May 24, 2024

There is a mandate provided for in the 1987 Constitution that the separation of the church and State shall be inviolable. It simply means that religious beliefs and activities must not interfere with political beliefs and inclinations.
Yet, this is violated to the hilt. Every now and then, we hear of priests, ministers, and preachers using altars and pulpits to denounce the excesses of government and to influence state policies. In like manner, we see politicians using religious fervor and fanaticism to get hold of their constituents. Yet, these interchangeable attitude is easily justified.
Religion, through the church, insists that it is the guardian of morality and in enforcing its authority, may interfere with state affairs that pertain to the morals and ethics of the people.
Politics, on the other hand, allege that it may invoke religion in the furtherance of their policies since it is the guiding principle of what is right and what is wrong.
There is really no inviolability concerning the separation of the church and the State. The long-established policy in this country where the state and the church have been divided into two different sectors is merely on paper. The only time it is invoked is if there is a threat to the interest of one against the other.
The recent rally organized by the Duterte group in Davao City to supposedly bring about changes in the government is a classic example. It was organized to gather the residents of Davao City to a rally. Take note, there is no indication that it is for the purpose of denouncing the current administration. It is a prayer rally.
So, what is there to expect in a prayer rally? It is for adoration, for praising God and for imploring the aid of divine providence to improve the nation and its people. We see this purpose all the time.
We see it every time Mike Velarde gathers his flock at the Luneta grandstand. We see most of the time when Eddie Villanueva preaches to his followers at the Araneta Coliseum. What they talk about is love, faith, understanding and forgiveness. That is a prayer rally. It excites the participants to be closer to God.
In the case of the Davao prayer rally organized by leaders of followers attached to former President Rodrigo Duterte, they hardly prayed. In fact, the minister who was supposed to preside over the prayer rally was not readily identified. His participation was minimal. He was there for compliance.
Neither did those who presided over the prayer rally talk about love, faith, understanding and forgiveness. On the contrary, they talked about hate, rumor mongering and anger. The rally, if it may be called one, was anything but prayer. It was very political in its tenor. The word prayer was obviously attached to attract participants who, by the way, were very minimal and who did not understand the concept of what they attended.
It is about time we recognize the full limits of the inviolability of the church and state. It is time to castigate those using religion as a means to promote their personal agenda. Even God will not tolerate such impudence.