Bedrooms are private places

Published by rudy Date posted on March 18, 2011

My deep sympathies to my Japanese friends and the Japanese people generally. What a most horrendous disaster. One can hardly encompass it. Do you realize that the impact is now at the level of the whole Philippine economy for a year? An economy of US$190 billion is being approached by losses in Japan now estimated to exceed US$180 billion. And a recovery that will take many years.

But these are just numbers. It’s the loss of people’s lives that hurts so much. I grieve for the families who’ve lost ones they loved. I grieve for a nation that’s lost so much.

I was asked if I’d write another column on family planning as the barangay (village) council is holding a public hearing Friday on barangay ordinance number 1 that bans the sale of contraceptives in the village. Someone should point out what bigots these people are. I’m happy to do so.

This is an unconstitutional infringement on our private lives and, anyway, is completely unenforceable! If it somehow survives, tomorrow I’ll be the first customer at Mercury Drug in the Commercial Center to buy some condoms—and sign the book. The top lawyers I hire will trash them in court if they try to arrest me.

I suggest they do the only sensible thing and withdraw the ordinance before they become a greater laughing stock of society than they are now. They should then follow that up by resigning; these people don’t deserve to serve us.

What I (and you should, too) vehemently object to is these people trying to impose their myopic views on me. If they don’t want to buy condoms or take contraceptive pills—don’t. I won’t force them to, because I believe we all have a right to our own choices on how we live life. I only wish their parents had used contraceptives.

The Church, of course, is behind all this with its opposition to the family planning bill. It has got to stop. This absurd ordinance by the Barangay Council brings to the fore why. There are 16.1 million Filipinos who are NOT CATHOLICS. They have rights. The government is obligated to look after them as equally as it looks after Catholics. This is a secular state. Let me repeat it for the Bishops who ignore it: This is a secular state. They have no right to impose their beliefs on Muslims, or Protestants, or atheists or anyone except those who’ll listen to them in Church. Even then, it’s a Catholic’s conscience that dictates—not a priest’s admonitions. Some 70 percent of Filipinos, which means also 70 percent of Catholics, want family planning advice and be able to use contraceptives.

Let me remind the bishops that the days of the Inquisition are long gone. Bullying and dictatorial practices will no longer be tolerated. Christ did not dictate to his disciples; he guided them.

The President must stand up to his campaign promise and support a law providing family planning services. He must not be cowered by a bunch of men who know nothing about family life, except vicariously. What do they know about the relationship between a husband and wife? Nothing. How dare they invade the marital bedroom!

I’d like the bishops to explain to me why in other predominantly Catholic countries, the use of modern methods of family planning is allowed. In Spain, for example, the morning-after pill was made available from pharmacies in 2009. Its Health Ministry said the move effectively reduced the number of first-time abortions in the country; here over 500,000 babies are aborted by desperate mothers unable to cope anywhere with the excessive number of children they can’t support. Use of the morning-after pill has been legal in Ireland since 2001. A local health and beauty shop started offering the pill without prescription last January. In Argentina, public hospitals provide the morning-after pill to women for free. Over-the-counter sale of the pill is allowed in Slovakia. In 2000, the French government allowed the distribution of morning-after pills to young women. Obviously in all these examples, day-before pills are common.

Even if I sound like it, I’m not against the Catholic Church; it does much good and is a great comfort to many people. What I’m against is it trying to dictate its beliefs on others. And it’s not the Catholic Church, as the above examples show. It’s Filipino priests. If they can convince the electorate to shift the Philippines from a secular state to a religious one then they’ll have every right to dictate their will. But until then they may not, and certainly may not in the privacy of the bedroom of non-Catholics where they have no right to enter. The government has the obligation to protect this.

The Church has too often dictated its will on the people only to be found wrong afterwards. Condemning Nicolaus Copernicus for his theory that the Earth revolves around the sun is only one of the worst recent examples. But do you know that the Church considered the production of electricity by man with a machine was sacrilegious because only God could create electricity through natural means? One of those, and the one that led to man inventing machines to produce electricity was the Torpedo fish. It looks like a stingray and catches its meals by “electrocuting” other fish. The investigation of this led to the development of the battery. The Church opposed it. We’d still be using candles if the Church of that day had its way. God meant man to enjoy sex without the consequence of a child, otherwise sex would only have been wanted when the woman was “in heat”. Eventually the Filipino Catholic Church will come to recognize this. In the meantime many, many will suffer if we do not stand up to them. The abortions in desperation, the kids malnourished, destined to a life of abject poverty, a life that ends prematurely must stop. Fewer children would help do that. —-Peter Wallace, Manila Standard Today

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