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Tag Archive | "Pro-Life Philippines"

FF Podcast (Audio) 28: Abortion Rights in the Philippines

Abortion Rights in the Philippines

This week, we talk about abortion rights in the Philippines. We go into detail about what’s been happening with the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights, which conservative Catholics have been trying to shut down.

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, Religion, Secularism, SocietyComments (0)

FF Podcast 28: Abortion Rights in the Philippines

This week, we talk about abortion rights in the Philippines. We go into detail about what’s been happening with the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights, which conservative Catholics have been trying to shut down.

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 Media, Podcast, Politics, Religion, VideoComments (1)

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: The Lies of Ang ProLife

Red Tani called out Eric Manalang for lying at the Ang ProLife COMELEC party-list accreditation hearing. But don’t just take his word for it. We have video footage of the hearing.

As an aside, its interesting to note that the presiding judges, the Hon. Lucinito Tagle and the Hon. Elias Yusoph, were involved in the Commission on Election’s boneheaded decision to violate church-state separation by rejecting the Ang Ladlad partylist on religious bases. I’d hope at the very least they would learn their lesson on the separation of church and state from the Supreme Court when it overturned the COMELEC decision.

Besides Ang ProLife not even coming close to the requirements for a party-list, establishing Ang ProLife as one is tantamount to establishing a political entity in Congress that represents religious interests. A party-list that would be intent on enshrining their religious values in our laws. A party-list that wishes to use the force of law to impose their religious morals on the entire country.

Posted in Politics, Religion, RH Bill, Secularism, VideoComments (3)

Pro-Life’s Pro Lies: A glimpse into the ANG PRO LIFE hearing

You may have heard about Pro-Life Philippines’ recent filing of their new congressional party list, ANG PRO LIFE. Perhaps you wondered how this camp, with high profile supporters like Golez, Pacquiao, Sotto, and Enrile, who have managed to delay reproductive health legislation for more than a decade, could realistically be called ‘underrepresented’ (a basic requirement for establishing a party list group). Maybe you were even concerned about how the running of this obviously religious group would violate the separation of church and state under our Constitution.

Apparently, you have nothing to worry about! But don’t take it from me, take it straight from the lips of Pro-Life president Eric Manalang himself. After briefly joining the Catholics4RH in their protest outside COMELEC this morning, myself and a couple other Filipino Freethinkers attended the actual party list hearing for ANG PROLIFE. Here is a transcript of Mr. Manalang’s (EM) first few minutes on the witness stand after being sworn in under oath, with the Hon. Lucinito Tagle and the Hon. Elias Yusoph serving as presiding justices (PJ).

PJ: What sector do you intend to represent with this party list of yours?

EM: This sector intends to represent the structure of families in the Philippines and the youth that belong to them, and more particularly the OFW families who are the most dysfunctional part of the family structure of Philippines, by the very nature of them, about 10 million of them having their parents or spouses abroad, and this is the sector we wish to represent as they are not yet represented.

PJ: Is it true that you are related to any religious group?

EM: I’m a Catholic of course and I won’t deny it, though they (nodding to the Catholics4RH contingent across the room) claim they’re also Catholics, but I would say I’m not part of CBCP or any form of formal Catholic brand organization.

PJ: What laws do you intend to propose to preserve the family?

EM: We intend to have the landmark law, the Magna Carta for Families, which in essence would be looking at the marginalized groups or dysfunctional families and put a safety net so this issue of having absence of fathers and mothers or children for that matter can be resolved by being able to put in legislation. As an example, connectivity between the OFW families and their loved ones abroad is one issue that has not been resolved because it’s the lack of communication that creates much of the dysfunction.

PJ: What is the relation of this law you intend to present to the RH bill?

EM: Uh, there’s no direct effect on the RH bill, your honor, because this law is really going to be able to provide safety nets for these families that are dysfunctional and marginalized.

There you have it! I’m not sure if ‘OFW’ is the ‘O’ in ‘ANG PRO LIFE,’ but he goes on to mention OFWs several times, so it must be in there somewhere! I suppose OFWs should rejoice in having strangers who care so much about them.

Let’s take a look at exactly how ANG PRO LIFE intends to help the OFWs by looking at their official description found on their website, (which, of course, must have NOTHING to do with the actual CBCP, because Eric Manalang just stated under oath that he wasn’t associated with them)!

“…Lobbying for the protection of LIFE and the Family in all its aspects and

incidents, before congressional committees and public offices where they

confront laws and policies that destroy and undermine the Pro-Life and Pro-

Family values enshrined in the 1987 Constitution (such as continuing attempts to

enshrine a Culture of Death in the Philippines through bills on divorce,

euthanasia, abortion, birth control, reproductive rights, population control,

and homosexuality). We believe and affirm that ANG PROLIFE will be the first and

only party list organization instituted with the primary objective and mission

to Reclaim the Culture of Life in the Philippines through direct participation

in the legislative branch of government, beginning with the forthcoming

Elections in 2013.”

Apparently, the presiding justices noticed this minor inconsistency and tried to help Manalang out of committing perjury, directly asking him about his group’s official statement. At this point, Manalang suddenly seemed to remember that yes, ANG PROLIFE would be getting around to that stuff as well. After a heated exchange wherein Justice Yusoph argued with Manalang about the merits of divorce legislation (which Manalang admitted to being against and which Yusoph was vehemently for), the two eventually seemed to reach middle ground over a joyful if somewhat incoherent round of gay-bashing.

Justice Yusoph: God created male or female, and he never created ‘ladlad’. That’s why the Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God, because of the presence of ‘ladlad’.

EM: We agree to that, your honor, that God is perfect. He would not create imperfection. A man is a man, a woman is a woman.

Justice Yusoph: Precisely. The role of a man should not be taken also by woman. Because if the role of woman is taken by the role of a…by you, a man, there is a total eclipse, am I right?

EM: (smiling) You’re right your honor.

Justice Yusoph: And if there is total eclipse, there is death!

EM: Correct, your honor! That’s darkness!

There’s a lot more than I care to transcribe here, but feel free to go over our upcoming video for how the conversation arrived there. Basically Eric Manalang was stating yet again how the RH Bill is defective because it is based on statistics from organizations that have no credibility, like, you know, the United Nations, and anyway they’re all foreign groups with foreign ideas like homosexuality that is all part of the grand US conspiracy to depopulate the Philippines because Kissinger.

It all ended with the spectacle of Atty. James Imbong (who must not at all be related to CBCP’s Atty. Jo Imbong because, again, Manalang has stated that they have no association with them) taking the witness stand, being questioned by himself as legal counsel.

All in all… seems legit.

As it would be a shame to take their most comforting words out of context, it being a public hearing, we made sure to film ANG PROLIFE/OFWs FTW party lists’ time on the stand in its entirety, and will be posting it on the site soon.

Posted in Advocacy, Personal, Politics, Religion, RH Bill, Secularism, SocietyComments (7)

Freedom from Offense is Offensive to Human Rights

In the forum held by the CCP over the controversial artworks of Mideo Cruz the Catholic fundamentalists of the CBCP, via their proxy of Pro-Life Philippines, reiterated their demands that their faith be respected over fundamental human rights. With much bellicose shouting, they essentially demanded that freedom of expression must be squashed so that their delicate feelings about their religion won’t be offended.

Their demand, that their religious sensibilities be not offended by anyone else’ words or actions simply cannot be acquiesced to by any democratic society that values the freedom of expression. Sure, people have a right to take offense  but an expectation that no one can ever say anything which will offend you is unreasonable and has grave consequences for society.

It would mean a society crippled, unable to spread and criticize ideas for fear of offending other people. Without the spread and criticism of ideas, progress would essentially be dead. Society would not be able to move forward scientifically. Society would not be able to move forward ethically. Society would not be able to move forward artistically.

Perhaps one can see the appeal of such a society to religious fundamentalists.

So we stand against people who devalue the freedom of expression, for this freedom of expression gives us the ability to move toward a society that values reason and science. This is why representatives from the Filipino Freethinkers stood up in that forum and spoke out against the loud angry voices of the Catholic fundamentalists.

Interestingly, the Catholics of Pro-Life Philippines seemed to take offense at Red saying CBCP. It’s not a derogatory word folks!

It makes me wonder how all-powerful the fundamentalists really think their God is. I mean, if their God can be offended by a mere artwork, how all powerful can their deity really be?

Posted in Religion, Society, VideoComments (10)

This is Not a Church?

The following is a note on the forum entitled Dakdakan: Kulo, which was held last August 5 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Main Gallery regarding the controversy surrounding Mideo Cruz’s artwork. It was written by the CCP’s Visual Arts Officer-in-Charge Karen Ocampo Flores, who has permitted us to publish it on the site. 

Maraming salamat.  I’m certain there were true believers there who simply came to express their reactions.  This forum was formed to hear you out.

Maraming salamat, artists, students and other supporters.  Your presence helped achieve balance.

Kaso, SIMBAHAN PALA ITO! It wasn’t about art.  It wasn’t about religion.  It was really about politics.

We expected devotees coming in with their grievances.  But this group was something else. They came ready, they were organized (clapping cues included) and they are well-honed bullies.

I agreed with Precious Leano, our moderator, that to prevent tensions, she will regulate the forum by allowing only one-way talks by each speaker.  The rule was: no responses, no debates, no profanities.

Even with that, we were surprised by the first burst of rudeness. We were in effect told to shut up as we opened the forum with slides about “Kulo” and some points on the VA policies for exhibit proposals.  We shouldn’t make them wait.  Did I say, “Ayaw nyo ba ng forum?”  They were eager beaver for it.   “This is about that work, anyway” one began impatiently, pointing to “Poleteismo.”

Thus the Mideo-bashing and all the horrors and sins of the work in question began. They had their statements in print (same things they’ve been giving out in media). And they were performing to the cameras.  Fire, brimstone, ice, meron ding boses na matubig, na malumanay.  They worked with every ingredient laced with intimidation.

Good thing, I could hardly speak anymore (dry mouth and sore throat had set in).  Good thing, Precious was an assertive moderator.  It was so hard to follow the rules.

But some people seemed to be very used to these people’s (because they keep calling us ‘you people’) antics.  Thank you for coming, Filipino Freethinkers, you helped meet the first barrage.  Thank you, Concerned Artists of the Philippines for reading your statement of support.

So why did this forum turn into a tacit skirmish?  Because it was for them a takeover.  They ARE really telling us what to do.  It’s not a debate about art, it’s not a debate about religion: it’s about imposing their power on the CCP.  Mandates on art and culture, easy enough to subject to their virtuous interpretations, then yup, dig up an old 70s law.  Same with VA policies replete with niceties– oh yes, so bad of us not to be so nice to 85%  majority.  There, may the fear of prision mayor or the ombudsman be with you for risking the rights and welfare of the dominant religion.  CCP is fair game for their strategies to frame the RH stance within this great drama about art attacking religion.

We have seen riskier art with religious images at the CCP and other galleries;  people complained, but never at a scale such as this.  Why?  Because back then only the artist gains from the attention.

Now they have a big stake once they establish that the CCP as a government institution made a mistake in the same way that RH should be a big mistake.  So that’s why we keep getting that from out of the blue; that’s why they keep insisting that we’re doing RH even if it was an exhibit that identifies with Rizal’s conflicts with the UST.  If we were presenting RH, we would say so.

Hence the ultimatum was not simply to stop the exhibit.  They kept repeating the need for amends, for apology; that we should admit we made a mistake.  They didn’t need that from Mideo.  They want it from CCP.  And good old CBCP need not even make a statement.  It simply had to take the artist’s hand gently and ask him: why?

Am I offending a religion?  Oh, I was simply reflecting on a forum.

Posted in Personal, Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (2)

Republic of the Philistines

This article was written prior to the forum held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) regarding the controversy over Mideo Cruz’s artwork, which was conducted last August 5, 2011. 

For a reaction to the forum by CCP’s Visual Arts Officer-in-Charge Karen Ocampo Flores, click here.


I must admit to writing this out of anger and out of fear. Just this morning, two individuals walked into the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ gallery housing the exhibit Kulo and proceeded to do the following:

The culprit/s wrote in BALLPEN on portions of the artworks, a pedestal, and walls, “EMEDEO [sic] SUMPAIN KA! BAKLA!” And then on another (unfortunate) artist’s work that had the word “MOVE,” he or she wrote, “TO HELL.” The culprit/s also hacked off the wooden penises from the cross installation.

– Tony Perez, via Facebook

This is the very same exhibit which the CBCP and its ally Pro-life Philippines’ President Eric Manalang demanded the closure of. When the CCP organized an open forum to discuss the matter with him and the museum going public, he proceeded to threaten to file a lawsuit against them the day before the forum.

I am deeply angry at the barbarians who perpetrated this shameless act of vandalism against public artworks, and I am afraid at the lengths to which people like them are willing to go for their so-called loving faith. If the CBCP or its allies fail to do anything less than totally condemn this barbaric action, then it will confirm my worst fears about how little value they put not only on freedom of expression, but on basic respect for other people’s lives, livelihood and property.

UPDATE: Ah. Color my fears confirmed, then:

Atty. Jo Imbong on CCP vandalism: “Now we see how a disordered act like an exhibit like that can fuel other disorders. Evil leads to more evils in its wake.” Imbong is from a Catholic lay group filing charges against the CCP and the artist. – Jeff Canoy over twitter (continuation)

Despite every effort made at civil accomodation, the CBCP and Pro-life Philippines have shown through their actions that they do not want discourse or discussion; they only want their demands met and their dictates obeyed.

The CCP has made a call for ‘respect and sobriety’, the full text of which can be found here (Facebook link). For this I am thankful, as it reminds me that there are still even-tempered, well-intentioned individuals who are willing to take a step back and consider the consequences of their actions and who those actions might hurt. I am thankful that through all this, there are those that still understand the value and meaning of respect.

It’s because of people like these that I can believe we do not quite yet live in an actual Philistine Republic, though it seems increasingly apparent that that is exactly the sort of country that the CBCP and its allies wish us to become. For what else would their current strategy of promoting anti-intellectualism through throttling free expression be good for, if not to bring about a society where no one may think or dare to oppose them?

(Image taken from here)

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (7)

An Interview with Mideo Cruz

Mideo Cruz is the artist behind the controversial artworks being exhibited in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. His works have enraged bishops with their supposedly blasphemous content and have made Pro-Life Philippines take up a moral crusade, threatening to sue the CCP and the artist in an effort to censor Mideo Cruz’s freedom of expression for perceived outrages against their faith. What follows is an email interview with the artist. The interview has been edited for grammar and clarity.

Kenneth Keng: Kindly briefly introduce yourself for the benefit of our readership.

Mideo Cruz: I’m a visual artist who commonly tries to cross borders of discipline in producing my works. The most notable work I’ve created in the past is the “banquet” for which I was awarded the Ateneo Art Awards in 2007. I’ve frequently been invited outside the country for my creative works and was awarded the CCP 13 artists awards in 2003. Actually I feel uncomfortable with this question can I just attach my CV?

Could you describe the piece in question?

Mideo Cruz: A wall collage; I started doing it since 2002 from things that I’ve collected since I’m in high school. The manner was practically inspired by what we see in common houses where people put pictures of celebrities, politicians, etc on the wall of their houses.


Relic (cross) originally titled relic of my nation, done in 2004. The making of the Filipinos after several layers of colonization. Partly inspired by how we got the name of the country in paradigm to the monarchal trend of collecting religious relics.

Poon (chirst the king) deconstructing the sacredness and reconstructing the icon with parallel meanings. Coca cola and mickey mouse as epitome of neo liberalism.

Most of the outcry has been about the phallic object placed on the works. Phalluses have been objects of devotion in many cultures; they use them as amulets, symbolic statues, etc. They might be a symbol of power and patriarchy.

What would you say was the general intention of your piece, and how does it fit into your existing body of work?

Mideo Cruz: I’m exploring a lot about the nature of the deity. How people attributed the sacredness. How symbols evolve from various civilizations, how the worship evolves. But this particular piece is more regional and cultural attributing to our psyche as Filipinos. And also pertaining to our aesthetic perception.

How do you feel about the current threat of lawsuit unless your work is taken down?

Mideo Cruz: As far as I know the CCP is an independent institution. An arena where academic discourse is welcome. The conservative interference may be their means of showing their power over the so called morals very similar to what my motivation was in the work. Phallic symbols may stand for power. It contributes more to the readings of my work.

CCP has already organized a public forum on Friday to discuss the matter, but it seems that the CBCP and Pro-life Philippines then responded with an ultimatum for its takedown by Thursday. Have the CBCP or Pro-Life Philippines responded to any of yours or CCP’s invitations for dialogue?

Mideo Cruz: I don’t really know how it is going with the conversation of CBCP and CCP. And im wondering why they don’t want to wait for the dialogue. From their latest pronouncement it sounds like they are also agitating the administration of UST to go against CCP and the artists involved.

And finally, a follow up question that you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. Are you aware of any other “blasphemous” works in the Philippines? If there are, why do you think they targeted your work?

Mideo Cruz: A lot has been done before using the imagery of the catholic faith. In CCP Jose Legaspi did a Madonna and Child with Mary vomiting to the child Jesus, Paul Piper did a Sto. Nino out of a barbie doll and dressed it with comdoms. Alwin Reamillo did a Mckey Mouse Sto. Nino, Louie Cordero did a painting of Christ the King with a McDonald’s figure

With their criticism of the church, do you think El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere are “blasphemous”?

Mideo Cruz: Blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t even think of my work as blasphemy; instead, I think of them as a critque but if you will see it as blasphemy, I might as well consider that Rizal’s work is blaspmemy too.

Thanks for your time.

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (8)

Tastebuds, Tsunamis, and the Thorough Twisting of Truth: A Recap of the Anti-RH Forum at SM Megamall (3 of 3 Parts)

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series. Click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

For the sake of accuracy (and the chance to portray all of this as the off-Broadway play it might as well be), below are script-style excerpts of the exchange between members of the Filipino Freethinkers and anti-RH individuals at the forum’s Q&A segment. Most lines were lifted verbatim.

Atty. Montes has just concluded her segment of the lecture, wherein most of her arguments attacked provisions in the Bill that had already been nixed by the authors. The floor has been opened for questions, and first to approach is Red Tani, President of the Filipino Freethinkers.


Are you aware of the recent amendments that the authors of the Bill agreed to, like the ones that removed the provisions about employers needing to provide contraceptives for their employees — that’s one — and number two is the sex education component; they ordered it to make that optional?


Dr. Montes

Yeah. I’m aware of these, but I don’t know whether they were printed already in a new form. However, I said earlier, the assumptions and the intent of the Bill are so objectionable that any kind of modification is not acceptable. For example, the sex education. They made it high school na lang.



Ah, no. They made it optional. Totally optional.


Dr. Montes

Okay, totally optional. But we know that a lot of parents are so uninformed about this, they’d rather have their children attend these classes. The sex education is presented as though it’s good for their children, so the likelihood that they would send their children is high. For example, when they piloted it in Olongapo — I watched an interview with teachers and parents — I was so disheartened. I was very sad that parents — unknowingly — were singing high praises about the [classes]. They didn’t know what these things are teaching their children.


Dr. Montes passes the mic over to Atty. Montes.


Atty. Montes

I heard about the quote-unquote proposed amendments — I don’t know if they’ve actually been incorporated in the Bill itself or they’re just discussing it, so —



It’s as good as incorporated.


Dr. Montes (interjecting)

But see, that’s another problem.They’re making all these changes all the time, and we’re not so informed about them, about the status. But I know about them.



I have another question. A while ago, I heard you say that for families that do not want to have children, even permanently, they can use natural family planning (NFP).  I studied the official Catholic position on this. The official teaching of the Catholic Church is that you cannot use NFP if you plan never to have children at all.


Dr. Montes

Let’s say I’m a model, and you’re a whatever,  and we want to get married for companionship. I don’t want to destroy my figure, and I want you to be able to continue traveling abroad. Let’s get married but not have children? That’s not okay.



One last question: to the Catholics who are against the RH Bill for whatever reason, they can never change their mind, should they leave the Church, or not get communion, or what do you suggest these pro-RH Catholics who cannot change their mind, what should they do?


Dr. Montes

I’m going to say something. I hope I will not be misquoted. This is me saying it, it’s not official Church. When you’re a Catholic, you agree with a set of behaviors that’s presented to you. So what’s the point of being Catholic if you cannot agree to the set of beliefs, and the set of moral laws that the religion has presented to you? So it’s like a square circle when you’re saying a Catholic is pro-RH. It’s incompatible. It’s like water and oil. When you say that you repudiate the bishops, again that’s inconsistent. The bishops are the descendants of the disciples, the apostles of Christ.



So what do you suggest that they —


Dr. Montes

In psychology –I’m a psychologist as well as a medical doctor — we have to be consistent with our behavior, and our beliefs have to be unified for us to be a whole person and to be mentally healthy. So some people, when they learn something that is not consistent with their behavior, they should change their behavior. But some people cannot change their behavior. So, to remain whole and consistent, what do you do? You change your belief.


Atty. Montes

Some people have this tendency to think that “I can love God as a Catholic but I don’t have to agree with the Church.” The problem with this way of thinking is that the Church was founded by Christ. The Church was founded by God. The Church is an extension of Christ. The bishop, the Pope, they’re all Christ representatives, so it’s impossible to love God without obeying his representatives. I would advise [pro-RH Catholics] to have an open mind, to consider the possibility that the teachings of the Church on this matter may be true. Right now, the term “open-mindedness” has been batted about, then why not be open-minded about the possibility that the teachings of the Church may be true? And really study. Really study the teachings of the Church and if you study with an open mind, you’d see that there really is no conflict between faith and reason.


Kenneth Keng, FF’s RH Committee Head, gets his turn at the mic.



As pro-RH and anti-RH people, how do you propose that we might do to move the process along in Congress? Because I’ve been going to some of the sessions, and it seems that there is a lot of stalling going on. Because I would think that both pro-RH and anti, then, would appreciate having the process move forward and come to a vote. But it seems that there are certain congressmen who are interested in making sure that it does not come to a vote, at least in my layman’s perspective. I suppose, then, that the best way to really help solve this issue would be to go to Congress and let us have the vote.


Dr. Montes

My opinion is there should be no RH law. For me, this is a matter of no compromise. Let us not be naive. This is greater and far deadlier than most people think.

End of Part 3. Video footage of the event will be up soon.

Update: Below is our video recording of the anti RH Conference at Megamall (Part 3 of 3).

Posted in Politics, Recap, Religion, SocietyComments (16)

Lessons learned from You-Should-Have-Been-Aborted-Gate

“Your mother should have aborted you” easily ranks as one of the worst things you can say to a person. Everyone is probably allowed one or two incidents in a lifetime to completely go bonkers but an outburst like that certainly crosses all sorts of lines and for sure, umpires from all sectors would come to point it out.

Of course, one can’t be a Freethinker and not have a thick skin against the insults and all sorts of under-handed defamation by those who feel that they’re entitled to malign and just about cuss to their kingdom come those who don’t agree with their sentiments. Instead of focusing on the negatives, let’s stick to things that were surprising and somehow inspiring about the people who wished that our mothers chose to abort us instead.
Here are some things that you may have failed to see:
1. There’s a chance that they believe in time travel.

By wishing that our mothers aborted us, there’s a sliver of a chance that these people are into the idea of travelling through time and changing history as we know it. Then again they’re really into that already with the way they alter historical events a hundred year later with the brand of historic revisionism that only the Roman Catholic Church would dare pull off.
Time travel as it stands continues to be a very prickly topic among scientists and there is no consensus on whether it is possible in the sci-fi kind of way but yeah – we sure have seen time travelling sub-atomic particles thanks to the Large Hadron Collider. Good luck hitching a ride on that tram. I heard it’s hard to get tickets – believe me, I tried all of the ticket booking websites!
It’s astounding that the Church folk would have the audacity to revise the past and vaguely hint at a science that is perhaps centuries away from realization when they only managed to finally agree to the idea that Galileo Galeli was correct back in the 1600s.
As expected, the church was quick to note of this slight error. They corrected it just a little less than 359 years later – a very short time geologically and cosmologically speaking.  And of course you know that a bit on how great a Catholic Galileo was wasn’t that too far from the offing! (link to revisionist story).
But still, to be at the forefront of science for this group should be quite a new thing. Sure, Gregor Mendel was a monk but who has been the last major scientist to come out of their ranks?  Of course, they’re the who’s who when it comes to medicine and confusing people on what the hell they really mean. Good for them, right?
2. Filipino Freethinkers = Bagets

For our foreign visitors, bagets is 80s lingo for young people – those who are usually in their teens.
Apparently, we look young enough to be mistaken for teenagers. While we do have young people in our midst – we do need the underage whipping boys and server girls to ensure that our weekly baby-eating rituals are observed as seamlessly as possible – most of our members are pushing towards 30 already. Yes, that’s the sad truth. We’re old. A quick scan through our photos would show that we don’t look alike and yes, some were clearly more genetically-fortunate than most.
But yes, low balling our actual age as an attempt to flatter or discredit our wisdom might have worked as a strategy but all the talk of Satan, eternal damnation and the almost maniacal tirade at abortion in the end sure sealed the deal on who was being irrational. And oh, it was also great that you have a suave guy like Kenneth Keng doing the commentary on the video. Nuks! (He) was cool as a cucumber even with all the hellfire and brimstone being showered upon his party. But then again, some members from the other team sure like ’em “young” so I guessed Kenneth and the Filipino Freethinkers should be wary of future encounters.
On a serious note, a lot of those who went were offended by what the Churchfolk said. The mothers from the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) were clearly affected by those very harsh words. The Filipino Freethinkers probably weren’t since they all know that this is just a prelude to what eternal damnation is like. In fact, they hosted a party just to see who else is going to be there.
It’s exciting to watch this merry band of non-aborted-clearly-past-their-teenage-years hipsters. You just have to wonder what they’ll be up to next.

Posted in ReligionComments (7)

The Pride and Humility of a Freethinker

I believe freethinkers are a proud people in a sense that they often undertake to set themselves up as judges of Truth and Knowledge, laughing at the idea of being shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. When it comes to morality, for example, freethinkers scoff at some of the Church’s teachings on sex and birth control, calling them outdated and questioning whatever “sacred” authority is asserted on religious matters, even challenging religion itself.

But I also believe that freethinkers are a humble people because while undertaking to set themselves up as judges of Truth and Knowledge, they also acknowledge their own fallibility, that while they might someday arrive at the truth, they may never know if they already got there. For this they have developed tools like science and skepticism to help them get nearer to the truth by weeding out what’s false (much like how Dr. House’s team tries to rule out as many diagnoses as possible so that when House finally gets one of those serendipitous strokes of intuitive insight, the choices will have been narrowed down for him to see the answer as if it’s been sitting right there all along).

Acknowledging one’s own fallibility – and actually doing something to minimize it – is humility in the deepest form because it is practical humility, one expressed in actions rather than words, in unforgiving self-criticism instead of a resigned only God knows attitude.

As for morality, freethinkers also acknowledge man’s primal selfishness and moral biases as influenced by sex, age, income and other factors. And because of this they respect the state laws put up to contain unfair acts of selfishness and harmful expressions of those biases, laws that attempt to bring equal chances of a decent life to unequal people across a mixed society. Now compare this to those who haughtily hold on to their dogma, condemning everyone who disagrees.

It is especially dogmas like the ban on contraception that Freethinkers openly challenge, maybe partly because they are disturbed by the fact that such dogma greatly affecting married women was written and is being enforced by unmarried men. This somehow reminds me of what Michael Shermer said: “…male ownership of females was once moral and is now immoral, not because we have discovered it as such, but because our society has realized that women also seek greater happiness and that they can achieve this more easily without being in bondage to males. But while males no longer own females today, a worldwide group of single men still feels entitled to own every woman’s womb, not even considering that women also seek other things in life and that they can achieve them more easily without having their wombs and their time devoted mostly to child bearing and rearing.

Such pompous sense of entitlement is what often enrages the freethinker, leading him to criticize or even confront those who claim to be in moral authority. One confrontation happened last Saturday when freethinkers attempted to enter the Manila Cathedral where there was an ongoing Pro-Life Philippines affair that was supposedly open to the public. One can say that the freethinkers were arrogant because they had to wear those offensive Damaso shirts, but during the face-off they conducted themselves quite humbly, and real arrogance surprisingly came from the other side. The video says it all.

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