Religion and politics in the Philippines

GMA News: Lately, there has been no shortage of press coverage on the religiosity of politicians. The current Vice-President Jejomar Binay projects himself as a devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who does not miss a beat in mentioning the divinity’s name in his speeches and pronouncements. And there is Congressman Manny Pacquiao who now dons the televangelist persona punctuating the speaking circuit with his dream of religious conversion.

Of course, such claims are hardly unique in the chronicles of Philippine politics. Filipino politicians are loyal to their religious faiths either genuinely or nominally. The possibility of a non-religious Filipino politician, I am not sure exists. In fact, I still have to find an elected Filipino politician who is a self-proclaimed atheist or agnostic. I may be wrong.

Nonetheless, the intersection of religion and politics in the Philippines is historically indelible and culturally marked in our experience that renders our psyche vulnerable not only to credulity but consumerism.

In general, when a self-proclaimed Filipino religious leader takes away one’s ability to reason and replace it with fear, superstition, and entertainment, he or she can easily lead people like a sheep to the slaughter.

For me, this is one side of religion in the Philippines that makes people personally and socially credulous—a largely overpowering and unbending collective or charisma directing adherents what to believe, usually appropriating the assumed belief system as a dogma which is divinely inspired and revealed as a sacred text.


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