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Categorized | Secularism

An Open Letter to Pastor Dennis Sy

Photo Credit: Daniele Zanni via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Daniele Zanni via Compfight cc

In a recent blog post, you lamented the fact that the Department of Education removed the words “God-Loving” from their Vision Statement. You called this an “appalling” move, one made by a minority group to pressure an institution. You claimed that if a group doesn’t want to believe in God, that is their problem and “not the problem of our constitution.”

You don’t know what you are talking about.

I do not know which constitution your are looking at, but the 1987 Constitution has this non-establishment clause found in Article III Section 5: “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion.”

According Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., one of the foremost authorities on our Constitution, the non-establishment clause prohibits both direct and indirect aid to religion if the support involves “preference of one religion over another or preference of religion over irreligion.” (from The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary by Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J. 2009 Edition, page 345.)

Therefore, when a government institution like the Department of Education has as its vision and mission to make its citizens “God-loving,” it is, in effect, giving support towards religion over irreligion, which it has no business doing.

Please note though, that we are not saying that being or wanting people to be “God-loving” is wrong or bad. It is simply an inappropriate objective for a state institution which is supposed to represent ALL of its citizens — not just the majority — as Mr. Lei Remuel Crisaldo (whom you quote) erroneously asserts when he cites that the Philippines is 80% Christian and 5% Muslim, and our laws should therefore reflect the sentiment of this majority.

No, what you are proposing is simply a bully-mentality — that because there are more of you, then it is your whims and desires that should be followed. Let me ask you then, if 85%of the Filipinos would favor slavery, would you not speak out against it? Would you quietly sit in your little corner of the country and acquiesce to the desire of the majority?

Besides, your claim that a “minority” group has exerted this pressure is laughable. Who has more power to exert pressure — a minority group or a majority one? You are like a 200-pound bully complaining that a 90-pound weakling has pushed you into a corner.

We are not pushing or pressuring anybody around. How could a small group like ours even do anything like that? We have no connections, no guns nor goons. We have no money, certainly not the kind that can pay comfortable salaries to pastors or build huge megachurches. We cannot cut off DepEd’s funding or force them to dismiss even a single clerk or janitor. Politicians do not pander to us as they do to church groups like yours. Pressure? What are you yakking about?

We simply pointed out that the text heavily favored the religious, which should not be so, in accordance with our existing constitution (not the imaginary one in your head). They could have simply ignored the letter and we could probably do nothing about it except rant in our own personal spaces. But to their credit, they gave the matter some thought and consideration, and even made some changes. Now that is a kind of sensitivity and fairness that we rarely see in our government, and I for one, am grateful for that.

You, however, say that “this is the case of whose voice is louder and influential. As a Christian nation, we have to start shouting what we stand for and not let a few minority change the constitution and values of our nation.”

Really? It’s not about what’s right and wrong now, is it? It’s not about what’s fair and what’s not, is it? You simply want to exert your power and authority and bowl over those few who disagree with you. Is that what you are all about, pastor?

You are nothing but a bully. Why don’t you act like a man, like the title of your blog says?

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