Beware the God of the Old Testament
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-08-19
As expected, anti RH (Reproductive Health) bill militants immediately grabbed the recent heavy flooding in Metro Manila and other Luzon provinces and called it the “wrath of God” against the pro RH bill advocates. Their heckling is all over social media and commentaries in mainstream media. This “wrath of God” was inspired by instances in the Bible’s Old Testament when God supposedly sent fire and brimstone to punish sinful people.

This “wrath of God” line of reasoning underscores that anti RH bill militants have run short of valid arguments to support their cause. If Senator Tito Sotto is their champion, then their cause is doomed. Sotto’s assertions during his tearful speech against the RH bill became the feast of pro RH bill advocates who immediately pounced on the fallacies, inaccuracies and misinformation that he dished. Sotto claimed that condoms pose health risks. One Facebook friend made a blurb saying: “Senator Sotto, you’re not supposed to swallow condoms.” It went viral.

How can the anti RH bill militants argue when even Pope Benedict XVI had reversed the position of the Catholic Church on the use of condoms and said that condom use is allowed if it is to protect life? The Pope’s reversal on this issue of condoms pulled the rug from under the narrow-minded views of many Catholic Bishops here. It can also be argued that the other methods for responsible parenthood are also protecting lives from suffering abject poverty that dehumanizes peoples’ lives.

The Old Testament inspired the “wrath of God” argument. The instances of violence in the New Testament were comparatively mild — such as Christ upsetting the stalls in the temple and Simon Peter wounding the ear of one of Christ’s arresting party. The God Jesus Christ introduced to us is the opposite of the God of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, we are to love our enemies, even turn the other cheek to them if ever we’re slapped in the face.

The God in the Old Testament has ordered genocide and engaged in demonstrating wrath with fire and brimstone. God cannot be a schizophrenic and so we must follow the God that Jesus Christ introduced to us - the ever loving and forgiving Father, as exemplified in the parable of the prodigal son.

In the Old Testament, the so-called Chosen People claimed to have received marching orders from God to wipe out certain neighbors whose lands and goods they eventually grabbed. Can you believe that the God Christ taught us to address when we pray the Our Father would order genocide and land grabbing? In the post-Christ era, evangelization — not genocide — is the marching order. Evangelization cannot be applied to a race that you just wiped out. You preach evangelization to living folks and not to tombstones.

Obviously, some crafty public relations Book of Genesis writer injected the order to commit genocide in order to justify what is simply a human lust for the land and goods of a neighbor. The “wrath of God” as it is being applied now by the anti RH bill militants is a takeoff from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, twin cities that were said to have been destroyed by an angry God because of their unrepentant ways and persistent debauchery.

Our Jesuit teachers at the Ateneo University were always cautioning us about the Old Testament. They said that the Old Testament mustn’t be taken literally all the time because there are references that only Biblical scholars really appreciate. That to me is Jesuit gobbledygook for — you can’t trust the Old Testament, period! Constrained from admitting perhaps that much of the Old Testament is propaganda that was injected by selfish interests, that was the only way the Jesuits could alert people without calling attention to the fact that the Bible’s Old and New Testaments present different Gods.

The anti RH bill militants act as if they have the sole franchise to God’s truth. Well, that’s the mindset too of the members of the Ku Klux Klan in America and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Nothing’s more dangerous than a man who’s acting on the direct orders from God. This brand of Catholicism is a resurrection of the Pharisees, the great enemies of Christ. It was the arrogance and hypocrisy of the Pharisees that Christ found absolutely unconscionable.
The anti RH bill militants — militants because they’re very few but very rabid and noisy — say that the recent floods were God’s wrath against the RH bill. It’s illogical for God to be angry at an effort to create a society with less want and hunger through responsible parenthood. It’s more logical that God’s wrath would be directed against the modern-day Pharisees who continue to promote and perpetuate the inequities that create so many underprivileged and disenfranchised people in society.

During the recent floods, what have these wealthy Pharisees contributed to alleviate the plight of the victims? In her “The Church of the Poor” article, pro RH bill advocate Elizabeth Angsioco had asserted that the Philippine Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is mega-rich.

Angsioco wrote: “In BPI’s list of its top 100 stockholders as of 31 March 2011, at least eleven were obviously Catholic entities. The worth of these stocks amounts to many billions of pesos (computed at P57.05 per share according to the 27 May PSE Market Information). These were (according to ranking and number of stocks owned):

• 4 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila with 222,843,681 shares worth P12,713,232,001;

• 8 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (Real Casa de Misericordia) with 41,408,841 shares worth P2,362,374,379;

• 13 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (Hospital de San Juan de Dios) with 22,072,182 shares worth P1,259,217,983;

• 15 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (Hospicio de San Jose) with 6,016,624 shares worth P343,248,399;

• 17 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (Hospital de San Juan de Dios) with 4,285,572 shares worth P244,491,882;

• 21 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (Mayordomia dela Catedral) with 2,664,266 shares worth P151,996,375;

• 26 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (St. Paul’s Hospital) with 1,772,418 shares worth P101,116,447;

• 49 Carmel of the Divine Infant Jesus of Prague, Inc (Filipino) with 726,819 shares worth P41,465,024;

• 60 Superior dela Corporacion Filipina de Padres Agustinos Recoletos, Inc. with 551,382 shares worth P31,456,343;

• 64 Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jaro with 491,385 shares worth P28,033,514; and

• 74 Corporacion de Padres Dominicos with 380,307 shares worth P21,696,514.

The staggering amount of RCC money in BPI alone totals P17.3 billion. Add its Philex holdings and the total is P17.5 billion.”

So, where were these Church resources when 2 million Filipinos became victims of severe flooding recently? Do you really think that the wrath of God is directed at pro RH Bill advocates or the reincarnated Pharisees?

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.” 

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