Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Death to Americans"

This article follows from a prior article about the Catholic Church that questioned Church involvement in Philippine politics without the Public having any way of holding the Church accountable for its acts. The Church is not an elected or appointed agency, but is deeply engaged in influencing elected representatives and constructing Philippine laws and values for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It has more clout than your ordinary influence peddler.

Given the Church's aggressive commentary on the HR Bill, I wonder how far priests are allowed to go to threaten citizens who support the Bill.

The question in this article is how to define what speech is allowed under free speech. At one end of the spectrum is complete freedom of speech. Under unrestricted freedom, we would be allowed to walk into a public theater and shout "fire", or onto the airplane ramp and shout "any bombs on board?" We would be allowed to call other people names, or even lie about them. Accusing them of being prostitutes, for example, if they look at us the wrong way. We would be able to show porn on public television.

Well, no, no. That is not what we mean by free speech. That is irresponsible.

Then there is the other extreme. The Syrian end of the spectrum, or the Chinese. If you tweet a remark the State does not like, you could find yourself locked up or tortured or dead. Or take the Iranian model of free speech.

No, no. That is not what we want. That is not free at all.

Somewhere along the continuum of high restrictions and "anything goes" is a line. Or, rather, a series of lines. The lines are laws that define what is permissible without harming others. Slander, libel, security restrictions (airports), obscenity. These are lines. Obscenity has subordinate lines. What is allowed for children, for example, and something more liberal for adults.

A lot of laws in the US define the limits of free speech.

It is tricky business.

Should an Occupy Wall Street protestor be allowed to shout "Down with Big Business!"? Should he be allowed to shout "Kill all CEO's!"?  Should he be allowed to shout "Death to America!"?

Flag burning is not illegal in the United States. It is an accepted expression of opposition. It is illegal in the Philippines. In the U.S, interpretive renditions of the National Anthem are allowed; in the Philippines, the song must be sung as a march. Different national sensitivities draw lines differently.

The trick is to define where one person's freedoms or well-being are threatened by another's exercise of free speech. An insecure nation sees danger everywhere, and suppresses more expressions.

The U.S. is among the most confident and open of nations. Still, questions abound. Is it an exercise in free speech to block access to a port, as the Occupy people are doing in some U.S. ports? Or is that acceptably benign civic disobedience? Or is it stage 1 of anarchy, with mobs defining what is right and wrong?

In the US, the court system is actively ruling on such matters daily, establishing the "case law" that supplements written laws formulated by government agencies.

But in the Philippines, the courts are tied up with 300,000 backlogged cases. Courts are inefficient and perhaps bound to allegiances other than law. That is, to personal favor or cash.

Case law is not as elaborate or as rigorous as that found in the U.S.

Can a Muslim in the Philippines shout "Death to infidels!"? I don't know. I'm sure Muslims have no idea, but could justify shouting it with no conscience about how it would impact the lives of good people.

Catholics may be included within that definition of "infidel". Or me, as an American. I may be considered a death target. The object of the death threat. Is that okay, in a land of cheap murder-for-hire?

Are Filipinos allowed to shout "Death to America!"? Are they allowed to shout "Death to Americans", which is specific toward people walking in the Philippines today. Is the Philippines different than Iran, for instance? Are they allowed to threaten me with a gun, as did a drunk neighbor a couple of months ago? ("No" is the answer to that question; PNP officers were on that guy like a flea on a mangy Filipino dog.)

Is it ever permissible to incite violence toward groups of people, or individuals? Are Syrian protestors permitted to defy bans on assembly? To throw rocks at police? To shoot back?

If I say the Catholic Church is wrong on its stance on the HR Bill, are priests allowed to consign my soul to Hell for eternity?

It is a threat, for sure. Not simply death on this planet, but punishment worse than death for all eternity.

Does the Catholic Church have to respect people of other faiths, or non-believers? Or can it wave the threat of Hell beyond death, like a 45 caliber pistol, in my face. Can it wave that particular weapon in the face of the President? Of congressional representatives who vote on the Nation's well-being?

Am I allowed to consign a priest to Hell? Or all priests?

Or am I expected to be a little more sensitive, a little more merciful, a little more respectful?



  1. Why should we Catholics respect other faiths when we know they are wrong? To even consider the possibility that another faith may gain access to heaven is to contradict one's own faith that explicitly states that only through Jesus, through the intercession of the Catholic Church, can one enter heaven.

    You have the free to ignore the Reality of the Catholic Church Joe. But you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality. Its hell for you Sir, and I shall smile down from heaven while you roast with your fellow non-believers.

  2. PP, so the Church does not subscribe to the idea that Man was made to think. Rather, man was meant to obey a religion's particular God, thus consigning all on earth to endless wars over whose God is the real one? No, No. Send me to Hell if you wish. My personal faith believes that God is bigger than that, and Man is tested with the challenge of finding a way beyond faith to Truth. There is too much missing in "faith". Too much illogical.

  3. Catholics and Muslims and other religions are squabbling and back stabbing for world dominance. Muslims offer 72 virgins in heaven after they blow themselves up killing innocent bystanders. Christians are absolved of their sins after they confessed, of course, they can do it all over again and confess again ...

    Muslims go to their side of heaven. Christians go to their side of heaven. Once there, they fight for heavenly dominance. This is never ending ...

    How do I know what happens in heaven ? If Muslims and Christians can see what will be in heaven, can't I imagine what will be in heaven as an atheist ?

  4. From an atheist perspective, I prefer HELL. Hell is a fun place to be in. Pantyless Britney, Paris, Lindsay and all Valley porn girls will definitely be in hell, of course, naked. They can have sex all they want. Risque, Oral, Verbal, Anal, orgy all forms of sex can be had in hell THAT CHRISTIANS LIKE and PRACTICE BUT WOULD NOT RATHER TALK ABOUT IT but do it in the privacy of their room hoping God wouldn't be snopping BECAUSE IT IS A "SIN".

    In hell it is also eat-all-you-can. Everyone that goes to hell are given a pitch-fork because everything comes big. Everyone are dancing around fire holding their outsized forks waiting for their steak.


    Back in the time of Popeye and Olive television showed these images. It also showed how lonely heaven will be like. Good people will go to heaven, have a small real estate of a puff of clouds assigned to them, a white robe and a harp. They don't seem to look happy unlike in hell. They cannot even go beyond their puff of clouds or they fall.

    The Vatican marketers found out this is not the way to sell heaven. So, Vatican talked to Hollywood and insist in depicting heaven a jolly place after death. Too late for Vatican, Muslims came with a grand idea. Blow yourself up and get 73 virgins! Philippines is a huge supplier of sacrificial virgins to the Muslims.

  5. Filipinos had tried to kicked Americans ass 120 years ago. They ambushed Americans, burn their flags, accused them of having sex like dogs, whenever, wherever, however, whomever, how-many-ever without benefit of marriage. Filipinos looked at Americans as evil. Finally, they kicked the Americans out from Subic and Clark.

    Yesterday, today and tomorrow, religious Filipinos go to evil America to surrender and submit themselves to be recolonized to have their lives run by white Americans so they can reap and rape what the devils has sown and scream to heaven, "Hallelujah, I'm blessed! God answered my prayers to give me VISA to America !"

    That is why to this day, no right thinking white Americans wanted to study the maladies of Filipino society because Filipinos are difficult to study and understood. They know what is good but prefer the bad.

    Of course, who'd want to live in heaven? A puff of clouds, a white robe and a harp ? Playing lousing out of tune music all day ? HELL IS A GOOD ALTERNATIVE WITH 72 VIRGINS.

  6. IMHO, the different cultures and religions are the product of God's punishment for the Tower of Babel.

    I believe this is why we can't understand each other even though we're living similar lives and speaking the same language, especially when religion becomes part of the conversation.

    @PP: Unfortunately, religion is not an exact science. It's all relative.
    You may say that other faiths are wrong but I'm sure they say the same thing about your faith.

    I'm pretty sure God's not going to let you burn eternally just because you heard the wrong message. I don't think he's going to let you burn if your mind was conditioned to follow a certain religion.

    Honestly, I find an irony every time Christians say that something is wrong or blame someone or something. Since everything can be traced back to God, they're effectively blaming him for every little thing that irks them.

  7. "Why should we Catholics respect other faiths when we know they are wrong? "

    because the heirarchy said so, and has good arguments 2 back her up.

  8. GabbyD,

    Dude, you blew my mind.

  9. how did i blow your mind? anyone who has read any of the material on ecumenism knows that the catholic church is open to other religions.

  10. Dude you blew my mind.


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