Thursday, September 8, 2011
"Birthday Ni Mama Mary, Noh!"
These things have to happen first thing in the morning.
After my class this morning, I had to sign something in the front desk of where I work. The form had no dates, and I readily admit I always forget what day/date it is on a constant basis. So I turned to the receptionist and asked, "Ano nga ba petsa ngayon?" ("What's the date today?")
She looked at me as if I swallowed an infant, rolled her eyes, and said, "September 8! HELLO! Birthday ni Mama Mary, noh!"
In a singular sentence, she has concisely encompassed my problem with how some Catholics act, talk and think. In my mind, the two words that flashed were: What arrogance.
Let me state, clearly, for the record, before anyone imputes something twisted into my statements and my past blog entries: I have no problem with Catholics practicing their faith. To each his/her own, live and let live. I am a fan of all those sayings. Not just because they're stated in popular expressions, but because it is the right thing to do.
We are all familiar with the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you would others do to you.
I would never imagine telling someone that "based on MY faith, you are doing something wrong!". Yet, day after day, I see Catholics who have no problem doing the exact same thing, and frighteningly, on a national scale. They see it as their "business" to meddle with someone who doesn't share the same faith at all!
It is arrogant to presume that the things you believe in as a matter of personal faith are the exact same things I would also believe in. Who gave you the right to make that unfounded, ridiculous assumption? When I was still in elementary and high school, the one thing I remember clearly being taught was that "no special position/place is to be assigned to Mary. She is merely a vessel for Jesus. She is also human. We only worship God, not other humans."
As a teenager, I always found it odd when Catholics prayed to "Mama Mary", based on what I was taught in my religion. But I would never dream of ever going up to any Catholic and say, "You are wrong to pray to Mary, she is nothing special!". That is what your faith professes and practices, and I will always respect that.
Unfortunately, you do not return the favor.
Instead, you feel it your "right" to tell me, and anyone else who doesn't share your faith, to "follow our way, we are holding 'the truth'!".
You expect us to know who your saints are.
You expect us to know their birthdays.
You expect us to also pray the rosary.
You expect us to be silent when a priest says mass.
You expect us to follow your stance of viewing women as inferior to men.
You expect us to view gay people as abominations.
You expect us to hate the people your religion "allows" you to hate.
This is exactly why I strongly support keeping the discussion of religion out of the public sphere. Matters of faith and religion are intensely private affairs, they are decisions that are based on personal beliefs.
I need to emphasize the word personal.
That is a decision you come to on your own. And if that is the case, you need to ackowledge the fact that each and every person is different. It is only right, therefore, to keep matters of faith to yourself.
Using your faith to claim some illusory mantle of moral superiority reeks to me of false entitlement and haughtiness. No one faith is "better" than another. (It always goes back to it being a personal choice. You choose what is best for you, and no one else.) It doesn't matter if there are 100 million in one religion and just 2 million sharing 55 other faiths. Numbers do not give you the right to judge another person's religion as being "inferior" to yours.
Back to this morning, I finished signing, then turned to the receptionist, and said: "File this, and file it in your brain that not everyone is a Catholic."
Something that bears repeating in a country that assumes everyone is.