Youth Party-list Representative Raymond Palatino Doesn’t Have a Prayer

So Youth Party-list Representative Raymond Palatino introduced a bill banning religious ceremonies and symbols in government buildings and institutions. Palatino states that his bill:

“…just wants to implement the constitutional provision on freedom of religion where the state should remain neutral and cannot favor any religion. There should be no state-sanctioned religious ceremonies”.

Supporters of the proposed bill such as atheists (Surprise! Surprise!) were quick to praise the proposed bill and treated Palatino as some sort of champion of the doctrine of the separation of Church and State.

My atheist friend Jong Atmosfera presented in his article an opinion by US Supreme Court Justice Black stating:

“The Establishment Clause, unlike the Free Exercise Clause, does not depend upon any showing of direct governmental compulsion and is violated by the enactment of laws which establish an official religion whether those laws operate directly to coerce nonobserving individuals or not. This is not to say, of course, that laws officially prescribing a particular form of religious worship do not involve coercion of such individuals. When the power, prestige and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain.”

The last sentence (emphasis mine), I think, stands out. It can be argued that when financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, such as the case of government facilities being allowed to be used for religious purposes at the expense of taxpayers (Yes I realize that maintenance of the facilities do cost taxpayer money.), I can see why there may be an objection.

But let’s put that angle in perspective. A lot of my atheist friends (and detractors) also support advocacies and freedom of expressions that have been funded in whole or in part by taxpayers or at least meant to be funded in whole or in part by taxpayers once in place.

Remember Mideo Cruz and his art “Poleteismo”? Yup, this is the artist who exhibited a poster of Jesus Christ with a wooden penis glued to his face. This exhibit was shown at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and last I heard, the CCP is funded in whole or at least in part by taxpayers. Mideo Cruz was treated as some rock star in the Philippine atheist circles. I don’t remember hearing a huge howl from them against such a display of sacrilege at the expense of taxpayer money.

Another popular advocacy of the Philippine atheists is the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. Of course this RH Bill aims to promote sex education to the public teaching about reproductive health and birth control options. Who do we think will be forking the dough to support the making and presentation of videos or other presentations that show how to, say, put a condom on? Who do we think will be forking the dough to support pep talks about “Family Planning”? You guessed it! The taxpayers! Boy, are we getting good at this! Next correct guess and we can win a toaster oven or a set of steak knives!

I mean really, come on! Why is there such a big objection from atheists on the use of government or taxpayer funds when there seems to be an incidental benefit to religion but everything seems to be A-Ok when it comes to things that offend religious sensibilities? Is this really the kind of country atheists and Raymond Palatino envision? A country with a Constitution that was supposedly established by the sovereign Filipino people with the aid of Almighty God (as stated in the preamble) to be a country where taxpayers will subsidize “artistic” exhibits of religious icons with a wooden penis glued to its face. A country that will generously pay for condoms, other birth control devices and the promotion of planned parenthood but act as a Scrooge when it comes to allowing the use of government facilities (even just for a few lousy minutes) for the people to express their faith? Let’s stop thinking about putting up a crucifix in public buildings because that’s offensive and coercive and violative of people’s rights! It is a far better use of taxpayer money to provide a facility where figures of sexual organs glued on the faces of religious icons can be displayed!

It’s really amazing how the “Establishment Clause” seems to be taken as the most important rule to follow. I find it amazing because some people actually take it hook, line, and sinkers despite their use of it being really flimsy. Firstly, allowing religious ceremonies and religious symbols in public buildings does not establish a religion. Secondly, it is Congress that the Constitution (Art.3. Sec.5) prohibits from making any law that establishes a religion. The Constitutional provision is not about banning the exercise of religion, be it in a public or private setting. The law simply states Congress cannot make a law establishing a State religion, nor can it make a law prohibiting the State from the expression of religion. Allowing religious ceremonies or symbols in public places does not equate to Congress passing an actual law that establishes a religion.

Perhaps Palatino should get real because his bill really doesn’t have a prayer. Perhaps it would be better if he focuses on his actual mandate. You know… to craft laws that actually address the interests of his constituents – the youth. You know…. laws that the youth actually consider to be of paramount importance to them.

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58 Comments on “Youth Party-list Representative Raymond Palatino Doesn’t Have a Prayer”

  1. We have to remember that these Filipino atheists are what we could consider to be the far left as opposed to let’s say the CBCP. While the bishops do blatantly force religion in politics, these atheists also have an agenda up their sleeves; what I like to call the “religion of irreligion”. They may seem like polar opposites, but one may notice that they share the same fundamental; trying to promote a philosophy/ideology that they believe in into mainstream politics.

    Now that the credibility of both sides have been shattered, we can now look at the issues objectively.

    The RH Bill is only as offensive to the catholic faith as following other religions like Islam, INC, Protestantism, etc. since they do criticize Catholicism to some extent. If we were to scrap the RH Bill since it “offends” the catholic faith, then we might as well abolish the other aforementioned religions which of course is unconstitutional.
    Some may argue that this still breaks the law on offending religious feelings. If based on this law, the argument is very weak since the law of offending religious feelings is explicitly for discrediting, criticizing or making fun of the religion/dogma in question and not on the grounds of performing an act that is contrary to the said dogma.
    But even if the law is valid for this argument, the constitution (including the separation clause) as mentioned by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, still trumps laws.

    Government offices and facilities on the other hand, represent the state to the people. As stated in the constitution, no religion shall be established by the state, thus the idea that the state is secular and thereby neutral is implied. By putting up religious figures on display, what kind of message do you think will this convey to the people?

    I do agree that Raymond Palatino wrote a nearsighted bill, but what he has is the closest thing we have right now to fighting the constant violation of the separation clause.

    1. [Now that the credibility of both sides have been shattered, we can now look at the issues objectively.]

      Wow, right after poisoning the well, you now claim that we can look at the issues objectively. How brilliant and rational!

    2. @jem: I agree that these Filipino atheists are left-leaning and they have an agenda in mind as well. But that’s not bad in itself. They have a cause just like any other groups. It is the nature of the cause that I either agree with or disagree with. For instance, I am a proponent of the RH Bill which they strongly advocate. But for this HB 6330 and other similar Bills that gives a taste of just objecting to anything about God under the sun… I’m not so hot for. Anyway, thanks for reading, jem!

      1. I don’t think it’s bad either. Though I don’t agree to either extremes, my opinions are skewed in favor of the freethinkers. I am for free exercise of religion too. But we also have to understand that the state can never show any favor whatsoever to any religion.

        The state is in principle, secular. The idea of a secular state was coined after the abuses of the church against the state and vice versa, and eventually against the people throughout history. In short, religion and politics simply do not mix.

        Say a government agency bought new service vehicles, in most cases they’d hire a priest to “bless” the cars and hold a mass. As mundane as the issue is to most, the equipment in question is public property, property that is owned by non religious or people from different religions. We are all stakeholders in everything the government owns. Although a lot of catholics would agree on having their properties “blessed”, but what about the muslims, the protestants or even the atheists? If the catholic faith is represented, the remaining religions should be represented too. Why not have a protestant “dedication”, a hindu “Vahana puja”, or maybe sacrifice a chicken for whatever religion that would be appropriate for?

        I don’t think it’s ever anything about banning God. It’s just a check to make sure everyone is represented regardless of religion. Which is why the state should have a secular stand on the matter.

        1. @jem: Yes, I prefer being in the middle of the road as well. I have a feeling that somewhere in the middle something sensible may be obtained. There’s just too much noise from both the left and the right that are just so ridiculous.

          I don’t particularly agree that religion and politics do not mix in the absolute sense of it. I think there are times when they can work together. James 1:27, for instance, says that the essence of true religion is taking care of widows and orphans in their troubles. I think the government and the Church can work hand-in-hand on this. I think they are doing this through agencies like the PCSO, although in the PCSO’s case it’s not just widows and orphans that are helped.

          With regards to “blessing” vehicles… well, I too, don’t care too much about it. To me it’s really superstition that plays a big factor on it and one thing about superstition is that it is religion-neutral (meaning superstition does not particularly choose specific religions). So if the Mayor, for instance, calls a priest to “bless” a new cop-car… I won’t make a big stink out of it as long as the Mayor doesn’t object to calls or requests by other folks of other religion to have their crack at their preferred religious expression. It’s not the actual religious expression that is important for me but the right to the religious expression permissible by law. What I mean is, the act of expression has to be within the confines of the law. If a bunch of folks believe that sacrificing the blood of a new-born baby is needed to ensure good luck for the cop-car, they can believe that if they want to believe that. But if they would act on it… that’s where the government draws the line. The law would consider that as murder or homicide or parricide (whatever the appropriate term is) regardless of whether it is a Catholic belief or a Protestant belief or a belief held by worshippers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

          Now regarding the atheists…. Well…. the problem is, as far as the current Cory Constitution is concerned…. I’m afraid the cards are stacked against them. If and when the Charter gets changed, I propose that it doesn’t say that the sovereign Filipino people promulgate it under the aid of “Almighty God” or any reference to the theistic god.

    3. I’m not an atheist, but I wholeheartedly support and admire the intent behind this bill, as do most friends of mine in church and work circles. I’m not sure its correct to paint this issue, as well as the Mideo Cruz issue on which I’ve gone on record as being very strongly on his side, as an atheist vs. catholic thing.

      I for one am proud that we’ve gotten to the point where a lawmaker feels that he can push something like this forward openly. I happily go to mass every Sunday, but feel deeply uneasy about a government that purports to serve/represent the entirety of our populace but then doesn’t bother to respect members of it that may have differing beliefs.

      I also don’t understand those who feel threatened by this bill, as though its an attack on their faith; how insecure/weak would one’s faith have to be if taking a few trinkets out of site somehow compromises it?

      1. @Kenneth: Not intended to paint it as atheist vs Catholics, Ken. I just talked about the atheists because at the time of writing, those are primarily the folks whom I have observed to be wagging pompoms regarding this bill. I’m sure there are non-atheists like yourself who support the bill as well. I’m also sure there are folks insecure about their faith as you mentioned. But I’m not really concerned about that either. What I’m concerned about is outright stifling of the right and freedom of expression (which includes religious expression). Some people have come up with reasonable proposals for this bill and I like that. But the current bill as it is (i.e. outright ban)? Fuhgeddabouddit! 🙂 hehehe Thanks for reading!

    4. Palatino I think did admit somewhere that he was on the left. That time, I decided to take what he says with a grain of salt.

  2. [Firstly, allowing religious ceremonies and religious symbols in public buildings does not establish a religion. Secondly, it is Congress that the Constitution (Art.3. Sec.5) prohibits from making any law that establishes a religion. The Constitutional provision is not about banning the exercise of religion, be it in a public or private setting. The law simply states Congress cannot make a law establishing a State religion, nor can it make a law prohibiting the State from the expression of religion. Allowing religious ceremonies or symbols in public places does not equate to Congress passing an actual law that establishes a religion.]

    The US Supreme Court disagrees with you. In Engel v. Vitale, the court decided that:

    “Because of the prohibition of the First Amendment against the enactment of any law “respecting an establishment of religion,” which is made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment, state officials may not compose an official state prayer and require that it be recited in the public schools of the State at the beginning of each school day – even if the prayer is denominationally neutral and pupils who wish to do so may remain silent or be excused from the room while the prayer is being recited.”

    Now I’m not saying that US Jurisprudence automatically and absolutely determines how Philippine laws should be interpreted. I’m merely saying that the majority opinion of the US Supreme Court weighs more than that of a non-lawyer especially since our establishment clause was copied from the US Constitution.

    1. Addendum:

      I would like to insert “in the absence of Philippine jurisprudence that contradicts Engel v. Vitale” in the last paragraph to make it read:

      Now I’m not saying that US Jurisprudence automatically and absolutely determines how Philippine laws should be interpreted. I’m merely saying that in the absence of Philippine jurisprudence that contradicts Engel v. Vitale, the majority opinion of the US Supreme Court weighs more than that of a non-lawyer especially since our establishment clause was copied from the US Constitution.

      1. I do acknowledge what the majority of the decision of the US SC is, jong. And this non-lawyer is not expecting to convince you either. We just happen to view things differently on this issue. The SC’s decision is what it is. Do I agree with it? No! Do I accept it? Yes. It’s as simple as that. I’m merely stating my objections. Just like the case for former CJ Corona. Do I agree with the Senate tribunal’s judgment? No! But it is what it is. In the way the 2001 coup was legitimized by the SC… you know… when then CJ Davide and AJ Panganiban justified their swearing in of GMA because of “Divine inspiration” from the Bible. Do I think that was full of crap? Of course I do! But the SC gave its blessing and it is what it is…

        Anyway… got another article (I’m sure you’ve read it already). Hope you enjoy that as well. Thanks for reading! 🙂

        1. Okay, I respect your right to your opinion. However, I can’t help but notice that in this article you expressed your opinion as if it’s a fact (take a look at your second-to-the-last paragraph which I quoted in my previous comment). Take note that in law, authority always trumps layman’s logic, and we are often not in the position to interpret the law based on a simple reading of the provision. By the way, in addition to Engel v. Vitale, I can cite Philippine jurisprudence that contradicts your interpretation of the establishment clause where you effectively said that it is limited to prohibiting Congress from passing laws that establish a state religion. In Ang Ladlad v. Comelec, the Supreme Court ruled:

          “We thus find that it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for the COMELEC to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad.”

          Now did Congress pass a law respecting an establishment of religion? No. It wasn’t even Congress who violated the (non)establishment clause, but Comelec. That’s why I believe it’s not enough to simply state one’s opinion on legal matters and say, “Well, that’s just my opinion and we view things differently” – especially when writing those opinions outside your personal blog. Surely, GRP deserves much more than that.

        2. Well facts are facts but you know (I presume) that facts tend to be interpreted in a manner that sustains one’s belief, right? Very much like how the US SC Justices used President Jefferson’s “Wall of Separation” as fact to sustain their belief that religion has totally no place in government. Look, jong, we are not talking about whether my opinions have authority over the SC Justice’s opinion. I perfectly submit that they are Michael Jackson and I am merely Tito. But in my assessment of the issue at hand, I choose to go outside of the appeal to authority. Now, with regards to the Ladlad case, I was a vocal opposition to the Comelec ruling and I didn’t need the SC’s judgment to arrive at my opinion why I find that Comelec ruling full of crap. Comelec was dumb to justify their ruling primarily based on the Bible. I draw the line when religion starts to dictate government policy. I think raising strong objections against religious infringement is justified when religionists start to impose their exclusivist religious stance that would severely impact the entire public. For instance, the Catholic imposition of their religious belief on the sanctity of life (which they claim starts from conception) in order to prevent the government from establishing public policies that would enable the entire public access to informed choices on responsible parenthood, is objectionable for me. When right-wing conservative Christians try to block government funding for embryonic stem cell research or provision of artificial contraceptives to people, this is objectionable for me. When religionists try to block divorce for reasons mainly premised on their religious beliefs, this is objectionable for me. When the government decides to deny congressional party list representation for homosexuals, specifically because of religious injunctions or beliefs, this is objectionable for me as well. But to prevent people for having a few lousy minutes of expressing their faith in public places and for banning religious symbols where people can get divine inspiration from? That is a little bit too much for me.

          Now, if you have a problem with what I said about us merely viewing things differently, then there’s nothing much I can do about your sentiments. I can write more lengthy dissertations on my point of view but I really don’t see much of a point there since you look at me as just a non-lawyer anyway and you give more weight to the authority of the opinions of the SC justices. I don’t recall any rules imposed here at the GRP mandating me to prove that my opinion weighs more heavily than another person’s, especially SC Justices. That’s above my pay grade, jong. 🙂

        3. First let me apologize if my tone was too harsh especially since I consider you as my friend. I do not look at you merely as a non-lawyer considering that I’m a non-lawyer myself. All I’m saying is that when we non-lawyers write about legal matters, I believe it’s only proper that we first try to check existing jurisprudence before blurting out our opinions and presenting them as facts (or sounding like we’re presenting them as facts) like what you did in your interpretation of the establishment clause where you effectively said that it’s limited to prohibiting Congress from passing laws that establish a religion. I cited the Ang Ladlad v. Comelec jurisprudence to show that that isn’t the case. And even if GRP has no rules mandating you to prove that your opinion weighs more heavily than another person’s, what I’m saying is that the readers of the GRP blog deserve to read legal opinions that are based on a modicum of research.

      2. Jong, buddy… that’s okay. Ever wonder why I kept you on my list of friends after I left FF and PATAS? Because I like you and I do respect your thoughts. We may not agree on things (especially in politics) but that’s okay. See, jong, I think you know (or at least I’m assuming that you do) that writing styles are different. I write according to current inspiration and mood. I have written articles before bombarded with facts complete with a thorough research and a pantheon of authoritative sources / references. Some people love that, some people find that dry and boring. I have also written articles full of rhetoric and humor with a sarcastic flavor. Some people love that, some people hate it. I have written articles as well that stress logical structures to prove a point. Again, some people love it, some don’t. Readers here at GRP vary in tastes…. in the same token, I also write in different ways depending on the current mood I’m in when I’m writing. Cheers, bro! 🙂

  3. No, sorry, I agree with the intent of the bill and disagree with your article. Religion has no place in government, full stop. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I attend a meeting at a government agency, I sure as hell don’t intend to throw my hands up and wait for the positive vibes from an imaginary man living in the clouds to guide my business, as the prayer that is always offered before any work can start, and which assumes everyone in the room is a Catholic or at least a Christian, suggests I do.

    1. Hi BenK, it’s okay man…. It’s okay if you disagree with my article. I also don’t believe that the injunctions of religion ought to dictate the laws of the State. What I am saying, though, is that under the current Cory Constitution, there is not much that can be done to defang religion. The Cory Constitution has a built-in mechanism that protects religion and belief in this “imaginary man living in the clouds” whom you do not want to throw your hands up to. If we want to really get religion to butt-out of our laws then I’d say let’s change the Constitution and get rid of any references to “Almighty God”.

      Thanks for reading, man! 🙂

      1. Well, Hector, here’s the problem as I see it:

        This is what Art. 3, Sec. 5 says exactly (I know you know this, but for the benefit of those who couldn’t be assed to go look it up):

        “Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”

        Now, who was the Bill of Rights written for? Are the people guaranteed “the free exercise of religious profession and worship”? Certainly. But is the State? Well, that’s kind of tricky, isn’t it? If the state does so (such as this picture from the lobby of the COMELEC in another article on this topic), might that not infringe on some person’s right to do the same, or rather, imply that a “religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights”?

        I think it might, because the relevant passage also says, “without discrimination or preference”. Tell me that a giant flaming-heart Jesus standing in the lobby of the COMELEC does not indicate a “preference”. So in order to comply with the Constitution, the State would, if the objection was raised, have to provide equal space for anyone else’s expression of religious faith — including those who express the absence of it. That doesn’t seem very practical.

        OR, because the relevant article (presumably) address the rights of citizens and not the State, Congress could pass the bill without fear of violating the Constitution. Which seems a lot more practical — “Take it outside, people”.

        That won’t happen, of course, because this country is a Catholic quasi-theocracy and Mr. Palatino has all the political traction of a hat-check clerk at an ice rink. Which is just another demonstration that the popular reality is not always — in fact, not very often at all — the right one.

        1. Hi BenK, much of my take on what you said are in my next article. It’s in my blog already but I just haven’t had the chance to craft the GRP version. So if you want to know what my take is right now, please feel free to visit my blog. Alternatively, you can also wait for the GRP version and we’ll discuss further then. I’ll leave it up to you. But I do like your comment about Palatino… that “he has all the political-traction of a hat-check clerk at an ice rink”. 🙂 hehehe Perhaps if he can get upgraded to the Zamboni guy, he might have a chance! 🙂 hahaha Take care!

        2. Feel free to drag along my comment I left over there if you post that article here, in fact, you’d be doing me a favor as I won’t have to repeat myself (didn’t save a copy).

  4. I fully support Palatino’s bill. The impression that atheist/non-believers are part of that “ideological” representation is totally unfounded and ridiculous because most of us still believe and perceive things according to the dictates of our religion that makes us believe but prevents us to know.

    1. Well, I would disagree, alconce. These atheists who trumpet the Palatino Bill (and any other Bills that are construed as an attack or objection to anything about God under the sun) come as a bunch of ideologues to me. (Even leftist ideologues, in my book) But that is another different topic. Anyway, thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. Hector. This is what I got from reading your piece. ” I am for freedom of speech as long as it agrees with my point of view “. It’s not about leveling the playing field but still about pushing an agenda. Double standard. Thanks!

    1. Yep… double standard. There’s a big stink about using taxpayer money to spend for having religious ceremonies and symbols in government buildings but it is A-Ok when it comes to forking ought the dough for things that offend religious sensibilities like providing a place to exhibit that art with a wooden penis on Jesus Christ’s face. Boo for religious expression… yahoo for blasphemy! Anyway, thanks for reading, Gogs! 🙂

      1. I agree with that much, I thought the decision to display Mideo Cruz’s work in a publicly-support venue was way out of line. I don’t think the intent of religious imagery — respectful or intentionally provocative — makes much difference; If it’s not in the wrong place, it can’t possibly offend anyone.

  6. Hey, totally off the subject, but how is it that there’s a “youth” partylist? Since when are youth in this country (a country with a median age of 22.9 years) a “marginalized sector”?

      1. I would love to read your opinion about Ang ProLife vying for a representation in Philippine Congress….

        Rumours abound that they are no more than just puppets of the CBCP.

        1. @Aisha_Goddess: Hmmm… your moniker sounds familiar. Where have I seen you before? The FF? PATAS? Anyway.. “AngProLife” party-list? Just another case of how flawed the party-list system is in the Philippines. If we can get a party-list representation for tricycle drivers and security guards… why don’t we have one for the Zamboni guy at ice skating rinks? I’m sure there are more tricycle drivers and security guards in the Philippines than Zamboni drivers. The Zamboni guys are much more under-represented in my book. 🙂 hehehe Thanks for reading!

  7. I agree with some parts of the bill and disagree with some.

    1) I disagree holding masses or any non-work related event in Gov’t offices during 8-5 pm. If they want a mass, do it out of office time.

    2) As for the funds, those are under the discretion of the head of the office. Others will protest but I simply do not care. I think it’s a waste of resources but Gov’t workers are not robots, we should cut them some slack, especially when it (waste of money) can improve morale and/or performance.

    3) Icons/statues/pictures are fine with me, as long as they’re confined to desks and can be easily moved and hidden; Just in case someone gets offended and gets radical or violent, a little apology may be made and the item may be hidden from view to ease the tension.

    4) Again, I’m not as concerned with my taxes as some people are when it comes to religious sensibilities. I think the Mideo Cruz thing is forgivable because no one forced anyone to go to CCP and see the exhibit. In contrast, we all need to go to government offices at least once in our life so people will see these things and some will be offended.

    5) As for the RH Bill, I fully agree with using the money I earned and gave to the Gov’t for RH purposes, especially the education-related provisions. After all, knowing is half the battle.

  8. If you believe in a God. You can pray from your heart, anywhere, anytime. Nobody can prevent you from thinking…keeping your prayers for a few minutes. If they haul you in jail…then, pray in jail. What you believe is your business. What you do not believe, is also your business…I am more concerned with Politicians, who use religion; to deceive people. To get votes. And to get block votes from certain religion. Religion is not used as a means of worship; or to find our ways to the Divine. But , are used in a perverted political way…

    1. One of the best comments so far along with K3. That is the point. Then if you want such a bill, I prefer to be revised in a way K3 sees it. Any law requires to support JUSTICE FOR ALL. I may be religious but I see the point that the Congressman is talking yet the current format of the proposed bill is not at the interest of fairness. Even if there are biases, I believe that just judgement must prevail not for the sake of “leveling the field” per se but to allow personal choices for people as it is the exercise of freedom.

    2. you can pray from the heart privately but you can also fly planes into buildings. then you become everyone’s business

      1. It’s the Islamic Dogma of “Martyrdom” that caused this. You kill the “Infidels”, then you’ll have rewards in Paradise of 72 virgins, and 72 mansions. It was used by the Islamic Hordes conquering Europe. To win wars; and to make their warriors sacrifice for the sake of Islam…unfortunately: it has a “hangover”, up to our present time…

    1. Sure, Religion and Politics is a witch brew…a noxious one…look at what we got. Cory Aquino used Religion to gain power…

  9. One of the questions I haven’t really heard asked: Are those who oppose the bill doing so because they are afraid it’s an attack on their religion, or is it because as balat-sibuyas Pinoys they think they’re being victimized again?

    Religion is a personal thing. Darn right too that the state shouldn’t be sponsoring any one as the official religion.

    Maybe Mong Palatino had a good intention, but something got lost in translation. What I do believe, though, is that since religion is a personal thing, then it must be kept just that – to oneself. Once you work in any public office which is not related to a religious group, then you must present an image to your clients and customers one which is irrespective of it. After all, how you present yourself reflects on your company.

  10. an actual example why i support the bill:

    a BIR office in my city… doesn’t observe lunch breaks to cater to the public, but there’s a long line of people that hasn’t moved for an hour because the staff is having a prayer meeting.

    1. Don’t blame it on the prayer meeting. Blame it on the lack of proper management to have the prayer meeting some other time or to forget having someone keep the line moving.

  11. 1) If the Bill prohibits Religious services on public and government domain nunc et semper, I will say NO to it for it is contra constitutionem, Article 3 sec. 5, BUT if it only prohibits in Government offices ON HOURS dedicated in serving the people then I’m OK with it since there is time to pray and time to work (Ora et labore) I myself wouldn’t want to wait for government officials in prayer meeting on office hours.

    2) The constitution upholds “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship” so that means I am free to exercise and to profess my religion, so if I put an icon of our Lord in my office then it’s my right as per constitution, If a mayor put a life size image of our Lord does it go against the “without discrimination or preference” clause? why? does the mayor represent the state? No! if the Government proclaim that Catholic will be the official religion and none other, then that IS “Discrimination or preference” because it is the state itself. but if a mayor in his own accord, free will and belief, put an icon of our Lord, the Koran etc. then it is his right as a citizen of this Country. Well if you don’t like it you can have it removed (and by the way, aren’t those icons there to remind us that we are serving God by serving the people, that we must comply to the oath that we made, how ironic it is that we’re afraid to offend other people while this “other people” are offending us by not respecting our belief)

    1. Yes, in fact, the Mayor does represent the State. Explain how he does not. If he puts a BVM in his house, he’s representing himself. If he puts one in city hall — where he is an elected steward and not the owner — that’s a different story.

    2. I agree with that quoting of the 1987 Constitution. Palatino’s bill stands to violate it.

      And Art. 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, TO MANIFEST HIS RELIGION or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

      1. I think the Constitution’s “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed,” expressly forbids banning religious activities in even government office.

        It however does not ban regulating such activities if it seems needed.

  12. I think Palatino should reword his bill to just say, prohibit government sponsorship of religious activities, or prohibit using one’s position in the office to COMPEL other people to take part in such activities, or something like that. I believe compulsion is what the non-religious people are against.

    There are situations like a group of worshippers from the same denomination in the office would like to have a prayer meeting in there since that’s the most convenient place for it, and going somewhere else is too inconvenient and expensive. They can just stay in a small function room after office hours and probably just pay rent for the facility through a salary deduction. But if they use the government office just for that, it’s fine with me. Imagine atheists in the same office wanting to meet in the office to discuss their own agenda. It should be fair.

    The scenario is like what K3 says: if a person puts a crucifix on his desk and someone hates it, I prefer that the hater shut up. The crucifix is the person’s private property and they have the right to display it on the desk, which is their desk after all. After all, they are not compelling anyone to pray to the crucifix. And there are some people who may pray privately at their desks, without disturbing anyone. If the Palatino wants this banned, I am against it; it is unfair, in addition to violating the bill of rights and even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    One agenda I now see in the bill is to attack religion, with the intent of eliminating it from somewhere. This would mean dominance of the anti-religious faction and it would be a hypocritical state of affairs, since the anti-religionists are the one seizing dominance. I frown on this intent of some atheists and staunch anti-religionists to eliminate religion from the world, because that is a stupid pipe dream and it also reflects a selfish, genocidal tendency, as it involves eliminating something other people have a right too, legally. Well, in this one, this is my opinion.

    1. Reminds me of a certain someone in the GRPC who hated religion so much… If ever he assumes power, my first guess as to what he’d do would be to purge PH of religion a la Stalin. In that case, I’ll probably be among the first Martyrs if not the first Underground.

      Frankly, I’m surprised he hasn’t acted on his hatred and killed people just because they go to church.

  13. Hold on. I think I have an idea how this bill got started.

    I think Palatino or some other atheist he knows ran into a charismatic or some of those types BenK describes as waving hands and getting emotional when they worship. When those guys found they ran into an atheist, they probably got into an argument, or one of the charismatics did one of those “pray-over” things on the atheist, or said the atheist is going to hell and all that… you know. Yes, that is PRETTY ANNOYING.

    I’ll admit, I also dislike the charismatic form of worship and I think those worshippers acted stupidly if that happened. Thing is, making a bill to ban religion just because of this is mighty PETTY, if ya ask me.

    I think another catalyst might have been the masses being held at the Supreme Court for Corona. I wonder if those who support Palatino’s bill were also for the ouster of Corona, or have that connection somewhere. Well, for me, why the hell are you going to ban the masses if they didn’t work anyway?

    And if Palatino and his ilk get their way, looks like the chaplain will disappear.

  14. I work in an international organization that champions religious liberty, or free expression of faith. I go to countries where ethnic and religious minorities do not have it. Yes, even in countries that are self-proclaimed secular and atheists, where there is not a single religious symbol inside their public halls–not even a shadow.

    Yet, minorities suffer atrocities everday in those countries. I’ve sat with the victims and heard their stories.

    If Rep. Palatino is really serious about free expression, He should pull out his proposal, study harder, go to places where I’ve been, and start thinking of solutions that are more fundamental…

    ….because it doesn’t matter whether the Congress dons a cross on its walls or not, as long as the State and its people are steeped in bigotry and intolerance, and are unwilling to listen.

    1. Latest news is he pulled it out. I hope he rewrites it akin to what I suggested. Just ban COMPULSION OF OTHERS, and set guidelines on how religious groups may act within government institutions. That is enough.

  15. I do not get your sense here. I am sorry.

    For the bills of Palatino that really concern the youth, the party-list has a website. You can check for your reference.

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