Having heard the news that a religious leader was displeased with President Noynoy Aquino when the latter did not take all the recommendations of the former for appointive positions in government, a high ranking official of the judiciary exclaimed, “These people are the biggest threat to our democracy!”
I know the man who said this. I believe he is a man of integrity. In his lengthy service to the Republic, there was no report of corruption nor any scandal wherein he was involved. He is a man of reasons and I believe what he said about such religion and their leaders.
On Target : Iglesia ni Cristo displeased with P-Noy?
By Ramon Tulfo / Columnist
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: August 06, 2010
PRESIDENT Noy, in his search for people to fill up key positions in his administration, has allegedly displeased a religious sect that supported him in the last election.
Iglesia ni Cristo’s Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo has allegedly written the President to ignore all his recommendees for some positions in government, according to a source close to Ka Eduardo, as he is known to his flock.
The source claimed that Ka Eduardo had said in his letter that the INC was freeing the President from the pressure of considering people recommended by the church for certain posts in his government.
My source inside the INC said there were positions that Ka Eduardo had asked P-Noy to fill up with persons from the ranks of the INC, but such requests were allegedly ignored.
The source added that the INC head had said that those whom P-Noy has appointed to key positions upon his recommendation can either be removed or they can choose to resign.
One of INC’s recommendees is Director Magtanggol Gatdula of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The source said the religious sect’s withdrawal of support from the Aquino administration is expected to have grave political repercussions for the fledgling administration. ###
I’m glad to know that there are now officials in our country that can notice the danger being posed by religious leaders that dictate who their members should vote for in an election, with the threat that they will be excommunicated if they do not follow! Such an act constitutes a blatant violation of the law of God that prohibits a religious leader to act like a lord to his flock!
I Peter 5:2-3
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.
Such an act also violates the Constitution of the Philippines that states that:
BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881, OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ARTICLE XXII, ELECTION OFFENSES
Section 261. Prohibited Acts. – The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
(d) Coercion of subordinates. –
(1) Any public officer, or any officer of any public or private corporation or association, or any head, superior, or administrator of any religious organization, or any employer or land-owner who coerces or intimidates or compels, or in any manner influence, directly or indirectly, any of his subordinates or members or parishioners or employees or house helpers, tenants, overseers, farm helpers, tillers, or lease holders to aid, campaign or vote for or against any candidate or any aspirant for the nomination or selection of candidates.
This law, if not being ignored, is simply being regarded as a decoration (like jewelries and burloloys of a harlot) by the concerned authorities who should punish violators! There is leniency on the part of the COMELEC, the governing officials, and election candidates, because they take advantage of being favored by the wishes (Read: bloc-vote practice) of these religious leaders, who in turn favor them with an advantage over appointments and contracts in government! There appears to be matching favor for favor between politicians and these religious leaders who are both greedy of power and money! And the result is? A history and a culture of corruption in Philippine politics.
I am also a religious leader with quite a number of followers in the Philippines and around the world. In my 47 years of service to the Church of God, I have never compelled any member to vote for the candidate of my choice, or even threatened them of being excommunicated just because they did not vote for my candidate – after all a politician is not a sufficient reason to cast a member of the true church to hell. A brother in Christ must be loved more than a politician outside the true church.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
The Iglesia ni Manalo (Iglesia ni Cristo) is strictly implementing this wrong practice of dictating to their members whom to vote for in an election. Members are deprived of their constitutional right to vote according to their conscience without any intimidation and coercion. They are also deprived of the Biblical right to choose for themselves.
Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
(Translation: Primary doctrines in the Church of Christ, page 127, written by Eraño G. Manalo. “Do not destroy the unity of the church even in terms of voting or otherwise because it involves sin that merits excommunication from the church.”)
Why is there a threat on our democracy from these practices in religion?
Granting that this religious group has gained grounds being in the majority of Philippine populace, the wish of the leader will be the deciding factor of who will lead the government, thus turning our government from democracy to religious dictatorship, and directly violating the inviolable provision of the Constitution that there must be separation of the church and the state! Simple deduction and undeniably true! I hope that our politicians realize the danger that follows if these practices are not corrected by proving that nobody is above the law including the leader of the largest religion in the country! These leaders must be punished!
Until next time, God willing.
May God Bless the Philippines!