in an Islamic state such as Saudi Arabia or Iran (as distinguished from non-theocratic, secular Muslim states such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Turkey); however, by doing so, she loses her legal right to publicly practice her faith as well submits to her husband’s superior status which could later expose her to the risk of losing custody over her children in the event that her husband divorces her on whatever grounds.

In Australia, an Aboriginal man pleads not guilty to the charge of child-sexual abuse, invoking his right to initiate his victim into full manhood through sodomy in accordance with his tribe’s customary laws; the court finds him guilty and promptly sends him to prison, on the ground that the accused person’s tribe has no such customary laws. Indeed, prison serves him right! But what if sexual initiation rites for pubescent boys were really part of the convicted child abuser’s custom and belief system as they were and still are among the Keraki and Sambia tribes of New Guinea?

All of these extreme examples prove that “freedom of religion” exists only to the extent that the religious acts and beliefs in question concur with or bear no consequence to the laws and values of society at large. Though individuals may invoke private conscience, popular religious beliefs, ancient traditions or ethnic customs as a basis for state laws, it would be wiser and sounder to ground these laws and norms on shared secular moral values and objectively appraisable societal ideals.

(Not So Good) God

In our country, separation of church and state is routinely violated in government offices, public schools, the Courts, the Cabinet and the Congress itself through opening prayers for every occasion and blatant display of religious symbols and messages alongside national icons and on government advertisements. One wall graffiti co-sponsored by the Manila local government and the Philippine National Police urges the youth to “Get high on God not on drugs!”, indeed a catchy slogan aptly comparing religious devotion with narcotics addiction but a poor remedy to a deeply rooted social and political problem. While secular militant organizations have to hurdle bureaucratic barriers to secure a permit for holding a rally at a public place, influential religious sects get a free pass as well as government assistance for holding day-long religious ceremonies and processions at the cost of traffic jams, deaths by stroke or trampling and rise in street crimes due to inordinate deployment of police personnel to celebration sites for crowd management.

Due to former Mayor Atienza’s ban on contraceptives in public hospitals, people have to undergo a tedious litigation process to fight for rights they are entitled to and had enjoyed for years under previous administrations. Students who get pregnant out of wedlock are summarily expelled by Catholic schools. Doctors deny women timely and appropriate medical treatment on suspicion that they had deliberately attempted abortion and that it is against their faith and the law to condone let alone perform abortion. Bishops bypass normal procedures for obtaining funds from the PCSO and PAGCOR in spite of their church’s billions and moral indictment of gambling, while poor people endure long queues under drizzling rain or sweltering heat at PCSO offices just to obtain paltry sums for medical treatment. Religious ministers slander their counterparts in rival faiths on national TV without fear of recrimination, but an obscure author like Ross Tipon gets slapped with a lawsuit for allegedly defaming the INC and its founder and seeking to incite religious unrest through his still unpublished but narrowly circulated book. Though politicians shun debate on church-state relations as a futile exercise in “preaching to fellow believers (or unbelievers)” and “antagonizing believers” (sect-affiliated religious voters), they deliberately ignore the adverse impact of church interventionism and influence-peddling on a wide range of societal concerns such as taxation, public access to information about the socio-economic profile of public officials and patterns of revenue allocation and expenditure, public health, education, sexual ethics, family relations and so forth.

Since religionists and church-pandering politicians have turned our state laws on their head, it is imperative upon democrats, secular humanists, freethinkers and other progressive activists to turn these laws right side-up and fight for progressive reforms at both national and local levels. Since we cannot wait on our vacillating national leaders and lawmakers to act on their campaign commitments and our demands for progressive measures such as the Reproductive Health and Right of Information bills, we have to build up critical mass for these reforms through advocacy, popular education, organizing work and direct action on urgent social issues in our schools, workplaces, social organizations, civic institutions and barangays.

(Images taken from Inquirer, Schriftman, OFW Now, Wellsphere, and Ahmadiyya Times)

Posted in Featured, Politics, Religion, Society3 Comments

Define Hypocrisy

Define Hypocrisy

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino has taken up the cudgel in defending the bishops who took the PCSO funding, going as far as calling the Senate investigation the bishop’s finest hour. Father Ranhilio even called us out for protesting against the bishops as reproductive health bill supporters, asking what the bill had to do with the PCSO issue.

And what were champions of the RH bill doing there? The hearing had nothing to do with the RH bill, but they were there to insult and to jeer, because this was their chance to insult those who had steadfastly refused to yield. I may not have identified myself unqualifiedly with the bishops’ position on the RH Bill, but certainly, one does not deride and insult when one is met with disagreement. One offers an invincible argument—if one has one. But the RH bill advocates who were there had no argument; what they had in abundance was hatred, spite and bile!

Bile, Father? Perhaps one should look askance to the bishops first before accusing us of hatred, spite, and bile. Terrorists and Satan? Certainly considered words from bishops aimed towards RH bill advocates. But no, Father, that bishops have called us terrorists and Satan for standing on our side of the RH debate is not why we protested against them.

The Filipino Freethinkers has always been a group that upholds secularism in the Philippines. Our vision is of a country where people are free and unafraid to use their own moral reasoning. As Dr. Sylvia Claudio so powerfully said, “I only ask that I too be given recognition as a moral actor. Not a moral paragon, just an equal moral agent. It is called secularism, this democracy of the moral.”

Our stance on the reproductive health bill debate stems from secularism. Our stance in this PCSO issue is likewise rooted in secularism. The Philippine Constitution guarantees that the separation of church and state shall be inviolable. But Father, when the bishops actively solicit funding from our government, and our government hands them that money, the secularism of our country has undoubtedly been violated.

The Filipino Freethinkers were there protesting against the Bishops as a secularist group. We were speaking out against further entrenchment of a legislative culture that ignores the Philippine Constitution’s call for a government that does not establish preference for any religion or sect. We were there to protest against the bishops who perpetuate this culture, who, because of their power, feel free to ask our government officials to violate the Constitution without a second thought.

Father Ranhilio also had this to say about one of the placards at the protest:

“Define hypocrisy” read one placard —obviously suggesting that the bishops were hypocrites. Why hypocrites? What did their steadfast rejection of the RH bill have to do with the accusations against them vis-a-vis the PCSO funds, accusations that turned out to be fatuous?

Is it not hypocrisy rather to change one’s declarations and position on moral issues when it is politically expedient and profitable to cross lines? “Define stupidity” would have been an apt poster for the bearer of that dumb placard to have carried instead—with the placard turned in her direction!

Father Ranhilio, thank you so kindly for defining hypocrisy, for this is exactly what the bishops displayed at the senate hearing. In 2005 the CBCP issued their own moral position against receiving money from gambling, legal or illegal. The bishops even stated in their moral teaching that they shall not take those funds even if they will help the poor with it (emphasis mine).

To inform the public better about the reasons for this CBCP position, we present the following moral teachings and pastoral imperatives:

Therefore, the CBCP has made it a collective policy:


3. To denounce illegal gambling in all its forms and prevent its legalization;

  • To combat the expansion of organized and systemic legal gambling;
  • To refrain from soliciting or receiving funds from illegal and legal gambling so as not to promote a culture of gambling; and
  • To encourage church personnel and church institutions to refrain from doing the same, even when the objective may be that of helping the poor.

But when the Senate started taking seriously the allegations of wrongdoings by bishops, the CBCP issued a non-apology, and marched their bishops to the Senate to trot out the party line: “We asked the PCSO for money so we could help the poor.”

Did the CBCP take a moral stand? Yes they did.

Did they change this moral position for political expedience? Most definitely.

Father Ranhilio, on the bishops’ finest hour, do you still feel the need to define hypocrisy?

(Image taken from Buelahman’s Revolt)

Posted in Politics, Society5 Comments

FF DAVAO Meetup on July 30 (Saturday)

FF DAVAO Meetup on July 30 (Saturday)

Hello Davaoeños! Let’s get together for an evening of interaction and interesting discussions with our fellow freethinkers.

Date: July 30, 2011 (Saturday)

Time: 8.00 pm

Place: Harley Blvd. Motor Cafe (the 2nd floor is reserved exclusively for us)

Address: Juan Luna St., Davao City (opposite Better Components) Tel. (082)302-8986

* Newbies are welcome.
* There is no required age, religion, philosophy, or IQ level.
* Discussions are informal yet intelligent (most of the time).
* You don’t have to talk if you don’t feel like it; you can just sit in and listen while enjoying your drink.

While Harley offers tasty burgers and other food – and drinks – the meetup is set at 8pm so you have the option of having an early dinner at home or elsewhere and you don’t have to order anything from Harley.

If you don’t know where Harley is, click on the map below to enlarge it:

You may also RSVP on our Facebook page

See you there!

Posted in Featured, Meetup1 Comment

Inglorious Gifts

Inglorious Gifts

It used to be that crimes were done in the name of God. Hand it to the inglorious Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to hit rock bottom and commit malfeasance for bishops’ birthdays. Yes, that’s birthday-plus-s because the Mitsubishi Montero gift was not a lone event. On March 9, 2006, Arroyo made a much bigger offering to mark the birthday of Pampanga Archbishop Paciano “Apu Ceto” Aniceto—policies on women and the Filipino family that, in her words, “would be the best birthday gift” she could give. Unconcerned about displaying the power of Catholic bishops during Arroyo’s rule, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) released the following account:

[Arroyo:] “It must be providential that the birthday of Apu Ceto (her important adviser) falls within International Women’s Week when I have to make policy statements on women’s concerns and issues relating to them.”
After the concelebrated mass held in the Bishop’s honor at the Mother of Good Counsel seminary in this city, the President would attend a meeting of all female members of her cabinet in which women’s issues would be discussed.
After this, the President said she would make a declaration that “a strong family makes a strong republic”, and follow up with measures designed to further strengthen the Filipino family.
“This I think would be the best birthday gift I could give to Apu Ceto”, the President said amidst loud applause from the audience composed mostly of the bishop’s religious congregation in the province.

Strange but true. Our highest public official openly gifted someone who is not a woman and does not claim to have a wife or kids with policies on women and families. Can this be just one of those quirkiness that makes our great nation so, well… quirky? To answer this, we have to go further into the Archbishop’s background and the context when this event occurred.

Arroyo’s Gifts

Luckily, the regime then was truly indifferent about revealing Catholic church influence over governance. The same PIA piece stated that the Archbishop was the President’s adviser on “issues concerning population, family, women welfare and health” and was consulted on March 2001, just two months into Arroyo’s term, prior to her making a statement on these issues; that the President “consults with him when making a choice for a new Secretary of Health”; and that at an Interfaith Summit and the UN General Assembly in 2005, the President “brought much of the Bishop’s inputs into the statements she made in front of these prestigious international bodies”.

Dr. Manuel Dayrit—a member of Couples for Christ—became the Archbishop-and-President’s Secretary of Health in 2001. In the next few years, Dr. Dayrit created the legal basis and structures for overly expanding natural family planning (NFP) and entwining it with Catholic doctrine. He set an ambitious “mainstreaming” target—unmet up to now—to raise NFP use to 20%; created a National Natural Family Planning Committee with a Couples for Christ doctor as Chairperson and with a representative of the CBCP Family Life specified as a member; and separated NFP from the national family planning program to let the government “work more closely with groups and partners that want to promote NFP exclusively”. He even tried to ban the IUD for being an “abortifacient” but was foiled by protests done by women’s and doctors’ groups.

And what was the Archbishop’s inputs to Arroyo’s statement at the UN? The full speech was 10 paragraphs long, but these two about funding NFP exclusively in the name of Catholicism, and belittling the value of artificial contraceptives are proclamations the Archbishop would surely be proud of:

… We expect the United Nations to be sensitive to the deep Catholicism of the vast majority of the Filipino people. The funding given by the United Nations to our national Government for reproductive health will be dedicated to training married couples in a natural family planning technology which the World Health Organization has found effective compared with artificial contraceptives.
The Population Council of New York has found that artificial contraception contributes only 2 per cent to the decline of birth rates, while the combination of improving the economic condition of the family, urbanization and breastfeeding contributes 98 per cent. Thus we ask the United Nations and donor countries to direct their assistance towards the improvement of family productivity and income.

Both are based on lies, or lapses in judgment if your prefer the colorful language of the powerful who when caught are always absolutely sorry about absolutely nothing prosecutable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) rates most artificial methods as more effective than fertility awareness methods. Moreover, limiting people to a method not of their own choosing—whether pills, NFP or whatever—will do nothing but cut sharply its effectiveness and violate fundamental human rights which the WHO promotes.

As for the Population Council, here’s what they said in an article entitled Family Planning Programs Remarkably Successful: “Decades of research show that comprehensive family planning and reproductive health services lead to sharp rises in contraceptive use that help women avoid unintended pregnancies. Over a 30-year period (1960–90), fertility declined in the developing world from more than six to fewer than four births per woman, and almost half of that decline—43 percent—is attributable to family planning programs.”

What’s the Catch?

The Population Council’s 43% became 2% at the UN speech, a remarkable manipulation of numbers to suit one’s needs. Audacious but nothing new. Just a few months earlier, Arroyo was heard in a wiretapped conversation with Comelec Commissioner Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano asking for a lead of one million votes while counting was still going on for the presidential election of 2004.

The Garci scandal and Arroyo’s no holds barred battle to cling to power set the stage for the Archbishop’s birthday gift in March 2006. The scandal erupted nine months earlier in June 2005. Despite widespread protests and calls for Arroyo to resign, the CBCP merely asked for an independent “Truth Commission”. The protests continued and on February 24, 2006, two weeks before the Archbishop’s birthday, Arroyo declared a State of Emergency to quell a supposed coup attempt against her.

The tottering Arroyo needed the bishops to survive. She bought them with various currencies, from religion-inspired policies to the glittering currency of legal gambling. To their historic ignominy, majority of Catholic bishops granted her wish.

Something died during those trying times of Arroyo’s decadent rule. Some may call it the moral authority of Church leaders. Or the principle that the end never justifies the means. Or maybe just plain honesty, fair play and decency. Whatever you call it, something is dead and rotting. And the stench is inevitably escaping.

Posted in Featured, Politics, Religion8 Comments

My Dear Catholic, Stop Being Catholic

My Dear Catholic, Stop Being Catholic

My Dear Catholic,

When an adult male has an overwhelming need to put his penis into the mouth, anus or vagina of a child, there is clearly something wrong with his being and he must be considered a danger to society.

Unfortunately, the leaders of your beloved religion — including the Pope — have decided that instead of seeking punishment for people who use children as sex toys, they should instead protect them. In fact, since 2004 the Roman Catholic Church has spent over $2,700,000,000 or P108,000,000,000 to address clergy sex abuse.

That money came from believers like you, dear Catholic. So, in essence, you are actually funding operations that keep people who like playing with little boys’ penises out of jail.

Another project that you might have unintentionally helped fund is a bogus research report that makes up excuses as to why certain members of the clergy were sexually involved with little boys and girls. That report cost $1,200,000. That report claims that certain members of the clergy put their penises in the mouths, anuses, or vaginas of little children because it was common practice in the seventies.

Now, I have often asked myself — what kind of logic would propel a person to protect grown-ups who put their penises into the mouths of children? Better yet, what kind of person would help fund organizations which allow for such practices?

So, my dear Catholic, why do you give money to an organization which uses its resources to keep people who force-fuck children in the mouth out of jail, and funds bogus reports to justify and rationalize force-fucking children in the mouth?

To make things worse, my dear Catholic, the influence of your church is more pronounced in countries like the Philippines, whose majority is composed of Catholics. There, politicians are often manipulated and coerced into making dumb nation-sabotaging decisions because they’re afraid that if they cross your “Mother Church,” they would lose Catholic support.

My dear Catholic, I’m not saying that all of you are stupid or immoral. Some of you are not stupid at all. In fact, many of you, Catholics, are personal friends and family members of mine. Some of you have told me that you, like me, are disgusted about the child-fucking propagated and tolerated by the highest officials of the Roman Catholic clergy.

Because some of your religious leaders seem to have no problem with grown-ups having sex with children, several of you, my dear Catholic, have suggested that maybe it’s time for a new brand of Catholicism to emerge; a type of Catholicism that does not acknowledge the infallibility of the Pope; one that condemns the Vatican’s attempt to cover-up sex scandals; one that doesn’t hate homosexuals; one that respects the secular conditions of our constitution; and one that relies on common sense and not a primitive book to determine proper human conduct.

Fortunately, my dear Catholic, such a belief system no longer needs to be created because it already exists. It already has a name. It’s called common human decency, also known, in academic circles, as basic human ethics.

The wonderful thing about basic human ethics is that you don’t have to do rituals, or go to a church, or give money to a church, or pray. You just have to use your brain to evaluate which behaviors should and should not be done.

Here’s an example of how ethics work. Below is a list of several human behaviors. Together let us select which ones should be done, and which ones should not:

a) Requesting expensive luxury cars from a government organization when 70% of your fellow Filipinos live below the poverty line.
b) Hampering progressive policies that may benefit your nation.
c) Promoting intolerance towards the LGBT community.
d) Raping young children.
e) Protecting people who rape young children.

Regardless of what religion you subscribe to, regardless of the gender you identify with, and regardless of which country you were born in, if you have been using your brain well, you might have realized that the behaviors mentioned above fall into the category of “Things You Should Not Do.” You don’t have to be Catholic to know that. You don’t have to be Catholic to be a good person.

The truth is, you don’t have to be Catholic at all.

No, seriously. You don’t.

Think of it this way, many of the things you are doing right now, as a Catholic, can still be accomplished without being Catholic. If you’re a person who benefits from religious beliefs, there are hundreds of other Christian and non-Christian religions and belief systems that you can adhere to that are far more ethical and progressive than Catholicism.

You can still pray. You can still give to charity. You can still believe in Jesus, if you want to. The only difference is, if you are not Catholic, you are not contributing to the protection of child molesters all over the world. Sounds good, right?

The thing about Catholicism is that its premise, by itself, exists as a false dilemma: “Either you listen to the Pope, or you burn in hell forever.” That’s Catholicism in a nutshell. The premise of that religion is that you have to agree with a man who prioritizes the image of his organization over the safety and well-being of innocent children by protecting child molesters instead of bringing them to justice. Or you will go to hell.

That is one of the main foundations of your Catholic religion — the belief that regardless of how wrong the Pope is, he is right, because he can’t be wrong. Now, if you can’t accept that premise, then why call yourself Catholic at all? That’s like calling yourself a Nazi while saying that you don’t agree with “the Hitler part.”

My dear Catholic, I’m not asking you to be an atheist. Neither am I prescribing a particular religion that you should adopt. All I’m saying is that Catholicism is unethical and that it causes more harm to society than good. So at the very least, I implore you my dear Catholic, to stop being Catholic.

Sincerely,
A Formerly Catholic Non-Catholic

(Image taken from innocentvoicesuk)

Posted in Personal, Religion, Society3 Comments

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