Sunday, May 02, 2004

I've always wondered why Christians before have opted to stay silent regarding national issues. The only religious entity to voice out their opinions came out from the Roman Catholic Church represented by the then Cardinal Sin (that's his surname). Protestants and born-again groups stayed out of the headlines. I'm familiar with the rule of separation of state and church but then again it doesn't exactly apply here despite our tendency to try and parrot Americans. And this was only part of a bigger question why do Filipino Christians in general, stay out of the marketplace? This was during the late 90s and early 2000 and it was a good thing that I didn't have to wonder for long.

Over a short period from the time me and a couple of friends started asking these questions God, it seems, have been working on a trend inside His Church towards that direction. Starting last year, the leaders of our church movement have been encouraging its members to go out and infuence their sphere of influence. Then early this year Churches all over the world have been getting together to hold a series of Purpose Driven seminars based on Rick Warren's best selling book. The organizers of these seminars had people outside the churches in mind. Though doctrinally based the series were non-denominational in nature. Then came Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ which both Catholic and Protestant churches also supported. And for the past two church services, our Pastors in Victory Christian Fellowship have been encouraging us to start being active and support a man of God seeking the highest office in the land. Just this morning, the head of the whole VCF in the Philippines Ptr. Steve Murrell followed up a preaching about the fallacies regarding the separation of Church and State which was preached last Sunday by another Pastor. The State needs the influence of the Church for it to run smoothly and the Church needs to start taking its role as an overseer seriously as seeing ourselves accountable to God for ours and its condition. The fact that this presidential election is not to be trifled with is felt by almost all Filipinos. We are at the crux of our country's destiny and who we vote for into office will either reflect either our fine sensibilities or lack of better judgment before the watching world.

This car sticker says it all. No, it doesn't apply to me but this kind of commitment to support a born-again pastor in his bid for the Presidency is a HUGE deal for members of the Roman Catholic church. Although Eddie Villanueva's Jesus Is Lord Church congregation numbers around 3,000,000 members it's still a piddling number compared to the 6 billion Filipinos, 90% of whom are professed Catholics. The good thing about all this is that although Bro. Eddie started out small and constantly ridiculed for always placing last in the surveys, he's emerging to be a serious contender against the incumbent President (FPJ's dream machine is already showing signs of conking out). Slowly, people and special interest groups have started noticing his curriculum vitae and his political platforms. And for the first time ever Christian churches have actively started to unite to support a Presidential candidate's aspiration to lead the country under the cause of righteousness. Members of other major religions like Roman Catholics and Muslims are also supporting his candidacy seeing that he's the only sensible choice they've got. Unity is good but we'd best humble ourselves and let God intervene in our elections.

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