27 April 2009

Catholic Church's Irrational Stand

Photo courtesy of justinjovellanos
One of the more laudable bills pending before the Philippine Congress today is the so-called Reproductive Health Bill. It is national in scope, rights-based and provides adequate funding to the population program. Unlike the present set-up, the bill will not anymore depend solely on the initiatives of local government units and consequently, subject the program to the varying strategies of local executives.

The bill will, likewise, promote information on and access to both natural and modern family planning methods, which are medically safe and legally permissible. It will ensure the existence of an enabling environment where women and couples have the freedom of informed choice on the mode of family planning they want to adopt based on their needs, personal convictions and religious beliefs.

The bill covers the following areas:
  1. Information and access to natural and modern family planning;
  2. Maternal, infant and child health and nutrition;
  3. Promotion of breast feeding;
  4. Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications;
  5. Adolescent and youth health;
  6. Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, HIV/AIDS and STDs;
  7. Elimination of violence against women;
  8. Counseling on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health;
  9. Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers;
  10. Male involvement and participation in RH;
  11. Prevention and treatment of infertility; and,
  12. RH education for the youth.
However, the Roman Catholic Church wants the 90 million Filipinos to "take a stand" against the proposed bill. Arguing that it will lead to the promotion of abortion services. The once revered Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is also calling for protests against any integration of reproductive health subjects in the school curriculum. The Catholic Church has already tried to force the present Administration and its allies in Congress Government to delay the approval process of the bill and even said that the current television advertising for condoms demeaned young people by depicting "casual sex on the street corner" and "drunken sex."

This campaign against the bill is all very rich coming from the primary religion in the country that protects pedophiles within its own ranks. There were already several debates in recent years about the need to have a comprehensive program that addresses reproductive rights of women and children and yet, these self-styled dictators, these arrogant Catholic priests, these misogynist luddites, still have the effrontery to pose as arbiters of decency, prattling on about what is moral and truthful to their taste. They could not even correct the historical facts and admit that once in the rich history of this country, the corrupt church exemplifies the application of lies and bad taste. Remember Padre Damaso?

What is more galling is that these so-called moral guardians still have the cheek to try and subvert the democratic legislative process with their Vatican-inspired medieval doctrinal nonsense, which in its own way is every bit as intolerant, pernicious and odious as Islamic fundamentalism. What right or authority do these overdressed clerics have to speak for the women who die everyday because of complications in pregnancy.

If the CBCP or any of their deluded adherents attempt to defy Philippine Constitution on "the separation between the state and the Church" with their arrogant bullshit, then they should be locked up. It is high time that a politic-meddling religion is given much less importance in policy formulation and much less access to government. Better still, bigots using different interpretations of the Bible and twisting it to suit their own interest are told to piss off from the corridors of power and instead concentrate on bringing to justice the child molestors within their own ranks.