Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why the Philippine Democratic Stool Wobbles

Any milk-farmer worth his salt knows you make a stool with three legs, because it can't wobble. Even if one comes up a little short, the three-legged stool remains firmly planted.

A four-legged stool is prone to that startling buck and wobble, likely to scare bossy and result in her moving her rump into the face of said milk farmer.

Now the Philippines, in theory, is structured as a three-legged stool, like that of the American system it generally copies.

  • Executive
  • Legislative
  • Judicial

The problem in the Philippines is that there is a fourth leg:

  • Catholic Church

This leg is written out of government in the Constitution, but Church advocates pulverize the Constitutional dictate by saying the Church is entitled to free speech, like any other institution.

So priests argue politics from the pulpit and threaten the President with ex-communication and receive free cars from a government agency and threaten their congregation with doom in Hell if they back the RH Bill. Their speech is active, for sure. It imposes very heady, life-threatening, responsibility on others.

And the State's stool wobbles because the People have no means to impose responsibility on the Church.
They can vote the President and the legislators out of office, and pressure the Congress to impeach wayward judges.

How do they tell the Catholic Church to sit down and shut up? To deal with things spiritual, and not things political. To render unto Caesar that which is Caesars?

Now somewhere, there ought to be a way to distinguish speech from action. Like, I can be for gun rights, but clearly see it is not appropriate to go out and shoot someone I disagree with. It is okay for the Catholic Church to advocate for natural birth control methods among its congregation. But when it suppresses the rights of non-Catholics to education and prevents them from making informed choices, it has meddled where it ought not.

The Catholic Church has influence, but takes no responsibility for result. There is no way to hold the Church accountable for its actions. That is the problem with it having so much influence in the Philippines.

The US model holds churches accountable for staying out of politics. If they meddle, they lose their status as tax free organizations.

I'm in favor of drawing a clearer line as to what the Catholic Church is allowed to do in the Philippines.

It is allowed to talk. To teach. To argue.

It is not allowed to threaten. To bribe. To take gifts from the State. Or to extend favors to governmental officials. It is certainly not appropriate for a top official of the Church to pay a visit to an impeached Chief Justice as a way to insert the Church into the normal balancing of the three branches of government.

It is not absolutely not appropriate for the Church to threaten Non-Catholics with consignment to Hell. That is a form of emotional slander. It crosses the line.

The punishment would be to summon top Church officials to the Palace for a lecture, to make sure that the Church understands that it is allowed to exist in the Philippines with the blessing of the State.

But it is not a fourth leg of the State's democratic stool and it needs to be more respectful of the democratic process.

It needs to take responsibility for that, at least.  And it needs to stop threatening non-Catholics.


  1. The Culture War of Joe Imperialist continues. His continued attempts the destroy our culture has failed miserably. To recap:

    1. Joe Imperialist wants to destroy the concept of marriage which is a key foundation of society. The family unit is what keeps society together. Destroy this and you have societal decline, which is what is happening now in the west.

    2. Joe Imperialist wants Filipinas to believe that the Filipino male is flawed and holding her back. His solution: marry white foreigners instead and you will be happier and more free. Really? How convenient for you Joe and your Hungarian Gypsy friend.

    3. Joe Imperialist wants multinational corporations to openly compete with local businesses. He seduces us with fancy economic theories but fails to mention that it is this same free market capitalist tyranny that has caused turmoil around the globe. If Joe had his way, all local businessmen will be wiped out and we will be slaves to foreign capitalists.

    And NOW, 4. Joe Imperialist wants to undermine our Catholic Church. He wants to destroy our spiritual center and replace it with a glitzy yet soul-less materialistic exuberance. No Joe! You will not tell Filipinos who they should pray to or how they should pray.

    I call on all Filipinos to fight this Culture War being waged by Joe Imperialist.

  2. PP, I'm not an imperialist. I'm a hegemonist. You are the imperialist.

  3. @ Proud Pinoy

    1. You can keep YOUR concept of marriage
    2. Sounds like penis envy to me
    3. I'm suppose to pity Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, the Ayalas and all the local slave masters if they get wiped out because they can't compete? Nah
    4. You can keep YOUR Catholoc Church and YOUR spiritual leaders.

  4. Joe,

    You have to admit that trying to bring down the Catholic Church with your blog is quite.... ridiculous.

    So how this is supposed to work? Millions of Filipinos will suddenly be shocked and awed by your blog post and stop going to Church? Or perhaps the Filipino Priests will be blown away by your prose that they will suddenly become Atheists? Oh wait, perhaps The Pope is a regular reader of your blog and he will say: "OMG Joe is right. What a bright fellow this American in Basilan is..."

    Why don't you just stick to bashing Ilda. That is more realistic.

  5. @PP

    You need to chill dude.

  6. @Proud Pinoy: Joe is not the first person who said that the Catholic Church should stay out of government affairs. The 1987 Constitution clearly stated that the Church and State are separate entities. Jesus Christ Himself said, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God."

    @Joe: Some people oppose the RH Bill not out of religious or moral beliefs, but for the following reasons:
    1. They don't like the idea of using taxpayers' money to support "freeloaders" (read: the poor).
    2. The RH Bill is a project of "communist" lawmakers or organizations (they probably got this stupid belief from the fact that China has a one-child policy).

    But I am 100% in favor of the RH Bill. This piece of legislation is not about promoting immorality or any political ideology. It is about SAVING WOMEN'S LIVES.

  7. Anon. Indeed. What fries my bacon is the church objection to women receiving information. What kind of giving, caring institution is against education?

  8. PP, I hope to be a virus, unseen by most, but infesting opinion-makers with good ideas. Stay tuned for more commentary about the Catholic Church . . .

  9. @Joe: More ignorant people, more blind followers.

  10. A follow up on Anon's comment.

    More blind followers, more unnecessary donations.

  11. Hungarian Gypsy?
    You gave me a great idea!
    You remind me of some of the gypsy leaders today. Half educated big mouth gypsies who don't take responsibility for anything but viciously attack any honest criticism.
    Don't worry Hungarians will not come to the Philippines stealing or liberating your Filipinas away from you.
    They would have difficulty finding you on the map because you are so insignificant to them. Philippines don't have a good reputation and for most Europeans you have nothing to show that would impress them. They may see you as some leftover cannibals who just dance around the fire place all day waiting for the big white men.
    Honestly who cares when there are so many other places to go to. Most of the time they just travel other European countries for a good reason.


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