Religion, Secularism and Democracy in Duterte's Philippines

Religion, Secularism and Democracy in Duterte's Philippines
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good afternoon everyone can I convince a couple people to move down this way there'll be great rewards for those I won't say where but there will be great rewards thank you so welcome everyone my name is Sean Casey I'm the director of the Berkeley Center and it's my great pleasure to introduce our speaker this afternoon David Buckley David is an assistant professor of political science and Paul Weber endowed chair and politics science and religion at the University of Louisville as we're going to see his research focuses on religion and politics and in particular on the contentious relationship between religious movements and democracy his book faithful to secularism the religious politics of democracy in Ireland Senegal in the Philippines received the 2018 religion in international relations book award from the International Studies Association and his award-winning research has appeared in leading journals of political science in media outlets including the New York Times Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and then David in a career killing move was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow in the Office of religion and global affairs a very nefarious organization full of shady characters in the US Department of State this is also something of a homecoming I think for David David did his PhD work here at Georgetown University not so many years ago and so we're delighted that he can be with us thank you for coming today I think after David's presentation we're just gonna spend the balance of time really in Q&A and dialogue with David so take your notes pay attention and we'll say lots of good questions for David join me in welcoming David today thank thanks for that kind introduction Sean unlike Professor Casey I stayed on at the State Department through late July so my recovery from the shack is still at a sort of earlier stage but it's a pleasure to be here thanks for all of you for being here it's it's a fun to be here and also fun to see friends and old colleagues are on the table so I'll try to talk for about 45 minutes today about the project that is behind this book but then also about how the framework that I developed in the book may or may not be holding up in light of developments in the Philippines one of the cases were I've spent a good bit of research focus in the book just to be clear as I was doing field research for this project president Duterte was simply mayor Duterte and in while he's mentioned in the book because I had time to throw a few sentences in before it went to press that was not sort of the main focus of the book and so one of the things that I that I hope to do today is to first of all sort of set out there we go it's already here okay set out sort of the projects overview on the theoretical side of things what what the book project is about but then what I really want to spend the most of my time doing and hope to talk with you all about is how that project about the institutional relationship between religion and democracy is always not holding up in light of the past 12 to 18 months in Philippine politics and in particular this idea of benevolent secularism that I try to develop in the book and the framework that I tried to set out about how these institutions could stabilize the religion politics relationship even during periods of great political instability is there evidence that that's happening in the Philippines or not and I you know sort of to preview where I'll go at the end of the talk I do think there are some evidence right that some of the mechanisms through which this benevolent secular institutional relationship should stabilize democratic institutions so that is going on and now point to some of that evidence but I do think that actually there are questions about really the future of religious politics in our sort of global populist moment that the Philippines raises that are kind of outside the framework of the book and where the book maybe is already on its way to a second edition maybe not to it not they're being thrown out entirely okay so before we get to the Philippines just a little bit of background so for I'm sure those of you around the table here it's not news that religion and democracy can be tense partners so we certainly have examples ranging from the South Africa transition to the People Power Revolution in the Philippines where sort of the iconic images of democratization and political stability are closely tied to political and religious elites collaborating together and it's not news probably to most of us around the table here and it's also probably not news that at times religion and democracy can make for more tense and contagious bedfellows whether it's the rise of of religious political parties in places like Israel or in parts of South Asia or even close to home right so we know that the religion and democracy relationship cannot always be as rosy as is sometimes depicted in these iconic transitional moments in places like South Africa in the Philippines just to give you all for those who may not have a background as comparative political scientist sort of a sense for how comparative it's and that's what I am a comparative scientist tried to make sense of religion and democracy sort of intellectually historically there were sort of two phases one was that essentially just didn't need to be studied but sort of the future of religion and democratic consolidation was was maybe an object of historical curiosity but not something that needed a whole lot of contemporary attention and that then particularly in sort of a post September 11th world though in the second phase where political scientists started to pay attention mostly to be worried right that sort of religion could be a significant actually factor in introducing irrationality and fanaticism and fundamentalism into into democratic politics I think that happily comparative ists have started to move past either of these two options right that sort of religion is necessarily a threat or is sort of irrelevant and in the project and look what I tried to do is sort of draw on a framework that the recently passed on political scientists out stepping one of the great comparative his generation set out what he called the twin toleration z– between religion and democracy and trying to argue that on the one hand just empirically looking around the world at the institutional relationship between religion and democracy it's clear that in fact are potentially sort of American driven assumptions about the need to separate religion and state in order for democracy to smoothly function just doesn't bear up to the empirical record right if we look all around the world in comparative perspective it's obvious that there's a wide variety of institutional relationships that are compatible with democracy and so what instead I'll tried to develop in his own work on this topic was this idea of the twin toleration is that so long as there is a basic toleration by religion of the state in policy formation and implementation and so long as there's a basic toleration by the state for religion both individual religious freedom and private but also public manifestations of religion as long as you are meeting these sort of standards there were all sorts of different institutional relationships ranging from formal religious establishment in places like the UK to more sort of plural religious models in places like India that would be broadly considered compatible with democracy and you know I think that reorienting our thinking on religion and democracy in this way helped political scientists and comparative is that our job was not necessarily to see where religion and state were separated or not but actually sort of the more diverse and contextual institutional relationships between religion and democratic politics and how those institutional relationships may map on to the twin toleration 's I'll go through this very quickly actually cuz we don't need too much of the social science theory here but you know there were scholars tied to modernization theory who pointed to the impact of economic development scholars tied to rational choice competition you point to the importance of religious fragmentation scholars tied to sort of certain forms of political cultural analysis who emphasized the importance of moderate religious networks usually code for moderate Muslims although not always and it's fine all good in some ways so the incomplete scholarship that's out there but what I tried to do in the project building on research from others is to point to instead the importance of political institutions and we're continuing to do that so that button down there turning to political institutions and in the idea that in fact what might be really important in stabilizing between toleration ziz is not so much the ideal ideological moderation of key religious actors but instead the institutional context that can encourage strong relationships across religious in secular boundaries and again sort of existing research from scholars like Dan Philpott and Ahmed Kourou sort of set a foundation that was important to build on and I think raised some important questions soku's research in particular on varieties of secularism really focused on the difference between Turkey and France in the United States and as I was thinking about this project and the cases that make up the project the sort of pressing question that came on my plate was well what about varieties of secularism that aren't either sort of aggressive and assertive in the French lekha model or passive and sort of libertarian in the idealized American model anyway where the government is actually quite involved in intentionally bringing religion into public life and although without having a form of religious and status tab lachemann a second in sort of distinct question is how can we start to trace how institutions matter for patterns of social cleavage so again in other words how do institutions shape inter-religious relationships relationships between religious majority and minority or tensions or alliances between religious and secular actors in society and then finally I mean places where between toleration sort of emerge how do they endure challenging periods when revisionist movements whether those are religious or fundamentalists of different kinds or or and it's important to remember that this could be an or secularists challengers of different kinds trying to destabilize between toleration how how do institutions shape the politics of those kinds of periods of political instability and so that's what leading to this project I'll just very briefly give a sense of what I try to do in in the project I'm happy to answer more detailed questions about this but I want to get to the Phillipines pretty quickly my basic goal and the project was first of all to set out this institutional concept this institutional variety of what I call benevolent secularism and the in the project it's actually a concept that comes that term very much out of Philippine case the Philippine Supreme Court has actually referred to the institutional relationship between religion and state there as being one of a benevolent secularism in a very important Supreme Court case there and then after developing what I mean by that concept which I'll talk about on the next slide trying to trace the ways causally I think that institutions matter that they matter for changing the the Preferences of key actors over the place of religion and politics and in particular that they matter for building social ties and social cohesion between religious and secular actors who are dedicated to maintaining between toleration Zinn public life and thus that win periods of instability threatened for whatever reason the institutions form a set of social relationships that can be very important to stabilizing religious politics during those threatening periods just to briefly run through what I mean by benevolent secularism it's a it's sort of a three-part institutional package right at a basic level it's an institutional variety where the state actively encourages public religious involvement but with three very sort of mutually essential conditions first of all there is a basic differentiation between religious and state institutions so there's no state there's no state Church there's no state mosque second that there's institutionalized religion state cooperation sometimes this is funding for instance funding of religious schools sometimes it's policy input for instance consultations and development of public health policy or disaster response policy a wide range of issues that could come up and then finally and this is an important one that there's a certain principle distance that's maintained this is a term that comes out of the work of regime bhargava Scott of religion in Indian public life the idea that this can't just be code for the religion state cooperation in particular can't be code for privilege in one group over another there needs to be a kind of even-handedness inequality of opportunity I think it's fair to say rather than equality of outcome so in other words if you're in a country where one religious tradition is much more involved in public health infrastructure they are going to be more involved in that cooperation at the second level right but that in theory there's no sort of barrier to that kind of involvement extending to other religious communities if the opportunity is is appropriate the point is that this is a variety of religion state relationship I think it's not New York or Paris right that is certainly not the kind of anti-clerical Lake tradition that is at times characterized France and at times characterize turkey but then it's also not a sort of hands-off kind of state libertarian model that we at least it idealize about our selves here in the States although whether we live up to that ideal in taxes questionable that there's actually sort of active state involvement in religious affairs in these countries that doesn't fit with either the passive or the assertive models that other scholars have pointed to it's an explicitly sort of positive at least aspiration for engagement okay so how does this matter then for stabilizing between toleration Zoar I try to argue in the in the book is that they're actually a series of mechanisms through which I think this operates on the one hand because these institutions encourage public collaboration and cooperation between state and religious elites religious elites become committed to the the positions that they adopt in public life in other words it's one thing for a religious leader to say to another religious leader in private oh yeah we would never threaten your community oh yeah we will always sort of respect your rights but when it's done in public on a regular basis institutionalized those credibility those commitments become more credible I mean across religious bounds I think it builds a set of both material interests and a sort of normative consensus among elites from different slices of the road landscape material interests what I mean what do I mean by that we'll frequently for instance funding streams that are going to health clinics or going to schools promote a set of religious actors across religious boundaries who actually share a preference for having an institutional model sort of continue itself over time so there is a rational side to it but I also in my experience and I try to document this in the cases in the book I think it extends beyond rational interest so that it extends to sort of normative consensus that emerges in many of these in many of these cases and then finally and this I think becomes especially important during moments of crisis or instability these institutions that encourage regular interaction between state and religious authorities form networks of communication and elite relationships that are easy to mobilize that are well institutionalized and that can be activated in moments of potential political crisis so in other words because they're strong pre-existing elite ties and also state religious ties at moments of political instability or potential breakdown in religious politics these elites know each other their staff know each other their organizations have a history of working together and that kind of networked connectivity can matter a lot in moments of political instability and so in the end these kinds of institutions of benevolent secularism I try to argue in the book have been very important to stabilizing between toleration Zinn a pretty diverse set of cases I'm going to talk just about the Philippines for the most part today I look at Island more historically and then it's Senegal also fascinating muslim-majority democracy in West Africa as well in the book project and try to argue that in in very different environments we can trace these institutions having a political effect and again so just to put it visually for those who like seeing things so the idea is that from an institutional challenge one might have sort of benevolent secular institutions in place yes or no that these institutions have effects where you have them present you have the public commitments you have shared interests you have communication networks and they've been in the end that leads to these stronger social alliances that stabilize the twin Toleration is overtime it's the basic idea okay this has been pretty abstract so far before actually we get to the Philippines I can't avoid talking about Senegal for a moment just to illustrate this view I think this helps maybe to concretize this so as some of you may know Senegal is a sort of democratic overachiever according to a number of socio-economic characteristics it's a place that's been I'm an imperfect but slowly consolidating democracy from Independence from French rule through the present and one that's characterized by a seat a because of the French legacy but it's a lazy seat a that has always been understood I would argue much closer to the benevolent secular model but there's an active role for religious leaders mostly Muslim but also Catholic in public life and and that this is something that is a sort of shared normative consensus between religious elites and state elites well in the sort of early 2000s in the in the arts Lady Jaye in Senegal came under real challenge and the twin toleration Senate came under real challenge broadly speaking the wide administration was elected with with great fanfare right it was an alteration of political power from one party to the other which was very important but very quickly it became clear that the implications for religious politics could be troubling wide circulated a draft constitution which removed language related to lazy tape from that Constitution and probably speaking there was a sense that he was intending and trying to privilege his own Sufi order this is wide on the right here prostrating himself on state television before the leader of the more'd Sufi Brotherhood one of the Sufi Brotherhood's in in Senegal and there was there's a sense that why was breaking down this principal distance that he was seeking to build particularly strong ties with the more eats who were his own people to the exclusion both of other Sufi orders but also potentially to the Catholic minority this all came to a sort of a head around the the contentious final election of wahds career well I'm final election he may be coming back and and the thing that was interesting for the theory right was that in this moment of a sort of contentious election that involved religious politics being put under some strain these mechanisms sort of snapped into operation a network of religious and secular NGOs and civil society both Muslim and Catholic and sort of not particularly religious organized itself under the heading of what was known as the SC's SEO now I'm and issued a platform a charter on democratic governance that was be covered a lot of ground it was not just about religion but included a there is maybe maybe not include the platform plank on lacy take on restoring lacy say in public life and in fact during the closing days of the campaign when wide made a bid to try to get an endorsement of the formal political endorsement from the Maury Calif the sir Boyd leadership stepped back it didn't they didn't of course direct their people not to vote for him but they wouldn't give him the endorsement that he was looking for in the closing days of the campaign and and well I tried to trace in the book is that the reason the dis responds right to this instability in Senegal was so effective from religious and civil society was because of these pre-existing relationships tied to the religion state relationship in Senegal over the course of the past sort of 50 years or so preceding this right it's just one illustration let's talk about the Philippines now and first how this framework maps on to just kind of the background of religion in Philippine democracy and then to the current moment there as many of you may know it's sort of commonly remarked that the Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia this is both with timor-leste independents inaccurate and also sort of incomplete right it's not even the most Catholic country in Asia anymore it's roughly eighty percent Catholic probably a touch above significant other Christian minorities some of those are sort of mainland what we would think of as mainline Protestant denominations tied to colonialism some of them are more recent charismatic and Pentecostal and evangelical churches that have spread in the past 20 years or so it's worth noting that that percentage has not grown nearly as rapidly as for instance in parts of Latin America so sometimes it's a mark that Philippine political development looks a lot like Latin America's and it does in some ways but you haven't seen the explosion of Pentecostalism for instance in the Philippines that you have in parts of Latin America the Catholic Church has maintained pretty clear demographic predominance and of course the Muslim minority probably a little bit north of 5% of the population demographics are contentious because that population is concentrated on the island of Mindanao which is itself an active conflict zone and and so our demographics aren't great but that's probably roughly where the the landscape is and I opened up the talk actually mentioning in some ways the Philippines is a sort of ideal typification of this model of the Netherlands secularism and one of the key cases from the third wave of democratization where religious actors are seen is really central to stabilizing democratic politics right so in other words why does the People Power Revolution go so relatively smoothly in 1986 well one of the answers that you frequently hear is because cardinal sin in the church stabilized what could have been a very violent confrontation between the regime and the military and I think there's some truth to that historically and talk about some of that in the book yeah I'm it's an incomplete story right the revolution did not just happen because of the church but the church was a very important contributor to and not just the Catholic Church actually also different Protestant communities were very important contributors to that stable transition it is also the case that that postcard version of religion and politics in the Philippines that the church especially the Catholic Church sometimes like to tell about itself has always allowed for more conflict under the surface especially recently actually so I'm going to talk about tensions between president Duterte and different religious leaders but the institutional Catholic Church but under the previous administration of the son of the legendary Cory Aquino and there was a significant conflict between the institutional church especially and akeno's Liberal Party over a piece of reproductive health legislation that the Catholic Bishops Conference was very much opposed to and so there's always been some contention built into the relationship but I would argue and actually this I do talk about a lot in the book even during the RH law debates but reproductive health law known as the RH law even join those debates well it's true that the Catholic Church didn't get its way the trademarks of benevolent secularism were very much visible so in other words you had consultations between the institutional church and political elites you had different churches being brought in and the Muslim community being brought in this wasn't just about Catholicism it was about a kind of principle distance between the government and its different religious communities and that those consultations actually mattered to the legislation that there were substantive changes made in this legislation especially around how it would be rolled out through religious hospitals in schools that actually showed the endurance of benevolent secularism even during that controversy right I think it's that pattern of cooperation that has come under some question in the past 12 to 18 months in the Philippines many of you I'm sure basically familiar with this so I won't belabor it in too much detail but I mean may 2016 president de Klerk day is clearly elected although with a minority of the popular vote because of a fragmented political landscape and but but he clearly wins out over the more sort of conventional mainstream national politicians more Rojas coming out of the aquino sort of political machine and and other rivals gracepoe and in be night when he's elected when he's elected he's mostly known insofar as he's known internationally as the longtime mayor of Davao City one of the largest cities in the Philippines outside of the Metro Manila area or at the largest city on the island of Mindanao and so this kind of persona and political careers of Manila outsiders are important to his political rise but also important to his political rise is a kind of contentious public agenda and unapologetically so contentious public agenda and he runs promising to bring his get tough on crime approach to the war on drugs to the national level he runs promising constitutional reform especially designed to decrease the power of what's sometimes called Imperial Manila in Philippine politics an increased federal decentralization of power and on a few issues actually actually runs on issues that give some hope to sort of progressives in the Philippines I'm including within the Philippine religious landscape he's seen as somebody who is has credibility to push forward peace negotiations both with Muslim rebels and also with the the left the sort of enduring leftist insurgency in the Philippines and he's also seen as someone who is no friend of mining companies which is a major environmental issue in the in the Philippines so this is the agenda that he brings into office in terms of his relationship to religion and it's fair to say that even before he becomes president it's a contentious one right some of you may have heard about this quote in light of Pope Francis's visit to Manila Duterte used a popular and vulgar term to refer to the Pope and he really was referring to the traffic that the Pope caused but which is in fairness probably a reasonable enough thing to be irritated about but still the path to the Philippine presidency has not tended to involve using a vulgarity to refer to the Bishop of Rome so there was sort of a tense pre-existing personal history it's also important to note that it's very it is personal also in the sense that he alleges having been the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a Jesuit priest an American treasure with priests actually in his adolescent years right so it is very I think it is a part there are personal sort of tensions there it's not just about the policy agenda before the election the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines the CP CP was clearly quite concerned about his likely election they did not explicitly name him in their pre-election statement but they also clearly set out a set of policy concerns about both personal morality which was meant to refer to his sort of comments about women in actions towards women at times but also the war on drugs that were designed to express their grave concern didn't matter in the end he wins election anyway is worth noting that some of his sort of long-term partners in governance around Mindanao especially in Davao I'm including within the Catholic Church were quite supportive of him early on and really thought that no no you guys are getting him wrong right he's going to present an opportunity especially on environmental politics and peace negotiations so father draw tobor is the president of Ateneo not Manila University but the Ateneo University in Davao and he was an enthusiastic supporter of the president early on especially for his appointments to be in ministry regarding the environment so there was potentially some optimism but very quickly tensions between not just the Catholic Church although primarily the Catholic Church and the administration grew and they particularly grew because of the very rapid rollout of sort of militarized approach to anti-narcotics operations by the administration without getting into too much of the details already Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 13,000 individuals have been killed in these operations the majority of these are not killed in official police operations the majority of these are killed in shadowy vigilante killings which many assume are tied in some way to the police force but are not documented to be so although a recently launched ICC investigation will see what sort of becomes documented there's no doubt that this is the main source of tension between in terms of policy between Duterte and the CBCP it's also fair to say that the sort of declaration of martial law across Mindanao in response to the ISIS take over or the isis-affiliated group take over of meroe city has raised some concern that word martial law carries a serious legacy in Philippine political circles and religious circles and while I think most were quite supportive of the need to respond to the invasion of meroe martial law has been renewed many times it's in force not just in that part of the island but extended across the island and their concerns about its potential extension across the rest of the country and then also some of those issues tied to Environment and peace negotiations I won't go into too much depth of this but heavily stalled right so after some optimism on both of those fronts things have really really actually slowed to a crawl as the administration has essentially prioritized these first two sets of issues especially the war on drugs but also the military response to the situation in Mindanao and I think largely been ineffective and distracted at pushing through it's I think probably sincere desire to make some progress on environmental issues in peace negotiations so this tension has been brewing what I would argue is that actually this is not just a tension that's about politics and the Dwalin drugs but it's actually started to bleed over into the institutional sort of relationship between religion and state so for instance a series of witnesses to police involved shootings tied to the drug wars have started to seek sanctuary with sympathetic clerics this has led to high-ranking Justice Department officials in the Philippines threatening to prosecute clerics who are involved in harboring witnesses this hasn't been followed through on right but this also reason just anyone making this threat this is a cabinet-level official saying this there have been threats toward religious broadcasters so the Catholic churches radio network radio Veritas is a very important piece of infrastructure that the Catholic Church has and it played a role in the People Power Revolution in 1986 it's how Cardinals scene broadcasted his call for people to come into the streets the House of Representatives which is controlled by duterte and his bull allies has not revoked the license to operate but has so far failed to renew the license to operate for radio Veritas we'll see what comes of that it's part of a broader set of Threatened anti media freedom actions that that have been percolating over the last few months and then finally there have been a few very high-profile cases of grassroots religious activists not just Catholic Catholic anti that the Protestant communities who have been killed by local power elites in probably in sort of punishment for their local activism challenging local clientelist power structures and this has frustrated a number of people within the national level religious leadership so in other words I wouldn't say that this is deteriorated to a full-blown crisis for between toleration yet but it's not just rhetoric there are sort of concrete institutional pieces that are starting to shift in in the Philippines okay well my firm work says or the idea that tried to develop in the book say that there should be some responses here we should see these coalition actors both Catholic but not just Catholic responding that is breakdown in the twin toleration 's we have seen some of this so over the course of his his year plus in office the church is not just the Catholic Church also members of minority Christian churches have become much more vocal and and not just rhetorical but also action-oriented in some of their protests anti-narcotic operations there have been a series of rallies both involving the Catholic Church and also involving different Christian minority churches there's been institutionalized bell ringing so ringing of the bells of churches around the country they actually just today announced a new set of protests in two weeks that I think is going to be more explicitly tied just to catholic actors so there's been more protests and importantly not just religious actors but also religious actors cooperating with secular portions of civil society and all of this right so working with human rights advocacy groups that would not think of themselves as religious or organizations but but share interests in this space there's been close cooperation between the institutional church and the Commission on Human Rights which is a semi governmental organization in the Philippines written into the post-revolutionary Constitution to mine under human rights and there's been cooperation between that Commission and religious actors which became an actor particularly important when the House of Representatives threatened to defund the Commission on Human Rights so doTERRA pays allies in the house initially floated a budget that zeroed out the funding for the Commission on Human Rights our nearly zero today I mean religious actors are rallied to its defence so again these kind of coalition alliances are operating to an extent and around now the the question of constitutional revision so this the revisions to the post People Power Constitution of 1987 which the switch deters administration seems to be really pushing now that's a sort of main public priority right now into the into the new year you've seen sort of engagement between religious actors and the good governance organizations that you would expect to be very concerned with technicalities of how do you perform the Constitution or does it mean for term limits what does it mean for federal structures and and all of that so I would argue that all of this is actually broadly consistent with what we might expect and importantly all of these involve partnerships that pre-exists to the Duterte administration because the philippine religion state relationship encourages these partnerships on a regular basis so in other words most of the folks leading these organizations have worked with each other for decades many of them stretching back actually to even to the revolution in 86 they have those strong pre-existing networks of communication they have a set of I think sincere normative preferences that have a lot of overlap and that has made them able to respond in this unstable environment so that's part of the story that I think holds up okay but I think that the other part of the story that has to be told is that it's not clear if these responses are gonna right now in the Filipino there Philippine politics is where the future is very uncertain right now on the one hand there have been some assurances from the president's office for instance the constitutional revision will not mean extending his term in office so in other words there have been now again who knows if this will stick by this although I tend to think you will so there have been some attempts to assure the bishops and other religious groups no no we're just going to introduce a form of federalism we're not going to destabilize the stability of demand democratic institutions in the broader religion statement relationship some of this is going on a lot of this is actually through informal channels of communication which are very symptomatic of benevolent secularism so many of three in particular beauty of a sort of senior allies including the secretary of his cabinet Jonah Bosco are either our clerics or were in seminary at some point in time and have strong personal ties to the institutional church but there's no doubt that there's real tension between religious actors and the executive branch over the war on drugs in particular and there's no real evidence that that's doing anything to his overall popularity rating now Survey Research in this kind of an environment has its limitations I actually do a good bit of Survey Research I'm having to talk more about this but after a little bit of a drop in the third or fourth round of survey work that social weather stations did is approval rating has bounced right back up and he appears to have really robust public support for most of these policies and it's not clear I think it's also not clear to the bishops in the Philippines and to the other religious actors who are concerned whether they can swing public opinion on this issue to be honest or not this is the sort of news from actually just the past couple of weeks so the newest revision in the policy and you guys is this sort of a good thing or a bad thing I think it's very cynical the announcement was that police officers involved in these operations talking operations should should be carrying Bibles and rosaries with them as they go about their just to assure the people that actually they come with the best of intentions and aren't there to just execute them in cold blood right you know is this benevolent secularism in action I actually tend to think not I think that this is a fairly cynical move by by the administration and I think just to sort of step back out to the general level for a last slide here then what this points to you is a few things in the overall framework that I tried to argue in the book that probably need to be revisited or at least thought more about one is that even in highly religious societies like the Philippines the fact is that demand for religious influence and politics is not automatic and just because the population is highly religiously devout doesn't mean they care what the bishop says now of course the bishops know this right but sometimes this is news to political scientists something sometimes political scientists think that religious people are sort of Pavlov's holy dogs and sort of when the religious authority rings the bell they respond well the fact is that Survey Research in the Philippines for instance shows that even weekly attenders even among just Catholics are actually quite reluctant to express support for religious leader influence over government decisions there are sort of 19 percent only of weekly attenders will say that they it's a weird question Ward and will say they disagree with the idea that religious leaders should not influence government right and weekly offenders are no more likely to disagree than those who attend majority it's just waiting waiting for the bishops you know exert leadership and will automatically respond you know I think this is the reality is more complex than that and a theoretical level the links between elites and average citizens is something that I think as scholars but also as policy practitioners we need to pay more attention to right the idea that that the lived reality of religion in politics is much more complex than what a weak bodies may put out as their statements second this is I don't exactly know how this fits into the to the framework but it's a phenomenon that's going on and not just in the Philippines but it's been interesting to track there so the influence of this era of fake news and social media trolling and manufactured reality that we all inhabit has on religious authority and so president to charity is very effectively assembled a sort of online apparatus to engage in the kinds of questionable news propagation that we've seen in a lot of contexts recently written and and this is involved also sort of aggressive attacks online on any opponents right sort of discrediting and etc etc religious leaders have gotten very much caught up in this in in the Philippines so there was one allocate set of allegations made against a bishop but we're not actually new rumors as far as I understand it remembers that been around but they sort of moved into this online environment in a very aggressive way and I think that just as I was thinking about this talk–i raises questions about the future effectiveness of religious elites in this kind of current environment that we that we in information environment that we inhabit and then finally this sort of whether you want to call it a populist moment or a nationalist moment or some combination of those two things that is going on in the Philippines right now and also going on in Turkey and Russia here at home and in Western Europe in Central Europe and I think that it is I don't I haven't thought this through but it's it's a different set of questions about the relationship between religion and democracy than we had maybe ten years ago the question isn't will the religious majority try to take over the state institutions right in most of these cases that I just mentioned that's just not the relevant question anymore it seems to me the relevant question actually is will secular state elites totally co-opted the religious landscape in order to build up their own populist movement we've seen moves in this direction in Russia in Turkey analytically I would argue in the United States Duterte joked actually once that he's just gonna found the Church of Duterte right so I don't care what the bishops say I'm founding the Church of Jakarta and you all should just come come believe in me he was joking he's actually a pretty funny guy but I think he gets that something of this broader trend towards religious elites secular political secular political elites they effectively in some contexts instrumentalizing religious leaders to support their populist movements that is just a different analytic question then I think most competitive quote scientists were asking even ten years ago right the question is is it traditional religious elite going to take over state institutions I think it's much more will these populist movements so thoroughly co-opted religious actors and even promote their own preferred religious actors that that they become indistinguishable from the regime in power and I think there's a lot of room for thinking about that going forward so I will leave it at that for now thank you all yeah Cheers I think this isn't just a sort of Philippine question this is a broader question and it's also a question about how these local religious dynamics even in periods of kind of optimism like the People Power Revolution were always tied up in a broader geostrategic environment that is just changing very rapidly – right I mean there's no doubt that there's been a change in American rhetoric towards the administration in in Manila since our own political transition and the broader sort of regional international power dynamics need to be factored in here as well okay I'll push you up and take a seat and look forward to

Protestant denomination exist due to self or personal interpretation of the Bible look how so-called Christian religion exist since 15th century to present and some to the extent became a cult like Branch Davidians in Texas and the Jonestown colony in the late 70s or 90s.

Philippine is a democratic country if not then American Protestant religion will not be allowed to exist in the Philippines period. So stop making useless talk on regards to Philippines Catholic Faith and Belief.

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