Tag Archive | "condoms"

FF Podcast (Audio) 005: Ayala Alabang Village Ordinance vs. RH


In this episode we recap what happened at the public hearing on the Ayala Alabang Village Ordinance that, among other things, required prescriptions for contraceptives — even condoms.

We talk about how the ordinance was created, what the anti-ordinance advocates are doing to stop it, and what we’re going to do next, given recent developments and all that’s happened at today’s hearing.

Joining us is Kevin Punzalan, one of the organizers of the anti-ordinance advocates and admin of the We Oppose the Ayala Alabang Ordinance 01 of 2011 Facebook group. Enjoy!



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, SecularismComments (0)

FF Podcast 005: Ayala Alabang Village Ordinance vs. RH


In this episode we recap what happened at the public hearing on the Ayala Alabang Village Ordinance that, among other things, required prescriptions for contraceptives — even condoms.

We talk about how the ordinance was created, what the anti-ordinance advocates are doing to stop it, and what we’re going to do next, given recent developments and all that’s happened at today’s hearing.

Joining us is Kevin Punzalan, one of the organizers of the anti-ordinance advocates and admin of the We Oppose the Ayala Alabang Ordinance 01 of 2011 Facebook group. Enjoy!

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 Podcast, Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (92)

The Moral High Ground


Conservative Catholics such as those that comprise the CBCP present liberal positions on matters such as sexuality as part of a continuing trend of social and moral decay. The problem with the social conservatives’ view on the current reproductive health issue is that this trend of “moral decay” that they are seeing is a lot more nefarious than they think. What they are actually seeing is growing skepticism and distrust of the last stronghold of religious authority—morality.

It used to be that the Church had a say in other spheres of thought such as cosmology and biology. With the embarrassment that is the Galileo affair (and the subsequent 1991 apology to the centuries dead astronomer), we can be thankful that no one seriously asks theologians for their say about string theory or the nature of the hydrogen bond (strangely, they are still asked about their views on developmental biology). Now, as our sciences have completely repudiated intelligent design and vitalist doctrines, the Church has lost all power of authority over descriptions of the universe and the mechanisms by which it functions, which is why they are fighting tooth and nail over the use of “morals” in discourse. But no matter how hard the Church tries to paddle us back to the more familiar shores of the 12th century, the human race will journey on and move forward, as it always has. Our children will see the denial of equal rights to homosexuals as abhorrent as we now see slavery. The hysterics Eric Manalang and his cohorts use in harping against contraceptives are already as bizarre and as ridiculous as phrenology. It is only inevitable that the more general religious obsession over what naked people do with their bodies will become as quaint and as obtuse as the practice of blowing smoke up someone’s butt to revive them after drowning. It’s just a matter of time. But with lives in the balance, we cannot wait any longer.

The Church holds values that are explicitly divorced from facts found in the real world. They not only hold such views, they are proud of them. Blessed John Henry Newman encapsulates Catholic morality as this, “She [the Church] regards this world, and all that is in it, as a mere shadow, as dust and ashes, compared with the value of one single soul. She holds that, unless she can, in her own way, do good to souls, it is no use her doing anything; she holds that it were better for sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions who are upon it to die of starvation in extremest [sic] agony, so far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful [sic] untruth, though it harmed no one, or steal one poor farthing without excuse.” While this distillation may set Catholic hearts ablaze with zeal, I find in this passage everything that is worthy of scorn and disdain in the Catholic Church. How can we build a lasting society where people can peacefully collaborate when this level of contempt for human solidarity and improvement of lives exists? It is from this doctrine-mandated disregard for the suffering of mankind that the vitriol of demagogues such as Manalang springs. This is the justification for the abject lies the Church uses to discredit the use of condoms to prevent AIDS despite its ravages—lies that the Vatican now must turn its back on as it accepts the impact of the recent words of its dear leader.

What conservative Catholics continue to call as “immoral” is the simple admission that human suffering is wrong and that we should do everything in our power to prevent it. It is far better for the Church that starving children are forced to peddle wares on the streets than to concede that planning pregnancies by more certain means can be used to prevent the anguish of more innocent children born into misfortune. The authority of God’s One True Church over sins is enough and any mere human attempt at alleviating affliction or delivering justice is heresy. This belief is why the Church squirrels away its rapist employees from real courts. This is irresponsible absurdity at full gallop. Despite its persistent assumption of it, the Church does not stand on the moral high ground. It is wallowing in its own valley of self-righteousness and blindness to human distress. How have we been swindled into thinking that the Church has anything useful or true to say about morals?

On the matter of the respect so fervently demanded by our friends across the aisle, it may perhaps be a shock to them that respect is earned. Respect, as with the moral high ground, is merited through the soundness of one’s positions despite dogged criticism. It is obtained not by steadfast dogmatism, but by an openness to changing one’s most cherished beliefs in the face of evidence. We show our respect for people of different views by arguing with them. This is because we believe that people are sensible and will listen to reason, lest we be guilty of the condescension of feigned deference and politeness, which passive-aggressively insinuates the unreasonableness of an adversary by keeping what you believe is true from them. We respect people enough to call them out when they are lying because we believe that they are not cynics and that they genuinely care about truth and the lives of the human beings their opinions affect.

The Church already recognizes some linkage between unplanned pregnancies and a life of hardship, albeit half-heartedly. Their promotion of the archaic and ineffective “natural family planning” betrays their hypocrisy. As HL Mencken notes, “It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.” They will eventually catch up with the modern ethics of sexuality and contraception, like it has with slavery and witch burning, give or take a few centuries. But until they do, their opinions on morality and human experience are as invalid and as retrograde as Pro-Life Philippines’ opinions on neuroscience and the effect of Satan on the prefrontal cortex.

Posted in Religion, Science, SocietyComments (7)

A Wageworker’s View on Humanity


Let me start things off by giving you a brief background on this penman. I won’t be too fancy in elaborating all of the things that I went through but let me do it comfortably casual. I’ll cut it to the chase: I finished up college in the city of the Durian fruit as they call it – Davao City, Philippines. I took up computer science and plodded through it a trimester longer than ideal. I had never been the computer geek that I was supposed to be. Instead, I’ve been akin to a frustrated philosopher/scientist who has got a computer-related bachelor’s degree. I’m currently working – well, probably the most common job in the country today – as a customer service associate. You might be wondering why I am talking about all these trifle details on my life. This is to give you an image of what I want to portray in my essay: a working-class dork that’s not too highbrow and not too lowbrow for you to relate to.

As a young child, I had always wondered on a variety of topics that people have been zealous with. It always puzzled me when grown-ups have distinctive opinions on a certain subject or idea. Moreover, I felt the conundrum of how a supreme being or plainly a God would have existed. I thought of how he foresaw all of the carnal and routine activities that we do. Despite being befogged, I chose to believe at the time.

As I grew more maturely as a Filipino citizen and essentially as a thinking human being, my thoughts had been more definite and rational rather than juvenile and undecided. I had been into what I call “a series of enlightenment” out of young adulthood’s distress – which actually helped me in the long run – to realize the ultimate reality. I’ve seen all these unsightly and troublesome issues on the world like genocide, famine, malnutrition, disease, disorder and so forth that dispelled the hugger-mugger out of me and dope out – are all of these mess permitted by an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-caring god?

I used to think that people who are religious enough to drive through a church every Sunday are dim (which I really kept to myself since my kinfolks are of that sort). Well, at least not all of them—they might just be going through the motions out of fear of eternal damnation. Yes, it’s true that a number of noticeably intelligent individuals believe in the teachings of Christianity and other organized religions – as their moral backbone but most of them haven’t really read all of the texts that would be relevant for their emancipation– taking into account that they are indeed intelligent.

Since I ought to opine on my views on humanity, here’s how I see it – it’s far more sophisticated than following some outdated guidelines on an outmoded book of moral codes and stories. In fact, what might have worked ages ago wouldn’t be applicable nowadays – albeit, there might be a legion of successful people who are religious but the truth is, it’s not the holy scriptures that made them who they are, it’s their work ethics, drive and a bit of luck that made them opulent in life and wealth – howsoever, this is the age of technological explosion, the age of over-the-top knowledge and we just don’t just go through the days without being bold enough to innovate and discover new ideas on our own – without some existing paradigm (as that principle applies to the heroes of science and technology).

There isn’t a sane human who would look down on the achievements of science, wouldn’t you agree? At the end of the day, like it or not, humanity will be better not by following some antiquated beliefs and practices but on the universal pragmatism brought by secular science and philosophy.

You might have noticed that I was alluding, generally to religious people here throughout this sound off on humanity. Utterly, those who are purged from their affiliations like what I’ve been through likely know most if not all of what I’ve been talking about – but you might as well want to know more, right? However, the genuinely religious are those who try so foolhardily to follow a life that leads them to the biblical gates one day. Otherwise, we can classify the group into two, the hypocritically believing and the truthfully faithful. Unfortunately in reality, only a few – if existent, are genuinely faithful. I mean, read through the verses of Judeo-Christianity books like the Bible and tell me – who among them followed all or at least most of the teachings? Even among the church leaders, friars, theologians and bible scholars can’t follow a Christ-like character as what they idealize to and they are obliged to according the books’ imperative commands. We don’t require them to and no one will since it’s natural for them to disobey that book – just like every one of us to commit their so-called sins and that’s what makes us human – doing the things that are normal to people since they’re not really “sins” if they didn’t label them that way – pride, greed, lust, anger, etc. – come on, are those innate feelings unnatural? Think it over.

Taking into account all of these facts on life – do we really adhere to the religious side or the secular stance? As a caveat, let me state that I’m not favorable to any radical religious liberalism of some sort. You may just divert head-on into humanism for humanity’s cause – but wait:

Let’s chew over the present news that the current pope in Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI, had made a crucial comment on a subject that they’ve been erstwhile antagonistic to. His comments that condom use would be acceptable on certain cases created a contestation among the media, the pro and anti-contraceptive groups and significantly among secularists and religious circles. Does this action by the pontiff insinuate to an eventual liberalism or revolution of the Catholic Church? Be it or not, what had transpired gave me that impression. I don’t see any coherent argument that changes can be made to their rather stifled dogma that’s been adhered to for presumably thousands of years.

Here’s what I can suggest, why don’t these people who gave the pontiff credits for his remitment on a hitherto forbidden act reckon on having a new religion – if they’re really into being a part of a religious assembly – like Unitarian Universalism where they can still have their innate spiritual selves without being guilty of disaffiliating themselves in terms of belief. Hence, they don’t need to have a revolutionary Catholic religion by then, thinking that this just might be one of the popish leader’s tactics to gain more votaries to his flock. As posted on a New York Times page, an artwork that portrays – know your scumbags.

De novo let me tell you – like it or not, the truth is withstanding comprehensively against the religious (especially now, the Catholics). Apparently, I’m not here to proselytize the faithful if you really are, I’m here sounding off what is relevant to all of us and that is knowing that humanity’s progress is stalling on what was supposed to be on a breeze of betterment: AIDS research, population control for poverty’s sake, stem cell research and a ton more unspoken nuances on humanity’s advancement. These were all hindered by the world leaders’ half-hearted respect toward the preachers of antediluvian knowledge.

It’s a popular knowledge that of all the religions of the world – that’s having a huge impact on the political spectrum – it’s the Catholic Church that’s doing most of the damage. That’s an understatement, especially here in our native country where a particular congressional bill is currently pending to be acted upon smoothly because of the church’s influence on the government. When you come to think of this circumstance logically and rationally, it’s obviously ludicrous. Personally, I can’t fathom how long this senseless actuality would last. Will this kind of fatuity go on forever? Nevertheless, I smell something fishy here; do these priests impertinently object the Reproductive Health Bill to keep the population growing – selfishly, for them to double their already gigantic Catholic multitude? More church-goers means more profit for them, doesn’t it?

Unless if the masses stop on being feeble and subservient to the preachers of death – only a lucky few, not even a majority, will prosper. All we need to do is to make a stand. You may label yourself as a god-believer, a religious Christian, a non-religious Christian or otherwise but we all need to make a stand. You may be an avowed atheist or a freethinker or possibly even a Catholic but a closet non-conformist to the current political and religious system; you owe to make a stand. Folks, as long as we live, we’re all part of this gargantuan species that we call “humanity”. We are all making a stand for humanity, not just a certain congregation.

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Pope Benedict says it may be a good idea for Male Prostitutes to use Condoms


After having been shoved and shouted at last night by pro-life Catholics who call the RH Bill and modern contraception the road that leads straight to death, I may be forgiven for taking the headline “Pope says condoms may be OK in some circumstances” as a joke, especially since the cited circumstance is to prevent the transmission of HIV. After all, this is the same Pope who condemned the use of condoms even in AIDS-ravaged Africa, from the same Church whose self-proclaimed “real” members just hours ago handed out pamphlets that claimed that condoms helped the spread of AIDS. How on earth could condom use ever be justified?

Apparently, if you’re a male prostitute.

Of course, since the Catholic Church is still opposed to contraceptives as a means to prevent pregnancy, we must take it to mean that this justification only applies to male prostitutes whose use of condoms does not affect any potential for procreation.

That’s right, gay prostitutes.

In so many roundabout words the Pope says in a an upcoming book that he thinks it’s a good idea for gay prostitutes to wear condoms, because “the intention of reducing the risk of infection” is “a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility”, but maintains that for Africa, abstinence is the only sure way to combat HIV/AIDS. This begs the question of course of whether the circumstance of monogamous married couples where one spouse is infected are offered the same leniency as male prostitutes, or because using a condom still prevents the potential for conception we are meant to understand that the official Catholic stance remains; condoms are still outright forbidden.

This double standard Pope Benedict seems to have adopted in favor of the protection of male prostitutes and their clients seems all the more sickening in the face of the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases in Africa and around the world. It makes me wonder, perhaps with some amusement, if this was brought about by a rising number of HIV/AIDS cases among the clergy.

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (33)


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