Duterte: Sorry, God
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - July 11, 2018 - 10:45am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to God, whom he called “stupid” that triggered public anger in Asia’s biggest Catholic nation.

The president issued the apology during his meeting with Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide founder Eddie Villanueva, who was among the religious leaders who criticized him for his comments.

“If it’s the same God, then I’m sorry. That’s how it is. That's what I said. Sorry, God. As in sorry, God. If God is taken in a generic term by everybody listening then that should be good,” Duterte said.

Duterte's supporters have variously claimed that the president's comments were against leaders of the Catholic Church or against "wrong" beliefs held by Catholics. But concepts like the temptation of Adam and Eve and hell are not exclusive to Catholics or even to Christians.

“But my concept of God, when it is put at stake with the other people using the name of God in vain, remember there is a division between church and state,” he added, repeating a statement made last week.

The separation of church and state, which is enshrined in the constitution, prohibits the establishment of a national religion and state interference in the free exercise of the religious beliefs of its citizens.

Some Catholic priests and lawyers have said the Church has the obligation to speak against social ills because governance has moral dimensions.

'Never use God's name to attack government'

The president then reminded religious workers to “never use the name of God as a front to attack government,” apparently referring to an Australian missionary he wants deported for allegedly engaging in "political activities."

“That is not the proper way to do it... I’m sure this is not what God wants,” he said.

“I owe it to all pero I only apologize to God, nobody else. If I wronged God then he would be happy to listen to my apology. Why? Because my God is all forgiving. Why? Because he does not remember past hurt. Why? Because God created me to be good and not to do bad,” he added.

Duterte has sparked public outrage in the predominantly Catholic Philippines after he called the Christian God a “stupid son of a bitch” for creating Adam and Eve only to allow temptation to destroy the purity of His work.

In a recent speech, Duterte vowed to immediately resign if Christians can prove that their God exists through a selfie. As with adherents of other religions, Christians are presumed to believe in the existence of God as a matter of faith.

The hugely popular Duterte has repeatedly locked horns with the Church, which has a significant political and social clout in the Philippines, amid mounting deaths in the government’s bloody war on drugs.

To ease the tensions sparked by his controversial remarks about God, Duterte met with Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles on Monday at Malacañang. He promised he would refrain from making comments against the Church.

RODRIGO DUTERTE
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