6/04/2014
One Direction vs the Philippines' supreme moral authority

Once again, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has taken the opportunity to portray itself as the supreme moral authority on the wider population, by telling parents to not allow their children to watch One Direction perform live in Manila in March.

"Do not lead them in the wrong direction," the organization's Fr. Conegundo Garganta said. "Be discerning on where you are leading your children."

The idea is, of course, that One Direction will lead these children astray, especially after video of two of the band's members, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik, smoking what looks like a spliff or something (am I getting my terms right?) surfaced. Why, the Garganta said, would parents encourage their children to adore people who are bad role models? They can do something now, he said, by not allowing their children to be consumed by - and this is my words, not his - representatives of the devil.

And we can go one step further, he says. The Philippines, Garganta said, is dealing with too many problems, and it does not need a problem boy band on its shores. "The government should not only ban the group, it must make a statement because if you are for your people, would you allow your people to be poisoned?" Garganta said.

Of course, the question is, why One Direction? Why not the many other foreign groups who have performed here, who also have a history of drug use? One reason, really: the CBCP has seen the One Direction concert as a massive opportunity - considering the audience, the coverage, the hype - to, well, proclaim itself as the supreme moral authority. It's like when anything political happens. Or when the RH Bill was being battled at the Batasang Pambansa. So you might want to forgive them for squaring in on one of the biggest acts to ever take a chance on our shores, right?

Well, no. You are the supreme moral authority, God damn it! Why be so selective?

People have pointed out Bruno Mars being arrested for possession of cocaine in 2010. That point got mentioned somewhere - did Kris Aquino mention it last night? Anyway, nobody complained when he finally went to Manila to perform. Maybe they had an exception for the guy, who's half-Filipino or something.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were here a few months back. One of the biggest rock acts in the world, and one whose sound was partially influenced by drugs. Almost every member had a drug habit at one point or another - just ask John Frusciante. (Of course he's no longer with the band. How many did RHCP fire because of drug use?) And don't make me mention the music festival they performed in, and how the air was, to quote some tweeters, filled with the scent of "a different kind of cigarette".

Hell, they didn't even bat an eyelash when Keane went here. Tom Chaplin, of all people, had drug abuse problems. Checked himself in at the Priory in 2006, forcing the band to cancel its North America tour. But of course they're not that famous, at least compared to One Direction, right?

You have Grimes, who mounted a little-plugged concert here, admitting to using amphetamines. Let's not limit this to drugs - Demi Lovato was in rehab for an eating disorder and a tendency to cut herself. Tegan and Sara are openly gay, and the latter is in a relationship. And that's just off the top of my head, and considering that shitty online libel thing. And that's just the foreign stuff. Heaven knows we have so many local acts to ban from stages and television screens because of their habits.

I don't mean to sound as judgmental as these priests are - no, I don't mind, really - but let's face it, drugs and homosexuality and all that stuff, it's the sort of thing the CBCP would frown on. Why not them, too? One reason, really: the CBCP has seen the One Direction concert as a massive opportunity to, well, proclaim itself as the supreme moral authority. After all, we are now being led astray by so many forces. We have abandoned the virtues of the Catholic Church, if not the establishment entirely, and have since wasted our lives on motel rooms, video games and bottles of fine whiskey. Oh, to be back to the days of the Spanish, when Catholicism was the only way - and everybody believed that.

Well, one, the Catholic Church has refused to go with the times, instead decrying change as the devil doing its work. No wonder people feel disconnected to it, in varying degrees, whether they go to church or not. Two, the Catholic Church's seeming refusal to even consider other viewpoints has made them look like the heretics they so despised in history. And three, the Bible is not an instruction manual; it's more of a guide. The idea is, we know what's good and what's bad, but in the end, it's up to us to decipher. You know the Prodigal Son, right? "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing"? Adam and Eve? It goes with many things, if not everything. It goes with this one.

We're in a time when we can mix and match our beliefs, because it is our beliefs. You believe one thing and I believe another; I cannot compel you to go my way because, well, what do I know? Let's use me as an example. I'm technically Catholic, but I won't say I'm a Catholic through and through. I know how mass goes. I receive communion whenever I can. But I don't always go to mass. I pray, not often, but I pray, because I find that it comforts me. But I know the basic prayers. The Lord's Prayer. Hail Mary. The Apostles' Creed, because we had to memorize that in school.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth,
although maybe it didn't take him six days,
but rather six months in Carl Sagan's cosmic calendar.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
Or, actually, left in a cave to rot,
because that's how those Bible story books illustrate it.

He descended to the dead.
On the third day, He rose again.
He is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
(And it's likely coming soon, because scientists say
the next great extinction event is closer than we think.)

I believe in the Holy Spirit
(and his relatives too - they gave me bald spots),
but not the holy catholic Church,
what with its hypocrisies and child abuses,
how dare they call themselves supremely moral?
(I have to admit, though, that Pope Francis seems cool.)

Anyway, the communion of saints, whatever that is,
the forgiveness of sins (although some clearly don't),
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting...
I always imagined that when I die
I will instantly see heaven and all my relatives
but if I see with my eyes, and my eyes rot when I die,
then how will I see heaven?
If there is life everlasting,
then why the fuck am I afraid of dying?
Amen.

And your responses...

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