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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Separation of Church and State, part 2

[Note: This was meant to be a comment to comments in a previous post.  But then when I tried to post it there, I got the following message: "Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters."  Hehe.  =P  Copying it onto Word tells me I am 200 characters in excess.  So maybe it's better to just make a new post and call it part 2.  =P
I will retain the comment as is.  If you wish, you can read the first post and comments here: Separation of Church and State, part 1]

Good day!  =)

I'm sorry I wasn't able to comment back right away.  I had some difficulty in thinking how to reply because the topic expanded a bit beyond the limits I intended.  =P

Francis and Anonymous, you each mentioned points about the RH bill and divorce that I would like to address.  But I did not actually intend for this post to be about them.  One reason for this is because I haven't reviewed the two bills yet, and I want to be able to do so before I make any further comments.  I merely mentioned them here as examples, to illustrate the meaning and application of the phrase "Separation of Church and State".  So I hope you understand if I will limit my comments now to the main topic of this post.  I do plan to make separate posts in the future regarding the RH bill and divorce, and I will address the points you mentioned here when that time comes.  =)

For now, I will concentrate on the 'separation of Church and State'.

bong mentioned Article III, section 5 of our Constitution.  For our reference, this is what it says:

Sec. 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed.  No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

The separation of Church and State is best shown in the first statement of this section.  It means that no law shall be made that is biased for or against any particular religion, whether Catholic, Protestant, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.
Precisely because, as the following statements show, all are free to choose a religion that suits them.  Government can not dictate all its citizens to join a particular religious group.  Therefore, it is expected that the country consists of citizens belonging to different religious groups.  Furthermore, for each citizen to be able to exercise his/her rights, there is no requirement that they belong to any one particular religion.
(Take note that Church, therefore, does not only pertain to the Catholic Church.)

To take another approach, allow me to include here a comment I made on another blog.  It is as follows:

As far as I can tell, from my understanding, there is only one place on earth wherein it is acceptable to have NO separation of Church and State. And that is in the Vatican City.

Because it is a sovereign city-state headed by the Pope himself (head of the Catholic Church), and 100% of its population is Roman Catholic.

Elsewhere, however, I expect there will always be a mixture of various religions, therefore there should definitely always be a separation of church and state to be fair to all the citizens of each country/state.

Two more points I would like to address:

Francis mentioned that "People misunderstands the teachings of the Church because of His fading influence."  This is precisely why I said that the role of the different religious leaders now is to double their efforts in their duty to educate their own respective people regarding their faith, their beliefs, their practices.  That is their duty, their role.  It is not to pressure the government or lawmakers to formulate laws in favor of their own particular religious group's beliefs.

Anonymous seemed to imply (apologies if I misunderstood) that the Church and the State are against each other - "they've never really quite understand each other.. they always argue about the Rights and Wrongs..."  It shouldn't be so, and it isn't really so.  I would like to think that the Church and the State both have the best interests of their people in mind.
It just seems that they are against each other because, as expected, the more vocal members (leaders or otherwise) of the different religious groups stand and fight for their own beliefs, while the government tries to consider even those in other/outside particular religious groups.

And I think that's it for now.  If there are other points that I missed, I will try to get to them next time.  =)

Thanks again for visiting my blog!  =)