Duterte has been seen praying and kneeling. But he calls God ‘stupid.’

June 25, 2018 - 5:17 PM
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President Rodrigo Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte attends a wedding in Davao City in 2016. (Interaksyon file photo)

As expected, President Rodrigo Duterte received backlash after his recent tirade on the biblical creation story that is a pivotal part of Catholic doctrine, the belief of arguably a majority of those who voted for him.

Supported by some sects but critical of the largest church in the country, the statement reveals the chief executive’s fluctuating relationship with the religious sector.

A complicated relationship

Duterte’s recent comments on the Creator’s treatment of the biblical Adam and Eve has riled up not just the Catholic Church and its faithful, but colleagues in the government.

“Who is this stupid God? Estupido talaga itong p***** i** kung ganun,” said Duterte while commenting about temptation of Adam and Eve in the biblical creation story during a speech in Davao City. The president was questioning why the Tree of Knowledge was placed in the Garden of Eden in the first place.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the president’s most vocal critics in the Congress, in a statement called Duterte “an evil man” following the controversial comments made during a recent speech.

Even allies of the President have called him out for his comments. In a statement, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a known supporter of a number of the administration’s policies, hoped for God to “forgive” the President.

“Between him and my God to Whom I pray every single day and with Whom I’ve found solace and comfort in all my difficult times, I don’t even have to think of my choice,” Lacson said.

Church groups and supporters have called out the head of state for the statement, saying that he “crossed the line” for the tirade.

Private citizens, meanwhile, have recalled how Duterte’s stance on the Christian God used to be much warmer not so long ago.

Just after his landslide victory in the May 2016 presidential race, Duterte clarified public speculation on his religious beliefs by saying that while he believed in God, he did not believe in organized religion.

The statement came months after he “jokingly” cursed at Catholic Church leader Pope Francis during his November 2015 proclamation speech. He has since apologized for the remarks.

In September 2016, Duterte publicly questioned the existence of the Almighty.

So, where is God when a one-year-old baby…18-month…year-old baby is taken from the mother’s arms brought under a jeep and raped and killed. So where is God?“, said Duterte while defending his support for the return of the death penalty.

Google Images search results showing the president praying on several occasions, sometimes in Catholic churches.

A month later, he credited his victory in the presidential race to God, as reported by the Inquirer. This was followed by a promise to his maker to curb his use of profanity, saying “a promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”

In January 2017, Duterte received some criticism after hurling invectives at the Catholic Church while discussing alleged corruption among bishops during the Arroyo administration.

Since then, the president was heavily criticized by church leaders who oppose his war on drugs.

Despite his rhetorical statements on the existence of a divine power and shaky relationship with the Catholic Church, which he belongs to as a nominal member, Duterte is known to have received much support from a number of religious groups.

Among these are the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, whose leader Apollo Quiboloy supported Duterte’s campaign, and the Iglesia ni Cristo, who endorsed his presidency in the May 2016 elections.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has defended Duterte, citing the president’s right to his own religious belief and trauma from alleged sexual harassment by a Catholic priest during his younger days.

Despite his criticism of a number of clergymen, Duterte in a recent speech claimed that he still respected the church.