Do Not Let Religion Divide Us: The Debate on Invocations During Secular Gatherings
For several days after the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards, a number of posts have been dedicated to discussing the propriety of having invocations in a gathering not meant to be religious in nature.
Here are some excerpts of posts and comments made by bloggers concerned with the controversy:
Benj: I have no idea why in this day in age, people would favor an offensive and arrogant display marinated in intolerance and insensitivity as opposed to opting for a procedure that everyone would have been more likely amenable (yes, I can be funny without being offensive) to. Iâ€™m not quite sure if I missed out on any details, but the last time I checked, the Philippine Blog Awards was an event that was supposed to champion Filipino bloggers regardless of creed, affiliation or niche. How it transformed to an exercise to remind bloggers to be steadfast in [our] Christian commitment and help bloggers lead us closer to You [the you being their god] is totally beyond me…
Ganns: Despite my being a Christian, I feel very strongly about recognizing and acknowledging Benjâ€™s point that a more universal prayer or moment of silence would have been more appropriate…
Connie: Despite the obvious relevance of the copyright bit, I must agree with Michael that a religious invocation, delivered by the clergy or ANY or ALL denominations, has no place in a non-religious event…
Fr. Stephen Cuyos: What I am still trying to understand is why some atheists would react so negatively to a prayer which doesnâ€™t mean anything to them nor is intended for them. But they didnâ€™t react at all to Yugaâ€™s use of the word â€œsh*tâ€ in the video, even if there were minors around. Is it more politically correct to say â€œsh*tâ€ than a prayer now?
…My prayer did not make the PBA a Christian event. If nobody prayed, would anybody think of it as an atheist event? No. The prayer was a very minor segment in the colorful evening of smiles and trophies.
M. L. Quezon III: Personally, I have no problems with invocations, provided they are preceded, and not followed by, the national anthem.
Jorge: (A comment @ atheista.net) …what derogatory remarks were there? what were you denied, really? do you feel that, because youâ€™re an atheist, you were excluded? again, you could have stepped out or not listen. and what about their right to express their faith? or, hell, freedom of speech?
Jomar: 10. Father Cuyos is the name of the cool podcasting/blogging priest from the Vatican, not Cuying, (w/c is taken from his nominated PODCAST: CUYINGCAST). Benj and other non-religious folks must remember that they are in the Philippines and prayers before events are standard. THIS PRAYER w/c is so significant that I’d suggest to to get Father Cuyos as co-HOST next time–will go down (or better yet, GO UP) in history as the funniest and most bagay na prayer I’ve ever heard!
I have commented on some of these posts but I’m posting this entry to make my stand on this controversy clear.