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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.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Wall

With the opposition now holding fort in churches near the Palace, the administration has been convincing the fencesitters among us that the church must maintain the wall of separation between church and state. That is a constitutional prescription that must be observed by both church and state.

Not necessarily so.

The Wall of Separation between church and state is not so much for the church to obey as a constitutional requirement for good citizenship. The church abides by the separation because its main province is the spiritual and moral well being of its flock. If she chooses to knock one or two pegs off the government, it is because the Church is concerned beyond the temporalities which the state seems incapable of addressing. Even then, it would be foolhardy for the State to accuse the Church of meddling or sleeping with the enemy. No such accusation can stick against the Cross and none will. After all, Jesus promised the church its teflon powers: the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.

It is however a legal, mandatory and constitutional stricture imposed upon the State to be color blind when it comes to religion. No religious tests, preference, bias, discrimination should be allowed or even passively tolerated by the State in all things secular that involves the conduct of government. That is the clear import of Section 5 of the Bill of Rights:

"No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights."

The separation was meant to shield the state from the church, as the past history of the West has cruelly shown, and not to protect the church from the state. After all, the power of the church comes from somewhere divine, its soldiers ready to be martyred while the might of the state is dependent on the sufferance of the governed and its players do not necessarily put king and country first before their own vested interests.

Thus, whenever the government reminds the church to observe the wall, the church should in turn remind the government to mind its own business. The church is not a gathering of like-minded people, it is a haven for men of opposing persuasions and beliefs, it is a refuge for saints and sinners, a sanctuary for scoundrels and scums. The government may detest what some in the Church do now but if and when the tables are turned and the administration finds itself seeking sanctuary, the church will be more than willing to welcome them into her altar.

That is the universality of the Church. She extends her charity to all and offers malice towards none but with the supreme caveat to those who usurp and defy divine justice that God can change not only the hearts of men but kings and governments as well.


Blogger NJbabe said...

Why all these questions on the separation of state and religion being brought up now when in the beginning this was always present...remember EDSA 1 and 2...fall of Marcos....???In the first place, how did GMA get to power? The church always intervened in the past. And now one's way of showing his faith is being questioned....Iba na lang sana ang issue....

6:21 AM  
Blogger Rizalist said...

this is one of my favorite topics so i hope you keep thinking about this. i think the church will play a great part in what has to happen to fix the country. i am looking forward to the leadership change in the cbcp for example and am keeping a good eye on the bishops blogging. keep up the good work!
dean bocobo

11:54 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye said...

The atheists, protestants, catholics and even agnostics are among the rallyist seeking santuary in the Church. They are seeking protection from Church not because of religion but because they believe its an institution that can be trusted.

The Palace should follow that example... so that they will not fear the wrath of the Devine.

2:01 PM  

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