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Separation of Church & State, Philippine Style

How then can one argue the Separation of Church and State in the Philippines where the Church can sometimes "meddle" or "intervene" in affairs of State. Excellent examples are the Church's stand against artificial methods of population control, the death penalty, corruption and the like. And who can forget the famous words of Cardinal Sin in February 1986 and January 2001 when he enjoined people to "Come! Come to Edsa!" Does this not constitute a violation of the doctrine? First, the provisions of the Bill of Rights are a limitation of the powers of the State. In other words, the doctrine acts against the State and in favor of private persons. The doctrine as enshrined in the Bill of Rights prevents the State from entering into ecclesiastical affairs and from imposing, preferring or repressing a religion. The doctrine acts like a one-way-street with its direction towards the State, rather than the Church. Second, when the Church "meddles" or "intervenes" in matters of the State, it does so in the exercise of its beliefs and these - if not a threat to the general welfare - are protected by the Constitution under the Free Exercise clause. Third, such act by the Church also constitutes an exercise of political rights: the freedom of speech, expression and assembly. The Church merely guides its flock to exercise their political rights correctly (for example, by telling them to vote honestly or by choosing life over death). This is no different from what some religious organizations do in the United States, like Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition group which supports the Republican Party. In the local scene, who could forget the El Shaddai's support of Estrada's party in the 1998 National Elections? Fourth, this country is a democracy and, as such, one cannot really prevent the Church from "intervening" in the affairs of the State. The State may turn a deaf ear to the rhetoric of the Church, do nothing (i.e., act neutral) that would violate the doctrine, and institute, say, its population control programs or continue imposing the death penalty.The Church, in reprisal, may simply tell its followers to not vote for those who favored such bills. But in the end, it is the individual who makes the decision and exercises his political rights. All in all, this was done within the framework of democracy with no violation of the doctrine by either side. Thus, the Church's role in the EDSA rallies was one that constituted an exercise of political rights within the framework of democracy. The masses held, the prayers made - all these were merely an invocation for spiritual guidance and not an imposition of its dogma upon the State in order to capture it. At the end of it all, Jesus Himself said it best, when he was asked by the Pharisees about the taxes paid to Rome.His reply: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Render unto God what is God's.'' This line sums up what the doctrine of Separation of Church and State really is, for when Church and State become too entangled in each other's 'realms', such entanglement leads to the degradation of the Church, and corruption of the State.