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Running amok

November 26, 2011

WHEN things are not inspired by charity, when we fail to keep a supernatural outlook in life, when we just depend on our reasoning and feelings, then most likely we end up running amok, killing everyone we meet.

This cruelty can easily be seen when political issues and controversies erupt. They erupt in the first place because many people think politics is outside the domain of charity, faith and religion.

The underlying mentality is that prayer and sacrifice have nothing to do with politics. One would be accused of living in a different planet if they behave along lines of charity and religion. He would not be “getting real.”

This attitude has been demonizing us for quite some time now that I’m afraid it has become part of our culture. Proof to that is the openness with which this inhumanity is expressed in public, and hardly anyone complains. On the contrary, a great majority applauds it.

I thought, for example, that gossiping and backbiting are done in whispers, quite hidden in some corner and in small groups. No, it’s not like that anymore. Gossips, backbiting, all sorts of impertinent ad hominems can now be broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet, with many people stoking them to their maximum viciousness.

What is worse – and I hope I’m wrong – is that they think they are doing the right thing, that their reaction is what is just and fair. They have lost the sense of balance, and charity is, of course, regarded as an outcast in the discussion.

In this kind of discussion, the targets are painted all in black. They do not seem to have any saving grace. They seem to be beyond redemption.

This does not bode well of us as a people. We will be hooked to divisiveness and to a spiral of vindictiveness if we exclude charity and the finer requirements of religion in our political discussions.

Let’s remember that our Lord himself told us to love even our enemies. He himself forgave those who crucified him. To the repentant thief, he also promised the Paradise. He told us to forgive not only seven times, but seventy times seven. He asked us to be merciful, because our heavenly Father is merciful.

We need to consider these words as the perfection of our humanity, a way to purify and heal us of our spiritual and moral wounds. They serve none other than to reconcile us with God and with one another. These commands and counsels are not optional. They are necessary.

The truth is that we are all sinners. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jn 1,8) We need to understand each other, and forgive each other. No use getting entangled with our sins, mistakes and failures. We just have to move on, doing all to make that possible as soon as we can.

I was both amused and bothered when I heard a radio commentator say that since justice is supposed to be equal, then everyone has to be treated in the same way whether the one involved is a high official or just an ordinary Juan.

In the first place, equality in justice is never to be interpreted as uniformity in treatment. This is commonsensical. Even in our family life, parents love their children equally but treat them differently, simply because the children are different from one another.

Wherever we go we try to be fair with everyone, but we always treat everyone differently, because people are just different. We don’t make a big fuss about this, unless there is clear injustice.

I froze in disbelief when the commentator said that if a public official who happens to be sick already has been arrested, he should go to prison with all the other criminals who had to bear with all the inconveniences of prison life, like hard labor and exposure to sickness because that is simply a prisoner’s plight.

That, he said, is equal justice. There should be no privileges like a hospital arrest. Then he launched into personal attacks on the public official involved, taking jibes at the physical defects of the person. All this at prime time and in a major media outfit. Unbelievable!

He forgot that everyone has a right to protect oneself, his name, his dignity. If many prisoners are treated inhumanly, it’s not because of some discrimination. It’s because of the imperfections of our human justice and legal system.

Again, if there is no charity, our justice can run amok.