We live in a highly devout and religious country where God's word is considered the highest authority and where the priests of the land can match our government officials in terms of power. It may be even suffice to say that, in this country of ours, God is the president. His devout followers may be the largest interest group in the land and has the power to make or unmake laws. The power to change history as we know it. In the Cross lies the power, and also the problem.
See, the Constitution clearly states that the church should be wholly separated from the state. The church being the spiritual part of a nation and the state as the secular part. The Constitution is clear on it:
"The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable," (Article II, Section 6)and,
"No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights." (Article III, Section 5)
That being said, it is a wonder how easily the church can meddle in the affairs of the state. It then turns out that there are remnants of the Spanish era in our culture namely the cruelty of feudal landlords and the power of the friars. More often than not, these two remnants work together in the further decomposition of the Philippine political system.
I am not saying that the Church is a dirty system. What I am articulating is that there are elements in the Church that uses their power, whether with good or bad intentions, to influence and change this nation's politics. Worse still is the tenacity of other elements within the Church who uses the priesthood in order to advance their own interests and then they hide under the veil of the Church and be protected from any punishment.
Then there lies the bigger problem of religious fanaticism in the country. Here, the devout people will believe almost anything that their Church says. If the Church says that a law or a government initiative should be condemned, then the devout followers will believe their Church and then rally against what their Church hates. Take the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill as an example. As news of the bill gained momentum on the airwaves, the Church hastily condemned it and then rallied their followers in condemning the bill. Their rabid followers obeyed their priests and condemned the bill without even studying it and noting its obvious benefits the country. Because of this, the Philippines lost the chance to have a bill that may alleviate the population problems of the country. Because of the Church's power to influence our politics.
The Philippines is now being pulled into the abyss of religion. Religion is now being entrenched in everything that we do. It might be an overreaction but I think that we are on the cusp of religious brainwashing. I now call for all our readers to use the Constitution as a guide to analyze if the Church's orders are now out of jurisdiction. For example, in the upcoming elections, do not base your decisions only on the advice of your priests. Instead, study the candidates policies and platforms, their competence and experience and then choose. Obeying the Church will only deeply entrench the Church upon Philippine politics and worsen the decomposition of our nation's politics.
We are now at a crossroads of our history and, believe it or not, the Church must not be the one to decide our nation's course.