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> Should Christians Campaign Against Communists?
fray torquemada
post Apr 9 2007, 12:14 PM
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A recent opinion in inquirer.net posed the question on Christians versus Communists; http://business.inquirer.net/money/columns...rticle_id=59243

Given the penchant for overly nuanced analysis by my fellow ateneans, the quite simplistic dichotomy is bound to be fileted into a thousand pieces...but it's worth a try...even when my great Jesuit mentors have constantly (and even successfully) blurred the difference between Christian thought and Marxism.

This post has been edited by fray torquemada: Apr 9 2007, 12:24 PM
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post Apr 9 2007, 08:40 PM
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Let's discuss the article.

Christians should openly campaign vs communists

By Honesto General
Last updated 11:41pm (Mla time) 04/08/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- THE CATHOLIC Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) gives guidelines on how the faithful should vote in the May elections. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has a prayer adapted from St. Francis of Assisi, and 10 commandments for voters.

The Protestant churches will not endorse openly any candidate. The Iglesia ni Kristo will again make a deal with politicians with deep pockets. Mike Velarde says he will endorse some senatorial candidates. Eli Soriano will be too busy quoting the Bible to bother with the elections. Apollo Quiboloy, Son of God, will be above it all.
Note how the author sets his argument with an illustration of concessions made by members of the Church in relation to politics.

I have no quarrel with churches, Catholic and Mainline Protestant alike, and any other Christian sects, when they make such a passive stance on how the faithful should vote in the May elections.

This is carried over to this paragraph.

But they should campaign openly and intensely against such party-list groups like Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, Gabriel, Akbayan, and Partido nang Manggagawa, which are clearly and unabashedly communist organizations.
The author here presupposes as fact, without any basis or incontrovertible proof, that the groups he listed are "clearly and unabashedly communist organizations." He simply makes this throwaway statement, presuming its truth. He does not seem to be tolerant of the idea that these organizations can be left-leaning, but not necessarily communist.

Communism denies the very existence of God, and believes that religion is the opiate of the masses. Why then should the Christian churches NOT campaign against communist candidates?

That's it? That's the problem? History seems to show that no regime has ever stood up to the blossoming of religion, especially if that religion has a cross and a man named Jesus involved. But the problem of Communism with God and religion hardly seems to be, at least as far as this part is concerned, to be any real cause for political concern.

Besides, Jesus loves communists too. Hehehe.

In 1947, the Communist Party was poised to take over the Italian Parliament. The Catholic Church openly waged a campaign against the communists. First, the Pope excommunicated the leaders. Then, priests and bishops delivered fiery speeches, not only from the pulpit, but also in public squares. The Italian-Americans in the States wrote their families back home to vote against the Communists. The Communist Party was routed and, to this day, has not recovered from that ignominious defeat.
Context, context, context. This was after WWII, and pre-Vatican II.

All over Western Europe, the Catholic Church has always been openly and vigorously against communist parties. To this day, the Church has not allowed communist parties to flourish outside the former USSR and the satellite countries.

Here in the Philippines, the Catholic Church has been unusually tolerant of communist groups. Such an attitude is downright sinful.

Downright sinful? How so?

As a result, the communists have flourished in the only Christian nation in the Far East. There are no communist parties in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Suharto slaughtered 200,000 Indonesian communists.
Does this mean the Church should also tolerate the slaughtering of communists? I thought human life was a value upheld by the Church.

What makes the Philippine communist party really abhorrent is that it has an army, the NPA, which the US and EU has formally tagged as a terrorist organization.

It has an army. The question's political, not exactly religious.

The communists insist their political struggle is entirely independent of the armed struggle. This is a myth. Every year, the NPA extorts millions of pesos in so-called revolutionary tax from the poorest of our rural folk. The money is used to finance the political struggle in the cities.
What political struggle in the cities?

If the armed struggle succeeds, and a communist system is installed, the Catholic and Protestant churches will suffer a terrible oppression. Mike Velarde will not be able to spin his magic. Iglesia ni Kristo may have to close down. Eli Soriano and Apollo Quiboloy will not be allowed to preach.

Again, no proof or reasoning. Illogical.

I suspect some Catholic priests and Protestant pastors are not only communist coddlers but are actually card-carrying communists. They should be excommunicated. One cannot be a Christian and a Communist at the same time.
This is bullshit. One can be a Christian and a Communist. I bet a whole lot of communists in the Philippines are still devout Christians. Differences in political ideology do not determine whether one is Christian or not.

The Catholic Church should spearhead a crusade by all Christian Churches to wipe out communists in this country. The faithful must be prohibited, under pain of mortal sin, from taking part in any public rallies organized by the communists.

No reason is properly stated. No elucidation.

And clearly, the author has no idea what mortal sin is. A little reading on the fundamental option, for example should help.

Finally, the faithful must be enjoined, under pain of mortal sin, NOT to vote for communist party-list groups like Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, Gabriela, Akbayan and Partido ng Manggagawa. This crusade cannot fail.


The main problem with the article is that it oversimplifies the subject matter at hand, and makes careless, throwaway comments with practically no justification whatsoever.

My take on it is is that the Church should be able to carefully discern the existence of communism in a context like ours, and ask the faithful to contribute to the discernment.

At large, Communism's practically dead. And I don't see how relevant it is in light of the Church's social teachings today.
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post Apr 11 2007, 03:54 PM
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fray, blooded:

not having had the benefit (or curse) of several semesters of theo and ateneo-style philo (a la ferriols) in diliman, i can only relate vicariously through discussions i had with my sister and brother who opted to stay on (the brother, at least! (IMG:http://atenista.net/forums/style_emoticons/default/laugh.gif) ) in the ateneo for college. also, later years in diliman in the thick of the political campaigns for the university student council -- during which debates in smaller groups and drinking sessions ended up in exchanges about marxism and its symbiosis with the theology of liberation -- furthered my erudition in this area.

first things first: in the course of my stay at UP, i came to understand that certain groups truly did operate as above-ground (as opposed to underground) or what are called "open-and-legal" fronts of underground organizations. i emphasize "fronts" because that is the terminology the underground left uses to refer to such groups -- a mirror image, if you will, of such underground groups.

now is this bad per se? in a society that is open and free, it wouldn't make sense to have groups operating underground. what for? diba? and that's where i have some discomfort with branding groups as such -- leftist, radical, etc. granted that they are, in a free market of ideas, they would have the obligation to come out and try to "sell" their beliefs (philosophy, ideology, politics, etc.) to the public. i'd like to believe that what we restored back in 1986 is a constitutional democracy that allows for the free discourse and exchange of such ideas.

the left would counter that that democracy is "elite" democracy because it merely restored an oligarchy that had spent the martial law years in exile. granted that it is, wouldn't it be to their interest to use the space allowed by that democracy-- through elections, the media (free speech, free press), etc. -- to try and garner support for its cause? that is, if it's a cause worth supporting in the first place? blooded's right in that regard: marxism and the socialism it espouses was consigned to the dustbin of history years ago, beginning with the tearing down of the berlin wall and then with the tiananmen massacre.

on the other hand, the conservatives or those on the right would also counter, just as stridently, that such benefits of democracy shouldn't be given to those who would undermine that democracy. but that, to my mind, is what democracy is all about in the first place: to give everyone, from rabid marxist-leninists to rabid skinhead hitler-youth types, the space to speak out their minds even if grates the nerves. a famous quote, wrongly attributed to voltaire, says "i may not agree with what you say, but i will defend to the death your right to say it." whether he said it or not, the essence of democracy and freedom of expression is summarized thus.

now, should the church campaign against a specific candidate or party? the actual quote attributed to voltaire is supposed to say: "think for yourselves, and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too." conservatives within the church may attack voltaire as one of those freethinkers and masons who worked hard to diminish the church's influence through the 18th and 19th centuries. but i for one would like to be able to think for myself. a former boss of mine, also an atenean, recalled how the opus dei would relentlessly ask him to join their retreats and seminars and such. "so did you?" i asked. "you kidding?" he replied. "i did not go through 4 years of college, even if you say the jesuits had a hand in that, and 2 more years of postgraduate study, just to have someone tell me what i can and cannot read!" just substitute the word "read" with "vote" and one gets the picture of what a truly functioning democratic society is -- an informed and enlightened citizenry making decisions on what direction a government should be run for the next term and who's in the best position to do so.

at most, the church may prescribe guidelines on what set of criteria a catholic voter must adopt in voting a party or candidate into office. is the candidate pro-life? will the candidate fight same sex marriages? overall, will the candidate adopt a program of government consistent with church teaching? that is all. if a catholic voter finds a candidate who fits that mold, then he should, as a matter of course, vote for that candidate. but to actually say, "you must vote for this guy or that guy" is, to my mind, overstepping its mandate.

we've come a long way since the days when communism and its local adherents were literally knocking at the doors of the capital, ready to topple the government. from the demise of the huk movement through the reincarnation of the CPP under joma sison to the height of its resurgence as a result of martial law, the local communist movement is today a mere shell of its old glory. i'd like to think that, somehow, when we were at UP, we did our own small share in bringing that movement to its knees by fielding a ragtag band of UPSCAns, sigma rhoans, motley groups from the colleges of law, business administration, engineering, and science to battle the well-oiled machinery of the hardcore leftist party, and winning a majority of the seats in the council, much to our surprise. UP politics was never the same after that. indeed, UP being a microcosm of philippine society, as we always liked to say, even philippine politics was never the same after that!

that little party of ours was the theology of liberation in action. while we said that marxism and its materialist thinking had no place in a God-centered society, we also emphasized the need for that same society for a "preferential option for the poor" -- to take care of those less-privileged and for whom marxism had a natural appeal. we emphasized a vision of democratic socialism (as opposed to marx's dictatorship of the proletariat) akin to that found in scandinavian countries, where the gap between rich and poor is virtually non-existent and where a minimum acceptable level of social services (education, health, etc.) was available to you regardless of what income class you came from. in a way, looking back on all of it, we were merely carrying on the tradition of student idealism that began with the likes of raul manglapus, manuel manahan, jeremias montemayor, and juan tan, among others, who, under the guidance of fr. walter hogan, S.J., moved among the workers, farmers, and other groups, to organize them and show them they had the power to effect change for the better.

i think it was joescoundrel who once said it around here that, warts and all, he would choose the imperfections of democracy (especially ours, which is just growing once again) over a perfectly run authoritarian regime -- or words to that effect. i couldn't have put it any better!
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