Mindanao Times

Stand your ground

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IF one looked up its definition online, you would find that the implicatio­ns of the particular phrase ‘Stand your ground’ is both comprehens­ive in scope and supported by legal statutes that are practiced by many nations. In essence, it as law, simply points to employing self-defense against any attacker.

A milder definition, however could also just simply mean, in the presence of any opposing thought, one cannot be swayed.

What is making the rounds on social media these days is the homily of a low-key, soft-spoken bishop from a faraway locale, away from big city lights. True, Tandag, the capital of Surigao del Sur may just be a 5th class component city unlike those in Metro Manila. Yet, faithful to its long history of progressiv­e defiance against any anti-people social machinery, its bishop has again reiterated to stand by what it believes, and not be swayed by the wave of election courtships sweeping the country. As was expected, a visiting presidenti­al candidate on the campaign trail came to visit the diocese in March to attend a mass her organizers have requested the bishop to celebrate.

He, as a soft opening, mentioned that contrary to what organizers suggested, he would not be wearing the face mask in the candidate’s choice of color. Then, he continued to say that, unlike other men of the cloth in the north, the church will not be endorsing anyone, he added. “... we are giving equal opportunit­ies to all the candidates. The Church is always giving space and fairness to everyone." As though not to disappoint any slighted person expecting an endorsemen­t, he explained, “we are trying to build up a new generation of electorate­s who search for the truth... we are not voting for a shadow; we are voting for a person. A person whom we can always see where disasters are.” In another part of the homily, he cautioned, “We will be accompanyi­ng the people so that their choice will be based on principles and not on money”.

I guess that says it all. Since I could remember, the long-believed principle of a separation of church and state has always been so full of holes, that it looks like a poor man’s shirt. For one, the use of the pulpit by countless clergy to actively endorse political candidates and also attack government (in our culture’s case, people in government) has always been part of every Sunday mass’ fare.

It is therefore a breath of fresh air to witness that at least, a segment of the church in this part of our archipelag­o, has chosen to stand against the ruling norm of swimming in political waters and ignoring the wants of its supposed flock.

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