KIDAPAWAN CITY — In seeking to again express his long-held frustration with Roman Catholicism, Rodrigo Duterte, the often outspoken and controversial president of the Philippines, criticized the doctrine of the triune Godhead on Saturday as being “silly” and profanely called Christ’s death on the cross rather than destroying his enemies with lightning “unimpressive.”
“God is only one. There’s only one God, period. You cannot divide God into three. That’s silly,” Rodrigo stated during a speech in Kidapawan City, Cotabato, according to Philippines Lifestyle News.
“Your God was nailed on the cross. [Expletive], how unimpressive,” he said. “I’m God and you will crucify me? [Expletive]. I’d tell them, ‘Lightning, finish all of them. Burn all the non-believers.'”
As previously reported, in aiming to criticize the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church—as Duterte alleges that he was molested by a priest as a teen and has clashed with Roman Catholics during his presidency—Duterte has made a number of statements that have had broad-sweeping effects as some of the doctrines denounced are not exclusive to Roman Catholicism.
In June, Duterte assailed the idea that God allowed sin to come into the world after creating it to be perfect.
“Adam ate it (the forbidden fruit), then malice was born. Who is this stupid God? That son of a [expletive] is stupid if that’s the case,” he said at the opening of the 2018 Information and Communications Technology Summit in Davao City. “You created something perfect and then You think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of Your work.”
Duterte also outlined that he rejects the doctrine of original sin, which teaches that all men are born with a sinful nature.
“That was your mother and father’s deed—you weren’t born yet, but now you have original sin. What kind of religion is that? I can’t accept it. What a stupid proposition,” he stated.
Intercessors for the Philippines (IFP) was among the groups that spoke out against Duterte’s remarks.
“President Duterte clearly and without hesitation called God stupid, even mockingly cussed and cursed his name. IFP believes that President Duterte has reached the highest limit of his arrogance and pride thinking that he can curse God, blaspheme Him and get away with it,” said chairman Daniel Balais in a statement.
“I enjoin … evangelicals and Catholics alike to to express our disdain for this dastardly act,” he wrote. “Our nation stands to be judged by God severely if we do not act with decisiveness and condemn this voice of the devil using President Duterte’s mouth to insult God.”
The Philippine president has said that because of his pain from being violated as a youth, he decided to create his own version of God.
“After graduation, I created my own god based on the values I have seen like justice—what is justice, fairness—I have always said in Davao, ‘My god is my service to the people.’ Period,” Duterte stated last year.
However, he has also remarked that he believes in a “supreme God” who “controls the universe,” and has sought to clarify that his words are only meant to hit back at his critics in the Roman Catholic Church.
In addition to disparaging the concept of the triune Godhead and Christ’s death on the cross, Duterte also addressed the Catholic practice of praying to various saints on Saturday, commenting, “You’re already praying at one God, then you’re going to pray at these cursed saints.”
“Saint Catalina, Saint Anne, Saint Thomas, Saint Sebastian, Saint Rodrigo, they’re nothing … I don’t know them. Look, those documents were written—if at all—3,000 years ago. Why would they care about our lives now?” he additionally stated. “Who wrote about them? Who’s Saint Thomas? We don’t know who they are. That might even be a name for a cow or camel then.”
He further pointed to the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests.
“The Catholic church has become a very lewd thing. It has to correct itself … or else I will be their enemy or I will continue to attack them,” Duterte said.
Some opine that Duterte has mainly had a positive relationship with evangelicals and has made remarks both good and bad in regard to religion. He has declared each January “National Bible Month” in recognition of the “religious nature of the Filipino people and the elevating influence of religion in human society.”