And as the country observes the Holy Week, we are reminded that the Ten Commandments mandate mankind to follow God’s simple rules, to live life the way it should be.  And these also encourage us to reflect with our beliefs.  Allow me to share mine.

Davao Today

I was born and raised as a devout Catholic.

When I was a kid, my grandmother would drag me to the church on Sundays, if not every day, at seven in the morning.  I remember kneeling with her, peeking at her through my half-closed eyes and folded hands, listening intently to what she was praying.  Since I couldn’t understand a thing, I mumbled jumbled words on my own.  It was my own prayer of some sorts, but I knew that God, whatever name you might call Him, understood the deepest desires of my little heart.

But as years followed, I became a less devout Catholic by the standards of the majority.

I no longer allowed myself to be dragged off from bed to attend mass.  Sleep became more important than church.  Meeting my friends was much more important than meeting the priest.  And Sunday showbiz was a bit interesting than Sunday sermon.

But the tenets of the Church were not lost to me.

My grandmother raised me well, even if I did not grow up to be a devout Catholic by her standards.  All was not lost to me as I grew up and further away from the Church.

I was being constantly reminded by the Ten Commandments.  Thanks to that Yul Brynner-Charlton Heston movie which I watch year after year, every Lenten Season.

And as the country observes the Holy Week, we are reminded that the Ten Commandments mandate mankind to follow God’s simple rules, to live life the way it should be.  And these also encourage us to reflect with our beliefs.  Allow me to share mine:

I. I am the Lord thy God.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  God is omnipotent, omniscient and one.  Regardless of what name we call him, He is still the same God.

I really find it ridiculous for people to argue about whose God is the real God and worthy of being followed.  Whether be it Allah or Yaweh, Jesus or Buddha, no one has the right to criticize another for his or her beliefs.

No anti-Muslim sentiments are allowed, I believe.  Sabah issue aside, Muslim-tagging of committed offenses or crimes is judgmental and so uncool.  As Jesus had said, “anyone who has not sinned should cast the first stone.”  If you sow anti-Muslim sentiments and demonize the Moro people, why don’t you stone yourself, instead?

II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.  In these times of supreme consumerism, where technology, beauty and whitening products are considered essential for living and have in fact invaded our consciousness, we’re virtually making them the gods and goddesses of our time.

As politicos and showbiz denizens morph into idols, desperately seeking for attention and votes, let us not forget the peasants and workers who should be exalted for their daily contribution as the workforce of our land.

Let us not forget those who have been maltreated for decades, whose own lands are up for grabs to the biggest mining conglomerates, or those who have no land to till in the absence of a genuine agrarian reform program .  They, the real working class heroes, who work their butts off for their families, for a decent living, but with wages not even worthy to be called a wage, with deductions and other debts.

They who cannot even afford to pay education for their children, resulting to a student’s suicide as she could not afford to pay her own tuition.  They who could not even afford a proper health insurance for themselves.

III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.  The image of Gloria Arroyo immediately comes to mind; kneeling and praying with all her heart, showing us how good a Christian she is.  I wonder what she was praying?  Probably a miracle that will save her from jail because she cheated in the elections, stole from the people’s coffers and the life out of the Filipinos.

Government officials should refrain from doing this behavior, hogging media coverage and pretending to be Men and Women of God.  Your deeds determine whether you are or are not worthy of praise and support.  It’s certainly not your photo-ops.    

IV. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Even God rested on the seventh day.  Can the Church rest on Sundays from bashing those who voted in favor of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill?  Can it stop from calling the bill as a work of Satan and the lawmakers who voted for as his minions?

Also, please stop tagging those who voted for the bill as anti-life and those who didn’t as pro-life, even telling us who we should or should not vote.  Who are they to dictate who to elect?

Never in the bill did it mention of any form of abortion, anyway.  There really is a big difference between abortion and contraceptives.  The key factor here is to read and be aware.

Last I know, there is also what we call the separation of Church and State.  And this goes to our lawmakers and leaders, too.  Stop sticking your head in issues of the Church or supporting whatever sect has the highest number of followers.  You are not a representative of a religious sect or cult, are you?

You are a respectable leader, I believe, with supposedly an independent mind of your own.  Stick to your own designated work, people.  Do not be afraid if Padre Damaso will send your soul down to the furnace of Satan.  It is not his job to do that.  It is God’s.

V. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long.  Yeah! We know we should love, respect and honor our parents.  But really, the seven pits of hell are even feasting on the lovelife of Presidential Sister Kris Aquino!

The media should learn not to sensationalize her trivial marital issues.  Moreso, politicians or politician-wannabes parade their lineages on national TV just to get mass sympathy votes based on their parent/relative’s success in office or parents who were once the nation’s greatest leaders or were proclaimed to be.

A mere inheritance of their name doesn’t earn you the right to be a hero.  All the more it doesn’t earn you our vote.  Just because you are a son or nephew of Ninoy Aquino doesn’t necessarily make you worthy of that position called President or Senator.  There is something we call ‘track record,’ you know.  Res Inter Alios Acta, the thing speaks for itself.

VI. Thou shalt not kill. This one is simple. A no-brainer.  And yet, people would literally kill each other just for the sake of power, of money, of a convoluted principle.

But on the other hand, the Aquino administration’s anti-poor policies figuratively kill us, scarcely leaving food to eat for an average family of five.

Human rights violations continue to escalate under the premise of Oplan Bayanihan, with those who were silenced forever only spoke of the bleak realities of following the matuwid na daan.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Remember when we were kids we were taught Good Manners and Right Conduct in school?

It was when values education really had a value.  But nowadays, liberality if you might say, has given permission, nay a right, for people to commit adultery.  It is considered normal to be someone else’s ‘kabit,’ that it’s sexy to be another’s mistress.  That men who commit adultery are macho, cool and powerful.  As if they have a right to be one.

Whatever happened to our core values?  The one which taught us to be moral and upright?  To obey the laws of God and of Men and not of pricks who have the audacity to flaunt their adulterous relationships everywhere.

And for us women, we deserve better than being called a mistress.  Let us respect each other and give value to ourselves.  We are more than just a sex object.  Hell, we are powerful and we can even rule the world according to Beyonce.

If ever you are thinking of entering into these kinds of relationships, think of the families you will destroy, of relationships you will break and the traumas you will cause.  Karma doesn’t choose anyone, even in love, in war and in court.     

VIII. Thou shalt not steal.  Any human being can understand this.  If a thing doesn’t belong to you, it doesn’t belong to you.  Simple as that.  And we can base it on your SALNs too!

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.  Senatorial candidate, Koko Pimentel, continues to spew acid from his own mouth claiming that he has been cheated during the previous election that is why he is down to the last few months serving the term after he was proclaimed as the winning senator against Miguel Zubiri, also a current senatoriable.

Really Koko, who cares?  You haven’t even done any good to your own district even before you were elected to the national post.  How much more now that you are serving the remaining time left in that senate post you are holding?

This goes to all of us.  Before mudslinging another with your dirt, make sure you are clean enough to hold your own or wash the dirty linens of your so-called reputation yourself.

Words do really stain hard, especially when they are the truth.

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.  Envy is the root of all evil.  Yet, it is human nature not to be satisfied by what he (she) has and instead desires more than what he (she) ought to have.

Yet, when you have no real agricultural reforms to provide lands to the landless famers, no job to sustain your family, no home to call your own but a few inches of tacked-up shanty constructed above piles of garbage, then I say you have the right to covet the Haciendero’s land, especially of the Cojuangcos and the Aquinos.

You have the right to covet other people’s job because you might be working as a prostituted man or woman, an overseas worker who doesn’t want to be away from his family for a long time, or you might be a jobless person who can only dare to hope to have a better future.

Oh, before I forget, welcome to the unemployed sector, my dear graduates of 2013!

I hope I won’t be able to call you ‘ang bagong bayani’!  I pray that you will have meaningful jobs here in our country and receive a true living wage, not a dying wage.

I may be ranting, but this is my take on The Ten Commandments.  After all, Lenten season is a time of reflection.  A reflection of what we can do for others than for ourselves.

The Commandments are just basic rules to follow.  Either you’re stupid or stupider not to understand and follow it.  Who knows, these might even save your soul.

Beverly Ann S. Musni, Yr. is a free spirit.   She is a wanderlust, a dreamer and a frustrated rock star who dreams of travelling the world one day.  She is a world peace advocate.

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