FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RH BILL ADVOCATES CHALLENGE THE CBCP IN EXCOMMUNICATION PARTY
“If supporting the RH Bill means excommunication, then excommunicate me!”
Quezon City (11/26/10) – Over 100 Reproductive Health (RH) advocates are attending an excommunication party to express their support for the RH Bill and dissent against the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Expected attendees are RH Bill advocates from different sectors, including legislators, activists, women’s groups, professionals, and students. The advocates will sign a document that poses a challenge to the CBCP: “If supporting the RH Bill means excommunication, then excommunicate me!”
Copies of the document will be sent to each participant’s parish church. The original document will be delivered to the CBCP. Aside from signing the excommunication document, pro-RH legislators and advocates will deliver solidarity messages throughout the evening. “Pro-RH lawmakers continue to support the RH Bill even at the risk of excommunication,” said Sylvia Estrada-Claudio of the Filipino Freethinkers, lead organizers of the event. “They are not afraid of the CBCP. Neither are we.”
The excommunication party is the next chapter of the conflict between pro-RH Bill advocates (many of whom are Catholic laity), and anti-RH Bill advocates (led by the CBCP and Pro-Life Philippines). In a recent incident at the Manila Cathedral, anti-RH advocates led by Eric Manalang of Pro-Life blockaded and kicked out from a mass and prayer service members of the Filipino Freethinkers and Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines when they attempted to attend a mass wearing Damaso T-shirts, an expression of their support for the RH Bill.
“For supporting the RH Bill, Manalang called even the devout Roman Catholics amoung us Satan,” said Red Tani, President of the Filipino Freethinkers. “He branded the Catholics among us oxymorons, as if it were a contradiction to be pro-RH and remain Catholic. We were told that our mothers should have aborted us. If the church hierarchy thinks supporting the RH bill means heresy, then by all means — excommunicate us! We’re throwing an advanced party for the ceremony,” said Mr. Tani.
Hosted by the Filipino Freethinkers, the excommunication party will be held at Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant. “This will be a night of dinner, entertainment, and dissent,” said Mr. Tani. As Adarna serves good food, improv comedians treat guests to creative, interactive comedy. There will also be adult party games with prizes courtesy of SexandSensibilities.com and the event’s various sponsors.
“As far as we know, this excommunication party is the first event of its kind,” said Mr. Tani. “And until the CBCP stops blocking the RH Bill from passing, this will definitely not be the last.”
The Filipino Freethinkers (FF) is a group of nonbelievers and progressive believers who practice and promote reason, science, and secularism. They have over 2,000 members around the world, with regional chapters in Davao and Cebu, university chapters in UP Diliman and UP Manila, and affiliate organizations in the Asia and the US. For more information, visit www.FilipinoFreethinkers.org/about .
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If you’d like more information about this, or to schedule an interview with Filipino Freethinkers, please contact the following:
Red Tani: 0920-921-7090 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sylvia Estrada-Claudio: 09178081984 / email@example.com