Thursday, January 05, 2006

To be or not to be involved

This report on the Filipino Church reminded me of a post at Amy's.

From Amy's post, an observation by a reader:

Jose Casanova’s Public Religions in the Modern World observes that where religion was identified with the state (the formerly Catholic nations, the British Commonwealth, and Scandinavian countries), it has died. Conversely, where religious participation has been an _expression of the individual’s personal experience(most notably the US, and to some degree African and Asian Christianity), it continues to thrive. The only cases where a quasi-statist church has thrived is when it is a force against a foreign oppression : Ireland, Poland, Chile, the Philipeans among others). In these cases, the quasi-statist religion usually goes through a precipitous collapse when the oppression is ended. This is clearly happening in all of the nations listed.

From the article on the Filipino Church:

Baylon hoped for a continuation of the status quo that sees the Church walking a fine line between being apolitical and becoming politically active.

"I believe the religious orders should maintain their activism in relation to moral issues, which, given the weakness of political values and principles in the Philippines political system, means bordering on political involvement," he said. "However, at the stage the Philippines is in, the abdication by church leaders would have even worse consequences."

Read the complete article Philippines: Pray, put politics aside from Asia Times.

I thought the contrast of opinions is interesting. I'm not up on the Philippines and if the Church is drastically falling. The idea of Amy's reader that the oppression in the Philippines has ended is in part true, but the political corruption goes on. The message of the quote from the Asia Times article is that a retreat from the Church's political role would be not so good. The comment of walking a fine line is doubly true.

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