Illegal mass at Capitol?-A A +A
Monday, October 7, 2013
DON'T mind that Mike Aton, co-anchor of a block-time weekly radio program, has figured in a number of controversies.
Disregard that Aton, an Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) member, may be infused with religious fervor.
Aton, in a Sept. 26 letter to Gov. Hilario Davide III, asked Junjun to explain why he shouldn't be charged criminally for allowing a Catholic mass at the Capitol last Aug. 6 during its anniversary celebration.
His complaint, reported in The Freeman, may not get a reply from Junjun but Aton's point, stripped of dubious motive, is valid on its face.
Even some Catholics still can't understand why separation of church and state and constitutional ban on use of public funds for religion are not strictly observed.
The Constitution provides that no public money or property shall be applied "directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit or support" of any religion or sect.
Why then did the government allow use of Luneta Park for religious services, U.P. rooms for lectures on religion, entrance of Cebu Capitol as altar and coronation room, and, more recently, city resources to prepare for the San Pedro Calungsod thanksgiving mass?
When the religious character is merely "incidental to a temporary use available to the public in general," the ban is not violated.
That precept, enshrined in Supreme Court decisions, has led to what Aton calls an "outrageous" excess by the Catholic Church.
Maybe INC and other sects may just have to be more assertive of their equal right to use state resources for their own religious activities.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 08, 2013.