‘If any one can go to heaven, talk to God, and take a selfie – I will resign.’
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has offered to resign if anyone can take a selfie with God to prove he exists. His comments came just days after he called God “stupid.”
The latest outburst shows Duterte, aged 73, increasingly at odds with the Church in which he was raised and to which most Filipinos belong.
In the last few days, Duterte has also said he does not like the “creeping influence” of the Catholic Church. In addition, his presidential spokesman has accused the Church of working with Communist rebels to overthrow the government in the Philippines. The spokesman said the Church “sometimes runs counter to what the government believes to be good for the people, at least in this temporal life.”
In his latest speech on June 30 at the inauguration of the Malayan colleges in Mindanao, Duterte invited everyone “to become agents of hope and catalysts of progress.”
After describing his own progress through the education system and then his career in law and politics, he said he believed in God, but did not believe in a God who intervenes in the world. “Otherwise there would be no widespread injustice: hunger, killings, and all.” The president said in his latest address: “Every Filipino is entitled to criticise me as a matter of right. A general, a school dean, the academe, the students.” Catholic bishops in the Philippines, concerned about an increase in violence and police reaction to crime, announced a day of prayer and penance on July 16 and three days of fasting, prayer and penance on July 17-19. The bishops said they wanted to “invoke God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country.”