Ambitious Muslims, following a plan shaped mainly by their extremist warriors, are pushing the Philippine government to grant more autonomy to Muslims on Mindanao. Although I personally see this as an unfortunate capitulation of state to faith, I am fully willing to carry the idea forward to its ultimate vision: The Philippines as a Faiths Based Nation.
The advantage of having 1,700 islands is that it is easy to define boundaries for this faith or that, allowing each to stand as a moral ruler of its own island. For example, I see no reason why the Catholic Church should not be granted its wish for greater empowerment and control over the lives of its members. Catholics admire poverty, so give them Samar. It is large enough to hold all the hard-core faithful, and they can establish their own values-based government like autonomous Muslim Mindanao.
Want to eat bread and sip wine, the body and the blood? Samar is your cup of tea.
Want to stone women and yank them from schools? Sail one-way to Mindanao and grab a rock and a hank of hair.
Birth control can be banned on autonomous Catholic Samar on pain of eviction. Tie the heathen condom lovers to a raft and give it a good push toward Indonesia. Those poor teenage girls who desperately sneak out for coat-hanger abortions? Flay and roast them like they did unbelievers during the crusades. Teach them what true faith is all about: the right to life and a whole lot of pain and misery . . .
Hell, we can even gain peace amongst bloodletting Muslim sects by giving Cebu to Sunnis whilst Shiites take over that part of Mindanao south and west of the mountains.
Zoroastrians. Seventh Day Adventists. Latter Day Saints. Engliches de Crisco. This church, that church. Give ‘em their own plot of island. Give them their own place of rule where they can preach their brains out and the citizens can live in magical fantasy absent of state interference with their fairy tale doctrines.
Just leave my island alone so that there is one place where thinking Filipinos can reside unburdened by values based on superstition or rules that lag several centuries behind our modern God-given knowledge. Give me a place where people band together respectful of law and order, courtesy, privacy, free expression, security and healthy commerce. And even respectful of those spiritually attuned to a God who blessed them with brains enough to comprehend that we should live according to reason, not fiction, fantasy, magic, superstition, or imagination detached from its foundation of knowledge.
Let the faith-based lunatics eat the pudding they whip up. Let them stew in their own juices on their isles of self-flagellating choice. Just mandate that they leave the rest of us alone to enjoy our secular peace and good will.
I figure give everyone five years to move to their island of choice and then get on with what is likely to be a hilarious if tragic total capitulation of the weak Philippine state to the will of the faithful.