Freedom of Religion in the Philippines
Based on Dr. Jose Rizal’s symbolisms on the cover page of Noli Me Tangere, religion is a big influence with the perspective of the people. However, in the future, there will still be the influence of religion, but people are then educated. People stop continuing the old practices because they start to question the logic in doing these practices. This is only proof that even though the Filipino mind is deeply influenced by Christianity, being open to improving and revealing of oneself is not that far away. We can never change history or force someone to change their beliefs, but let the youth be the ones to discover it themselves. The Filipino youth must be allowed to choose their religion. If not, they end up being confused, losing the essence of religion during marriage, and continuously discriminated due to offensive stereotyping. Inclining their personality with the appropriate beliefs will result to a better perspective for living and to discovering their self-identity. Infant Baptism states that it wipes away original sin; this is a sacrament being practiced almost fully in the Philippines. Their parents are already binding them to be devoted to a belief that may or may not be suitable for their child. This is the simplest act of violation to the freedom of religion. What will happen to those children who refuse to believe in the practices that their parents taught them? These children end up being outcast to their society, causing depression that sometimes leads to suicide. Majority of the Filipino population are Christian Catholics. At present, the essence of Christianity has been continuously forgotten by these Catholics themselves. For Christians, the Ten Commandments take on a whole new perspective. But it seems that the Ten Commandments are not followed, showing signs of unfaithfulness or betrayal to their owl religion. Then what is the logical explanation for being baptised as Christians if they are not devoted or loyal to Christianity? Based on their actions, they are clearly violating the Ten Commandments. The First Commandment states that “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have other gods beside me” (Ex 20:2-3; Dt 5:6-7), but to be loyal to their God is to follow His commandments. Unfortunately, there are violating the first commandment without them knowing it. At the same time, the Filipino population has a young population, meaning majority of the community are minors. And in lieu with the majority of Christians in the Philippines, majority of these minors are Christians. Since Filipino Christians are mostly unfamiliar to their religion, they do not practice their religion fully despite that they are born Christians. They are growing to be more confused about their religion, and end up losing the essence of it as they grow older. Marriage is a part of adulthood, and marriage is a holy sacrament practiced by Christians to bond their relationship with the opposite sex, declaring them husband and wife, in the name of God. But do the Christians being wedded nowadays even recognise the essence of being married? Most of them get married to have the right to experience sexual intercourse legally, property rights of the mate, and in the name of love. Not knowing they are already forgetting the essence of getting married in the name of God. The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. Although Christianity was the predominant religion, there is no state religion, and under the Constitution church and State are separate. Muslims were the largest minority religious group in the country. There was widespread debate over the exact size of the Muslim population, as some officials and observers claimed that security concerns in western Mindanao prevented census takers from conducting accurate counts outside urban areas. Estimates ranged from 3.9 million to 7 million, or 5 to 9 % of the...
Bibliography: Agoncillo, Teodoro; Guerrero, Milagros (1970). History of the Filipino People. Malaya Books.
Bacani, Teodoro (1987). The Church and Politics. Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines: Clarentian Publications.
Schumacher, John (1976). Church and State in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Loyola School of Theology, Quezon City.
de la Costa, Horacio; John Schumacher (1976). Church and State: The Philippine Experience. Quezon City, Philippines: Loyola School of Theology.
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