06/12/2019 Philippines (International Christian Concern) — The Catholic Church in the Philippines is under fire from President Rodrigo Duterte, who told Catholics to leave their jobs if they feel like their religious beliefs interfere with the implementation of government policies.
The Philippines have a strong Christian majority, most of whom are Catholic. President Duterte’s comments were made in the context of frustration at Catholic healthcare workers who refuse to implement a 2017 executive order regarding access to universal birth control. The executive order was signed after a similar law was suspended in 2012 by the Supreme Court.
The president’s comments, however, may have been given in this context but they were left more broadly open to interpretation that Christians do not belong in the government if they disagree with any government policies. This is a dangerous belief that could erode government accountability in regards to religious freedom. This is not the first time the president has singled out Christians. He often blames Christians for the problems of many other countries and has made frequent derogative comments about God.
While the Philippines may have a large Christian majority, Duterte’s leadership is evolving the country into an atmosphere more hostile to believers.
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