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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Duterte finally does something his people don't like

by digby

There's a message for Trump in this. I doubt he will make the same mistake:
President Rodrigo Duterte slams his hand lightly on the podium, as if to show exasperation. Speaking in his usual casual tone, he unloads an expletive-laden tirade over what he sees as a bizarre story rife with stupidity. This is the Filipino firebrand’s style — unfiltered, informal speeches littered with sometimes inappropriate jokes, slang and curses that make his audience feel like they’re listening to a friend and not the leader of their country.

But this time, as he spoke in front of a crowd in the city where he was mayor for more than two decades, Duterte was ranting about a story that many Filipinos hold dear. Mumbling at times and weaving between English and Tagalog, Duterte said:

What he did was, Eve eats the apple, then she wakes up Adam.… So Adam eats the apple. Then, malice was born. Who is this stupid God? That [expletive] is really stupid if that’s the case. You created something perfect, and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work. How can you rationalize.… Do you believe it? … So all of us now, all of us are born with an original sin. The original sin, what is that? Was it the first kiss? What was the sin? Why original? You’re still in the womb and you already have a sin? It’s your mother and father’s doing and you’re not even included, and now you have an original sin? [Expletive]. What kind of religion is that? That’s what I can’t accept.

The backlash was swift, and a few days after the June 22 speech in Davao City, Duterte gave another speech, bristling and on the defensive:

I didn’t say that my God is stupid. I said your God is not my God because your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense. Then now, why do you have to talk about religion? If I choose not to believe in any God, what’s the [expletive] thing about it? It’s a freedom to choose.

Filipinos have looked past the populist president’s attacks on the pope and the Catholic Church, and even his infamous rape joke about a murdered Australian lay minister, to name a few examples. Even the president’s brutal drug war that has killed thousands has substantial support, despite condemnation from the Catholic Church and international human rights groups.

But bellicose rhetoric that not only mocks God, but also questions one of the most fundamental teachings of Catholicism? That may have crossed a line among the deeply religious populace and given the Catholic Church fresh ammunition, said Aries Arugay, a political-science professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

These good Christians are fine with ignoring every last tenet of their religion. In fact, they cheer him on. But apparently, they have a big red line when it comes to atheism.

Duterte backed off, by the way. He's now at Trump levels:

65 percent — down from 71 percent in December — said they were satisfied with the president. Twenty percent — up from 14 percent in December — said they were dissatisfied, leaving Duterte with a net rating of 45 percent, a record low in his presidency.

Humans are horrible.