My wife is a jokester.
We sat down for breakfast last Sunday and I asked her why she was not heading off to church to begin the celebration of Lent. She is Catholic in the way most Filipinos are Catholic, at her convenience, and with a good deal of superstition thrown in.
She looked at me blankly for a half second.
"I'm a Mormon. Born again."
I spewed my rice and corned beef. The thought of my wife belonging to that straight-laced bunch of well behaved pseudo-Christian bible thumpers cracked me up. And to be a "born again" evangelical Mormon . . . well the contradictions there are just delicious. My imagination sees a room full of cleancut guys with white shirts and straight black ties cutting loose with their "hallelujiahs" and "praise the lords", maybe grooving to a band with guitar and sax player.
Then yesterday something like a million Iglesia ni Cristo church members gathered to stage rallies in Manila, Tarlac and Cebu, the point of which is unclear but seems to cut three directions: (a) prove to members that the Church is powerful, and (b) prove to President Aquino that it is powerful, and ( c) prove to God that it is . . . well, thankful for the blessings. This particular "sect" of Christianity, as the newspapers put it, opposes the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona, as he is kind to them. The Church and President Aquino are rather like ex-lovers who are having a spat.
I think perhaps the Catholic Church is losing its grip on the Filipino heart and soul. When you hang onto 15th century values, you get a little crinkly around the theological edges.
I wonder if these other sects are any better at promoting family planning than the Catholic Church, or do they, too believe in populating the hell out of the planet? And are they also in favor of keeping women bound to abusive husbands like the Catholics?
For myself, I am stunned at the total failure of the sum of all churches to drill morality into the Filipino life style. What do the preachers do up there at the podium? Are they so busy admiring Christ that they forget to tell their flock to practice what He preached?
And given the proclivity of the various churches hereabouts to meddle in politics, I heartily suggest taxing them. There are rights and there are the responsibilities that go along with them. The churches claim the right to speak, but claim no responsibility for outcomes.
So tack a dollar outcome on their mouths, a tangible piece of responsibility.
Rather burns my buns, this idea of rights with no responsibility.
The more I think about it, the more I think I am going to become a born again Zoroastrian. Heaven and Hell are clearly defined. One is up, the other down. And they feed their dead to the buzzards.