Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Religious Test Shall Be Required For The Exercise of Civil and Political Rights

The 1987 Constitution's Bill of Rights upholds Freedom of Religion
1987 Article III Section 5. (1) No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

(2) The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed.

(3) No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
The SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE is concretely defined in Section 5(3) above--in the form of a clear and unequivocal PROHIBITION against the State putting the exercise of civil and political rights to religious tests.  By this is meant that the State may not appeal to religious faith or religious dogma as a means of adjudging the moral, ethical and legal worthiness of any particular citizen or group of citizens to exercise rights and privileges to be enjoyed by everyone under the Constitution.      

Note the last sentence above which constitutes a clear and unequivocal PROHIBITION against the State's application of any "RELIGIOUS TEST" as a requirement for the exercise of civil or political RIGHTS.  I think the Comelec has brazenly violated this prohibition in a recent ruling on an application to run in the Party List System.

DEAN MARVIC LEONEN (U.P. College of Law) points to Comelec Resolution 09-228 which rejects the Petition for Party List Accreditation of Ang Ladlad, a well-known association of self-described "lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgender" (LGBT)  persons who want to exercise certain civil and poliltical rights under the Party List system and the 1987 Constitution.

However, in its Resolution, the Comelec dismisses the Petition of Ang Ladlad "on moral grounds" stating that the "Petitioner tolerates immorality" in the very definition it gives of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender constituency sought to be represented--

xxx a marginalized and under-represented sector that is particularly disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation and gender identity."
and proceeded to define sexual orientation as that which:
       "xxx refer to a person's capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, andintimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different qender, of the same gender, or more than one gender."
Comelec's judgment that Petitioner tolerates immorality appears to be based on the reading and application of not ONE but TWO scriptural religious TEXTS, one Judeo-Christian and the second Islamic as the Comelec Resolution quotes from both the Christian Bible and the Quran of Islam
"For this cause God gave them up into vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet". [Romans 1:26]

"For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women "ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds." (7.81). "And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): Then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime!" (7:84) "He said: "0 my Lord! Help Thou me against people who do mischief!" [Quran]

Should this matter ever come before Judicial Review, there will surely be ample reason to ask respondent Comelec to explain the following disposative declaration in its Resolution rejecting Ang Ladlad:

Furthermore, should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith.
Which faith exactly, would OUR FAITH be, the Court should ask the Comelec!

It does not take too much to see in plain view the grave abuse of discretion that the Comelec has just committed, a brazen violation of the Separation of Church and State in which we see the Comelec culpably applying not ONE but TWO religious scriptural tests to deny Ang Ladlad Party List application to run under the Party List system of representation.

Our Constitution upholds Morality, but it can never be based on any Theology or even Theologies!  I think that is the plain meaning of Separation of Church and State.


blackshama said...

But as I have always said, a secular morality only makes sense in a society that holds on to Christian moral values. The secular value system is derived from a Greek understanding of morality, which was preserved through the Middle Ages by none other than the Roman Catholic Church.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

But what exactly do we mean by a "secular morality" (I ask this as a rhetorical question)?
The no religious test clause of the United States Constitution is found in Article VI, section 3, and states that:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

blackshama said...

Dean. The Secular morality we talk about is western. Thomas More would have subscribed to it. Now use that concept in Waziristan and see what happens. The people there would equate it with Christendom!