By Andrew Lim
Recent developments point to a forming alliance between the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and far right Filipino politicians who reject the RH bill.
Jose Descallar, staff of Michael Velarde ( Buhay party list representative) said this after the re-election of US President Barack Obama:
- “If we will not hold our ground and make a lot of noise about our protests against anti-life measures specifically the RH bill, Malacanang will push for passage in the next Congress... ”
- “The task at hand, therefore, is to make sure that pro-lifers get elected.”
- “And junk Akbayan,Gabriela, Kabataan, ACT-Teachers, Bayan Muna and other such party-list groups. “
- “[There is also a] need to make pro-life issues an election/political issue, and to emphasize the Christian responsibility to evangelize politics. One way of doing this is by supporting and voting for pro-life candidates. ”
On November 16-17, the CBCP will hold in Cebu a “Philippines for Life” Congress 2012 featuring among others, the following speakers: Kit Tatad, Lito Atienza, Jackie Enrile, Mitos Magsaysay and impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Among the conference topics will be “The State of Philippine Politics Today, “ “Population and Good Governance: Real Keys to Progress”, “RH and MDG: How to Mangle the Filipino Soul” and “The Role of Vigilance in Preserving Faith and Freedom”.
THE INCONSISTENCY OF IT ALL
What is ironic is that the political histories of these invited personalities are striking examples of what is bad about Philippine politics and are incredibly inconsistent with Christian/Catholic doctrines.
By hijacking the term “pro-life” they have framed the debate such that they appear to be pro-life all the way – from conception to birth to adult life. Really?
Mangling the Filipino Soul? Martial law, with all its unspeakeable horrors did that. And both Tatad and Enrile took active roles in it, as spokesperson and administratoir, respectively. Good Governance? Ask Renato Corona about midnight appointments and undeclared mllions. Or ask Lito Atienza about his support for Gloria Arroyo. State of philippine politics? Ask Jackie Enrile how being a son translates into an inherited Senate seat. Or ask his bullying victims in the past. And lastly, what do you make of Cagayan Representative Rufus Rodriguez who has been stonewalling the passage of the RH bill as a “pro-lifer”, but supports the death penalty for foreign drug traffickers?
In my personal view, you cannot call yourself pro-life if you supported martial law and the oppression it created.
You cannot call yourself pro-life if you supported corrupt regimes and electoral cheating.
You cannot call yourself pro-life if you justify midnight appointments and underdeclare substantial assets.
You cannot call yourselves pro-life if you support plagiarism, and indirectly teach our youth that it is okay to cheat and copy as long as you can get away with it.
You cannot call yourself pro-life if you support the subjugation of indigenous cultures, employ violent methods in imposing your religion, take control of another country's resources in the name of “spreading Catholicism.” Which is exactly what happened in the Chamorro Islands during Pedro Calungsod's time. And yet the CBCP honors his “sainthood”.
Respect for life does not end at birth, as Thomas Friedman, op-ed columist at the New York Times writes. To quote him: “ Respect for life has to include respect for how it is lived, enhanced and protected- not only at the moment of conception but afterward, in the course of that life. “
In effect, is the CBCP creating a moral hazard by forging alliances with these right wing Catholics?
(A moral hazard is a situation where some can take huge risks without fear of the consequences since somebody else will cover for them. It encourages an escalation of reckless risk taking.)
Are right-wing politicians now shielded from the consequences of their recklessness and abuse by the CBCP, since it tacitly endorses them by enlisting their support for their anti-RH cause?
Won't this encourage more of their reprehensible behavior in the future?
Viewing the world through the narrow monochromatic lens of its anti-RH stand like the defeated Republicans in the US, the local Church hierarchy are just pushing themselves even more to the sidelines and irrelevancy. Politics, governance and democracy are much larger than religion- the refusal to analyze the issues and insistence on dogma results in the boxing in of these ultra conservatives.
They are placing themselves in difficult situations like what Romney faced- having to associate with extremists who reject abortion in rape cases because "some girls rape easy" or "God wanted it to happen" and because “some rapes are legitimate. “
Which makes me think: what are these so-called “pro-lifer's“ stand on pregnancies due to rape?
To paraphrase Friedman, just call yourselves “pro-conception to birth, to hell with life after that conservative”, not pro-life. Because as I demonstrated above by pointing out the politics they have practiced , they do not really care about life after birth – the quality of life or the integrity and justice required in the course of life.
- “Re-election of pro-abortion US President impetus for PH pro-lifers to intensify advocacy”, CBCP for Life website. Nov 7, 2012.
- “Pro-life leaders to speak at National “Phils for Life” Congress 2012 in Cebu”, CBCP for Life website. Nov 10, 2012.
- “An Alternative View of Pedro Calungsod” (In the Context of the Spanish Chamorro Wars 1671-1698) Society of Honor by Joe America, blog post by Andrew Lim. Oct 26, 2012.
- “Why I Am Pro-Life” by Thomas Friedman, New York Times Sunday Review. Oct 27, 2012
- “Solon bares small wrinkle on prolife stand” Inquirer Online News Nov 7, 2012.