I have nothing against people who practice their religion – because I want others to respect my belief (non-belief for that matter) system — but when individuals overstep the boundaries of their freedom and express utterly presumptuous and insensitive things, I quickly lose my patience. I’m perfectly fine with prayers. People could recite the entire rosary and complete ten novenas in front of me and I wouldn’t really feel any different. It becomes a totally different matter though when people fail to exercise their discretion in choosing the words for their publicly-aired prayers.
The following is a transcript of the prayer read during the invocation.
So compassionate, so faithful, so loving You are Our Father.
We ask You to increase our faith and our love for You that we may use blogging as an instrument to fulfill Your purposes. May we become bloggers of truth and promoters of peace.
Help us to be steadfast in our Christian commitment that visitors may find in our blogs a source of encouragement and inspiration. Give us strength to proclaim Your word, that we may play our part in breaking down the walls of hostility in the world and use our blogs to strengthen the bonds of friendship, solidarity and love.
Make our hearts meek and humble
that we may treat our readers as friends, not as unique hits,
that we may strive to change ourselves for the better more often than we pimp our site templates,
that we may find more time to ease the pain of someone in our own home than to reply to comments left by strangers,
that we may interact with our next door neighbors as often as we chat with our blogrolled friends,
that we may be more concerned about helping the less privileged than about the number of subscribers to our RSS feeds.
Deliver us, Father, from spams and viruses, from pride and selfishness, and from the temptation to replicate images without permission and copy ideas without crediting the original authors.
May we always be united as a network of bloggers and friends working together in Your name. May our blogs lead us closer to You.
We ask all these through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Again, I find nothing wrong in praying. If someone really needs to do it, then there should be no stopping him. You see, had the Philippine Blog Awards been the Philippine Coalition of Christian Bloggers Convention, there would have nothing wrong with the prayer. In that venue and event, everyone would have been aligned with the same goals and no one would feel sleighted with a line like this: May our blogs lead us closer to You.
I know this reaction would draw crticism from a lot of people due to the sheer numbers of Christian bloggers, but I think the majority should still be sensitive to the issues of political correctness and sensitivity towards diversity. Not all blogs are meant to forward the interests of the Christian faith and one’s spiritual well-being. Why one person would pretentiously and presumptuously claim that it is the case is absolutely beyond me. If these Christian bloggers were suddenly lumped with other “people who forward Satanism”, the uproar will be defeaning.
I hope the organizers (and the person who would lead the invocation next year) would be more sensitive about this issue. If they have no plans to make amends with this snafu, then I suggest that they implicitly call the next edition of the awards the Philippine Christian Blog Awards.
It’s sickening. The damage has been done, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who was offended by this insensitive act. Hopefully those people would also come out into the open to condemn this act of political incorrectness and presumptuous catechism.
Was the prayer well-written? Yes, it was humorous and it’s actually refreshing to see that people are not injecting wit into their private conversations with the entity that they believe as their creator.
Was it done in good taste? Hell no. All the parts in red are the segments that I feel were done in horrid taste. It’s absolutely disgusting.
Praying could have been a simple message of thanks, a few words to ask for guidance and blessings or even than a general spiel wishing for everyone’s wellness. Assuming that all blogs are directed towards a common goal is idiotic. To presumptuously claim that all blogs exist to forward the christian faith is bigoted.
Ok, enough of that negative energy. If
Christians people refuse to accept that they don’t own the world, the minority will just have to be more mature and understanding considering the presumptuous nature of their ilk.
It was great to finally meet Jhed and Kevin. They were with Gener who couldn’t spot Starbucks from Timezone.Â I rode shotgun with Ronnie who was attending his first blog event. It was great to see familiar faces – I got to see Tess, AJ and Pierre. I first saw them during the BlogParteeh held last January.
I really donâ€™t get it.
I have no idea why in this day in age, people would favor an offensive and arrogant display marinated in intolerance and insensitivity as opposed to opting for a procedure that everyone would have been more likely amenable (yes, I can be funny without being offensive) too. Iâ€™m not quite sure if I missed out on any details, but the last time I checked, the Philippine Blog Awards was an event that was supposed to champion Filipino bloggers regardless of creed, affiliation or niche. How it transformed to an exercise to remind bloggers to be steadfast in [our] Christian commitment and help bloggers lead us closer to You [the you being their god] is totally beyond me.
I find it hard to blame the organizers for this unfortunate incident. After all, Iâ€™m sure they didnâ€™t proof read and review what the speaker had prepared for the invocation. Given that circumstance, the responsibility squarely falls on one individualâ€™s shoulders. It is quite discouraging that a lot of people turn a blind eye to what has happened here.
Again, I couldnâ€™t emphasize enough that I am not against christians praying in events. Although a lot of christians are considerate enough to concede that a moment of silence would have sufficed, a general prayer that doesnâ€™t overstep the boundaries of good taste and sensitivity wouldâ€™ve sufficed. Giving thanks to someoneâ€™s god for the nice weather, snazzy venue and notable attendance wouldâ€™ve made it cool, right? Coupled with the speakerâ€™s candor and way with techno-babble and manner, it wouldâ€™ve still made for a rousing prayer that wouldâ€™ve still left fans of the only begotten son speechless.
The speaker knew what he was getting into. There are only two possible explanations to what happened. Hypothesis numero uno is that the speaker was too intellectually inept and naive to even fathom the presence of people who donâ€™t blog for the sake of forwarding the interests of christianity. If it isnâ€™t that, the act can only be explained by the speakerâ€™s voluntary, conscious, coherent, Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 (shout out to Dr. Termulo) decision to recklessly and self-righteously disregard the possibility of having non-christians inside the venue.
Clearly, given the credentials of the speaker, the act was done under circumstances which are closer to the second scenario. That makes it extra revolting.
Though I find it very discouraging that a lot of people are turning a blind eye to how insensitive and presumptuous the prayer was, Iâ€™m really stunned with the way people has responded to my sentiments. There are real progressive minds in the Pinoy Blogosphere and most of them read my blog. OK, Iâ€™ll stop handing out compliments right now because I donâ€™t want to risk sounding like Iâ€™m patronizing you people. I appreciate your willingness to share your insights regarding this serious issue.
I am speaking for myself and not for the organizers though. In my advocacy, I never impose my beliefs on others. But I talk about it and share my experience and it is up to my readers to take it or leave it. We should always consider the feelings of the general blogosphere.
i agree. a moment of silence would have probably sufficed. im catholic, but even in school functions in UP, i discourage prayer parts in our organizationsâ€™ programs just to be neutral and fair to all attendees with various beliefs.
i wasnt inside the venue nung nag prayer dito ko lng nabasa.
i am a catholic. was educated in a catholic school, but i agree with you that sensitivty re: faith/belief should have been practiced.
a general thanksgiving prayer should have been enough, or at least a moment of silence.
If i was on benj shoes, I would also be disgusted.
I find it very encouraging that christians find the logic in what Iâ€™m standing up for. It doesnâ€™t take a similarity in religion and philosophy to grasp what fundamental rights were violated during the invocation. The Philippine Blog Awards was clearly meant to be a secular event (if it wasnâ€™t then the organizers did a poor job in informing the guests), and itâ€™s utterly inexcusable for the speaker to take the opportunity to wantonly and self-indulgently alienate and generalize. Itâ€™s also great that agnostics, atheists and other free thinkers who choose to not associate themselves with labels are coming out of the woodwork to voice out their opinions regarding this issue.
As a parting shot, let me feature how one blogger argues for his unethical and absolutely emetic (shout out agaaaain!) premise.
This is taken from Jomarâ€™s blog.
10. Father Cuyos is the name of the cool podcasting/blogging priest from the Vatican, not Cuying, (w/c is taken from his nominated PODCAST: CUYINGCAST). Benj and other non-religious folks must remember that they are in the Philippines and prayers before events are standard. THIS PRAYER w/c is so significant that Iâ€™d suggest to to get Father Cuyos as co-HOST next timeâ€“will go down (or better yet, GO UP) in history as the funniest and most bagay na prayer Iâ€™ve ever heard!
Did I just say zealotry? Iâ€™m seriously taken aback with this type of mentality. Prayers are not standard. The University of The Philippines (the bastion of collegiate education in this country) discourages praying before events that are attended by a diverse audience. Seriously, Jomar and his ilk (the presumptuous and bigoted kind) are the very reasons why religious wars happen – and thatâ€™s not even an exaggeration. RECKLESSLY CLAIMING THAT SHEER NUMBERS CAN JUSTIFY ACTS OF BIGOTRY, INSENSITIVITY AND INTOLERANCE IS SIMPLY NONSENSICAL AND ILLOGICAL . These people are the ones who are incapable of tolerance towards other philosophies and faiths. I find this post more troubling and revolting than the actual prayer.
It disturbs me that they think that their god is overjoyed when they trample down the rights of others. Pathetic. Some people are really blinded by their faith to the point of madness.
I think encapsulates almost everything that I need to say. Thank you Tess for taking time to actually verbalize it. I donâ€™t have the patience to sanitize things when logic is under attack.
This discussion is never meant to slight the great efforts made by those who organized and volunteered for the Philippine Blog Awards. The issue was raised so that the next Blogger event could be improved, based on the experiences learned from PBA. If it wasnâ€™t voiced out, Iâ€™m 100% sure it will happen again the next time.
The mood of some of the commenters in this discussion reminded me of something I experienced in medical school. I attended the Royal Pontifical University of Santo Tomas. And, of course, being a Catholic University, almost all classes were started with a prayer. That is to be expected and those who arenâ€™t Christians just have to put up with it because theyâ€™ve accepted to study there. However, there was that once time during class when one non-Christian remained seated during the entire prayer (prayers in that university are made standing up). The professor noticed it and, after the prayer, called him to stand up and reprimanded him in front of the whole class for having disrespected the prayer.
That incident reminded me how non-Christians can be treated in this society predominated by Christians.
If I may say, Christians do forget most of the times that not everybody share their beliefs. And Christians do wonder at what rights did they trample on? Most just donâ€™t realize that they hurt somebody because some things have been so ingrained that theyâ€™re almost automatic. Like saying that prayers are standard. Of course not. Itâ€™s just that weâ€™re in a society that are composed of mostly Christians thatâ€™s why we feel that prayers are part of the S.O.P. of daily living.
Like what Shari might have perhaps done, I just tuned out the prayer and just forget about it. But certainly we cannot blame people like Benj for having to voice out their concerns. And no, it isnâ€™t an attack on the beliefs of Christians.
Simply having those who donâ€™t believe in prayers walk out or tune out is not the correct solution for it. Such actions are simply meant to exclude people further. As others have also commented, a moment of silence in place of an invocation should be done next time. In this way, everybodyâ€™s need could be addressed: those who need to pray can pray and those who need not can simply just let their minds wander.
So, it isnâ€™t simply bowing down to the fact that most of the bloggers are Christians and those who are non-Christians should adjust to the needs of the majority. The Blog Awards event is not a religious event. It is an event for bloggers, period. So hopefully next time this would be remembered.
As for the call for volunteers, there are just some, though they want to, who just canâ€™t be physically there and help out with organizing the events. But thatâ€™s why people throw out ideas so that, at least, in that way, they could help, if not physically, by sharing whatever they have in mind that they think can improve the blog events.
This has been a heated discussion and I hope everybody would simmer down, as this is only an exchange of ideas, not attacks on personal and religious beliefs.
Lastly, I appreciate those who took time to link to my entries.
In other news, its going to be my birthday in a few hours! Woohoo!
And wow, this is quite a way to jump start my bid for next yearâ€™s awards. Talk about blogging yourself out of the running in one day!