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Andres Cosalan

Upholding religious liberty
With the decision of the Supreme Court that the RH Law is constitutional, minus provisions that it judged unconstitutional, we have now the task to continue upholding religious liberty. In a democratic society, this is actually what we’re fighting for, that is, to live freely according to our religious convictions.

We believe in the “culture of life.” We uphold life as sacred, a gift of God; we work for the dignity of every human being, particularly the poor and marginalized; we respect the natural transmission of life that comes in the sexual act; we promote the care of life from the moment of conception until its natural end; we support marriage and the family as basic institutions of society.

We, therefore, oppose contraception, abortion, and euthanasia, even considering them, in our religious parlance, sins against God. Likewise, we oppose divorce, same-sex marriage, pre-marital sex, and adultery, for these destroy the value of marriage and family as ordained by God.

While the SC upheld the right of government institutions to continue on its work for what they deem is for the good of society, it also upheld the religious liberty of those who hold conscientious objections. Concretely then, Catholics, even if they are government employees, who consider as sinful the promotion of contraceptives to regulate birth, cannot be forced in the project or discriminated by their institutions. Catholic hospitals and institutions, in contrast to government hospitals and institutions, cannot be forced to promote contraceptives and what they deem as anti-life devices in their programs and health care.

The SC also upheld the right of parents to educate their children. Concretely then, Catholic parents can object to the participation of their children in sex education in schools, particularly in government institutions, if this kind of sex education contradicts Catholic moral teachings. Of course, Catholic institutions will have their own sex education programs that would be age-appropriate and in line with Catholic principles.

It seems the SC decision was a kind of “win-win-solution.” Those who promoted the RH Law are happy to know that it’s constitutional. We, who oppose it, at least, are satisfied that some of the objectionable provisions have been removed, upholding religious liberty. The challenge ahead of us is the proper implementation of this law. As we know from experience, we have several good laws in the country, but there are lapses in their implementation. Let us hope this would not be the case with the RH Law. We wouldn’t like to witness someday, for example, a simple health worker, who practices her Catholic faith, fired by her employer because she refuses to distribute condoms or perform a tubal ligation on a patient.

Time will tell who made the right choices. Will the aggressive promotion of contraceptives, backed by a secular sex education among the young, help solve the problem of poverty in the country and strengthen marriage and family values? We, who oppose contraception, which is the main agenda of the RH Law, say no to this question. The main causes of poverty in this country is obvious to us, if we look at the issues of the recent months, the PDAF scandal, the slow and inadequate rehabilitation of the Typhoon Yolanda victims, despite so much international aid, and widespread poverty, despite economic growth. Things will also boomerang to those who aggressively promote contraceptives. Will they see their children’s children, or will they become a dying species? Will their marriages be intact and families truly happy? As we often say, a contraceptive mentality opens the door to the “culture of death.” Look what’s next in their agenda: divorce and same-sex marriage, issues that destroy marriage and the family.

We are grateful to our Catholic lay people. They have been in the forefront of the struggle against the RH bill, with all its objectionable provisions then, in the past decades. In the coming decades, may they still be in the forefront in promoting the “culture of life” and vigilant in upholding religious liberty.

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