President Rodrigo Duterte will never stop in attacking the Church and its faith as the Church leaders have no concrete and strong response to Duterte’s rants.
Who cares if Duterte does not believe in the Trinity? But ridiculing the historical Jesus who had offered himself to die on the cross to save humanity is another thing. Only an insane person can do this. A President in this country who wants a debate in media with the leaders of the Philippine Churches, not only the Roman Catholic Church, is on a rampage not only against the church as an institution but also religious faith and beliefs while he cannot give concrete answers to the concrete gigantic problems in this country. Duterte knew that the response of the Church leaders is “to pray for the sick man.”
Latest Duterte rants against the church and its doctrines
“Magdasal ka na sa isang Diyos, magdasal ka pa dito sa santong yawa. Isa lang ang Diyos. (You’re already praying at one God, then you’re going to pray at these cursed saints. There’s only one God.) There’s only one God, period. You cannot divide God into 3, that’s silly,” said Duterte.
‘Yong Diyos mo, pinako sa krus. Tangina. Nakakawala ng bilib. Ako ang Diyos, tapos ipako mo ako? Putangina. Sabihin ko, ‘Lightning, ubusin mo ito. Sunugin mo lahat ng mga erehes,’” continued Duterte.
(Your God was nailed on the cross. Fuck. How unimpressive. I’m God and you will crucify me? Motherfucker. I’d tell them, ‘Lightning, finish all of them. Burn all the non-believers.’)
Apart from calling God ‘stupid’, joking ‘bishops should be killed’ for supposedly doing nothing but criticizing his administration, the harsher attacks came in the form of a string of priests killed under his barely three-year old administration.
Duterte knows that leaders of the Philippine Churches, though they have issued statements against his rants, abuses and attacks, the Church leaders, be the Roman Catholics or the Protestants and Evangelicals or Aglipayans, have not come together to have a united stand against him.
Duterte will continue to attack one or two of the Churches, as long as some Churches will continue to support his presidency, because some are afraid of being drawn by progressive and nationalist Churches to swing to the Left, which will help the Left to gain more strength in leading the people’s struggle towards the ouster of Duterte. As long as this reality prevails, Duterte is gaining ground in attacking the Churches. As long as some church leaders are too cautious in joining alliances or a united front against the Duterte regime, Duterte will never stop his rants against the Church.
At present, in the next year or in the years to come, the Philippine Churches must face the Duterte regime not only on his blasphemous attacks but on the real social issues.
Prof. Jose Maria Sison has summarized the present Philippine situation, which Duterte wanted to cover up with his tirades with the Churches. These are the “rising prices of basic goods and services, the rise of mass unemployment and low incomes, the rampant corruption of the Office of the President and downward, the mass murder of suspects, calling the God of the Catholics as stupid, inciting the murder of bishops, priests and lay leaders, persecution of the social activists, the bombing and destruction of Marawi City and other communities and the sell out of Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea to China.”
The option for the Philippine Churches at present is to put aside their differences, whether doctrinal, practices and way of professing their faith, and forge a united action. The leaders of all Churches must be challenged to address the pressing problems of the Philippine society and take into their hands the stand and call of Jaime Cardinal Sin during the dictator Marcos’ time.
The Church leaders will not have to do it from scratch. They have already started a uniting walk during SONA in July 2018, commemoration of martial Law on September 21, 2018 and Human Rights Day on December 10.
What can the Churches do in 2019 is to sustain and strengthen their strength in taking side with the people who are longing for justice and lasting peace. They should not wait for the May elections. Based on Philippines’ experiences, elections in the Philippines are always marred with fraud and violence. The early months of 2019 are good to start for the Philippine Churches to pay more, work more and act more than they had done.