I was reading through some of the current news happening in our educational system and was surprised to see that our Department of Education made a bold move of removing something so valuable in their vision statement that is reflected in our constitution. What is intriguing is that the reason behind this is because a certain group challenged the vision of the Department of Education.
Excerpt below is taken from the website Nation Watch
In a department order (No. 36) issued last September 4, 2013, the DepEd released its new statement that reads as follows: “We dream of Filipinos who passionately love their country and whose values and competencies enable them to realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to building the nation.” In comparison, the old vision statement more directly reflects the intrinsic faith majority of Filipinos have for the Divine. It reads as “By 2030, DepEd is globally recognized for good governance and for developing functionally-literate and God-loving Filipinos.”
Incidentally, the change was made in the midst of a request from a group of atheists in the Philippines called as the “Filipino Freethinkers.” In an open letter dated February 5 of last year, the group denounced the mentions of “God-loving” in DepEd’s Vision statement and “Maka-Diyos” as one of the department’s Core Values. Seeing it as a violation of the “principle of secularism” and of the “separation of church and state” enshrined in the Phil. Constitution, the open letter demanded that DepEd removed the said references to God or replace it with secular counterparts. DepEd promptly responded in Twitter, a social networking site, that review is on its way and a new vision statement shall be released soon.
This is a case of being pressured to have an institution change its VISION and VALUES to accommodate a group and in the process neglecting the prevailing values of society. If a group decides that they don’t want God, that is their problem and not the problem of our constitution. Because if we keep on changing who we are and what we value to accommodate a group – then when will this end?
If a group of people would make a case that their belief must be put there because it is discriminatory – will we change our constitution for that. If a group of animal lovers would make a case- will the vision and constitution change? I hope you get what I am saying.
In short, a group of people doesn’t want God, and I am not against them not wanting God that is their right as a Filipino, but for them to pressure us to change who we are (according to the 1987 preamble of the constitution) – that is being intolerant and discriminatory. So what I’m saying is I don’t have a problem that they have a problem with the God that I worship – the problem is if they want to dictate and change the government and the words in our constitution.
Here is the Preamble of the 1987 Philippine Constitution:
We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.
According to Nation Watch
In principle, the law of the land ought to reflect the shared aspirations and values of its people. In a country with a population of 80% Christians and 5% Muslims, in which both faith traditions are expressing strong belief in God and the need for godly values, the recent move of the DedEd appears to run contrary to religious nature and culture of Filipinos. The implications of the department order would be felt by the future generation -students DedEd is tasked to serve.
As a Christian nation, we have to start shouting what we stand for and not let a few change the agreed upon constitution and values of our nation.
God bless the Philippines.
I urge everyone to tweet @DepEd_PH and say your thoughts about this. Also help spread the word by sharing this on your Facebook and social media accounts.
Just want to add a point because some are taking out the separation between state and church angle. So let us clear out the history of the Separation of Church and State:
Separation of church and state was actually first mentioned by the author of the “Jefferson Bible,” an edition of the New Testament that removed all references to the supernatural including the virgin birth, the resurrection, and all miracles. Who was this blasphemer who created the separation of church and state doctrine that is so popular in Evangelical circles today? The separation idea first appeared in 1802 in a letter US President Thomas Jefferson wrote to a group of concerned Baptist pastors in Danbury, Connecticut. In the letter Jefferson assured the pastors he would not allow his non-Christian beliefs to influence public policy because he held the opinion that there should be a “wall of separation between the church and the state.” Note that this was Jefferson’s personal opinion, not US Constitution and certainly not the Bible.
Jefferson’s separation idea actually did appear in a constitution 150 years after his letter. The Soviets believed separation of church and state to be essential in building a godless government, so they wrote Jefferson’s separation clause into their constitution. In other words, if we want to build an atheist society, then the separation of church and state makes sense.