Not a Minority in My Own Country: A Reply To Kit Tatad
For preliminaries: this is a response to two paragraphs of former Sen. Kit Tatad’s response against the Reproductive Health Bill. I have already posted my view on RH – baby-murdering Sodomite that I am (kidding) – although this statement of Sen. Tatad sort of got into me. I quote, in full:
4. Oppressive of religious belief
The bill seeks to tell the Catholic majority not to listen to the Church and to listen to anti-Catholic politicians instead. It seeks to establish a program which Catholic taxpayers will fund in order to attack a doctrine of their faith. Is there a worse despotism? Would the same people do the same thing to the followers of Islam or some politically active religious pressure group?
The pro-RH lobby claims surveys have shown that most Catholic women want to use contraception, regardless of what the Church says about it. It is a desperate attempt to show that right or wrong can now be reduced to what you like or dislike. The truth is never the result of surveys. Contraception is wrong not because the Church has banned it; the Church has banned it because it is wrong. No amount of surveys can change that.
– from “No place for RH bill in our law,”
Former Sen. Francisco S. Tatad
Here we go!
September 30, 2008
You ask those who support the Reproductive Health measure, “Is there a worse despotism?” Mr. Senator, indeed there is.
Sir, this country was founded on the free expression of one’s ideas, of which despotism has no place. For 365 years, an additional 45 years, topped with five more years, this nation was ruled by despots. Despots who used destiny, education, and yes, even faith, to justify our oppression and our silence. Despots who believed that “if you’re not with us, then you’re against us.” Despots who imposed a belief that a free-thinking Filipino should be silenced on the grounds of a silent majority.
Is there a worse despotism? Yes: the so-called “Catholic majority” you invoke in your statement.
As one of the foremost lawmakers in storied history of the Senate, as a faithful and pious follower of the Lord, and as a dutiful taxpayer, I will defend your right to subscribe and evangelize your beliefs. In the same way that I expect you, Sir, to defend this poor 23-year-old writer who does not subscribe to religion yet pays his taxes as dutifully as you do, and his right to state his beliefs publicly.
Mr. Senator, we are a Republic, not a Christian country. Our history as a nation is not a history of Christianity, but a history of oppression. Our ancestors were forced to work at the dockyards, the cotton fields, the gold mines, the tobacco plantations, and the factories. Friars took over the lands of our ancestors, and the Old Rich appropriated the communal lands of the people to turn into haciendas, malls, and subdivisions.
Were our ancestors Catholics? No: they were, first and foremost, slaves in their own country. No amount of surveys can change the fact that our nation was pagan and animistic before we were evangelized, before we talk of God, Jesus, Mary and the Saints with more vigor and piety than Popes and pastors and priests and televangelists.
“Catholic majority,” Mr. Senator? “Anti-Catholic politicians,” Mr. Senator? History is the judge that the very foundations of this nation was not built upon Catholicism, but the struggle against the oppression used to spread and indoctrinate it to our people. Dagohoy, Hermano Pule, Lapu-Lapu, Bonifacio, Aglipay. Our history was a history of resistance where religion was consequential; that though Catholicism was openly accepted by our heroes and our nationalists and our ancestors, oppression – despotism – was not.
The Republic of the Philippines was not founded on a Catholic agenda, but an agenda of solidarity regardless of religion. This Republic – as flawed as it is – gives me the benefit of the doubt that because I am a Filipino, that because I am a taxpayer, that because I am born in the Philippines and raised by Filipinos, I have the right not to be a minority in my own country.
I reiterate: I am not a minority in my own country.
First and foremost, I am a Filipino. I do not pay more taxes, and thus gain more benefits, in rights and privileges enshrined in the Constitution based on my ethnicity or my religion. A sense of right and wrong is something that has been molded in me as I live day by day. I was raised by pious Roman Catholic parents. I was educated by Jesuits. I was schooled in the public school system. I chose to not be a Catholic. Does that, Mr. Senator, make me an ally of the Antichrist? Since when did you cast off your mortal coil and stop short of claiming this country to be “Catholic,” with respect to predominance? Where, in the Philippine Constitution is there a guaranteed clause that gives Catholics special standing in the eyes of the law?
Aren’t Catholic taxpayers already funding things that attack the foundations of their faith? Don’t Catholic taxpayers in part fund PDAF? Weren’t Catholic taxpayers in part paying for fertilizer scams, coco levy scams, telecom scams? Aren’t Catholic taxpayers in part paying for a conflict down South against those who, by doctrine, are not “enemies?” Aren’t Catholic taxpayers in part paying for graft and corruption that results to un-Christian scenes of poverty and hunger in the streets and the far-flung provinces? What is right? What is wrong?
I agree, Mr. Senator: right or wrong cannot be reduced to what you like or dislike. If you do not like this argument, then I cannot be wrong, and if you like your own argument, you cannot be right. Religion is welcome in this country, yet even that cannot speak for the truth. The only glimmering truth in this darkness that swallows us whole is that Our Law does not give you special privileges or places on the basis of your beliefs, of the color of your blood, or the destination of your soul. The laws of the Philippine Republic may be flawed in practice, but in essence, they do not give bearing to anyone.
I write you because I disagree, because I take offense in being labeled “anti-Catholic” on the basis of an advocacy and a belief, of the implication that I am less of a Filipino and a human being, much less undeserving of mercy and humanity, because I believe in RH. I acknowledge your advocacy, and I respect it. I do not acknowledge, and I do not respect, that you – in effect – oppressed me because I do not walk with you in the road to salvation and eternal life.
No one is above the law. Not a Filipino, not a Catholic, and certainly not a Catholic Filipino. There is only one majority here: the majority of taxpayers who are of equal standing in the law, the majority of Filipinos who have the right to dissent, to disagree, and not be minoritized or marginalized on the basis of religion or opinion.
With all due respect, Mr. Senator, Catholicism is not founded on a debate surrounding condoms. The great man who was crucified on that cross on a fateful Friday afternoon 2,000 years ago was, among other things, the minority in his own country.
Is there a “worse despotism,” Sen. Tatad? My respectful answer: yes.