Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is well known for championing policies that literally kill his own people, but many of his supporters think his recent statement — that the God of the Bible is “stupid” — is a step too far.
Duterte has a complicated history when it comes to religion. He has called Pope Francis a “son of a whore” and regularly criticized the Church, but he has also claimed to be a Christian who believes in “one god Allah.”
Duterte has also promised (sort of) to stop swearing because God reportedly told him to and said you can get away with having mistresses by saying you’re an atheist, but now he’s sounding a lot like a non-believer himself, despite being the leader of a heavily Catholic country.
The comments, while purposely provocative and the subject of plenty of criticism, seem uncharacteristically reasonable.
Duterte questioned in a televised speech on Friday the Biblical story of man’s creation and asked why God created Adam and Eve only to allow them to succumb to temptation that destroyed their purity.
“Who is this stupid God? This son of a bitch is then really stupid,” said the 73-year-old leader, known for his rambling public statements. “How can you rationalise a God? Do you believe?”
Duterte lamented that Adam and Eve’s sin in Christian theology resulted in all the faithful falling from divine grace. “You were not involved but now you’re stained with an original sins … What kind of a religion is that? That’s what I can’t accept, very stupid proposition,” he said.
Duterte’s spokesman defended his remarks, saying the president has the right to express his opinion on religion and cited his previous disclosure that he was once sexually abused as a student by a priest.
Duterte stressed that right in another speech on Monday. “Why do you bind me with something very stupid? I was given my own mind by God.”
He believes God gave him his mind… and also that God is stupid and a son of a bitch. (Does that mean, in addition to a Holy Father, we have a Holy Grandmother somewhere?) Duterte went on to clarify that “his God” has common sense but that “your God is stupid.” The hypocrisy is unbelievable.
Yet, despite the contradictions, Duterte’s comments about the Bible not making sense… make sense. It’s the first time we’ve seen that since he became president of the Philippines. Maybe that’s because, also for the first time, he’s losing support.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former national police chief, said he has often backed Duterte’s policies, but after the president’s utterances against God “to whom I pray every single day and with whom I’ve found solace and comfort in all my difficult times, I don’t even have to think of my choice.”
“May my God forgive him and make him atone for all his sins,” Lacson said.
So there you have it. Duterte’s allies will round up criminals and drug users and “street children” and execute them, but if he dares to point out flaws with the Christian God, they’re done with him. They wouldn’t want to support immorality now, would they?