President Rodrigo Duterte, on Monday, June 25, remained resolute in his belief that God is “stupid” but clarified that he was insulting the God of his critics.
“Your God is not my God because your God is stupid,” Duterte said during oath-taking ceremonies for village officials in Cagayan de Oro City.
“Mine has a lot of common sense,” he added.
Duterte was widely criticized when he poked holes in the Genesis creation story and said that God was “stupid” for allo ing temptation to corrupt his creation.
“You created a perfect paradise, but why did you call a snake to give an apple to him and tempt them both,” Duterte said, as quoted by radio station dzRH.
The president’s latest attack on the Catholic Church also included questioning the teachings of the church, specifically the display of crosses, saying that people should no longer be reminded of Christ’s suffering.
According to Duterte, the concept of original sin is an “idiotic proposition.”
The original sin, based on the Catholic Church’s teachings, pertains to mankind’s separation from God due to disobedience. Because of original sin, mankind has a fallen or sinful nature.
Duterte then challenged his critics to prove that God is perfect.
“Now tell me if it is a perfect God. I will kneel down. I will stretch my hand and ask for forgiveness,” he said.
According to Pew Research Center data, there were an estimated 86.79 million Christians in the Philippines in 2010. Of that number, 75.94 million were Catholic.
Condemnations of the “stupid God” remark were issued by Catholic and evangelical bishops.
“We do not want our president to be vulgar and ill-mannered,” Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of Manila, posted on Facebook.
Bishop Noel Pantoja, national director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, said in the news program “Balitanghali” on GMA News TV that the president crossed the line when he mocked the story of creation in the Bible.
“We are immensely offended by the remarks of President Duterte, calling the God of creation stupid,” Pantoja said.
“We find it completely inappropriate for our nation’s president to curse God and the Christian faith,” he added.
Duterte, for his part, attempted to clarify his remark by saying he was not talking about his God and was instead insulting the God of his critics.
Salvador Panelo, his top legal counsel, backed this up.
“I don’t think he called God stupid. I saw the transcript. It says ‘Who is this stupid God?’ He was actually questioning the theory of creation as narrated by the writers of the Bible,” Panelo told reporters.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque meanwhile said that Duterte was merely being honest about his religious views and that he has a “personal spirituality.”
“That is the personal belief of the president. You know, our free exercise of religion includes the freedom not to believe in any religion,” Roque said during an interview with GMA Network’s “Unang Hirit.”
He also brought up Duterte’s bad experience with priests when he was studying at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao University in his hometown Davao City.
“I think the president’s declaration stemmed from his bad experience when he was allegedly molested by a priest during his childhood,” Roque said.