No to Lukewarm

These are times that require a firm choosing of sides. As formerly taboo ideologies and concepts have shamelessly been trying to establish themselves as the norm, we find that the more wrong is being pushed as right, and right as wrong, we see that the line between them is becoming clearer than ever.

Now is not the time to be lukewarm. We cannot be neither hot or cold. Either we support or even just accept killing, abuse, misogyny, racism, white supremacist ideologies…or not. When we say yes to a leader who subscribes to even just one of these, but who also subscribes to a common value like for example, anti-abortion, we still yes to these other evils. Standing up for immigrants, the LGBT, abuse victims, or the poor does not mean you have to sacrifice your pro-life values. If anything, the disenfranchised needs those values at play.

Like it or not, we are at a monumental time in our history where we must take arms in protecting truth or it shall not prevail in the lives of many. Right now, truth needs our help in rising above the filth of lies that attempts to cover it.

With the staggering amount of absurdity and bold, audacious lies that come out of the mouths of our leaders daily, the citizenry has been conditioned to hear, and forced to accept, unbelievable realities. It’s called gaslighting.

The Philippines’ Duterte has sold his country to China and actually has the audacity to ask his predecessor how he managed to let go of his country’s disputed land in the South China Sea. Beyond that, he has murdered more than 20,000 Filipinos, has freed the most corrupt, has trashed the Constitution, and cursed God in a country with 70% Catholics. So far, he is still in power, with a good number of Christians lauding Romans 13:1-5 as a defense for him.

The United States’ Trump has just denied climate change as a fact, has launched a most brutal and merciless anti-immigration campaign, has thrown his seat’s power to the protection of the NRA and tax cuts to the wealthiest, all while having his background unveiled to the world to be riddled with illegal dealings and abusive, misogynistic patterns of behavior. He’s still pumping vitriol to Twitter-dom every few hours daily, and his followers still believe God sent him.

There are no accidents here. The spiritual battle is raging and we must choose where we stand.

I’m not what you would call a “political person”. I’m not usually heavily vested in the political issues of society. I usually busy myself with my responsibilities, pay my taxes and go my own way.

But what’s happening right now begs my conscience to speak up. We CANNOT possibly idly sit by as more and more people are being hurt, disenfranchised, abused, killed. That could easily be us, and I wouldn’t want our children to grow up with evil as the norm. Everyday, the temptation to just let this slide or to be apathetic about all these is real. But we cannot. We must not. For our children. For our souls.

For every Christian, there are different seasons. A season of planting, waiting, harvesting, etc. Now, I believe, is the season of separating the wheat from the chaff. We have to choose which of the two are we.

Are we for God or are we for evil? It cannot be both.

Choose, and speak up. Stand for it. It will be hard. It is hard.

I’ve lost friendships, I’ve lost my home. Fear creeps up every now and then for me and my children, and our future.

Yet, I fear staying silent more, for I know my God. His words are harsh to a lukewarm church, “The members of this church see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”  

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Again, these are troubling times. Yet, my hope is and always will be in the Lord. Not in some populist leader touted as some sort of “messiah” or “God-sent”. The only Lord I recognize is Jesus and this is His promise: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The Dark Side of Humanity

These days, to speak against extrajudicial killings is tantamount to speaking against the President and his 16 million supporters, which includes friends and some family members. This results in brothers and sisters thinking bad about, and speaking against us. To a considerable amount of people, we are just noisy, self-righteous brats who do nothing but complain. 

Meanwhile, last night, a brother of my friend just got murdered, “execution-style” outside his home.  The gravity of the situation is getting more and more undeniable and it’s getting closer to home. 

Though I ache for lost friendships, my heart is pained infinitely more by the evil that is being allowed to flourish. By people who continue to stand by it, even. 

Some may argue that not everyone is willing to fight for this, afraid to risk relationships or lives. 

Yet, as I read through the history of the Holocaust, where the mass murders were on a “systematic, industrial level”, thousands of ordinary people took part in the genocide. At first, the Jews were “just” discriminated against–non-Jew neighbors no longer saying hi, and their businesses being burned down. It took years, but we all knew the ending which they aptly called, “The Final Solution”. Six million Jews were killed, with the aid of ordinary citizens who believed that these people, including children, were sub-humans. 

These “ordinary people” were not forced into the mass murder program. In fact, there were recounts of groups of people being asked if they didn’t want to take part, and in one group, only 15 stepped up. More than 500 willingly joined that day to help the SS institute their “cleansing programs”. 

And here we are in the Philippines, propelled by the same anger the Germans were, and lead by the same rhetorically-charismatic leader who promises change, and who kills without reservation. People applauding Duterte’s admission of killing, even while he was Mayor, and promising to kill all the addicts were reminiscent of Germans waving the Swastika while cheering the Nazis. 

Truth is, were ALL subject to this temptation of thinking that we’re higher, better than others. Especially if were coming from an angry place. And I, too, was an angry and frustrated citizen and I had no faith in our judiciary system. There was so much wanting in our lives as Filipinos. Basic services did not work, corruption was rampant and politicians were blatant thieves. I wanted change as well. And I wanted to blame someone, and show some political will. I can completely understand why Duterte won. 

But after six months, when the most prominent feature of his administration is the snuffing out of more than 6,000 lives amidst cheering and applause, I do not understand why he is not being stopped. Worse yet, he is being supported and applauded. I am disturbingly alarmed. My heart has not stopped beating fast because I know, instinctively that there is something gravely wrong. This is something more than human error. This is pure, intentional, insidious evil. 

When his administration allowed the honoring of the late dictator in the place of heroes, it’s like he paid homage to an old evil, cementing its place in history with a lie. 

There is something sinister going on here. And evil, though it may deceive, will always be marked by telltale signs: Does it bring malice? Does it kill? Does it steal? Does it destroy? 

When one looks at the people who have staunchly opposed him, like De Lima, wasn’t Duterte the first one to mention that De Lima had an affair with her driver, thereby leading to the most malicious interrogation the public ever had to witness on live TV? They practically stripped her naked and humiliated her in front of thousands. 

VP Leni Robredo, a widow, also was a subject of pregnancy rumors and her legs, eyeballed by the President

Kill? We have thousands accounted for, including children. 

Steal? We have the office of the President allocated with 17 billion more than the previous administration’s. He has an account whose amount he refuses to disclose. He has allied himself with the country’s biggest thief family and has cleared GMA, one of his financiers, on all of her graft and corruption charges. 

Destroy? Hasn’t this been a recurrent theme in his speech? “I will destroy you!” And he has done so with thousands of lives, and with the truth. He is seeking an alliance with two countries renowned for destroying lives and environment for the sake of “nationalism” and financial gain–China and Russia. 

Is this the change that we signed up for?! 

This is more than just bitter complaints against the administration, or being paranoid. And this is most certainly NOT a write-up by a “yellowtard”. I couldn’t care less about the Aquinos or the Roxases right now. The Philippines is in jeopardy. The Filipinos are going down a path where it will be very hard to turn back. If history tells us anything, hundreds of thousands more lives will be lost, and our soul will be the biggest collateral damage in this whole crusade. 

We may have wanted change, and we may not have chosen evil. But in this pivotal moment in history, when we stand by and let others die, we are no different than the ones who pulled the trigger. When we stand by as he let others believe that killing others is NECESSARY, we are willingly revising truth to how it suits us. As we carry our children to bed tonight, sighing to ourselves just how “safe” we feel now because there are no more “salot ng lipunan”, try just for five seconds to put yourself in one of the 6,000 victims’ shoes. One mom or dad won’t be kissing his/her child ever again. Empathy–that’s a God-given trait to humans. If we have lost it too, then we can all but say goodbye to humanity. 

As there is a dark side to humanity, there is also a good side. There is that side that clings on to hope. Hope in truth that there is a higher one who is sovereign, and who will not let evil win. But, we must turn our back on despair, for that is the opposite of hope. Hope or despair will lead our thoughts and action. But we have to choose, for light cannot coexist with darkness. There can only be one reigning in our hearts, in our lives–good or evil, hope or despair. Our humanity depends on it.