Monday, March 14, 2016

The Political Divide

The promises and clamor for change for a better Philippines created die-hard political supporters, polarizing the already fragmented Filipinos. The political polarization adds up to the geographical, cultural and linguistic fragmentation of the Philippine society.

Five presidential aspirants are competing for the highest post in the land in the May 2016 election. Their supporters are pretty much divided based on their belief and ideology or with the candidate's platform, persona, ethnic and political background. Die-hard supporters believe their candidate is the only qualified for the highest post. I am neither a die-hard nor a supporter of any candidate. As a preacher, even if I have my own preference, I refrain from endorsing any candidate that might inflame political polarization among my constituents which impedes them from electing the best and most qualified for the office.

As I watch the political campaign and scene unfold,  I am saddened and disappointed that even the media is fanning the flame of political divide and that the social media is being used as platform to proliferate it like a wild fire. The political polarization is dividing our society, leaving a huge gap that cannot be filled except by love.  Earlier this year, I tried to ignore as the divisiveness of politics drives me farther into a neutral state. But I wonder if political neutrality is the best response to such political divide! As I continue to reflect on the destructive power of political polarization,  pastors and church leaders should not endorse a political candidate. If pastors want to state the name of the candidate they want to vote for, it is totally their prerogative. They have reasons to make public who they are voting for and I don't question their motive. But, I am not in favor of pastors campaigning or endorsing certain party. I believe that we ministers should practice political neutrality to prevent the proliferation of political polarity. Imagine if a pastor campaign for one political party, but people in his congregation support another? Are people matured enough to handle political endorsement by a pastor without making the political divide wider?

Within the church, I understand that everybody has their own political bias and party they support. Our constituents are never neutral and we cannot impose from the people we lead a solid vote for someone. As we continue to promote unity, we must understand that our people cannot be truly non-partisan without losing their balance in matters of belief, ideology and principle.

I hope and pray that when the election is over, there would be healing from political polarity so that the Filipino people can move forward with spirit of unity. .