On Saturday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte insulted Jesus Christ, the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and even the Bible in a speech railing against the Roman Catholic Church. Duterte, who was abused by a priest in his youth, also confessed to sexually assaulting a maid in childhood, drawing the ire of women’s rights groups. The president further joked that he would be a more impressive god than the Christian God.
“Your God was nailed on the cross. F*ck. How unimpressive,” Duterte declared in a speech on Saturday in Kidapawan City, Cotabato, Philippines Lifestyle News reported. “I’m God and you will cruficy me? Motherf*cker. I’d tell them: ‘Lightning, finish all of them. Burn all the non-believers.'”
Earlier, Duterte had insulted the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. “God is only one. There’s only one God, period. You can not divide God into three. That’s silly,” he said. He then joked, “I’m organizing a cult because I want to get rich because there are those with it — rich. It does not cost me anything, it’s free. ‘What’s your religion?’ ‘Church of Rodrigo.'”
After insulting Jesus for allowing Himself to be crucified, Duterte returned to the subject. “There’s only one God. It’s Allah, God the Father, period. There is no God in me. Only one God.”
Again the Philippine president attacked the Catholic Church.
“You are different, [you have] Saint Catalina, Saint Anne, Saint Thomas, Saint Sebastian, Saint Rodrigo. … That’s not it,” he added, jokingly referring to himself as a saint. “Look. Those documents were written, if at all, 3,000 years ago. What do they matter in our lives today? Who wrote them? Who is Saint Thomas? We do not know who it was, maybe that was the name of a cow or a camel.”
While the president appeared to be rejecting the stories of Catholic saints, his reference to “3,000 years” suggested a dismissal of more than just the saints and their histories. He mentioned Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary. Mary features prominently in the Gospels — likely written before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., roughly 2,000 years ago. King David lived about 3,000 years ago.
While not all Roman Catholic saints have reliable documented histories, Christians would counter that the historical records in the Bible — especially the Gospels — matter a great deal to modern people’s lives. If Jesus Christ really is the Son of God, and if His death on the cross paid the penalty for human sin, opening up a path to eternal life with God the Father, that matters immensely in any age.
Duterte’s tirade focused mostly on the Catholic Church, and that stands to reason. In 2015, the then-candidate revealed that he was molested by a priest when he was young. The Catholic Church has also condemned Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs, likely intensifying the bad blood between them. Indeed, when the Libertarian Party attacked President Trump, they referenced his friendship with Duterte as evidence Trump is the “opposite of a libertarian.”
Along with the insults to God, Duterte recalled giving a confession to his Catholic priest. He confessed to molesting a sleeping maid, and then alleged the priest abused him shortly afterward. This confession led women’s groups to demand his resignation.
“This latest confession has brought shame not only on himself but on the entire nation that trusted him to lead judiciously and righteously. He has proven himself unworthy of his position and should resign,” the women’s rights party Gabriela said in a statement, HuffPost reported.
When it comes to Duterte’s suggestion that Jesus is “unimpressive” because He died on the cross, the insult of Jesus’s death only proved God’s love for humanity. God was willing to undergo the ultimate indignity to redeem sinful men and women — this humility is the point of Christianity.
Duterte’s insults to God may be the most offensive, but an offhand remark about confession could prove the more effective political threat.
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