Darwin Awardee Celdran’s Hypocrisy and Stupidity Masquerading as ‘Free Speech’
- NOTE: I first posted this as a Facebook note:
I saw this photo online. This shows that a lot of Filipinos don’t understand the proper concept of rights.
Rights are not cannibalistic and contradictory. They must not clash with each other. There’s an old saying that goes: Your rights end where others’ rights begin.”
Yes, we’re all entitled to our right to free speech, but that does not in and of itself entitle anyone to a venue for that speech. A right simply means freedom of action. You have the freedom to act and to pursue your desires, goals, or decision so long as you refrain from violating the rights of others. This means that a right is a moral concept applicable to, and can only be understood and practiced by, sentient, moral, rational animals (or by us human beings).
With respect to the photo above, the fundamental difference is, Celdran pulled his stunt– or exercised his alleged free speech– within the private property of the Catholic Church, while the anti-gay religionists carried out their protest in a public place. There’s a big difference between practicing freedom of expression in a proper place or venue and rudely, irrationally disrupting a peaceful religious mass inside someone else’s or CBCP’s private property.
What Carlos Celdran, who deserves to win a Darwin Award for his stupidity and hypocrisy that cost him jail time, did is utterly idiotic. But like someone on Facebook said, instead of serving a prison term (not less than two months and 21 days and not more than one year, one month and 11 days), this Darwin awards candidate should be given “a year of home confinement without access to a computer, internet, and smart phone”. He should have consulted a lawyer first prior to the stunt. Personally I think he pulled his pro-RH bill publicity stunt because he sincerely believed he was acting on moral convictions. He thought that he was morally right and justified in protesting, or insulting, the priests and a number of catholics, which included Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, inside the Manila Cathedral. Celdran ought to get off his moral high horse and face the fact that he’s a hypocrite!
I am a rabid atheist and I tell you that I am ashamed of what he did. No rational man- or atheist- would do the such a thing.
No doubt Celdran was entitled to his right to free speech, but he was not entitled to disrespect the property rights of the CBCP. We all know that a church is a place devoted to religious worship. It is a sacred, divine place for catholics and/or religionists. This is why we have the separation clause that erects a wall of separation between church and State. With this Separation clause, the State cannot establish religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or interfere with religious affairs. This clause is a LIMITATION on state/government power or authority.
In other words, the Separation principle is strictly applied against the State and not against religion. This is a very simple fact unknown to many Filipinos. And this is perhaps the reason why Celdran wantonly, deliberately carried out his stupid publicity stunt to promote the then RH bill. He thought that the Roman Catholic Church was in breach of the Separation doctrine. It was not. The truth is, the Catholic bishops and priests were merely exercising their right to free speech. Like any private individual or group, the Catholic establishment is also entitled to free speech. It can– and has the right to– influence its own people, including the government. What do you think the leftists and leftist establishments are doing? They’re also trying to influence the government.
Again, Celdran was entitled to freedom of expression, but the Catholic bishops and the CBCP were also entitled to their property rights and freedom to practice religion. It is public knowledge that this controversial tour guide made a notorious name for himself by allegedly exposing the hypocrisy of the anti-RH law Catholic priests, whom he described as modern-day Damasos. But instead of exposing the church, he exposed his ignorance and stupidity. In fact, he was also caught on camera taking down- thus destroying or stealing- an anti-RH bill streamer owned by the Church. That incident shows that Celdran violated the church’s property rights.
Ergo, Celdran had no right at all to violate the property rights and freedom of religion of others to exercise what he calls “free speech”. No one can claim “free speech right” inside the house or private property of another individual.
For example, the anti-SM environmentalist movement cannot hold their protests inside Henry Sy’s private malls. However, any anti-SM movement can hold their demonstrations anywhere. They can protest online or in public places. But they cannot force Henry Sy or the SM management to provide them a venue or place for their demonstrations.
The same holds true for free speech online. Owners of private blogs and websites have the right to take down rude comments and block trolls. Online commenters have no right at all to force bloggers to ‘respect’ their free speech right by publishing their comments.
A right demands reciprocal duty or obligation– that is, the obligation to respect other people’s rights. Celdran needs to understand and respect the Catholic priests’ property rights, freedom of religion, and free speech. He needs to understand that the Catholic priests are also citizens of this country.