(Courtesy of southernleytetimes.com)
On a morning show hosted by anchor Karen Davila, she expressed her concern about the country's "moral fiber" - more specifically, what would happen to it should the RH (Reproductive Health) Bill be passed. She also mentions her faith as the force that drives her to oppose the said measure, claiming that the Philippines is a religious country and that she cannot make a decision that will go against it.
I don't know about you, but my first, instinctive reaction was to laugh out loud. (A real life LOL.)
See, the representative makes it no secret that she is devoted and loyal to the Catholic Church in the country. All one needs to do is to Google "Lucy Torres Gomez anti RH", and what comes out are articles that juxtapose the terms "RH", "CBCP", "church", "Catholic" and her name, as proof of this.
Clearly, the moral standard she is advocating or sees as "golden" is the morality as approved by the Catholic hierarchy in the country.
And let's not forget - how can we, when the CBCP reminds us every chance it gets - that a majority of this country identifies itself as Catholic, when asked for religious affiliation.
So why did I LOL?
The question is, how can anyone not laugh at the absurdity highlighted by such a devotion to the so-called Catholic "moral fiber", compared with what is happening around us? After centuries of Catholic "superiority", what moral tempertaure can be felt in this bastion of Christianity in Asia? (Full disclosure: I am not a Catholic.)
We are constantly rated as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
We have priests - supposedly sworn to celibacy - who have sired offspring.
The pictures of priests surrounding former President Macapagal-Arroyo and former Chief Justice Renato Corona speak volumes: their eerie silence while various anomalous, highly questionable transactions happened and blatant disregard for public calls for accountability can render even the sharpest of hearing aids inutile.
We have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Southeast Asia.
You can find vendors selling concoctions that are supposed to induce abortion right outside one of the country's most flocked Catholic churches.
Hundreds of thousands of abortions are performed in the country, every year.
News reports about a dead fetus showing up in a trash can have become staples in broadsheets, they have since desensitized us from the initial shock value.
Journalists are killed left and right in this country, making it one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice this vital profession, moreso in a democracy.
Our jails are packed to the rafters.
We have a mayor overly concerned with the supposedly "satanic" lyrics from a foreign performer, who earned revenue for the city by playing her concert in a place known for its sex dens, with permits to operate issued by the mayor's office.
We have elevated undisciplined behavior into a dubious art: public vehicles that unload passengers in the middle of the road, pedestrians who play roulette with their lives by crossing underneath a pedestrian overpass, throwing our plastic waste and cigarette butts wherever we please, motorists slapping traffic enforcers who try to do their jobs, and policemen who extort money from drivers, to start with.
And who could forget the priests who were satirically referred to as "Mitsubishops", an obvious reference to the car manufacturer, for even more obvious reasons?
Or politicians who like to claim the "high road", when they (1) run in their husband's place because the husband was disqualified from running; (2) post tarpaulins of their faces and supposed projects in public places, as if these were theirs to do so, some of whom even place pictures of their "Chief of Staff", someone who was not even elected; (3) appear in television commercials, and even host morning shows and "amazing" specials, while being a full-time legislator?
How can we not mention a special legislator who thinks nothing of plagiarism, under the pretext that it is not explicitly stated as illegal in our laws, who translates a famous American speech in the vernacular and claims no copying took place, all the while acting like some maligned defender of the "unborn" - yes, you may commence eye-rolling - and perched ever so highly secured in a self proclaimed mantle of superiority?
Given these facts, it becomes hideously indefensible - and indubitably laughable - to oppose the RH Bill on the absurd notion that its approval would cause the country's "Catholic morality" to be under attack.
Again, let me ask Rep. Torres-Gomez: what "moral fiber"?
This country that you claim as "religious" (let's not forget: most people here are Catholics) is so morally bankrupt, it surprises me that you would parade its Catholic credentials in so righteous a manner. One of your religion's recently deceased leaders has proclaimed your faith as "200 years" out of sync with the present time. I think he was even being charitable with that description.
How can a religion that has been described as misogynistic, homophobic and intolerant of any other views other than its own be considered a morality manual, at a time in the world where women are slowly catching up to the opportunities and earning potential of men (some even surpassing the men in "their own game"), where gay people are (glacially) gaining rights, denied for so long, but accorded every other human being, and where religious leaders like the Dalai Lama are saying that religion may no longer be solely sufficient to be the basis for ethical behavior?
In "I Love Lucy", the entire cast seemed to be in suspended ditziness, which is where it got its comic power, but at the end of the day, we know that it's only a show, it's just for fun, and it will end after half an hour.
It cannot be said in this case, where real lives are affected, it's called survival, and the end to suffering is nowhere in sight.