Secular Extremism Has No Place In Society

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (JGL) – The Friday the 13th attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead were so shocking they overshadowed the Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea) issue in Manila’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in progress on the other side of the world.

But if there was any message sent by the attackers, it was the possibility of reinstituting the unity of church and state.

If it is true that the attacks were handiwork of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) followers and sympathizers, it is not farfetched to say that if they succeed, they could reinstate theocracy that is found in such other Islamic State as Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia or Algeria.  It will be an imposition of an Islamist social and political system on a society with an indigenously different social and political background.

But if there were a shift of new religion being imposed on French, it will just be a re-introducing of religion on them from another stripe.

For hundred of years, France was governed by royalties, which were allied with the Roman Catholic Church, which was a de-facto French religion. Just like the Philippines when the Spanish civil government headed by a Governor General governed the Philippines in collusion with Spanish Roman Catholic friars. These phenomena were eloquently described by Philippine national hero Jose Rizal on his two novels Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Felibusterismo (The Reign of Creed).

But because the Roman Catholic Church, which owned vast chunks of land in France, just like in the Hispanic Philippines, was exempted from paying taxes, like the royalties, the Roman Catholic Church was among those persecuted during the French Revolution.

Following the fall of the French monarchy on Aug. 10, 1789 during the height of French Revolution, Roman Catholic relics were destroyed to rid the country of any links to the discredited regime.


The French National Assembly led by commoners suppressed all remaining religious orders, including those staffing schools and hospitals, and ordered remaining non-jurors (priests, who swore allegiance to both the New French Constitution and the Roman Pope at the same time), or to leave or be arrested and deported.

When news arrived on September 2, 1789 that the fortress-town of Verdun near Paris had fallen into the allied Prussian forces, Parisians, imagining that imprisoned counter-revolutionaries were preparing to break out and join the enemy, dispensed their own preventative justice when they descended on the city’s prisons and, over the course of several days, slaughtered over 1200 prisoners, including at least 200 priests.

The September Massacres made clear the distrust that would prevent any accommodation between the Church and the new Republic proclaimed on September 22, 1792.

In fact, the Carmelite community was transported to Paris, where they were condemned as a group as traitors and sentenced to death. Known as the Martyrs of Compiègne, 16 members of the Carmel of Compiegne, France: 11 Discalced Carmelite nuns, three lay sisters, and two externs (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community’s needs outside the monastery), refused to abide by the orders of the new Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary government, which mandated the suppression of their monastery. They were guillotined on July 17, 1794, during the Reign of Terror and buried in a mass grave at Picpus Cemetery.


This religious persecution could happen again in Paris if the ISIS will take over France and forget to remember to any lesson learned from the French Revolution that there is wisdom in separating the Church from the State, which has been enshrined in many Constitutions all over the world observing republicanism and democracy.

The martyrdom of 16 nuns in Compiegne recalls to mind the three Filipino priests known as Gomburza, acronym of the surnames of priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora, who were executed by garrote on Feb. 17, 1872 in Luneta (now Rizal Park in the Philippines) on charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny.

The execution of Gomburza would have a profound effect on Jose Rizal, who dedicated his novel El Filibusterismo to Gomburza’s memory. Some 24 years later, Rizal would follow Gomburza to their grave when Rizal was himself executed by firing squad also in Luneta.

If Philippines’ rebels like Abu Sayyaf, which ally themselves with terrorists group Al Qaeda or perhaps ISIS, would succeed on their quest to impose their own Islamic brand of religion in the Philippines, should they remain unchecked, it will not be improbable that they could likewise supplant the Roman Catholic religion in the Philippines with their own Islamic religion.


They can even impose their own social, political and judicial dispensation like Shariah laws. Why not? Before the Spaniards, some Philippine natives were Muslims while majority of the other tribes believes in anito and other Pagan rituals.

Before the French Revolution, 100% of French population professed Roman Catholicism. In the Philippines today, 80% of Filipinos are Roman Catholics.

But why will proponents of religion, be it Roman Catholicism or Muslim, allow secularization by discouraging the practice of other social and cultural mores when everybody is entitled to exercise his own religion? I don’t get it.

Why resort to extremism, instead of religious tolerance? Extremism in the light of religion has always been around. From the Crusades, Jewish zealots and Islamic jihadists, extremism has taken root in every religion and is used by a few to exploit personal causes thru violent means.

When Islamists impose strict adherence for Muslim infidels the way they observe their own Muslim beliefs, like telling the infidels not to make fun of Mohammed, Islamists should remember that infidels may not really be mocking Mohammed but they are just expressing their God-given freedoms of speech and expression.

When some people made fun of Jesus Christ like the Jews, who crucified him on the cross, Roman Catholics did not condemn the Jewish people to death because they know that Jesus had forgiven them.

Roman Catholics only pray that those mocking Christ be enlightened and should make better use of their freedoms of speech and expression or to venture into some other activities that will improve their way of life, not end it.


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