Readers may remember that during my most recent trip to the Philippines I quite randomly made friends with many of the core members of the Filipino Freethinkers, a new advocacy group working for freedom from religious pressure in society and blogged in detail about our initial meeting. On Saturday some members of the group picketed the Philippines Catholic Bishop Conference to protest the Church’s opposition to a proposed reproductive health (i.e. birth control) bill that is being supported by the new president Benigno Aquino, and a photograph of them was printed in the Philippine Inquirer, and then picked up by Boingboing. Why you ask? Just take a look at the photo in question, as well as the installment of the geek webcomic xkcd referenced in the sign held by Red Tani, one of the founders of Filipino Freethinkers. The comic’s caption is “Wikipedian Protester.”
The part of the article about the protesters is as follows:
A group of pro-RH (Reproductive Health) advocates trooped to the CBCP office in Intramuros, Manila, to condemn the Church for interfering in government-mandated initiatives for reproductive health.
Rhoda Avila of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines told Figura her group was urging the Church to stop spreading “lies” about birth control and allow the government to do its work in providing Filipinos an affordable and accessible reproductive health program.
A slight tension occurred during the 15-minute dialogue while Figura was explaining that the Church was not interfering but “merely issuing guidelines.”
“Based on what? On your non-sexual experience?” protester Marlon Lacsamana snapped.
I’ve mentioned the problem of the Philippine government’s previous disinterest in birth control before on this blog, and hope that they have the backbone to resist the Church’s archaic stance on sexuality and birth control.
The official Filipino Freethinkers website is at www.filipinofreethinkers.org.