Tag Archive | "divorce"

Secularism: An Advocacy Against Theocracy

The advocacy for secularism is an advocacy for rights. More specifically, it is the advocacy for certain privileges and claims that are being denied due to the strong influence of the Church in our political affairs.

The Hoefeldian system classifies rights into privileges, claims, powers, and immunities. The dynamics of these four elements can be appreciated by observing how a religious country like the Philippines attempts to change its laws as it slowly breaks away from the authority of the Church.

Privileges and claims are called first-order rights: entitlements to perform/not perform certain actions, or that others perform/not perform certain actions. To have a privilege to do something means to have no duty not to do it, while to have a claim on something means that some other person or entity has a duty to satisfy that claim.

Powers and immunities, on the other hand, are second-order rights that have a bearing on first-order rights. To have power means to have the ability to alter one’s own or another’s privileges or claims, and to have  immunity means that another person or entity lacks the ability to alter one’s privileges or claims.

To illustrate, take for example the right to drink alcohol. It is a privilege-right in the sense that people aged 18 and above have no duty not to drink, but it is not a claim-right because the government has no duty to provide alcohol, let alone for free. The government, however, has the power-right to suspend the right to drink (and the right to buy and sell liquor) as what the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to do four days before and during election day, although foreigners have a limited immunity from the Comelec ban since they can drink in certain hotels and establishments with special permits.

The rights commonly advocated by secularists today are reproductive health (RH), divorce, and marriage equality. The RH law grants certain claims to qualified citizens by imposing a duty on the government to provide free contraceptives. The divorce bill seeks to grant couples of failed marriages the privilege to start a new life with a new spouse by relieving them of the duty to remain married to their old partners. Advocates of marriage equality fight for equal rights – not “special” rights – of same sex couples so they can enjoy the same legal recognition, protection, and claims that heterosexual couples often take for granted.

churchUnfortunately, these rights have yet to see the light of day as the supreme court issued a status quo ante order on the recently-passed RH law, while divorce and marriage equality still have to hurdle a tedious legislative process which at any point could stop them in their tracks. While it is the State that holds the power to grant or deny these claims and privileges, those who represent the State are also human beings and may be influenced by their religious beliefs or dictated upon by their religious leaders, adversely affecting the citizens who don’t share their persuasions. In effect, religion – actually just one particular religion – still holds considerable power over all of us whether or not we subscribe to it, the constitutional inviolability of Church-State separation notwithstanding.

And so the advocacy for secularism is an advocacy against theocracy.  It is a struggle against the undue influence of religion in public affairs, a drive to remind our public servants that they answer to the people and not to some church hierarchy. The call for secularism is a call to our fellow citizens to wield their power to choose the life they want to live, to think and act free from fear of excommunication and hell fire while remaining grounded on reason and evidence, and to strive to increase happiness and lessen needless suffering in this world. Ultimately, the advocacy for secularism is an advocacy for immunity from religion, and the advancement of the rights of the rational individual.

If you share this advocacy, please join Filipino Freethinkers as we fight for a true separation of Church and State in the Philippines.

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Image credit: Garrick Bercero

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Why the Divorce Bill Should Be Easier to Pass than the RH Bill

The reproductive health (RH) and divorce bills have one thing in common: they both propose to grant certain rights to certain individuals. But their similarity ends there because the rights associated with each bill are very much different in terms of form and what they require of the State.

The rights that an RH law would provide are claim-rights, meaning they correlate to a duty in another person or entity. In this case, not only do the citizens have the right to use contraceptives, the government is actually duty-bound to provide them for free along with other reproductive health care services to those who need them.

Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus

The rights being promoted by the divorce bill introduced by Gabriela partylist representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus, on the other hand, are merely privilege-rights, so there is no correlating duty on the part of the government or anyone else. To have a privilege to do something simply means to have no duty not to do it. With the existing Philippine laws, the offended spouse in a failed marriage still has a duty not to enter into a new marriage contract with another person. The divorce bill aims to remove that duty by providing the option of officially ending an irreparable marriage and thereby grant the privilege to start a new life – with or without a new partner.

Unlike the RH bill, the divorce bill does not seek to appropriate billions in taxpayers’ money for its implementation; the government will not be made to pay for the fees of the divorce lawyers and psychiatrists, or to provide financial assistance to the unemployed spouses and children.

The divorce bill also does not even try to compel churches to recognize divorce and marry divorcees.

The divorce bill is simply about granting freedom to those who need it the most – people whose marriages have caused them untold suffering and who want nothing more than to have another shot at happiness.

We have succeeded in getting the majority of our legislators to vote for the RH bill amid strong religious opposition in using government money to buy contraceptives, which they deem intrinsically evil. While the Catholic bishops are expected to fight more fiercely against divorce after their loss in the RH battle, if the Philippines is truly becoming a more secular state, the divorce bill should even be easier to pass since there is no billion-peso budget involved, and the only objections will be religious in nature and therefore irrelevant to the discussion.

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Image credit: EWTN News


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On Marriage, Divorce, and the Submission of Women

One of the arguments against legislating divorce in the Philippines is that spouses will no longer promise to love each other forever. For instance, in the ANC Harapan debate which took place last June, Bishop Teodoro Bacani asked rhetorically how many women would like to be told by the groom at the wedding ceremony that he will love her only until divorce.

While the answer is obviously “none,” the fallacy of this argument lies in the underlying assumption that love will last for as long as the partners stay married to each other, and that making the option of divorce available not only renders the marriage provisional, but trivializes the spouses’ love as well.

A rhetorical question can be asked in return: In the only remaining country in the world without divorce, how many married couples actually love each other until death? More importantly, how many women complain that when they were still sweethearts their men treated them well, but shortly after they got married they were being neglected or even abused, because the husbands had become complacent with the assurance that marriage is a lifetime contract so the wives can just suck it up?

If marriage is made provisional by legislating divorce, there would be one less reason for either spouse to be complacent. Instead of relying on the perpetuity of the marriage bond, husband and wife will have to prove themselves worthy of each other everyday.

One of the milestones in our country’s legislative history that suggests that marriage should be a continuous courtship is the enactment of The Anti-Rape Law of 1997, wherein marital rape is impliedly recognized with the following provision:

Article 266-C. In case it is the legal husband who is the offender, the subsequent forgiveness by the wife as the offended party shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty.

One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to interpret that to mean that the husband can be charged with rape unless the wife forgives him. Marriage doesn’t constitute “continuous consent”; just because a woman has freely and voluntarily entered into the contract of marriage doesn’t mean that she has also agreed to have sex anytime and every time he wants.

Unfortunately, this principle of marital freedom, where the wife can say no to the husband when it comes to sex and other matters, is somewhat undermined by no less than the Bible. Ephesians 5:22-24 mandates, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” While the succeeding verse (25) tries to balance this with the command, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” the complication starts when the husband fails to do his part of loving the wife. If that happens, is the wife still obliged to submit to the husband “in everything”?

Commenting on the U.S. statistics that ironically list Christians and Jews as having higher divorce rates than atheists and agnostics, American Atheists spokeperson Ron Barrier said:

With Atheism, women and men are equally responsible for a healthy marriage.  There is no room in Atheist ethics for the type of ‘submissive’ nonsense preached by Baptists and other Christian and/or Jewish groups.  Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage.

One doesn’t have to be an atheist to reject female submission as a marital principle. It only requires that we shed off cultural notions of machismo to appreciate and value women as equal partners. And while disallowing divorce will impose a rigid permanence on the marriage bond, legislating divorce will make the marriage provisional and puts the spouses on their toes so that if the marriage is going to last, respect and especially seduction will have to continue long after the wedding day.


Image from modernreject.com

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What God Has Joined Together

Bishop Teodoro Bacani has argued that the proposed divorce bill is “unconstitutional because the family is recognized by the State as the foundation of the nation” and that it “requires a lot of imagination” to say that separating spouses and giving them a chance to remarry strengthens the solidarity of the family.

He is presumably referring to Article XV of the 1987 Constitution:

Section 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.

Section 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.

But if Bacani is correct in his interpretation of the Constitution, why does the State recognize Muslim divorce? Are Filipino Muslims exempted from the above sections of our Constitution? And why do we have legal separation that entitles the spouses to live separately from each other when the State is supposed to strengthen the family’s solidarity and actively promote its total development? How can a family develop when the spouses are living apart? It seems more likely that Bacani is wrong.

Legal separation may be granted on certain grounds like physical violence and grossly abusive conduct (see Art. 55 of the Family Code for the complete list), and most of these grounds look very much like symptoms that the marriage has already broken down and that there is no longer any “foundation of the family” to protect; what is left to protect is the offended spouse and children, and this can be done not by forcing the so-called “family” to stay together but by keeping them safely apart.

The proposed divorce bill uses exactly the same grounds but with the following provision:

In addition, a petition for divorce may be filed upon showing that there is an irremediable breakdown of the marriage relationship due to irreconcilable marital differences. Said petition must specifically allege the grounds which destroy the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevent any reasonable expectations of reconciliation.

It is clear that as far as this bill is concerned, divorce does not destroy the marriage which the State is supposed to protect; rather, it merely acknowledges that the marriage has already been essentially destroyed and has now become a hollow shell that obstinately binds two people at least one of which is already hurting from such bondage and wishing for nothing more than to be set free. Article 68 of the Family Code states that “the husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.” If love and respect are irredeemably lost and it is no longer possible for the spouses to live together, much less to support each other, what marriage is there to save?

Just like with the RH Bill, it seems that the true objections against divorce are actually religious in nature and that these constitutionality issues are just rationalizations to support an underlying conviction that “what God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Well, aside from accepting the fact that our Constitution guarantees that “no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion,” when a marriage turns into a living hell, one must ponder, did God really join them together, or did they perhaps just use the name of God in vain?

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Conservative Catholicism as Absurdist Art

I recently had the pleasure of watching the absurdist play HARING +UBU-L XXX staged by the Sipat Lawin Ensemble at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Surprisingly, the content of the play wasn’t the most bizarre and surreal part of my day hanging around the CCP. At the open forum held on the Kulô exhibit and Mideo Cruz’s controversial Poleteismo, Catholic conservatives composed of priests, businessmen, and anti-choice activists lectured artists on what art is, in CCP. Apologies to the Sipat Lawin Ensemble but even their hilarious avant-garde piece couldn’t possibly compete with the sheer audacity of these conservatives.


What the conservative Catholics kept braying about during the forum was that Cruz’s piece offended the majority of Filipinos, which is still dominated by the Catholic Church, just going by the numbers. They still seem unable, however, to fathom the possibility of dissent among their ranks by naively assuming that every person baptized in the Catholic Church as a baby agrees with their single-minded cause of suppressing individual freedoms.

Yolly Gamutan, National Secretary of the Catholic Youth League of the Philippines, should be commended for saying something in the forum that every other conservative has been thinking these past months but was never brave enough to voice out. She said that “…to be Catholic, we cannot be independent in our thinking….” This brief moment of sincerity perfectly frames all the culture war issues in the Philippines right now—from divorce to the ever-contentious RH bill.

The underlying idea being fought over via church bulletin boards, bumper stickers, and Facebook walls is the seemingly novel concept of freedom. In this issue, the CBCP and its cohorts seem unaware that the concept of free expression is meaningless if it were meant only to protect the agreeable but not the offensive. And it appears that the word “freedom” means entirely different things depending on whether a conservative Catholic says it or whether a proponent of free speech says it.

To the conservatives, freedom is simply the “freedom” to act according to God’s will. This Bo Sanchez-esque cliché pervades each and every action the CBCP and its front organizations present to the public. The whole notion of self-determination and the freedom to act according to one’s own independent thoughts and beliefs is alien to them. The clerico-fascism that is the spirit of our times is crusaded for by the Church under the guise of well-meaning and an honest belief that they know better than everyone else. They’re only suppressing liberties because they know for a fact that people couldn’t possibly willfully disobey God or freely choose to go to hell.

Another absurdity proudly flaunted by the conservatives during the open forum was their call for relying on a so-called “absolute universal standard for art”. Instead of progress and a sign of maturity, they see the acceptance of new things as a sign of relativism, which is a mortal sin. The call for universal standards for art itself betrays a sense of crippling self-doubt on the part of the conservatives that the brain their Creator made for them is incapable of reaching its own conclusions. This Creator who is apparently so thin-skinned that even though he is able to create supernovas and black holes, he is still insecure enough to be insulted by what some insignificant creature built in some tiny planet. I am amazed at the gall and bravado of these mere humans who claim to speak for the feelings of an omnipotent deity, saying that God is offended by some art installation no one else would have seen had they not raised a stink about it. And they say it is the atheist who is arrogant and self-possessed.

Children, as expected, were used as arguments against Cruz’s work. Think of the children who would see such obscenities and sex-related imagery! But, I think I understand now who the children they keep referring to are. It is the conservative Catholics themselves who are the children—incapable of deciding for themselves what is right, impotent in the face of nuance, and unable to comprehend that other people exist and that they have their own wills and minds.

They called Cruz’s piece “trash” and “pornography” while unwittingly involving themselves in what is itself art—the unending discourse of what art is. And I should love to see a reenactment of the farce that occurred that Friday at the CCP. No avant-garde movement could ever challenge the sheer bombast and ludicrousness of the Catholic Church and the people who speak for it.

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Malta says “yes” to divorce, “yes” to secularism

Yesterday, the pro-divorce movement won the referendum on divorce with a majority of 54%, ending a battle that has delayed the much-needed measure for decades. The victory came despite the constant political meddling and religious blackmail of the Catholic Church.

Sound familiar? Aside from the happy ending, which left the Philippines the only country without divorce1, the story of Malta’s divorce referendum shares similarities with our own reproductive health (RH) debates:

  1. both countries are last bastions of Catholicism: Malta in Europe, the Philippines in Asia;
  2. both countries are predominantly Catholic: 95% in Malta, 80% in the Philippines; and
  3. both battles are primarily between progressive Catholics and conservative bishops.

And in both cases, the conservative bishops use fear mongering to keep their flock in line. In Malta, the religious blackmail came to a climax during a homily by
Bishop Mario Grech

In the sermon, he warned of “brigands” who want to “lead the flock astray” and “are going after marriage.” He said that members of the pro-divorce movement were lying about being Catholic:

Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. And the wolf is now saying he is Catholic. This is a falsity, this is deceit. I am ready to dialogue with everyone but do not be false, do not lie. You cannot not be loyal to Christ and say you are a Christian or a Catholic. If you are not in communion with Christ’s teachings, you are not in communion with the Church and you cannot receive communion… we cannot pretend to be in communion with the Eucharist…2

The message is consistent with a nation-wide campaign the Church had launched, in which billboards featuring Jesus’ image said “Christ Yes, Divorce No.” Anti-divorce advocates also brought Mary into the picture:

Opponents of reform have invoked the Blessed Virgin and raised the spectre of Maltese society falling apart. Tonio Fenech, the finance minister and a Nationalist Party MP, wrote on a local news website recently: “I am sure Our Lady is very sorrowful that Malta is considering divorce.”

The anti-divorce campaign was denounced by Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, an MP with the ruling Nationalist Party:

“The ‘no’ campaign has been disgusting,” said Mr Orlando, who set the referendum ball rolling. “Old ladies who said they would vote for divorce have been barred from taking Communion. An old electoral roll has been used, which means that 2,800 youngsters who are entitled to vote will not be able to. Lay Catholic organisations and 5,000 priests and nuns have also gone door-to-door campaigning. Limitless funds have been offered to the ‘no’ side.” Voting “yes” has been declared a mortal sin from the pulpit.”

To their credit, the bishops did say they were sorry if anyone was hurt by their anti-divorce campaign. Pro-divorce advocates, however, found this hard to believe:

In a reply, pro-divorce group StandUp Malta said the bishops’ statement was an apology which they found difficult to accept.

It was very hard to believe that the apology was genuine, especially since the Church’s campaign continued blatantly even on reflection day yesterday and voting day today.

The apology, they said, should have been made during the campaign when a lot of people were hurt by extreme declarations such as when those who were voting yes were called wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

The fact that the bishops wanted their apology broadcast once voting closed was Machiavellian and dirty.

Regardless of the bishops’ sincerity, I understand why they’re on the defensive. Winning the divorce debate is already Malta’s second secular victory in only six months. Last November, after a decade of opposition from the Catholic Church, they finally launched a long-awaited national sexual health policy — the counterpart of our RH Bill.

That’s two out of five D-E-A-T-H bills in half a year!3 How can a country that’s even more Catholic than the Philippines say “yes” to divorce and RH?

I believe the answer is secularism. While bishops fight to impose their convictions, progressive Catholics in Malta defend separation of church and state and respect the religious freedom of others — even those who have convictions different from theirs:

The Catholic pro-divorce group reiterated yesterday that although they held Christ’s teachings on marriage in high esteem they could not impose their beliefs on the rest of the people.

“Irrespective of how strongly we believe that divorce is bad for the country, we can never sideline the principle taught by Christ and expect others who do not share our faith to submit to our beliefs,” a group spokesman said.

The group said it was every Catholic’s duty to vote yes in the referendum because the issue at stake was whether what Catholics believed was right and wrong should be imposed by the state on everybody else. “We believe there should never be imposition…”

No imposition. Now — other than the bishops — who won’t say “yes” to that?



[1] No, I don’t consider the Vatican a country.

[2] Actually, you can be pro-divorce and still remain Catholic. But you could be excluded from Holy Communion for doing so. I wrote about these sanctions here.

[3] Divorce and Total Reproductive Health are down; Euthanasia, Abortion, and Homosexual Marriage remain.

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Sanctity of "Sanctity"?

A news article at The Daily Tribune narrated a story about a woman having been conned by a “fixer” who was supposed to ensure her marriage annulment. The victim, who has been separated from her husband for about four years, paid the suspect Php85,000 in exchange for the suspect’s services to facilitate a “sure thing” and “hassle-free” annulment ruling. When the victim received the document for a favorable court ruling, she was very happy as this would enable her to proceed with her new life with her British boyfriend. However, her happiness was cut short upon learning that the court ruling document she received was a fake.

I see a couple of tragedies here. First, we have a victim who lost a huge sum of money from a scam. Second, we have someone whose hopes for having a new and promising life get crushed. While losing hard-earned money from a scam is a painful experience, I feel that having one’s hope crushed compounded with a feeling of helplessness is even more devastating. The Philippine government is certainly not helping out in preventing such tragedies from happening with its zealous Family Code. The Code aims to preserve the “sanctity of marriage” but when a marriage is irreparably broken what is the point of being confined in a mere nominal union if not to merely preserve the sanctity of “sanctity” itself?

Cavite Congresswoman Lani Mercado-Revilla said that people should work in preserving the holiness and purity of marriage. Marikina Congressman Marcelino Teodoro expressed his surprise upon learning of an increasing number of annulment filing in the country. Teodoro said that the figure: 

“…is an alarming percentage for a predominant Catholic country. There is a need to strengthen the law on the family as an inviolable institution.”


He further states:

“The problem with couples getting married is the lack of informed decisions which should have been provided by the seminars required before marriage…What couples fail to realize before getting married are the legal implications of their actions as husband and wife which entails deep thought and understanding. These obligations stretch out from co-habiting, obligations of the man to woman and vice versa as well as supporting the family. These are vital legal obligations that must be fully understood by couples and strictly informed to them by legal and Church-related seminars… Annulment should not always be the option. We must not relax the rules on annulment but make the provisions of the Family Code be clearly informed before entering the marriage. Marriage should not be done out of impulse or mere feelings but both parties should be psychologically prepared and legally informed for the lifelong commitment that it entails.”


I feel that it is this kind of thinking that is to blame. While Teodoro and Mercado-Revilla may believe that marriage is a holy sacrament according to their religious inclinations, preserving this religious ideal may not spell justice and promote happiness to the many lives trapped in an irreparably broken union. Granting that it is an assumption on my part to assert that a marriage involved in an annulment application is irreparable, I submit that it is also an assumption for the respectable lawmakers to say that the root of the problem stems from couples’ lack of psychological preparation and lack informed decisions for what is meant to be a lifelong commitment. We simply are not gods to have omniscience and omnipotence to ensure and maintain order in our lives all the time.

Is it a sin or is it wrong to have a marriage annulled by estranged couples? Why is this so wrong? Is it because of the perception of the “sanctity” of marriage? What does “sanctity” mean, anyway? When the marriage itself becomes a problem where can we find this “sanctity”? It may have been forgotten in bed the very moment the actual “sin” was committed!

I see marriage as a contract between two persons to love and honor one another till death parts them. Suppose that a man and a woman get married and everything is all nice and happy. Then after 10 years things in their lives have changed. Let’s say the man changed. Let’s suppose that he refuses to protect his wife; that he abuses, assaults, and tramples upon the woman he wed. Is his wife under any obligation to him? He has violated the contract. And despite all the counseling and intervention done to make the marriage work, the woman is still being hurt and tormented. Don’t we see that the husband has failed to live up to the oath in the contract, to love and honor his wife? In addition to physical injury and mental anguish, the kids are being affected by the constant violence they are seeing from their father. Is the wife under any obligation to the husband in that case? Is she bound by the contract the husband has broken? Must the wife live with the husband for the husband’s sake? Must the wife live with the husband and stay married to him for the sake of a religious ideal? Should we insist upon a wife to remain with a husband who torments her? Even married women have a right to personal security, don’t they? Do they lose their right of self-preservation the moment they say “I do” in the wedding ceremony? Does the woman have the right to seek a new life and a new happiness? Do we picture God, with His infinite wisdom and compassion, insisting that His child remain the wife of a cruel man? If our honorable lawmakers insist that marriage is a sacred inviolable union under God, even for a marriage that threatens the happiness and self-preservation of an individual, then I can only wonder why God could be so cruel as to limit and permit a person to live in a living hell. It’s easy to say that “God will find a way to make the marriage work if you just have faith” as well as “Having faith in God will make changes in the cruel partner’s ways, thereby saving the marriage”. It’s easy to say that those who opt to annul their marriage do not have faith and are immoral and so on. It is easy to condemn and judge these people but it is another story to actually feel their pain by walking in their shoes.

Those who oppose relaxing the annulment requirements or any bills with a shade of divorce may invoke religious beliefs or even quote Biblical passages to support their contention. That is fine and dandy and they have every right to express themselves. However, it is quite ironic that the only time Jesus was known to have actually written anything was the time when he wrote something in the sand when he challenged any sinless accusers of an adulteress to cast the first stone. Do all of our honorable lawmakers know how it actually feels like to be helplessly trapped in a miserable married life? Perhaps some of them do. But if they choose to remain in such a life, what makes it right for them to dictate how others, who perhaps don’t have the same means and privilege, ought to pursue their own new happiness and self-preservation?

To our Philippine lawmakers, please read the writings on the wall. Please look at the facts and please look at pragmatism once in a while instead of being overly fixated on cultural or even religious beliefs that are just simply too archaic and out of touch with the present reality. Laws are made for the sake of promoting and accommodating justice, not for the sake of promoting and accommodating laws.

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Divorce, Annulments, Broken Families and Religion

Did you come from a broken family?

That was the question that was asked to me. I said yes.

That’s why.

He made it sound like that’s the reason why I became a secularist.

Having a bad experience growing up, growing up without a father or being in a broken family are common misconceptions that the theists think about the secularists.

Both of my parents consider themselves as cafeteria Catholics, for short, secular people. They may be annulled, but they said that they felt happier when that came.

According to the elders, people wouldn’t say that they came from a broken family because of heavy religious influence which makes them think that they are heretics. At the present time, people are very open about it and it is accepted in the society.

Today, the religious community are alarmed with the boom of divorce within their society.

According to this, 20% of Catholics and Protestants and 40% of Jewish marriages end in divorce after 5 years.

Also, the Barna Research Group stated that in the United States, 11% of the adult population is divorced, 25%  of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime and divorce rates among Christians are significantly higher than those of other religious denominations, and much higher than atheists and agnostics.

The results from their research about divorce rate by religion show that:

  1. Non-denominational (Evangelical Christian congregations that are not affiliated with any specific denomination) – 34% have been divorce
  2. Baptists – 29%
  3. Episcopal – 28%
  4. Pentecostal – 28%
  5. Methodist – 26%
  6. Presbyterian – 23%
  7. Lutheran – 21%
  8. Catholic – 21%

Their research proved that the conservative Christians have the highest divorce rate, while the mainline Christians have a lower divorce rate. They found some new information that states that atheists and agnostics have the lowest divorce rate at all. The Associated Press confirmed the results of the research.

There was a point in time where the Baptists had the highest divorce rate of any Christian denominations.

Another research about divorce rates by religion stated that:

Jews – 30% have been divorced
Born-again Christians – 27%
Other Christians – 24%
Atheists and agnostics – 21%

Ron Barrier, spokesperson of the American Atheists commented about the research. He said:

These findings confirm what I have been saying these last five years. Since Atheist ethics are of a higher caliber than religious morals, it stands to reason that our families would be dedicated more to each other than to some invisible monitor in the sky. With Atheism, women and men are equally responsible for a healthy marriage. There is no room in Atheist ethics for the type of ‘submissive’ nonsense preached by Baptists and other Christian and/or Jewish groups. Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage.

StopTheReligiousRight.org also commented:
We hear an awful lot from conservatives in the Bible Belt and on the TV about how we all should be living. Certainly a culture that teaches the conservative religious values of the Christian right must have clean living written all over it. And lots of ripe fruit from their morally superior lives abounding.

It doesn’t. Far from it. People that talk the loudest may be the ones walking the slowest. Joining its history of Biblically correct bigotry and discrimination, it is an area with the highest divorce, murder, STD/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, infant mortality, and obesity rates in the nation. As a region, the Bible Belt has the poorest health care systems and the lowest rates of high school graduation.

So, before theists say something about secularists growing up in broken families, they should look at the statistics and see the reality about what’s happening in the religious community.


Source of information

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