Sunday, December 10, 2006

Organized Religion Repays the Constitution

EMOCRACY is the best thing that ever happened to Organized Religion. They not only know it, but the churches and religious sectors of the Philippines have defended the Constitution and the moral principles for which it stands far more than many others out of loyalty and gratitude. The Constitution has done right by Religion and its freely flourishing congregations prove it.
Article III - Bill of Rights - Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of Religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
Churches know that their Liberty is the Constitution's Liberty!

Filipinos ought to be proud that their Democracy, flawed and faltering as it is, has nevertheless apparently commanded the loyalty and powerful service of Religion, which is ineradicably in the hearts of most of the people. Today Religion rises to uphold the Constitution as the very conditions upon which the people grant their consent to be governed. Our religious leaders know their best bet for survival and expansion lie in the fold of Liberty's glorious protection.

Thus, it cannot be denied that perhaps even more than the Senate itself, it is an extraordinary coalition of churches and religious leaders that has forced the House Majority and its leader, Jose de Venecia, to beat a hasty retreat from unilaterally convening a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) by once more Taking to the Streets. This includes the pivotal Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which called for protest demonstrations in all 86 dioceses. Mike Velarde of the El Shaddai Movement was very vocal the other day and promised to talk personally to the President about the mounting opposition and public outrage at the House's Con-Ass moves. Jesus Is Lord (JIL) and the varous "born-again" formations have also thrown their numbers into the push-back against the House move. Perhaps the last straw was word from political heavyweight Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that the unilateral Con-Ass would not have its support. The head of the CBCP, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has a blog worth visiting to see what the CBCP is thinking, saying an doing.

It is therefore a perpetual puzzlement to me that even the strongest supporters of Religion in the Media, the Catolico cerrado press, are ever nervous over the possible accusations that the Church is meddling in politics "again." But what does a plain reading of this say: No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.?

I suppose it is the very claim of Moral Authority that religions and churches tend to make that produces this impression of being able to interfere in politics with some kind of superior knowledge or authority.

As for me, it is crystal clear that Religion is as Free as Labor or Peasants or Students or any other free assembly of citizens, to express their opinion with whatever authority they actually possess.

The Church is just like an NGO.

Also, Filipinos are fast transcending the mental status of Sheep, just as the Shepherds are not so unsophisticated or dogmatic about "Religion."

The People of God may not know the details of the Constitution, but that may be because they believe that somehow God will speak through them, when it really counts--democratic elections.

This fight was about defending our rights to vote for our leaders and not to yield to the Unilateralists who wanted to take the May elections and the national vote away from every citizen.

Even Religion knows that. Now the so-called House Majority knows that the People know that, too.

Thank you, Your Reverences.

Perhaps, this is the beginning of a principled new Filipino political conservatism.


Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

DJB, I marvel at JDV, just what is it that he wants that he pursues CHA-CHA so urgently? Is it love of country and not of self? Or is it love of self and an all-consuming ambition to become Prime Minister& Head of State without being elected nationally by the Pilipino people?

If it is latter, he should forget about it, because with Gloria around he will never get even if, off-chance, cha-cha is approved the the people. He is an old man whose time has passed.

jdv gave the Senate 72 hours. In turn, the Senate should give jdv and his congressmen and their President Gloria 24 hours to RESIGN.

Rizalist said...

JDV's only the proxy. Do you realize that in defeating him and the Chacha, we've only defended GMA's Presidency by reaffirming that system and status quo?

cvj said...

DJB, on the basis of mlq3's analysis that the Filipino majority is inherently conservative, my guess is that a 'principled new Filipino political conservatism' will be further enabled if there were run-off elections for President.

Dave Llorito said...

jdv and gma made a retreat because its was becoming obvious that con-ass would probably ignite people's passion in the same way that it did during the "second envelope" episode. i got friends who for long have been apolitical and lately been asking around where they could channel their anger against con-ass. con-ass itself is really a rotten enterprise and it sounded right by its name. it was a con, my ass!!!

Dave Llorito said...

Or shall we say it was a con right out of jdv's ass.

Jego said...

They made a retreat because they "cannot lose twice". I betcha they tried sending feelers to the justices of the SC to see which way the justices leaned on the issue, and got a definitive answer.

the jester-in-exile said...

"Today Religion rises to uphold the Constitution as the very conditions upon which the people grant their consent to be governed."

unfortunately, not always -- rehash freedom of expression re the da vinci code, state population/resource planning via family planning programs, criminal justice via the death penalty... and so on.

not that i'm ungrateful. i just wish they were consistent in respecting the constitution.

"The Church is just like an NGO."

wouldn't it be more accurate to say that it IS an NGO? after all, it also enjoys freedom from taxation.

(heh-heh i'm such a heretic!)