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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Monday, August 01, 2005

Zealots

If there is one thing our country is awash with, it is religious bigots. I do not mean bigots who are against other religions. I mean men of religion who think they are God’s cure to our country’s ills but spew spite on their enemies.

Take Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Jesus Is Lord Fellowship or Bishop Eddie, if you are his adherent. From the very start of his born-again ministry, he vilified the Catholic Church for being the whore of Babylon, the great deceiver, and the papacy as the Anti-Christ. From vituperous beginnings, he gained followers convinced that the Roman Church is the greatest abomination.

And after gaining critical mass, he received a divine calling from God to lead the country out of darkness. Of course, this was after having tasted the temptation of being patronized and wooed by big politicos like FVR. And of course, this was after having acquired his own television station, ZOE TV.

And so, he ran under the banner of God’s appointed and campaigned that only the righteous will deliver our nation from ruin. But the secular and the divine failed to heed his call and lost in the elections. Of course, like any politician, he cried foul but unlike any pastor, never extended charity to his political foe. His TV station became his pulpit, and his son, Joel Villanueva, became his doppelganger.

And now, with this scandal ridden administration, he rises up once again and calls for a transition government above and beyond the pale of constitutional cover. On what ground? That God has forsaken this country and only the righteous will lead our nation from ruin. And of course, no God-thinking Catholic, except his Couples for Christ spokespersons, Louie Sison and his wife, will link arms with him. His son, Joel, the sectoral representative, joins in the invectives against the president instead of offering sobering thoughts to still the storm we are in.

If these are the religious leaders we have, what need do we have to turn our faith from political leaders to the religious ones? What difference will there be if they talked from the same vile script demanding blood instead of fraternal correction? Whatever happened to charity for all even when the president is intransigent? Is the Old Testament demand of an eye for an eye far more in keeping with today’s political atmosphere than the New Testament virtue of turning the other cheek or going the extra mile?

It is dangerous to elect religious leaders to government, Christian, Catholic or otherwise. More so, when they believe in an absolutist Manichaean worldview - we are evil and they are the righteous elect. We must not permit our political discussion to be mingled with religious fanaticism. We have seen how it works in the Islamic context. We cannot afford to have it in our midst. Let them win our souls but let them leave our votes.

4 Comments:

Blogger JohnXXV said...

if one believes that a certain system of moral codes is correct, then one promotes that system and attacks alternative systems.
if one believes that "respect for one another's religion" is correct, then it is necessary to attack anyone who converts. i believe that in this case ones belief is based on secularism.
if one believes that "one's religion is complete", then one will subsume or discredit other viewpoints because existence of other viewpoints will mean that one's religion is not complete.
republikangpilipinas.blogspot.com

9:18 PM  
Blogger Edwin Lacierda said...

Dear John XXV,

Nice name. I respect your views. This is how I view religion.

If a certain system of moral code is correct, then one promotes the strength of its beliefs without attacking the alternative systems.

If one respects another one's religion, it does not necessarily mean converting is wrong because the convert realizes the strength of the other religion.

If one's religion is complete, then its mandate is to patiently and dutifully share it with others.

Religion need not be based on Aristotelian logic, black or white, right or wrong.

But if it is, then we should learn to abide with each other's faith peacefully and not treat the other as pariah or someone to be converted.

Conversion must be based on the virtue of the converting religion, not on the weakness of the former faith.

10:06 PM  
Blogger gari said...

one should distinguish the difference religion on its purest sense [if there is such thing] and trying to build a cult-like followings in support of political goals. i am not religious but i believe that it should stand for spiritual growth [again, if there's such thing] rather than being focused on this worldly matters...

:-)

5:39 PM  
Blogger Sef said...

Bro. Eddie is obviously using religion to further his political reach. I do not subscribe to anything that he says.

6:47 PM  

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