Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Right

*a repost of my Feb. 13, 2011 column in the Cordillera Today

I have the right to free speech. I have the right to elect whomever I deem fit to be craft the laws of the land and the people who will enforce those laws. I have the right not to be held in slavery, nor be subjected to torture or other forms of cruel and inhuman punishment. I have the right to life, liberty and security of person. I have the right to live my life any way I want as long as I don’t violate the rights of others to live their own lives any way they want.

I respect the right of anyone to practice whatever faith they believe in, live their lives according to those beliefs. I respect the right of Catholics, and their right to live THEIR lives, according to THEIR beliefs and practices. I respect their right to bar women from becoming priests, even their reasons for it. I respect their right not to allow Catholic couples to divorce, not matter what the circumstances of their marriage may be. I respect their right refuse any form of artificial birth control – their right not to allow Catholic men to use condoms, or get vasectomies, and their right not to allow Catholic women to take birth control pills, or use Intra-Uterine Devices.  I respect their right to the belief that sex is sacred and should only be done for purposes of procreation, and not for mere pleasure. I respect that.

I, myself, will never, ever, impose my beliefs that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church on any Catholic. I will never force  any Catholic I know who’s got five children just like I do, with a limited income just like me, to get a vasectomy like I did so I won’t have any more children so I can have a better chance  at providing for the five beautiful children that I already have. I will not force any Catholic man violating the teachings of his own church by having pre-martial, or at times, extra-marital, casual sex to wear a condom so he and his partner can have a better chance at not contracting any deadly, sexually transmitted disease. I do all that because I believe that my freedom, and right, to all of the above, end where the freedom of a Catholic person begins.

And that’s why I expect them to respect the rights of others, the non-Catholics, to practice whatever other faith they believe in, and live their lives according to those beliefs. That’s why I also expect Catholics to respect my right, and of those who share my belief, to decide to limit the number of children that I, we, can have by artificial means. That’s why I expect them to respect my right to be better informed about reproductive health, to learn about both natural and artificial means of birth control, and my right to choose whichever I want to use.

See, I respect their right to oppose the Reproductive Health Bill, their right not to have anything to do with it, not to know about it, their right to cover their eyes to the letters of the bill and their ears to what it hopes to tell the people about. And that’s why I expect them to respect my right to choose to have something to do with it, to open my eyes to the letters of the bill and my ears to what the bill aims to tell me about.

Freewill, God gave us, even the Catholics believe that. 

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