Religious intolerance and crucifix ban

Spirituality is not religion. Religion divides people. Belief in something unites them. – Flight of the Phoenix

The flags of faith are crowned with powerful symbols – the Crucifix/Cross for Christians, the Crescent Moon for Islam, and the Star of David for Judaism.

And since the last time Ped Xing checked the country was still predominantly Christian, Catholic to be specific, the Crucifix is an ubiquitous religious symbol.

They can be found not only in cathedrals, churches, and chapels but also hold

Find them also in police stations, military camps, and, of course, hospitals.

Indeed, they can be found in areas of comfort and safety as well as danger and difficulty – for both thanksgiving and seeking heavenly favors.  

They are a badge of salvation, a banner of hope, and raft of redemption.

Thus, Catholics hold on to their Crucifixes like dear life itself while Protestants “cling to the Old Rugged Cross”  They find comfort, cheer, peace, and safety in them.

Surely, this is a good thing, especially during this period of great difficulty and danger posed by the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic, to which a cure is still woefully out of reach to local and global health, medical, and scientific authorities.

Believers are thoroughly convinced that, just as the Lord Jesus Christ triumphed over sin and eternal damnation, the Creator and Savior would empower His people to beat infection, disease, and death.

The Crucifix/Cross is their sturdy rope of hope, their steady lifeline, their trusty “911” to heaven.

“It is a wicked thing to take away man’s hope,” wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was quoted as saying at the lowest point o his nation’s struggle against the merciless Nazi bombardment in a highly acclaimed film.          

It is also UnChristian.

And so what does Rep. Rodante Marcoleta of Sagip Partylist have against the crucifix that he wants it yanked from from every hospital room in the country?

It upsets him. He finds it repulsive, repugnant to his religious belief. 

That’s right.  Marcoleta, reacting to widespread criticism from netizens and opinion makers for his bill seeking to remove the worlds most recognizable religious symbol from hospitals, said the crucifix is offensive to non-Catholics like him.

“But why.” plain netizens and grizzled political watchers raised the question.

Does it make him froth in the mouth, twist his head 180 degrees, crawl on the ceiling, induce projectile vomiting, and generate terrifying sounds?         

The placement of any religious object is an act and in exercise of religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, It is a sacred right universally respected and protected.

How quickly he forgets.  

House Billl 4633 is a measure seeking to  make the hanging of religious mementos, such as crucifixes, in hospital suites optional. Making it optional means removing them symbols from hospital rooms and providing them to patients and guests who request it.

In his explanatory note, Marcoleta said the presence of crucifixes in hospital rooms raises serious interfaith issues. He said a non-Catholic patient would be ill at ease to find a crucifix hovering in his or her room.

Yeah, right. 

The bill was filed last year, but it stoked a new firestorm on social media recently in the wake of Marcoletas leading role in the killing of a broadcast media franchise and in the continuing effort to take over its  facilities. 

Some sectors had alleged that a huge, influential sect was behind the move because of its coverage of the intramural among the ruling siblings that led to the ex-communication of an executive minister’s mother, sister, and two brothers.

The partylist congressman’s constituents are  supposedly the urban poor, but he admits he unabashedly represents the interest of the sect, which insists that the crucifix is not to be venerated because it is “a curse, a symbol of shame, and an instrument of the death” of Jesus Christ on the cross.

But netizens and critics roundly denounced the bill as unconstitutional,  unreasonable, and unnecessary.

The bill, they said, ignites sectarian tension and strife, promotes division and intolerance.

Ped Xing can’t help but agree with them.

Behold God’s glory and seek His mercy.

Pause and pray, people.