BY PET MELLIZA/ The Beekeeper One need not belabor the wisdom of opting to be an “atheist”, rejecting the diety peddled by Scholasticism, the one it calls “Absolute Being” (AB), or One, Good, Beautiful, True, All Knowing, All Powerful, and what-not. Humanity continues to accumulate knowledge starting from the pre-historic era when humans have to grapple against the forces of nature with their sheer number, crude tools and caves to stave off hunger and protect themselves from predators, storms and heat. Before people learned to fly rockets to the moon, they began from scratch. No super being taught them so. Humanity’s concept of right and wrong, or morality or ethics, also evolved. Human wisdom did not come from a super being which in turn transmitted it to the hierarchy of religion who today arrogate the monopoly of moral values. When the tiny group positioned at the pinnacle of the religion ladder, let’s call it, the hierarchy, ordains that the RH Bill is immoral, it anchors that conclusion to Scholasticism that points to the Absolute Being to have so ruled. The hierarchs are sure of the will of AB because the latter has a mechanism to transmit that divine knowledge to them. Humanity’s capacity to think for itself is tested in history. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, addressing a forum September 15 organized by the Catholics for Reproductive Health at UP Diliman, underscores the growing number of Filipino Catholics who prefer to follow their conscience rather than acquiesce to their hierarchy. Defensor-Santiago, a Doctor in Juridical Science and candidate for Master of Arts in Religious Science, quotes the Social Weather Station which reports in its August 2011 survey that in this predominantly Catholic country, majority favor family planning, whether natural or artificial. Among its findings:
- Eighty-two percent of Filipinos say the method they used in family planning is their “personal choice“ and the world must respect that option.
- Seventy three percent of couples believe that if they planned their family, they would get the information on all legal methods from government.
- Sixty-eight percent of Filipinos insist that government must fund all means of family planning whether natural or artificial.
The RH Bill has been introduced in the files of Congress 10 years ago and its fate is still uncertain. A senator who committed repeatedly acts of plagiarism, lifting verbatim from write-ups of others and twisting them to suit his anti-RH Bill stance, is still on with his filibuster or delivery of kilometric speeches if only to drag deliberations and delay the passage of the law. Be that as it may, other predominantly Catholic countries already solved the impasse and are, to paraphrase Lady Miriam, now laughing at the Philippines, like Italy (whose population is 97% Catholics), Poland (94%), Paraguay (90%), Portugal (90%), Ecuador (90%), Argentina (89%), and Spain (88%) are successful in addressing high population growth rate. Those countries brought down their population growth rate to the average .02 to .05%. At the very least, their respective churches initially fought the bill but in the end, had to bow down to the sovereign will of their people. We have more reasons to be alarmed because our population is pushing past the 100-million mark and our population growth rate remains high at 2.01% of the population. Again, compare this to the .02 to .05% growth rate of fellow Catholic countries. The RH Bill is not about the god of Scholasticism who becomes furious because humanity dares invent means to manage population growth. It’s neither about heaven nor hell: it’s about women asserting their right to their own body, to their health. It’s their own body that is at risk during pregnancy and delivery. When they are treated as baby factories, they are de facto domestic detainees prevented from going out to engage in gainful employment. In other words, when mothers are constrained to stay at home to rear an oversized family, the family itself is deprived of a breadwinner which a woman could have been had the number of children been spaced out. One pro-RH Bill cleric says: the RH Bill is not about faith. It’s about common sense.