Friday, May 10, 2013

Page 130 of 365: Voice of People=Voice of God?

Iglesia ni Cristo released its endorsement, but is its slate the group the Lord
wants to govern us?
Earlier in the week, the Iglesia Ni Cristo revealed who to support in the coming May 13 elections. Seven from the Liberal Party and five from UNA got the INC nod. The religious organization has been well known to exercise its suffrage rights as an entirety, or simply bloc voting. With about five million INC members, according to reports from TV5 and the People's Journal, expected to cast their votes on Monday, this, according to their doctrine, is a showing of their unity. That leads me to the slogan of the one handling the Monday event, the Commission on Election or COMELEC. COMELEC's slogan reads "Vox Populae Vox Dei", a Latin quote which means, "The voice of the people is the voice of God." I wonder, "Is this really true?"

For me, it's the other way around: the voice of God SHOULD BE the voice of the people. But either way, it's not the case in reality. If all the people will heed on what the Lord says, we should be expecting a unanimous vote. Ramon Revilla Jr, who was the top vote-getter in the 2010 senatorial race, got a majority vote (51%), but 51 is not 100. It's God's will to have Revilla in the Senate (I actually had him in my ballot), but it means that many had other plans. How about a more recent example: LeBron James (yes, this is an election-related post). James won the 2013 NBA Most Valuable Player, but only one guy who cast his vote thought James was not impressive enough and elected Carmelo Anthony. The rest voted for LeBron. Yes, it's God's will that LeBron will earn his fourth MVP, but not all voted him. The reason for these is that God also gave us free will. Because of that, we set our own standards in choosing our leaders. The chance of you seeing a person who voted all the 12 eventual winning senators is 1 over 354,817,320. With only 50,000,000+ registered voters, it's imminent that no one "will get it right".

Another reason why the voice of the people is not necessarily the voice of God is that not all will vote. In the 2010 polls, only barely more than 70% of the voters actually cast their votes. The others either had a hard time looking for their names or did not care voting at all. Most of them would fall in the second category. That's 10,000,000+ votes wasted! God is telling us to be the spark of change in our nation, and one way to do so is to elect the right officials. But some people would say, "Why do I need to vote? Nothing's happening in the government." If you're one of them, better change your mindset. God is telling you to vote, so don't waste that opportunity.

And lastly, bloc voting, in recent history, does not necessarily equate to a sure win. I don't know if the Manalos, the ones leading the INC, already told the press, "They are who God wants," but being a bloc voting church could make you conclude such. But going back, because the Lord gave us the right to establish our own standards, the people who have different political landscapes could make the difference. Another thing I found out: they're not actually required to vote all the endorsed candidates. While I'm pretty sure many INC people veer away with who their superiors endorse and elect according to their will, what some friends told me is that the voters who opt to support the endorsed aspirants can actually mark out at most four of them and replace them with their own. That's a probable reason why some endorsed aspirants still lost. (Update: An article from blogger Mark Madrona recapped the INC votes from 1998. Here, the INC votes dictated the pace of the 1998 polls, but in the later elections, some aspirants still lost, especially in 2007 where four crashed out.) That means God has other things to say. God's will also comes in the form of allowing things not favorable to you to happen. It's a proof that He's in control of our government.

I have nothing against Iglesia ni Cristo. I have some INC friends too. What I'm saying here is that God still has the ultimate power to appoint our leaders, and He gave us the power to choose. He gave us free will so that we could set a barometer of their competence. You might think, "Si Lord pala ang pipili eh. Why does He need my vote?" He assigned us to fulfill His will, and our vote is for the betterment of the nation. After the elections, even if your slate lost, support the elected and God-appointed leaders. Pray this prayer of Jesus Christ: "I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours (John 17:9 ESV)."

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