Skip to main content

No room for Church meddling

Editorial
Malaya
June 21, 2010

‘Our officials should keep their piety private. In exchange, the people would let their hypocrisy pass unnoticed.’

THE Catholic hierarchs earlier said they would not accept the invitation of the education department to review the sex education subjects that will be pilot-tested this year. Now, the word is some representatives of the Church would be meeting with educators after all, but this would only be to reiterate its position that sex education is not the business of the schools and should be left exclusively to parents.

If that’s the Church’s stand, the education department might as well declare that its officials are prepared to humor the Church representatives but are determined to implement the order come what may.

Gloria Arroyo herself issued the order for education officials to dialog with Church representatives. She is exiting on June 30, to be succeeded by Noynoy Aquino who has a more enlightened appreciation of the need to address reproductive health. The officials can dribble the ball during the transition.

We have not seen an administration more servile than Gloria’s to the Church. To reciprocate Gloria’s servility, we have not seen the Church more forgiving of a sitting administration’s legal and moral trespasses.

"Sama sama na sila," as the saying goes, with the coming into power of President-elect Noynoy Aquino.

We recognize, of course, the Church’s right to express its stand on any moral issue. Bishops, priests and the laity are after all citizens with a constitutionally guaranteed right to the exercise of free speech.

But the separation of the Church and State, according to the Constitution, should be inviolable. This means, in the Philippine context, not only for the government not to listen to any religious groups but to turn a deaf ear to all of them. The principle of Church-State separation is a reaction to the Church’s – basically through the friars – meddling in governance which reached its peak during the Spanish colonial rule.

(The constitutional principle is meant to stop Church meddling. It is sets a far higher wall on Church-State separation than the "no-establishment" clause in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," the US Constitution says. This is universally interpreted as, at the maximum, a prohibition against favoring any religious group and, at the minimum, a ban against the setting up of any state religion.)

Our officials should keep their piety private. If they did, we the citizens, in exchange, would let their hypocrisy pass unnoticed.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Heart of Summer, a short story

On the first day of April, we moved to a row house in a subdivision carved out of the Antipolo hills. A row house is a nice word for houses that somehow managed to fit into 120-square-meter lots. They looked like matchboxes, really, built near the riverbank. The larger houses, of course, stood grandly at the center of the village, in front of the chapel. We’d be renting the house from the mayor’s mistress, one of three houses she owned there.

The living room of the house spilled over into the kitchen. The house only had two tiny rooms, but it was enough for us. The owner of the apartment we had been renting in Project 4 wrote to us (in pink stationery with the letterhead “Dr. Antonina Raquiza, Ph. D.”) to say that she’d raise the monthly rent to five thousand. If we couldn’t agree to her new terms, we’d have two months to leave. Mama glared at the letter, then said something obscene about our landlady’s father. A day later, she began poring over the ads, looking for cheaper rent in …

A teacher's tales

by Danton Remoto
Remote Control
www.abs-cbn.com/news

I’ve been teaching for 22 years – the longest job I’ve had. This will be my last year of teaching. I will take sabbatical leave beginning April 2009 – a paid leave for one year that senior professors take every seven years, to sleep the sleep of the and come back to school fully energized. But in my case, I will not just sleep and read and gain weight. I will spend my sabbatical leave organizing Ang Ladlad’s campaign, and my own political campaign, for the May 2010 elections.

But because I stayed here longest, that means I love this job. I admire those who’ve spent 30, 40 years teaching without repeating themselves. They’ve taught for 30, 40 different years, not just one year repeated 30, 40 times. Teachers like the now-departed Dr. Doreen G. Fernandez and the retired, but still teaching, Professor Emmanuel “Eric” Torres come to mind. Both have taught with us at the English Department of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Doreen and Eric …

Review of "Pulotgata" The Love Poems"

This is a review of my book that I just read in the Internet today. It was written by Ralph Semino Galan of UST and was published in the Inquirer. It comes in two parts.

Honeymooning with Words, Part I
by Ralph Semino Galan

Love is a favorite subject among Filipino poets, regardless of gender. For despite the influx of modern and postmodern ideologies, the pervasive influence of the Romantic spirit is still prevalent in Philippine literature, especially in poetry. It therefore comes as no surprise that even a gay-identified writer like Danton Remoto has composed extensively verses expressing the intricacies of love and lust, desire and devotion, passion and compassion.

In his third book of poetry aptly titled "Pulotgata: The Love Poems" (Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc, 2004, 88 pages), Remoto delves the depths of the human heart through lyrics in English and Filipino that sing of the anxiety and the excitement, the agony and the ecstasy which accompany the act of love.

The …