Underestimating faithCebu Daily News
The decision of the Kabataan partylist to withdraw their House Bill 6330 that seeks to ban the presence of religious icons and ceremonies in government offices is a telling reminder to left-wing group that Filipinos are by and large conservative when it comes to the practice of their faith.
The country isn’t known as the “seat of Roman Catholicism in Asia” for nothing.
Whoever in the Kabataan partylist’s ranks thought of that piece of legislation seriously underestimated the strong opposition of the Catholic Church and its members, who count for the majority in this country.
Or maybe HB 6330 was meant to test the waters of Filipino sentiments about the separation of church and state. However, in their explanation, Kabataan partylist proponents said their purpose wasn’t just to reiterate the separation of church and state but to give respect to other religions that don’t use religious icons, perhaps referring to Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists and others.
While Protestant groups don’t agree with acknowledging religious icons, they haven’t been vocal in support for the bill either.
In Cebu, the historic cradle of Catholic faith in the country, local officials considered HB 6330 so absurd as to invite little debate.
With most Cebuano legislators against the Reproductive Health bill, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
In any case, HB 6330 is a throwback to a law proposed and passed in countries which have become more liberal in recent years including the United States, a country founded by Puritan immigrants who broke away from the Church of England.
Examples of the continued social and religious conservatism of Filipinos can be seen in the raging debate over the divorce bill, the Reproductive Health bill, and the aborted entry of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group called Ladlad in the country’s partylist ranks.
Kabataan may have been counting on the Filipinos’ exposure to Western liberalism in floating this bill.
They guessed wrong.
Religous faith is part of the guts and identity of Filipinos.