THE Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” It is on this premise that House Minority Leader Bienvenido “Benny” Abante, Jr. filed House Bill 2069 or the “Mandatory Bible Reading Act of 2019” seeking to make Bible reading mandatory in all public elementary and high schools throughout the country.
Abante is trying to tear down the wall that separates between the Church and State, his two masters; which is apparently hard to serve at the same time. Abante is the Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Ekklessia -church affairs who sought to amalgamate with his political affairs.
According to asiasociety.org, Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia; and ranked 5th largest Christian country on Earth in 2010 according to Wikipedia.
For a Christian country like Philippines, Bible reading is good but should not find a place in the halls of congress as mandatory. Because the fundamental law of the land, particularly Article 3 Section 5, prohibits persecution of a person for his religious belief; neither had it mandated to establish a single religion for this country. Let us be mindful that there are also non-Christian or non-Bible-based religions, atheists and the agnostics. Although they represent a minute dot of the population, still they are entitled to these basic rights.
Granting arguendo that this will become a law, all English and Filipino teachers have to study the basic of theology or at least a certain hermeneutical principle for them to deliver correctly the critical exegesis of the Bible after reading. Sheer reading without understanding is not reading at all, that is basic. Because reading means decoding the meaning of the printed words.
Even with the mastery of the Bible, the teacher must be aware that a classroom with multi-religious background young learners can flare up to an intense debate anytime that would eventually lead to another cause of bullying.
In his book, “The Sublime Invention: Ballooning in Europe, 1783-1820”, Professor Michael R. Lynn of the Purdue University mentioned the Egalitarian punishment of a heretic. Heretic in this context is a person who holds religious beliefs in conflict with the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. During the Great Reformation, the Anabaptists who are practicing baptism during adulthood will be executed by drowning. The punishment is called “third baptism.”
Mandatory Bible Reading if becomes a law in the Philippines, is a form of persecution, someone will be undressed of the basic rights and will be regarded by the society as a dissenter, radical, blasphemer or heretic. Heresy during their time (I hope not with this proposed law) is a crime punishable by death, by hanging on the gibbet or by decapitation using the mammoth guillotine.
Well, on the affirmative side, if this bill will prosper with legal efficacy or force, DepEd will certainly procure and store tons of Bibles as textbooks for reading, to seek righteousness.