By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
“Your God is not my God, because your God is stupid; mine has a lot of common sense.”
This was how President Rodrigo R. Duterte expressed his disdain on Monday, June 25, toward the Catholic Church, which has been vocal in condemning his administration’s controversial policies, including the nationwide war on drugs.
The President had apparently no qualms about criticizing the Church’s catechism, especially the creation narrative in the Bible’s book of Genesis.
He narrated that in the teaching of the Catholic Church, God placed a snake in the paradise that would later on make Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.“Tell me if I’m wrong. Tell me if I’m wrong when I say it’s a mistake for God to do that,” the President said in his speech in Cagayan de Oro City.
“You created a perfect paradise. You created perfect human beings, two of them. You gave them all. But why did you have to call the snake to bring an apple to Eve and to tempt them both? Why did you have to do that? Now, tell me if it is a perfect God. I will kneel down, kneel down and stretch my hand and ask for forgiveness. Tell me if it is a very poignant story of the history of mankind or it is really a stupid one,” he said further.
Mr. Duterte also took a swipe at embattled Australian nun Patricia Fox who is currently facing a deportation case for allegedly participating in political rallies in the country.
“I can take the insult of a garbage collector or a general or a mayor or anybody else for that matter. What I am asking is that when you do it, you [should be] a Filipino. Why? Because you pay my salary,” he said.
Lawmakers also decried the recent remarks of Mr. Duterte. “It doesn’t contribute anything to policy-making and implementation. It does not really address any important issues… It only divides us even further. However, I appeal to the public to remain vigilant and not lose sight of the important issues that need addressing. Let us not allow President Duterte to distract us with his irrational stream-of-consciousness ramblings,” Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said in a statement.
“May God bless his heart,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto said in a text message to reporters, for his part.
“It is the height of arrogance of power not only to disrespect and spit on an individual’s faith but also to act as though he is a god. Worse, Duterte’s statements betray the nature of his evil mind and is very much consistent with the deceitfulness, heartlessness and ruthlessness of his policies,” Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV said in a phone message to reporters.
Over the last six months, three Catholic priests have been murdered under the Duterte regime.
Fr. Richmond V. Nilo of the Cabanatuan diocese, was shot dead while celebrating mass on June 10 inside a chapel in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija. Other Catholic priests were Marcelito Paez, who was killed in December last year by still unidentified gunmen in Jaen, another town in Nueva Ecija, and Mark Ventura, who was shot to death on the outskirts of Gattaran town in Cagayan last April 29.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), for its part, has appealed to the Philippine National Police (PNP) “to act swiftly in the investigation and to go after the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and bring them to justice.”