Christian Behavior During Election Season

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

This is an attempt to describe what proper Christian behavior should be during elections. However, this is not meant to articulate an exclusively Christian behavior, since there's no such thing, given our complex human condition.
I'm sure many of us will have our ideas and opinions on how this Christian behavior should be, all of them with their valid points. My hope, in fact, is that everyone starts to express his views in this matter in public.

The idea is to increase our level of literacy regarding how a Christian citizen should behave in our political exercises. We need to know what attitudes, dispositions and virtues are needed, since we have to liberate ourselves from the inhuman morass our political activities have sunk into.

So far, we have been exposed to the ridiculous ways the political campaigns have been done. There's so much mudslinging, negativism, hatred-peddling. Polluting noises emit unabatedly from self-righteous ideologues, poisoned partisans and screaming faggots.

Reason, sobriety, objective discussions of issues, not to mention the requirements of charity and understanding in tackling matters open to several valid and moral opinions, are thrown overboard.

Things are made worse when opinions are converted into dogmas, while articles of faith and matters of conscience are held simply as opinions.

Some people manipulate truths, facts, data to suit their purpose. Freedom is twisted.

The distinction between the person of the candidates and politicians in general, and the views they hold and the actions they do, is recklessly blurred, leading to serious offenses against charity and freedom. Rash judgments explode in profusion.

Many politicians seem to metamorphose into monsters during the election season, using sly tricks and games, following the unscrupulous logic of greed and disordered ambitions. Conceit spins its own deadly yarn of creativity.

And a big part of the electorate, due to poverty, ignorance, apathy, etc., practically invites political abuses. Often complacent and remiss, they fail to see through many of the hidden selfish agenda of politicians. What a nightmare!

I think it's really up to us, citizens, to tolerate this state of affairs or not. I think we have the power to set the proper tone of our politics. Yes, we are part of the problem, but we also hold the key to its solution.

But for this to happen, we have to take our social and political commitment more seriously. We have to get our act together. We need to understand that for our social and political commitment to prosper, we need to follow what the Church teaches.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read this relevant point:

"It is necessary to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his inner conversion, so as to obtain social changes that will really serve him." (1888)

Then to reassure us that this teaching is not ineffective as many people feel religious doctrines to be, the same point continues:

"The acknowledged priority of the conversion of the heart in no way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of bringing the appropriate remedies to institutions and living conditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it."

We have to understand that only in God can we learn to be truly concerned about the common good. Apart from him we simply are at the mercy of our subjective, whimsical ideas.

Our social and political commitment necessarily calls us to action, first with our own selves, and then, among ourselves. Many initiatives can come to mind.

Like, having an independent body that systematically gives a thorough backgrounder of the candidates, providing personal, family and professional information, citing their pluses and minuses.

This is to help voters have an idea of the candidates' integrity and competence. Simply depending on the data given by partisans will take us nowhere.

And an ongoing formation for all citizens should be undertaken, especially explaining the finer points of prudence in politics, respect for freedom, and the like.

Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE) in Talamban, Cebu City. You can email him at: roycimagala@hotmail.com


Former Comrades Slam NPAs During Rally

NewsPlus, Bohol Sunday Post

The New People's Army and its legal organizations get a dose of its own medicine when in its anniversary, a loose group of mainstreaming Kanhi Rebelde [Former Rebel] now calling themselves Kauban sa Reporma (KR) [Associate of Reform] denounced the rebels' terroristic acts in a rally held at th Plaza Rizal, March 29.

Toting placards revealing the NPA and its legal organization's propaganda tactics, former rebels took turns in lambasting the rebels armed wing and their legal fronts with a cacophony of accusations of extortion, threats, blackmail in recruitment that extended to getting minor supporters.

More than 200 farmers, former active guerilla warriors and supporters now openly admitting they have had enough came to the city to air out their exasperation over the communist's continued grasp of the civilians and insisting on a fear campaign.

The rally, which happened a day before the election campaign, is also time, organizers said so that the politicians thinking of giving in to demands for permits to campaign and access fees to rebel-claimed territories could start thinking their support could also mean more lives killed.

Bringing their issues in time with the talks of human rights violations and accusations of extra-judicial killings against the present administration, the KRs also demanded for the accounting of cases of victims of NPA liquidations.

They cited the murder cases of Nueva Montaña barangay captain Baldomero, his brother and chief Tanod Virgilio Betanganso and Rodrigo Jandayran as among the many unnamed victims of NPA purging and unjust kangaroo courts that did not even have the chance of getting into the government list of rights abuses.

Amplifying their concerns over the hostaged economy in Bohol owing to their continued reign of terror, the former active warriors and mass-base supporters aired their invitation for the still active comrades to go find the way of peace, not by armed struggle, but by peaceful means.

Calling the rebel NPAs as demons, alias Ka Joy exposed the faulty propaganda tools used by the rebels to gain sympathy, the lies they weave and the terror they sow to base their firm grip on their claimed barangays.

Alias Ka Ome, a resident of Upper Cabacnitan in Bilar also narrated how the rebel movement turned their once peaceful village and its residents into one wracked in fear and stirred by turmoil.

Another former member and organizer of the Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL) [Group of Boholano Farmers] accused the NPA of the biggest corruption syndicate adding that the rebel organizations' lifeblood is the support they get from threatened civilians. At this, he echoed the call to stop giving support, especially with unprincipled politicians now wanting access into rebel-claimed territories.

Enough of the sham, down with the NPAs and let us stop and bleed them of support so they will know we have had enough of them, was the shout that reverberated across the heart of Tagbilaran City.

When some elements of the leftist communists are killed by "renegade" elements of the state, the left cry "human rights". But when some elements of the military, police, and civilians are killed by elements of the leftist communists, the left say "all right." And vice versa.

Perhaps the international court based in Netherland (and other similar organizations) who judged the Philippine government guilty of extra-judicial killings, should not be one-sided with their judgment -- if they wish to maintain credibility internationally. If they really want to shed the full light of justice on this issue, let them plunge into the cold water and let themselves get wet. These killings are just the tip of the iceberg. They only see half of the truth.