Aren’t we an “un-Christian” nation?
HIGH GROUND By William M. Esposo 2006-04-10
The 7-up Bottling Company gained headway in the 1960s in narrowing the gap with market leader Coca Cola by taking the bull by the horns and proudly touting itself as the ‘uncola’. Maybe we ought to try something similar to that in the Philippines. Maybe we should admit the truth and call ourselves the “un-Christian” nation of Asia. Maybe by knowing and admitting the truth about ourselves, we can start to find solutions to our problems.
The Philippines has always taken pride in being the only Christian country in Asia, with about 85% of Filipinos being Roman Catholics. The Christian tradition has been with Filipinos since 1521 but is essential Christianity manifested in our people and their ways? We want to credit ourselves for being the only predominantly Christian nation in Asia—but is this really something we should be proud about?

I am not the first and I will not be the last to ask those questions. I’ve heard many foreigners and Filipinos ask those questions before—even Catholic priests want to know. They all want to know the reason for the huge and growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. They want to know the explanation for all the apathy in the midst of so much greed, exploitation and materialism.

A mostly church-going elite class which accounts for 3% or less of the population controls over 85% of the nation’s wealth. Within the entrenched opulence of their posh exclusive villages, they relate with the neighbors close by or those others who are similarly situated in economic status. But the suffering and impoverished 40 million other Filipinos outside of their secure enclaves are hardly people they can identify with as neighbors—certainly not those they would like to love as they love themselves, in keeping with the second of the two greatest commandments of Jesus Christ.

How can the Philippine middle class be so apathetic to the grave moral issues that hound the country’s leadership and institutions? Why can’t our middle class even fulfill that sector’s traditional role of promoting reform and serving as the nation’s conscience? Why the obsession with finding a seat in the elite club, even if this will be done by hook or by crook?

How come Filipino mothers who profess devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who unquestioningly accepted her Son’s fate in Calvary—tend to selfishly protect their children from giving themselves in patriotic duty to country when so needed? Many Filipino mothers are inclined to prevent their sons and daughters from becoming involved in public demonstrations, even if these concern very serious national issues.

How can many Filipino businessmen be so greedy and opportunistic? How can drug companies overseas sell their medicines at much lower prices to more affluent societies and yet their local Filipino counterparts allow the sale of the same products at such murderous prices to our health-poor and resource-poor people? How come our bankers are more inclined to lending money to those who least need it, and leave out the poor and the desperate to resort to loan sharks to fund livelihood projects?

How can so-called Filipino public servants get involved in such enormous plunder of the people’s money when they know fully well the socio-economic conditions of the country? Didn’t Christ teach us that stealing a coin from a poor man is a far worse offense in the eyes of God than stealing a bag of gold from a rich man?

How can a so-called Christian nation be so divided when their faith promotes love for even one’s enemy? How can a Christian nation be such a violent society? How can a Christian nation have so many predators across all classes of society? Christ is symbolized by the lamb yet here many of His so-called followers have adopted the ways of the predatory wolves.

How can a graduate from a revered Jesuit educational institution that molds its students to be a “man for others” and soar to heights like a Blue Eagle end up becoming a Blue Vulture?

How can a Catholic candidate for election who knows fully well that the voice of the people is the voice of God—steal an election and the people’s right to appoint public officials who they feel will best deliver their hopes and aspirations?

How can elective officials behave in such glaring disloyalty to their sworn duties and obligations to their constituencies in pursuit of their own selfish agendas, mindless of survey data that bare the people’s sentiments and positions on specific issues?

Jesus Christ said that “Not all who cry Lord, Lord loves me but those who follow my commandments.” How can known plunderers, election cheaters, liars and fornicators openly receive Holy Communion and even flaunt this on media—especially when they have not even begun to repent and mend their sinful ways?

How can those who are tasked with the administration of justice be the very propagators of injustice—the bearers of false witness, the misuses of the law to repress and criminalize basic rights of the people to peaceful assembly and free speech? It is bad enough to be a Pontius Pilate, to cop out and not to take a stand. It is unforgivable when those who administer the law behave like the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin that plotted the false charges for which Jesus Christ was crucified.

How can the Catholic Church be so passive to the open violation of the people’s basic rights under the present climate of repression? How can the very Churchmen who are dedicated to propagating the essential teachings of Jesus Christ be divided on such issues as the subversion of the truth, the stealing of a national election and the exploitation of the under privileged? How can those who profess to represent the greatest revolutionary of history be so reactionary in the face of such abuse of authority and the arrogance of those who hold and control the levers of power?

Jesus Christ said that “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto me.” That is essentially the Christian message of love. Man cannot be expected to love God who he does not see when he cannot even love the man he can see.

Yet in our so-called Christian country, how much have we really loved the least of our brethren?

When will the crucifixion of the Filipino masses end? Will they ever enjoy the experience of an Easter of economic salvation?

Lenten reflections of a Christian advocate for truth.

You may email William M. Esposo at:

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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