Collapse of Philippine Democracy Part 2: Docile Subjects

Nestor Ravilas

Ruby Paredes on her book “Colonial Democracy” says that the problem with our democracy is that our democratic institutions were established under colonial power. She is saying, in effect, the problem is either what was bequeathed to us by our American overlord is a distorted form of democracy, or we have not fully understood something that was actually imposed to us. Or both defects might have been embedded within Philippine democracy without us recognizing it. In that case, what we have learned and has immensely left an impact to our culture and psyche is the docility and subservience to colonial master than the emancipating “people is the sovereign” principle of democracy.

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The Riddle of Romans 13

Nestor Ravilas

Romans 13 again comes to the fore as the national government is miserably fumbling and mishandling the management of the current pandemic. When democratic principles granted us the rights for free speech demonstrable in expressing our opinion publicly, Evangelical Christians immediately seize the public space to shelter and protect the government with the usual and irritating “be-subject-to-authorities” discourse of Romans 13. Proudly, they brandished that the Bible is higher than the Constitution. But, do they really know their Bible?

Did the Bible really say that the emperor, or the government for that matter, is beyond reproach? That we should refrain from criticizing the government, which amounts to challenging the authority of God in the same way?

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Despicable Pharisees: Reflection on Luke 18:9-14

Nestor Ravilas

What else could we get from the story? Its lesson is plain and simple, “for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted”. To dig more to it is to overdo it, and to overdo it is to spoil it. So better go and do what it says!

But for those with untrammelled imagination, follow me please into the wild.

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Mother’s Love & Jesus’ Political Concept: Reflection on Matt. 20:20-28

Nestor Ravilas

Whatever prompted the wife of Zebedee to do the thing she did could have been pure love for her two sons. Too presumptuous to assume such thing, I know. We might probably have an Elenita Binay or an Imelda Marcos case here, mothers who deploy their kids in politics to secure political dominance of their own dynasty. The Zebedees, however, has no dynasty to maintain. What they have is a risky adventurism in supporting a fledgling revolutionary movement of another Galilean activist`.

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Resurrection of the King-God

Nestor Ravilas

“Suportahan natin ang gobyerno dahil niloklok ito ng Diyos” (Let us support this government for God has put it in power) – blustered by one religious supporter of the current Duterte regime.

The beheading of Charles I of England could be monumental event that has proven the doctrine of divine right of the king is mere human construct. None has foreseen it to happen; neither the leader of parliamentary army, Oliver Cromwell, nor Charles I himself. The fusion of temporal and divine power in the throne of England which has spawned an abusive and tyrant line of monarchs has finally come to an end. England is now under the parliament with Cromwell as its head. Soon after the fleeting reign of Cromwell’s parliament, however, the people clamored again for the return of the divine right absolutism. Thus, Charles II, son of the beheaded Charles I, revived the throne under the religious emblem of “divine right to rule”. Blood spilled all over again, first of those jurists who had sent his father to the gallows.

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Religious Symbols and Violence Reflection On Luke 9:1-9

Nestor Ravilas

The problem with religious imagination borne from oppressed and tormented communities is that it is either equally oppressive or, even worst. And since these religious symbols survived and outlived their own procreators, they transcend time and space to address and shape modern societies. Take for instance the case of the West, known to be the champion of secular democratic regimes, reminded by Carl Schmitt that their touted concept of the modern theory of the state are actually secularized theological concepts. This amounts to the fact that despite all the attempts of the prophets of rationality to either dismiss or reinterpret the phenomenon dubs now as post-secularism, it undeniably proves that secularist project fails, and religion, along with its metaphors and symbols, remain with us even after the so called, Great Separation.

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