A public uproar erupted after our president, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, exclaimed in one of his rambling speeches, ". . . stupid God."
It was in the context of the fall in the Garden of Eden. He accused God of causing Eve's disobedience—eating a fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge.
We who trust the Bible and who worship the God of creation (about 80% of the population) were outraged. How could the highest official of our land brazenly malign, in a public forum on live TV, the center of our faith?
I have atheist and agnostic friends, but not any of them dares say anything against my God to my face, not even in jest.
The president's apologists, sensing the public outcry, quickly came to his defense, explaining that the boss was just exercising his freedom of speech, guaranteed in our constitution. Others went even further, “He didn’t really mean it . . .” “Try to understand his boyhood trauma . . .” etc.
But aren’t presidents supposed to be statesmen, respecting all the beliefs of their constituents—in public at least? We’ve repeatedly heard and watched how our president curses heads of states, the Pope, institutions, and individuals who disagree with him.
And now, God??!!
Many were appalled that he could be so mean as to mock the God of grace to Whom we pray for his administration’s well-being and wisdom. I grieved and wept when the people in the audience laughed at his blasphemous tirade.
Have we sunk this low?
Not content with his insult, our president stoked the fire the next day, "If you can prove to me that there is a God, I will resign."
Pressured by religious groups and individuals who expressed their indignation on social media, he finally said, albeit nonchalantly, "Sorry, God."
Max Lucado: “Repentance is a genuine, sincere regret that creates sorrow and moves us to admit wrong and desire to do better. It’s an inward conviction that expresses itself on outward actions.”
Charles Spurgeon: "Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved."
John Piper: "Repenting means experiencing a change of mind that now sees God as true and beautiful and worthy of all our praise and all our obedience."
Whether President Duterte is indeed sorry for defaming God, and for demeaning us, the people he governs, is not for me to say. Only God knows his heart.