“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute -- where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be a Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote… where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope…or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials -- and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all… where all men and all churches are treated as equal -- where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice -- where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind --” --JFK
A few weeks back a man and his confederate, armed with explosives and assault weapons, hijacked a busload of defenseless schoolchildren for a whole day. He threatened to kill everyone on board if the authorities did not give in to his demand – Free education for those children.
What is tragic about this whole affair is that at the end of the day, the PARENTS of the same school children put in harm’s way by that deranged man cheered and applauded what he did to their own flesh and blood. Those same parents hailed him as a HERO.
That is how poor the Philippines is. Our countrymen are willing to make a Hero out of a Sociopath who held a gun pointed at the heads of our own children. The hijacker, they reasoned, only had the noblest intentions for them and their children.
If you think about it, the pathetic sociopath is just like our traditional politicians who proclaim themselves as the long awaited solutions to the Philippines' problems. When they are out of power they all pray that the market will go into recession, that the purchasing power of the local currency will become a joke, and that there will be blood and gore in the streets and hills so that the populace will clamor for change—not for substantial changes in the economic system but changes in those holding the political power. Some politicians literally put a gun into our collective heads by launching power grabs by FORCE which result in instant political and economic downturn described above. (I am an equal opportunity basher here. Both the administration and opposition have been accused of attempting to launch coup d’etats in one way or another)
And when they succeed in grabbing power, they do everything to hold onto it by enriching themselves, their heirs and, by giving a pittance to a few, key supporters in the form of petty cash and transient jobs as employees in the city hall, congress, and Malacanang Palace (the seat of power) which are usually co-terminus with the Politicians they supported during the elections. That’s why they are hailed as Heroes by these supporters. When we see these same supporters interviewed in the tri media, we get the impression that their Idols really are selfless, generous SuperHuman Beings. They give the impression that these hijackers… errr…. Politicians only have the noblest intentions for the country.
This proves that it takes so little to be hailed a Hero in this country. And Politicians hailed as heroes are worshipped. Their faults glossed over and their followers will do their bidding because they believe that any order given by their Idol will benefit the country—even if it means shedding blood (usually their political opponent’s, frequently including innocent blood, and rarely their own)
This is a symptom of the Stockholm Syndrome. The Kidnap Victim starts to identify with the cause of the Kidnapper and eventually, the cause becomes his own.
In a country suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, it is not inconceivable that Religious leaders posturing as God’s appointed mortal shepherds could succeed in using their hold onto their flock to lead them to salvation—especially if salvation is defined as getting elected as a public official.
If a parent could lustily applaud the hijacking of his own child by a man with history of mental imbalance because of the promise of FREE EDUCATION, just imagine what he would do for somebody whom he believes to be Jesus Christ himself, or atleast, his sole representative here on Earth promising ETERNAL SALVATION FOR HIS AND HIS CHILDREN’S IMMORTAL SOUL.
If he could do the most degrading and immoral thing for a Mortal Idol who promised him 6 years of employment at the city hall, Imagine what he will do for a man he believes to be God’s exclusive prophet on earth who promised him Riches not just on Earth but in Paradise too.
This is the reason why I hope, why I pray, that Father Ed Panlilio will be the LAST, the ONLY Religious leader who will DEFECT to the dark side of the FORCE.
But with his imminent election as Governor, a precedent has been made. A taboo broken. And the Most sacred tenet in a democracy has been violated: The separation between church and state has been rent asunder.
IT is not Father Ed Panlilio that I fear would bring about the clash of civilizations and religious strife in the Philippines, but the likes of Ruben Ecleo, Apollo Quiboloy and other religious leaders with fringe beliefs and questionable mental stability.
Father Ed Panlilio is the innocent Pandora who opened the gates to political power to the likes of Ruben Ecleo and Apollo Quiboloy.
I really wish that the circumstances that made him run never existed.
May God Help Us!