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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kowtowing To Religion

That is what "Chiz" Escudero, Philippine Senator, is doing.

Religious considerations outweigh politics - for this senator.
(Courtesy of

In a recent forum, the senator, who is separated from his wife, declared that he is not in favor of divorce. As has been noted many times, the Philippines - apart from the Catholic Dreamland known as Vatican City - is the only country in the world that does not have a divorce law.


It is a rather odd stance for someone who did not have a successful marital relationship to be the first to oppose divorce. But, listening to his reason, it becomes clear that the Senator does not understand the separation clause of our Constitution.

"In my view, there is a serious disagreement between the government, Congress and the (Catholic) Church (emphasis mine), so this is not the right time to exacerbate this (rift)."

Say what?

Since when did the Catholic Church become part and parcel of making laws?

Have these facts occurred to the senator?

(1) You can have a civil marriage, legal and binding, without going to any church.
(2) A church wedding isn't legal/binding until the parties sign a civil contract.

I have been consistent in arguing for secularization where our secular, democratic laws are concerned. My stance is hinged on the irrefutable fact that in a democracy, RELIGION IS A CHOICE. Why is the Catholic Church now considered a stakeholder in the discussions regarding bills like Reproductive Health and divorce?

If the argument is that "they have the highest number of adherents in the country", that becomes a gateway for our democracy to be turned into a Catholic theocracy. It should not matter how many "believers" a certain faith has, it still does not give that religion the right to dictate what is to be inscribed into our secular laws, for the very simple reason that by doing so, it negates the concept of having the right to choose your own religion under a democracy, and would force people who choose another faith to follow the tenets of the "most adherents" religion, which presently is the Catholic Church.

Yes, the "presently" is deliberate, because Escudero, in all probability, has not read the following articles.

The last link, on a site called Catholic News Agency, has for its' title Don't Leave The Church, an outright admission that Catholics are, indeed, leaving the faith.

I expected Escudero, being an elected representative of the people, to be especially wary of intermingling politics and religion, and be the very first to contest any religious interference in the making of our laws, that being his principal duty as a public official.

I also expected him to be especially sensitive to the needs of couples whose marriages did not work, not being successful in his own marriage. No, I'm not being "judgemental" , this is a statement of fact.

Are these particularly high expectations?

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