Thursday, August 11, 2011

Biblical Perspectives (Alam dapat to ng Katoliko)

We can go on defending our causes and I could go on and post pro-art statements, but I thought I should at least post something that speaks of this issue in a biblical perspective. Even the religious ones complaining about the issue weren't so keen in stating as to how they were violated based on biblical principles.

PROBABLY BECAUSE, AND THIS IS THE FIRST POINT,
it was not a biblical tradition to have statues and posters to represent Christ or God.

The BIBLE should always be referred to in times like this, because what we hold on to as religion may in fact have different teachings that are apart from what God has given or ruled or said. Here's my effort of putting in a biblical perspective.

EXODUS 34:17 "Do not make any idols."
EXODUS 34: 14 "Do not worship any other gods, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a Jealous God."

EXODUS 20: 4-5

"“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."

IN context of these biblical scriptures, the tradition of having idols, santos, Jesus pictures, etc. which I respect can, in black and white, be wrong. Our God is a jealous God. If we pray, depend, and uplift man-made idols--these representations--wouldn't that make God angry?

And if so, once defiled, will the destruction of these idols be of greater worth?

An argument can be made.

"These are our intercessors... Together with the Virgin Mary who will pray for us... and the specific saints that will send our messages to God depending on what we need"----- Catholic Tradition

In the Bible, however,

HEBREWS 7:25 "Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."

God intercedes between man and Himself? YES. To clear things up, we should remember the Trinity: Three Persons, One God. It is the Holy Spirit that intercedes for us. In the Bible again,

ROMANS 8:27 "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

So we now know that when we pray and open our hearts to God, it is the Holy Spirit that intercedes... Meaning, it's a direct connection to that One God that we praise and love and adore and respect. Who now needs an intercessor apart from the God we intend to talk to?!

So enough about that. It's clear. Now the issue is, an artist called Mideo Cruz created an ARTWORK, AN INSTALLATION ART, involving wood-carved penises and idols and posters of the so-called "look of Christ". Media sensationalized it, and did not show the other components, like our idols in music or pop culture. There's Britney, there's F4, there's money and piggy banks, there's even pictures of Marcos.

I don't know about Cruz's intention, but from what I actually get from it, it's about our current idols--the things that control us the most.... The message is simple: Amongst all these majors in our lives today, we are still connected by our belief of God, or to some, of a god that reigns somewhere out there... But this is tainted, because humans continued the mistakes of the past and carved an image of God in woods and marbles and what not, and it is of the same material that we carve Penis figures, dirty toy objects, it is the same paper, the paper where we print "HIS FACE", that we print on when we want F4 or Britney or any other stars like Lady Gaga...

So what are the supreme religious sectors crying out for? Disrespecting their tradition?

They disrespected God in the first place. and Our God is a jealous God.
But it does not justify. IN biblical perspectives of respect, Cruz did blatant mistakes.
However, I leave it to the "religious" ones to find scriptures for it.

If they were really rooted in the scriptures, this is what they should have done:

1) Pray and love their enemies.

>>>> Luke 6 : 35 says "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."

>>>>Also, in Matthew 5:43 to 45, "43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

2) They should not have felt disrespected, because it is a blessing to be persecuted for the name of the Lord.

>>>> Matthew 5:10 says "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

>>>> 1st Corinthians 4:12 says "We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it..."

3) They should have corrected with a gentle spirit, not like the so-called religious who posts malicious reactions.

>>>> Apostle Paul had asked, "21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?" in 1 Corinthians 4:21, in correcting the people.

They should have used this not as a grand stage for showing their prowess, power, and might, but they should at least have prayed and let God do the rest. Apparently, with all the rules I've previously stated, our good Lord would have told them "You made idols. You made representations. it is apt to destroy them."

The artist maybe wrong, after all. And he is accountable to God, not to men. Why then should the religious hypocrites pretend that they are fighting a good cause? If it was wrong, He will receive the wrath of God. He is not to be judged. It is the same Christ, the same Christ you and I have, that once saved a woman from being stoned to death by asking someone who did not sin throw the first stone. NO ONE THRE A STONE. We were all sinners, and apart from God’s grace we remain to be.

However, popes and the rest of them hate it. All their traditions would go to waste. Where in the Bible did God say craft out an idol? Have his picture painted? Have Rosary with beads? Talk to a priest when you have sinned? At least art has a rich line of history so you can trace where it all began. New Testament ended without even mentioning Catholicism.

I know that there are wrong things that the Bible wants to correct. RH Bill is a topic that is forever attached to the pro-life stand of the Church. To this we quote the Bible. “Give unto Caesar what is due to Caesar.” It means, that as God has placed a leader, a government amongst us, the government decides. We could only pray that the government will uphold the values of the Bible—NOT of the popes—and continue the righteousness we all should emulate. Then again, art is out of this context. Art is an entirely different conversation: It cannot be repressed by any rules, apart from a Government Code or Law. But as humans we are permitted to speak and express. Even Jesus contradicted Pharisees or HIGH PRIESTS, right?

So tell me. These people who called us artists stupid and immoral---
Were they Christians? Or we’re all in the same tight spot?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Your Stand


I told myself I won't do blogging anymore. I am valuing the work I have and the opportunities that I encounter. My writing can sometimes hurt, and so I chose to keep silent. Your Ranting Hatter has retired.

But NO, I found out I did not. Day by day, as I sat on my office chair, I can hear the sounds of my thoughts rummaging the canals of my brain... like yells crying out for escape, like they were actually being kept for inside for slaughter. I pity my thoughts, for they are very immature and inexperienced. I pity my thoughts because they keep on changing. I pity them because I have not given them liberty by keeping myself in silence. Now, the gates are open. Today, let the thoughts of the Ranting Hatter surface again.


I could have made a blog about how pissed I am in PLANKING. I could also insult Former First Gentleman Mikey Arroyo for his PIG looks and SWINE behavior. I could have hit on Amanda Coling and her big mouth. However, recognizing that I write at the verge of emotions (I do this because it is the only way that my writing can strike out structure and just focus on the overflow of thoughts) and at this point my stomach is churning because of an issue I can't afford to turn a blind eye to.

Case at point: BLASPHEMY IN ART. Sacrilegious pieces. Religion in ART, or absence of it.

The Middle Ages witnessed how these artists who brought in drugs and alcohol in their system managed to create art pieces that destroyed the very conservative nature of religion--or Catholicism (and Christianity, as they often associate Catholicism to Christianity).

It continued, and we have seen many stories of oppression. Both parties claim to be blocked off their rights, and no one could ever really mend the gap between the conservative and the liberal thinkers.




Today, way past Andres Serrano's Immersion (Piss Christ) Hearing, we witness the same issue in the country. The Philippines claimed to be the only Christian Country in the Southeast Asia, and one of a very few number in Asia. Christianity in the Philippines, however, traces itself back to a history of friars and priests who destroyed the face of the country by enriching their funds and making the poor poorer.

It has changed, over the years, in fears that they might lose members. It adapted to change, and adapted to many other options. However, the values to which it was built remains, and so they react in issues concerning the moral standards that their religion was able to set.

the question is... ARE WE ALL CATHOLICS???

When Muslims can taint Christianity in the many opportune instances, did we hold them accountable?
When Christians defile Muslims' belief, did we settle it by Law?
When Iglesia Ni Cristo celebrates, did the Catholics file protests?

We are not driven by faith. We know who to believe, who to trust, and who to worship. BUT THIS COUNTRY IS NOT DRIVEN BY A UNILATERAL, FIXATED FAITH. Therefore no one can dictate, coming from any religion, what moral standards are set. Humanae Vitae was recently hit by Senator Miriam Santiago.

Even Pope John Paul, who we should call Blessed now because he's on the way to sainthood when in fact in the Bible all believers are called SAINTS, said, and this is not in verbatim, that the overpowering rule is the state of one's consicence when it comes to moral issues.

WE ARE DIVERSE. THE COUNTRY IN ITSELF IS A DIVERSE NATION. And diversity need not focus on which group is the largest. For all we know, Catholics today are very much differenct from Catholics before. Some remain very faithful to the conservative church, and we have the Opus Dei devotees around at this time. But more and more Catholics in the country behave in such a way that the priests don't have power anymore on their decisions.

When the Church say it opposes premarital sex, how many of our young people today proved that their forbiddance is understood?

When the church opposes contraceptives, how many Catholic doctors would approve of artificial family planning methods?

The Church, not the faith, is falling down. It was not rooted on the one thing the Bible says it should be, and it continued the tradition of the Pharisees to make Laws and Decrees and make perfect people out of sinners.

Not that I am against Christianity, for I am a Christian myself.
However, true light must shine. Veritas, as they would say. We want the true veritas.

Which brings me to this case:



I AM AN ARTIST, even if I had only been an artist because I took multimedia arts for college course. I am an artist and I create and converse and prove and react and create again and again and again.

To me, Kulo has been a reaction. A protest. An art convention of something that faced religion head on. Controversial were the pieces of Mideo Cruz, which involved images and statues of Christ and Mary mixed with the many objects of the world today.

The church reacted, based on this news...

FROM CBCP NEWS

Catholics mull charges vs CCP exhibit

MANILA, August 2, 2011- Various lay Catholic groups are now considering the filing of charges against those behind the "sacrilegious and blasphemous" art exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

The complainants already sent a demand letter to the CCP and the artists who claimed to be from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to stop the exhibit in 48 hours or face the legal consequences.

Pro-life Philippines president Eric Manalang said the demand letter was already sent to the CCP yesterday but their ultimatum starts today.

"By Thursday afternoon, we will file a case if they do not stop the exhibit and if they do not also make amends because stopping is not enough. The damage has been done," Manalang said.

He said they are currently looking into the possibility of filing charges against CCP officials and artists of the exhibit dubbed as "Kulo."

The exhibit features images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary adorned with objects not related to Christianity. One even showed a crucifix with a condom.

One Christ the King figurine had rabbit ears.

Laywer Jo Imbong, executive director of the St. Thomas More Society Inc., said as a public agency, the CCP should not have allowed such exhibit for it contradicts its legal mandate.

"It was created by law and funded by our taxes for the purpose of awakening the consciousness of our people to our cultural heritage," Imbong said.

"Is it our cultural heritage to mock and insult religious personages and icons? Is it aesthetic to vandalize a venerated representation of objects of worship and reverence? Is vulgarity and blasphemy a Filipino value? What Filipino pride can emerge for such works? Is this our national identity? And CCP promotes it?" she asked.

Imbong said those responsible for the exhibit also violated Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code on Immoral Exhibitions.

"Those responsible for the public exhibit…the artist…they have a liability because they offended the religious belief of a country that is 85 percent Christian," she added.

The CCP exhibit which opened last June 17 and will run until August 21, has received flak from various groups, including the Catholic Church, for the unconventional use of religious figures in the art pieces. [CBCPNews]




The art community begs to disagree. But at the same time, they knew this was coming. Anyone can take a stand, and the debate could go on for so long. I believe, however, that this cannot be solved properly within our Catholic Country. Surely, Cruz may have gone too far, but is going too far a crime, when in fact he was on the sole grounds of enjoying his freedom of expression?

ARTICLE THREE, our BILL OF RIGHTS, SECTION FIVE OF OUR CONSTITUTION clearly states that:

Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.


If the blasphemous reaction to Catholicism is a religion for these artists, and by religion we mean "A BELIEF SYSTEM", then surely it is just fair to also give due consideration to the artists' platform of expression. Similarly, freedom finds another ally in the international bill which has a provision that:

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information ideas through any media and regardless of frontier.”

Article 29.

(1) x x x

(2) In the exercise of his right and freedom everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedom of others and of the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. ”


Then again, I remember an article by a former professor that freedom in its most basic sense is not existing, for in freedom we find restrictions. As many of the cynics would soon resort to this duly-founded truth, we may veer away from the issue that is expression.

Ano ba naman ang exhibit after niyan? Artists will take the pieces down, and then it all ends there. Ano ba naman ang "kung ayaw mo pumunta sa exhibit edi wag ka na pumunta para hindi ka mabadtrip" notion rule over the conservatives?

We don't know where this could take us. We don't know if this is another era in art, modern art, in the Philippines.

ART has kept on changing, and it survives, from the start of time, because of diversity, of courage, of creativity.

The church, on the other hand, continues to struggle for change... It had to adapt, but it's having difficulties because with all the laws it has created for itself, it shun off the true essence of Christianity--that which Jesus himself has taught. Nahihirapan na sila, because rules keep on changing, and people start to notice that rules always benefit the religion.

As ED WEST of THE TELEGRAPH puts it,

Blasphemy is a crime against God, and by extension, the social order and state. So England’s blasphemy law, until it was recently repealed, protected only Anglicanism, because a blasphemy law that protects two religions is nonsensical, since two religions can’t both be right. Instead Europe, where the vast majority of people are not actively religious, is now being saddled with laws that make it an offence to criticise any religion. Why?

Because like female genital mutilation, honour killings and religious terrorism in Europe, these blasphemy laws are not a product of religion (or at least Christianity) as of multiculturalism, and its toxic cocktail of high immigration and moral neutrality. These were all barbaric practices, incidentally, that Christian officials suppressed across the British Empire, but which have returned with a vengeance in multicultural Europe.

The New Atheist movement, for various reasons, seems unable to accept that multiculturalism, not Christianity, is the major threat to personal liberty. In reality there is only one religion that threatens freedom in Europe, and that is Islam, which is why the people behind this exhibition (quite understandably, because I wouldn’t) do not mock its founder.

Attacking Christianity is not going to change this threat. In fact, and to paraphrase Napoleon, a non-believer who understood society’s need for faith, a nation that does not respect its own religion will soon learn to respect someone else’s.



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I would have applauded if the Catholic Church reacts by showing love. If it's true Christianity, then surely they would understand what it means to love the enemy, and to love one another, just as Jesus loved us. If it's true biblical belief, they would have gone to accepting the fact that statues are idols, and idols are forbidden, for God is a jealous God. If it's truly a religion of Christ, then it should have taught us to pray directly to Jesus, as it was clear that no mediator stands between Christ and God for He and the Father is ONE.

I would, hopefully not forever, await the time when the Church shows mercy, as it teaches and begs for it in every prayer.
And I continue to hold steadfastly on my faith, without having to compromise it for the other belief that I stand for.
There's a better way to understand this,
but in the end,

you always have to make a stand.

So what's YOURS?