(Please read Part 1 by clicking here.)
After publishing my first post on the RH bill, a friend from way back wrote a comment (2, actually) in reaction to it. I didn’t approve/publish his comments (which, by the way, were much longer than my original blog post) because I felt they were a knee-jerk reaction to what he presumed to be a blatant anti-RH sentiment. Seeing no point in addressing his arguments one by one, I humbly and meekly (or so I hoped) stretched out my hand in peace with the words: “Agree to disagree?” (with the token smiley at the end).
I didn’t launch into a point-by-point response (which, upon doing a quick survey, is what a lot of other bloggers have done) because I felt it would be like arguing with a wall–immovable, impenetrable. This debate has turned into a fight because people (from both sides) have just been talking and shouting and, inevitably, attacking whoever is on the other side of the fence. The CBCP’s Pastoral Statement on the RH Bill ends with a “call for a more widespread dialogue on this Bill.” All this has been a dialogue of the deaf if there ever was one. We’ve long lost the hope of revising the Bill into something that is more acceptable to both parties (for it does contain points that are commendable and long overdue), and have unfortunately resorted to character assassination: “You anti’s!” “You pro’s!!”
All talking, all fighting. No listening.
It took a whole lot of energy–and self-control–on my part to just drop it, especially when this friend seemed so eager to give me even more reasons and scenarios. Although I honestly don’t think he was just trying to pick a fight with me; he assured me that he wanted to hear my side “for the sake of discussion.” For intellectual stimulation. Uh-huh.
And I think that’s where we have a problem.
If we choose to approach the issues of overpopulation and poverty purely on an intellectual level, all we will see are the numbers. There are too many people, too little resources, too few islands in the Philippines for everyone to live in. And really, it should be as simple as 1+1=2–if there’s too many people, Filipinos being the fertile bunch that we are, then let’s cut down the fertility rate. How? Let’s make it easier for everyone (by mere suggestion: “Here’s a condom, you don’t have to use it, but keep it handy…you know, just in case.”) to stop having all these babies! That way they can have the exact number of family members they can afford to support with their monthly income. On a more national scale, decreased fertility means less poor people, less overcrowded squatter areas, hopefully less heart-wrenching “poverty stories” featured in the news. (Right? Right?!! Maybe.)
On the other hand, we have the Church raising the banner for what society (it would seem) increasingly considers as superfluous: morality, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family.
Makes me think how this debate was doomed from the very beginning. How can we find common ground when we aren’t even speaking the same language, when we have extremely differing opinions on what is more, most, important?
And really, the “dialogue” has lost its value for learning and growth the moment we called ourselves better than our brethren. How can I possibly learn anything from you, how can you help me be a better person? I’m already the best there is! Kayong mga pro-RH, mga imoral! Hay nako, mga anti-RH, mga hindi nag-iisip! (Face-palm!!)
I could go on and on. (Don’t worry, I won’t.)
Honestly, I wish they’d make a decision already, any decision, because the pointless debates have got to stop. The sooner this battle ends, the sooner we can all move on. The sooner the Church can move on.
To be more aggressive in explaining to the faithful the reasons behind our teachings.
To be more vigilant in the formation of values, especially those of chastity and obedience.
To better our service to the poor–to elevate their standard of living that we may begin to raise their standard of believing.
It all starts and ends with a choice–what is really more important?
(Though you may have already deduced which choice I’ve made, read about my journey towards that decision in Part 3.)