Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Advocacy Project

Suggested group project topics (to be posted electronically and submitted as hardcopy)

  1. The Ordination of United Methodist Homosexuals
  2. Gender Justice in the Church: A Comparative Analysis of the UMC and UCCP Experience
  3. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  4. Domestic Violence
  5. Human Trafficking and the Sex Trade
  6. Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning
  7. Prostitution: To Legalize or Not
  8. Pro-Choice or Pro-Life
  9. The Thin Line Between Art and Pornography
  10. Sacred Marriages and the Divorce Question
  11. Single-Blessedness and Single-Parenting
  12. Living-In or Living In Sin


blessed said...

Domestic Violence


“I love my son that’s why I punished him. I yell at him and if that don’t work, I hit him. If that don’t work, I hit him harder like what my parents did to me. It worked with me then and it will work with my son.”

“It started with disagreement and days of not speaking to me. One night when I asked him where he went the other night, he yelled at me and slapped me.”

Domestic violence is violence, abuse and intimidating behavior perpetuated by one person against another in personal, intimate relationship. It occurs between two people, where one has power over the other, causing fear, physical and/or psychological harm. The 2007 records showed that an average of 20 cases of violence against women is reported everyday in our country. But based on the same official report, it is estimated that many crimes in the Philippines are not reported to the authorities. There are still more undocumented and unreported cases were women opt to suffer in silence for the sake of the family togetherness, fear of embarrassment and not knowing how or whom to report. As we look around us – on tv, newspapers, radio, we could see the obvious violence that happens in the country. Domestic violence is the most rampant of all the international scale, a World Bank analysis indicates that half of the world’s women have been battered by an intimate partner. In Asia, 60% of all women have been assaulted. And the impact of it in children is said to be horrendous. Body Shop International estimates that 1.8 to 3.2 million children in the Philippines are exposed to domestic violence and suffer the traumatic effects for the rest of their lives. And this number escalates year after year.


In the Old and New Testament, there are accounts that show concrete examples of domestic violence against women. In Judges 19, the host willingly offered his daughter or the concubine to the villagers (men). The Levite gave them his concubine. She was ravished, abused all night, and died in the morning. From this account, I remember a Filipino joke regarding daughters and I usually heard this when I was young. They said that daughters are “pambayad-utang” of a father. Tamar, daughter of King David, was raped by his own half-brother Amnon in 2 Samuel 13. King David was furious but did not punish Amnon so it was Absalom who sought justice for his sister Tamar. It is possible that the abuse was kept within the royal family to avoid embarrassment and shame. While in the New Testament, there was a woman who was scolded by the disciples simply because she chose to pour the perfume to Jesus’ head instead of selling it to have large sum of money (Matthew 26). Women were not valued because they are not counted in the feeding of the five thousand (Luke 9) and from its Tagalog Version, “May 5,000 lalaki ang naroon…”, we could clearly see how the Jewish tradition disregard the value of women. And if we continue in reading and studying the Bible, we could still find other biblical accounts of domestic violence against women.
It is a sad fact that even today, our women are still suffering from this violence because of historical and political structure in the country. Historically, Filipina are taught to be submissive wives and good homemakers. They learned to accept that it is just right to be dominated by men and that women who seek equality of rights are rebellious and ambitious. That is why in most cases, men who were overwhelmed by their power among women, abused it. They wanted to be the center of women’s life which is not right because they did not allow them to express their sexuality and explore things that will help them grow and develop to be a mature individual. As we have seen in the movie “Bridges in Madison County”, Franchesca’s right as a woman and individual was taken away from her. She sacrificed what or who she really was, her dreams, her sexuality as a woman for the sake of her love to his husband and family. For this reason, she silently suffered her unfulfillment and unhappiness for the sake of family togetherness. Why should many women remain in a marriage despite the abuse? It is because we, Filipinos, strongly believe in close family ties and in the sanctity of marriage. Of course, we are not advocating broken relationships or marriages but how can we help those victims of violence without risking the family ties especially when the offender is the father or husband? How could we able to protect the victim from the cycle of violence?


As pastors and ministers, how could we be able to help them or reach out those victims? What should we do to help them? Do we just silently pray for them knowing that the situation truly needs an action? Can we tell them, “don’t worry, God knows your suffering. He will give you strength to get through with this.” Well, these words would obviously not help them. It is not enough to give them temporary “band-aids” in healing their wounds of violence and injustices. Because healing those wounds would come in a process. It started with awareness and acceptance of the abuse and then everything will follows.

We could not deny the reality that even in our own churches, there were incidents of domestic violence among our church members. Sometimes, one would think that Sunday School, bible study, and preaching do not have bearing in the life of the congregation. We need other activities that will help enlightened their knowledge about domestic violence because unless their mind will be open to these kind of violence, they will not aware of it, and lack of knowledge will result to ignorance of their action. We should be part in conducting seminars about domestic violence and include it in our preaching and bible studies (when International Women’s Month). We should usher them in this difficult journey as they are looking for freedom from that horrible experience and regain their worth as an individual and as a woman who was created in God’s image.

Prepared by:
Floradel L. Medina
Elsie B. Aquino
Joel Duero

tolitz said...

Sampaloc 1, Pala-Pala DasmariƱas, Cavite

A partial requirement on the subject Bibleo-Theological Issues on Human Sexuality on Advocacy Report of:

Submitted by:
Prophet Nathaniel Francisco
Prophet Rex SunBuenaventura
Prophet Dalton Lamire
Prophet Charles Jenkin Mendoza
Prophet Jonathan Velasco
Submitted to:
Prophet Lizette Tapia-Raquel
Prophet Revelation Velunta

Table of Content
Chapter 1:
 Quotations from Rev. James Heidenger – editor of the conservative Methodist “Good News Magazine, (2000) and Rev. Mel White, director of Soulforce an ecumenical gay-straight alliance (2000)
 About the United Methodist Church
Chapter 2:
 A past schism in the Methodist movement
 Recent church developments on homosexuality
Chapter 3:
 Some of the core problems
 Possible future scenarios in the United Methodist Church
Chapter 4:
 Compromising on church rituals for same-sex committed couples
 Taking the first step towards a compromise
 Group’s Reflection on the report
 References

Chapter 1

About the title:
“LIVING IN TENSION OVER HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH” is and was a very controversial issue among the United Methodists. It has been constantly brought up to the General Conference in so many years ago and in anticipation to this year’s G.C. in Texas, USA.
As a group, we have come up to this title for the reason that some of our ordained elders are in this present situation and whom they are skirmishing about this long time debate for their rights as homosexual pastors to be recognized, to be identified, and to be accepted by our church, particularly, to our congregations.
Truly, living in tension is and was a strenuous sense and experience among our The United Methodist Church in the Philippines and to other countries.
• "Is an amicable departure a better option than continuing to tear away at the fabric of our denomination?...We are pained at their pain, and we don't want to be unloving in our response. But I'm not sure I see a middle ground here." by Rev. James Heidenger
• "We think the Holy Spirit has left the United Methodist Church as a denomination. God is for justice, and when you exclude people from a congregation, God goes out the door with the outcasts." by Rev. Mel White

About the United Methodist Church:
In 1970, they reported 10.7 million members in the U.S. Like other mainline denominations, their membership has declined significantly over the past 35 years; they reported 8.3 million in the year 2000, a membership loss which has averaged about 77,000 per year. 1 The church "...has a growing presence in strategically significant parts of the world, including Russia, central Africa, and eastern Europe." 2 Its non-US numbers have increased from 0.477 million to 1.51 million over the same interval. They are the third largest Christian denomination and the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. (The largest Christian denomination is the Roman Catholic Church; the largest Protestant denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention).
Rev. William Lawrence, dean and professor of American church history at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX, wrote a commentary on division within the church for the 2004 General Conference. He noted that members of the United Methodist Church "...tend to dwell in the very core of American culture because they occupy the broad middle of American society." 2 The North American cultural debate over equal treatment of homosexuals and same-sex committed couples, including the right to marry, is mirrored within the denomination. If their membership can find some way to live and work together, even while holding a range of radically different views on sexual orientation, then "They will provide a gift to other church bodies and, potentially, to the nation as a whole. If not, the church will have missed a glorious moment of grace and will hand on to some future generation the challenge it refused to face. And a glorious moment on the calendar will have passed them by." 2
"The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church" regulates the activities of the denomination world-wide. It contains a few references to homosexuality, including two which cover the core disputes:
• "Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church."
• "We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman...Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches."
On a positive note, they do support equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations in certain restricted areas outside of the church:
• • "Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for homosexual persons. We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting their rightful claims where they have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities, and equal protection before the law. Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against gays and lesbians. We also commit ourselves to social witness against the coercion and marginalization of former homosexuals."

The UMC holds its General Conference of Methodist Churches (a.k.a. General Conference) every four years, typically in May. It is attended by delegates from Methodist congregations around the world. 3

Chapter 2

A past schism in the Methodist movement:
Some UMC members have suggested that the current conflict over sexual orientation and behavior within the denomination may cause a church schism similar to that which occurred at the 1844 General Conference. That split was triggered by a Methodist bishop who had recently married and thereby become the owner of some African-American slaves. Rev. William Lawrence, dean and professor of American church history at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX, wrote a commentary on division within the church for the 2004 General Conference. He wrote: "It was a moral crisis because Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, had been an ardent opponent of slavery, and many within the church insisted on maintaining that absolute position. But Methodists in such regions as South Carolina felt it was not a violation of Methodist life to be a slave owner....It took nearly a century to heal. Even when the church was reunited in 1939, Methodists bore the scars of racism so visibly that the denomination created a segregated system which lasted until 1968." 2
It remains to be seen whether the UMC will undergo a new schism over sexual orientation, or will be able to find a compromise path between unanimity and schism -- one that will accommodate diversity of beliefs and perhaps of actions.
Recent church developments on homosexuality:
Year 2000 General Conference: Delegates refused to require a proposed loyalty oath for ministers. However, they did affirm three rejections of same-sex behavior and same-sex relationships:
• They rejected (705 to 210) a loyalty oath that all ministers would have had to agree with. The text was: "I do not believe that homosexuality is God's perfect will for any person. I will not practice it. I will not promote it. I will not allow its promotion to be encouraged under my authority."
• They reaffirmed (628 to 337) their belief that homosexual behavior is incompatible with Christian teaching. A compromise proposal would have stated that: "Many consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. Others believe it acceptable when practiced in a context of human covenantal faithfulness." Even though this resolution clearly described the reality of the membership's thinking, It was rejected 585 to 376.
• They reaffirmed (640 to 317) that sexually active gays and lesbians, including those in committed relationships, must not be ordained.

• They reaffirmed (646 to 294) the prohibition of "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual union" being conducted by UMC ministers or occurring in UMC churches.
Between the year 2000 and 2004 Conferences, a number of significant events occurred in North America:
• The trial of Rev. Karen Dammann who had been in a "partnered, covenanted homosexual relationship" for over a decade. She and her spouse have a five year old son and are now married. Karen was charged with "practices declared by the United Methodist Church to be incompatible to Christian teachings." She pleaded not guilty at her church trial. The jury voted 11 for acquittal; two were undecided.
• The U.S. Supreme Court decriminalized private same-sex behavior among adults.
• Same-sex couples were permitted to marry in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, starting in mid-2003. They were able to marry in Massachusetts starting ten days after the 2004 Conference concluded.
Year 2004 General Conference: Delegates approved a petition to deny church funding any group which promotes the acceptance of homosexuality. However, funding of dialogues on homosexuality.
Year 2006 Minnesota Annual Conference: This state body of the United Methodist Church passed nine petitions related to homosexuality. Victoria Rebeck, communications director for the Conference said: "The biggest news is that we had a good, respectful discussion of these very emotional issues and people really listened to each other." The closest vote was a real squeaker: 358 to 356. It involved a petition to change the definition of marriage from "a man and a woman" to "two adult persons," and to delete a sentence supporting laws that define marriage as between a man and woman. The resolutions will be passed on to the 2008 General Conference.
Some of the core problems:
There are many problems that inhibit open and effective dialog on sexual orientation within the UMC and other mainline denominations. We have participated and "lurked" at a number of Internet bulletin boards and have observed other attempts to reach agreement on a path forward for the church. It has been a depressing experience. We have observed that most participant's positions are rigid; they take either a conservative or liberal position. Most of their effort is involved in trying to change the beliefs of others, not in exploring options which might lead to a compromise position. We have observed very little movement towards any kind of a consensus by any of the participants.

The liberal/conservative division within mainline denominations is often seen between young and elderly church members, between conservative and liberal members of individual congregations, between rural and urban congregations, and between socially conservative and liberal regions of the U.S. These divisions are apparent at the church-wide conferences.
Some of the problems are:
 The mechanism by which Christian beliefs are formed. They are generally based on five factors:
• • What do various biblical passages mean?
• • What have been the Church's traditions through history?
• • What have been one's personal experiences?, and
• • What can be derived from logical reason and observation?

On matters like genocide, racism, abuse, etc, these four sources of information generally agree. However, on matters relating to sexual orientation and sexual behavior, sources can point in opposite directions. The first two sources, which are often favored by religious conservatives, sometimes conflict with the latter two, which are often favored by religious liberals.

• Another problem is caused by different fundamental beliefs about the nature of the Bible:

• Religious conservatives often believe that the Bible was written by authors who were directly inspired by God. Many feel that the Bible is inerrant -- free of error as originally written. It is regarded as the actual Word of God. They cite about six proof texts -- passages which they believe condemn various homosexual activities -- and conclude that God hates homosexual behavior.
• Religious liberals often believe that the Bible's authors were motivated by a desire to promote their own religious and spiritual beliefs. The authors' knowledge on scientific matters -- including sexual orientation -- was limited. They were also limited by social customs of the time which considered religious intolerance & oppression, genocide, human slavery, limited roles for women, etc. to be acceptable. When liberals scan the Bible for material on homosexuality, they often look for general biblical themes: e.g. advocating justice, love, monogamy, caring, etc.

• A third problem is the certainty with which both conservatives and liberals in the denomination believe that God is on their side. Many believe that they have sincerely assessed the will of God through prayer, and are positive that God affirms their own personal beliefs about sexual orientation. From a pilot study that we have conducted, it appears that prayer is an ineffective way of assessing God's will. People on opposite sides of a debate will generally conclude that God agrees with them.

Chapter 3

Possible future scenarios in the United Methodist Church:
In 2004, Rev. William Lawrence wrote:
"Delegates face the task knowing that their church is on the verge of a moral and a constitutional crisis over homosexuality. The issue has been debated for at least 30 years. But it has been crystallized by the acquittal of a self-avowed lesbian clergy member of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference.
It is a moral crisis because positions in the debate have been framed in absolute terms. Zero tolerance for homosexual activity is, to some, the only permissible moral ground based on their interpretation of Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. To others, full openness to all persons is the only permissible moral ground the church can adopt, based on their interpretation of the same four sources and guidelines for making theological decisions....”1
There are four obvious scenarios for the denomination, all of which are difficult and quite painful:
Church schism: This would have both negative and positive implications. It would cause major dislocation and distress by severing congregations, friendships, and families. It would force members to leave the church of their youth with which they have been closely identified throughout their life. It would also largely end the internal conflict in the church over sexual orientation.

History has shown that schisms are not necessarily permanent. The division over slavery took almost a century to heal. A split over sexual orientation might be resolved in less time. However, there is always the possibility that the two resultant denominations might well start to differ on other matters, making reintegration impossible.

Maintain the status quo: The membership could decide to continue to endlessly debate these issues without resolution. Bishop Elias Galvan, after the acquittal of Karen Dammann in 2004-MAR, said: "The church is not of one mind. I expect this issue to continue to be raised until society comes to terms with it." While this is probably a true statement, it is a confession of failure. Galvan apparently admits that the church follows trends in moral and ethics rather than leading them.

This path would have the advantage of keeping the denomination together. But it would be an exhausting process which would drain a great deal of energy from the church and reduce its ability to respond to other vital social problems.

The prognosis is not good. Voting data from the year 2000 conference shows that conservatives significantly outnumber the liberals in the denomination. If current trends continue, older teenagers and young adults will take increasingly more liberal positions on these matters. In time, they would sway the majority in their direction. However, even if these trends hold, it might take generations before the liberals reach a majority. Another factor which might slow the rate of change is a possible conservative backlash generated by the advent of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and throughout Canada.

Reach a compromise: This would also keep the denomination unified. It would free up energy to tackle other social problems. But it would require members to back away from their strongly held beliefs and abandon some long-standing traditions in order to negotiate some type of middle ground. It would involve a path forward which both sides will probably consider extremely distasteful and even contrary to the will of God as they interpret it. It would probably be unacceptable to most members and thus impossible to implement.

Conservatives are keen that no homosexual be ordained or continue as clergy. They consider homosexual behavior to be always sinful, irrespective of the nature of the relationship -- even by a married couple. Liberals are equally dedicated to the principle that persons of all sexual orientations be considered equally as possible candidates for ordination, just as qualified individuals of all races and both genders are so considered today. Liberals view this as a matter of fundamental justice.

The only apparent compromise would be to allow otherwise qualified gay and lesbian candidates to be ordained, and then assigned to congregations who are willing to accept them. This would be a very difficult change to implement for a number of reasons:
• It would involve the ordination of some sexually active homosexuals and bisexuals -- a path forward that conservatives find abhorrent.
• It would also involve retaining impediments to their ordination -- a path forward that liberals find abhorrent. They would probably consider it equivalent to discriminating against African-American or female clergy.
• The UMC has a long-standing policy of guaranteeing an assignment to each members of the clergy. That policy would have to be amended because there would probably be -- at least initially -- many more homosexual clergy than congregations willing to accept them. Some clergy would be surplus.
• In the UMC, clergy are appointed by the Bishop who assigns them to a church which may be anywhere in the world. Their task would be made more difficult. Individual congregations would somehow have to indicate their willingness to accept a minister with a homosexual orientation. Then, bishops would have to match available homosexual clergy with specific congregations.

Ignore the 1,000 pound gorilla in the corner: The U.S. Senate faced a somewhat similar situation in the past when human slavery was legal and the abolition movement was gaining strength. The senators agreed to not mention the abolition of slavery in their debates and bills because of its inflammatory nature. In the UMC, the conservative majority could simply silence the liberal minority by denying liberals the option of mentioning the homosexual issue in their debates and resolutions. The Roman Catholic Church has taken this path on matters of female ordination and married clergy.

Chapter 4

Compromising on church rituals for same-sex committed couples:
As noted above:
• "Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches."
• "...self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church."
Again, at first glance, there is a great gulf between the conservative and liberal positions. Conservatives are keen that there be no church recognition of same-sex relationships at all, including those couples who have been married in those areas of the world that grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As of 2006, this includes Massachusetts, Belgium, Canada, Holland, and Spain. Conservatives also want an absolute prohibition of homosexual ordination. Liberals are keen that such rituals be freely made available to same-sex committed couples and that sexual orientation be removed as a factor in ordination.
A number of compromises are possible here. But all would involve a type of local option in which a diversity of practice would be allowed among congregations or conferences. The Book of Discipline could be amended to allow any of the following:
 The decision to allow the celebration of same-sex civil unions (as in Vermont) or marriages (as in Massachusetts after 2004-MAY-20) or domestic partnerships (as in California) inside a given local church could be left to:
 The minister's choice.
 The majority vote of individual congregation.
 The majority vote of the applicable annual conference. The Troy Conference at the UMC has proposed Petition #41082 to the 2004 General Conference which would qualify the prohibition against "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions" (Book of Discipline, Paragraph 332.6) by adding "except within annual conferences that have authorized such ceremonies."

 Similarly, the decision to allow a UMC minister to celebrate a same-sex relationship outside of the church property could be left up to:
• • The minister's choice.
• • The majority vote of individual congregation
• • The majority vote of the applicable annual conference.

Taking the first step towards a compromise:
In battles between countries, as in conflicts within a church denomination, it is often helpful to take a first, small, confidence-building step. One might be for the delegates to a General Conference to at least formally recognize that differences of opinion exist within the denomination over homosexual behavior and same-sex relationships. The year 2000 resolution could be resurrected and voted upon. It read: "Many consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. Others believe it acceptable when practiced in a context of human covenantal faithfulness." That resolution was defeated 585 to 376 when it was initially proposed. Bringing it up for another vote might give a good indication of how willing delegates are to reach a compromise. If they are not willing to recognize reality, then real compromise will probably be impossible.
The 2006 Conference has come and gone without any such confidence building measure. The next opportunity will be 2008.
Group’s Reflection:
Homosexuality is one of the prevailing issues that divide the Christian Church and the Christian faith. Not only within the bounds of the Northern America but through out the world, especially in the Philippines as well. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It is the deepest prevailing issue that splits the United Methodist Church. It is always the perennial issue being debated in the floors of the General Conference in the 70s, 80s, and 90s and in the new millennium. Primarily on the issue of Ordination of homosexuals. In the UMC Book of Discipline, section I. “The Meaning of Ordination and Conference Membership par#301 #2; states; Within the church community, there are persons whose gifts, evidenced of God’s grace and promise of future usefulness are affirmed by the community and who respond to God’s call by offering themselves in leadership as ordained ministers.” Then jumping on to par.#303, Purpose of Ordination, states; “Ordination to this ministry is a gift from God to the church. In ordination, the church affirms and continues the apostolic ministry through persons empowered by the Holy Spirit. As such those who are ordained make a commitment to conscious living of the whole gospel and to proclamation of that gospel to the end that the world may be saved.”
Having quoted those tenets in the Book of Discipline, the Ordination of a person whether heterosexual or homosexual is a gift from God empowered by the Holy Spirit! It is God’s “spark of the divine” in a person (logos spermatokos), it is God’s work and God’s own doing, that a person is called to the ordained ministry evidenced by the person’s gifts and graces in ministry and leadership. And not of any church hierarchy or ecclesiastical means.
Again quoting from the BOD of the UMC par.#304 #3 states; “While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all frailties of human condition and the pressures of the society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible to Christian teaching. Therefore self avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certifies as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve the United Methodist Church.” Now in the group’s honest opinion, this statement is an oppressive declaration of exclusion of the same persons whom God called to serve the church. If we are to consider the “Christian teachings” that the Book of Disciplines is talking about, one of Christ’s teaching in the scriptures is that divorce is a sin and an abomination because divorce breaks the law of what God had joined together let no one put asunder. There are thousands of ordained clergy in the United Methodist Church who are either divorced, separated, re-married and, Oh yes! adulterers, who are still in the ministry as we speak. So what is the deal here? The UMC has a double standard provision in the Book of Discipline, singled out the gays and let go of the other sinners mentioned above.
Finally, as we look at our beloved churches that we serve and love, it will take a long journey to change the mindset of the church. But as Bishop Jack Tuell (he was one of the Bishops from the U.S. who presided over one of the Philippine Central Conference session in 2004) he says, “If we are to change the mind of the United Methodist Church to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all God’s children. We must change its heart. We help all of our people to experience the hurt, the pain and trauma and the rejection to which our present policy inflicts on good and faithful Christians. Oh we don’t neglect dealing with Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason, because all of these can be enlisted in the struggle for inclusiveness. But we understand on an issue such as this, that changing the heart is a pre-requisite in changing the mind, at least for me.” (Sermon given at Claremont UMC, Claremont CA)
May it be so for us to embrace the Spirit of God moving in us to be more welcoming, affirming, reconciling and inclusive in our ministry in the church that we love and serve. We are all called to be faithful to make disciples for Jesus Christ, setting an example as Christ has welcomed all persons in his life and ministry.

1. "Statistics: U.S. Data," United Methodist Church, at: http://www.umc.org/
2. Rev. William B. Lawrence, "Commentary: Finding sacred space between unanimity, schism," 2004-APR-30, at: http://www.umc.org/
3. "Section VI: Annual Conferences," United Methodist Church, at: http://www.umc.org/

tolitz said...


A. Definition of Domestic Violence 5
B. Reasons for Domestic Violence 6

A. Mothers and Children as Victims 9
B. Effects of Domestic Violence on Children 10
1. Short Term Affects 10-12
2. Long Term Affects 13-15


A. The Role of the Family 16
1. Relatives’ Support 16
2. Concerned Neighbors’ Help 17
B. The Role of the Government 19
1. Review Laws’ Loopholes and Implementation Programs 20
2. Educational Programs for Barangay Officials and Police Men 21
3. Information Campaigns on Women and Children’s Rights 22
C. The Role of the Church 24
1. Conduct Parental Classes 24
2. Provide an Atmosphere of Acceptance 25


Ron went home from school looking for his mother. Upon entering the room, he saw the stuff of his father and wondered what they were. Just as he was holding that paper, his father came out of the comfort room and grabbed him by the hand saying, “What are you doing with my stuff? Get out!”, and pushed Ron away. Ron angrily replied saying, “Kung sa tingin mo kayang-kaya mo si mommy ibahin mo ako!” The angry father started beating the child. Just then the mother arrived seeing how the father is beating her child. In trying to protect Ron, the father in turn beat the wife. And just as the father is beating his wife, Ron took a bottle of wine, and struck his father on the head.
Domestic violence - what are some of the causes why it happens in most families especially here in the Philippines? What effect does it have on the child who is constantly exposed to this violence? Is there any cure to it? If there is, who are responsible to initiate this cure? Where does the church stand in this situation? What’s the government role on helping the poor victims of domestic violence?
These are just but some of the questions our society should face with the reality of the situations of most Filipino families now. This is a problem that the society has to face with serious ness today because the victims do not just include the mothers but the children most of all. They are innocent and yet the most affected by the conflicts happening within the family.
In the above story I have mentioned Ron always sees his mother being beaten by his father. If there were times he would not see the actual beatings, he would see how his mother’s body was so filled with black spots caused by those beatings.
In an interview conducted with Orpah Marasigan, National Coordinator of Hope Alive Int’l. Counselors Association, it was said that in the Philippines, 10 out of 12 homes are experiencing domestic violence.
Violence in the family has caused so many children and teens to experience a life of “hell on earth.” If you would ask a teen of the causes of his delinquency and drug addiction to harmful substances, he would just simply say, “I live in hell; my father is a devil and we are the victims.”
Through all the years that I have been ministering to the youths, I have seen how many of them entered into family life early and sometimes out of wedlock; many of them were school drop outs and many engaged in rebellion.
The molding of the character of the child starts at the home. Consequently, every member of the family should strive to make the home a wholesome and harmonious place as its atmosphere and conditions will greatly influence the child's development. It was instituted by God to protect human lives. The children feel safe under the love of their parents. They are the ones these children turn to in times of trouble. But what if the very people you are leaning on are the ones even giving you pain? What if the father whom you have is the one expected to keep you from harm is even the one harming your beloved mother and this in turn gives you inner pain?
This is one of the reasons why this paper has been written. This intends to open the eyes of many especially those in the church that situations like this should not be ignored and should be given careful attention. Children and the teens are all part of our congregation. If no one will take action for them, who else will?

A. Definition of Domestic Violence
It is defined as violence within the family environment, specifically perpetrated by intimate partners and includes acts such as physical maltreatment or assault, repeated verbal abuse, emotional and physical threats, sexual molestation and forced sex, emotional neglect, material deprivation and other forms of abuses.
This simply states that domestic violence is not just physical abuse but also emotional, psychological and verbal abuses and any deprivation of material needs happening within the home.
It does not happen only once. It is a continuous crime and problem of physical beating of a wife, girlfriend or children, usually by the woman's male partner (although it can also be female violence against a male) .
In my own opinion, domestic violence is a type of abuse, physically or psychologically which has threatening effects on the lives of the children who see it.
The wife is primarily the target of violence by the husband but the effect does not lie on the wife alone, the children who are the silent witnesses are the ones mostly greatly affected by this crime.
Domestic violence is one of the common problems Filipino families have especially now in the urban areas.
B. Reasons for Domestic Violence
Why does violence happen in the home? Are there any factors causing a wife’s partner to beat her? Is there anyone to be blamed for this?
I believe in the theory of cause and effect. Domestic violence is something that happens within the family with factors driving it. In the environment we live in, there has been a rapid growth of women and children experiencing this violence within the homes. Family violence cases have been brought to our attention by media and this has led to the greater awareness of abuse.
What drives a man to abuse his partner?
One of the causes is the disputes occurring because of the power inequalities given to society in men and women. The connotation that man or the husband is the head and that the wife is just a partner has given this effect on the man to have the power over the wife which sometimes lead to abuse of the exercise of this power and the view that the husband possesses or own the wife and his children.
Many of the early histories tell us about a discrimination given to women. The ancient world tells of women as being deprived of equal rights with men – the right of suffrage, leadership, education, census and many others. Women throughout the ancient world were considered of lower state with man. And not just with the ancient world, many countries of today still practice the same belief.
This often gives the idea of the husband’s supremacy over the wife over everything to the extent of hurting, controlling and manipulating the wife. Even the Bible tells us that husbands should love their wives and consider them as weaker partners. True, in this sense, man really is considered stronger in muscle built up and in many other aspects. I believe the culture based idea that the woman and her children are a man’s possession and the projection of a “macho image” are factors affecting this abuse.
Second, I once heard a teaching that domestic violence is a learned behavior: learned through observation, experience and reinforcement, in culture, in families, and in communities such as schools, peer groups, and workplaces. This means that it is an acquired state of the mind from something or someone influential.
As I was watching this film with the title, Dahas, the husband there played by Tony is a very responsible partner who works hard to provide well for his family. But due to pressures from his boss, he would always come home angry and irritated where the wife becomes the shock absorber leading to physical abuses and the son Ron, sees the beatings most of the time.
Pressures from work can lead to heated arguments in the house causing the man to beat his wife.
I also believe that the incompetence of a man to perform his duties as husband and father leads one to do these abuses to his wife and even to his children. I have seen many fathers like this. In fact, I have a neighbor who would always point a knife to his wife whenever the latter goes home from work thinking that the wife went to see another man because he does not have a job and he is the one at home.
Physical abuses are sometimes cover-up of a husband’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Another reason is having an experience of having a neglected childhood or abusive background or something traumatic happened to him.
This means that violence in the home is a reflection on a man’s childhood background. If he was raised in a family of violence, or being unwanted where his needs are not provided very well and he is not recognized as a part of the family, then it could lead to acquiring the same violence in the future home he will build.
Therefore, domestic violence could be acquired from a certain negative past or a pressured experience in the present.

A. Mothers and Children as Victims
Domestic violence is an abuse experienced by the wives or the mothers who are the primary target of this abuse. They are the ones susceptible to all the beatings physically, verbally, emotionally and psychologically.
But besides the mothers being directly beaten, the children are the most affected victims because they see all these battering and abuse on their mothers.
Children and teens are often hidden victims of domestic violence. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, at least three million children are exposed to physical and verbal spousal abuse each year, seeing and hearing the actual abuse or dealing with the aftermath of the abuse.
This means that there is an alarming number of children exposed to such violence. The figure is based on reported cases only meaning, there are still those who haven’t come out in the open yet and we do not know how many they are.
With the figure mentioned, there could have been much more children out there who are suffering from the effects of domestic violence unknown to the society and to the government.

B. Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
A child is any person who is 18 years old or younger or any person who cannot take care of himself due to certain circumstance. This poor helpless child is often the silent victim of this crime.
Exposure to all these abuses often causes a child or a teen who witnesses such beatings to be accidentally hit or hurt. These things often happen during every fight. The child who sees his mother would always try to get in the middle trying to protect the mother from the beatings given by the father. That is where the child gets hurt.
The child, who is helpless, is often the one suffering the most seeing the mother being beaten by the father and sad to say, these exposures lead to some effects that are not only physical but psychological and may be permanent and carried on for so many years after.
Domestic violence then becomes a cycle over different generations of family and this, for me, speaks of danger and deterioration in the lives of many.
There are several effects of domestic violence on different levels. The effects of witnessing or experiencing violence at home vary tremendously from one child to another and these may be physical, emotional or psychological.
Short Term Effects
There are short term effects of domestic violence on the physical, psychological and social aspects of a child.
Children in families where domestic violence has occurred appeared to be “parentified.” They are forced to grow up faster than their peers, often taking on the responsibility of cooking, cleaning and caring for younger children.
I have witnessed this fact. I have a neighbor before wherein the father always goes home drunk beating the mother. The father does not have a job so the mother was the one working. She was a vegetable vendor. The eldest who was then 12 years old was the one taking care of her younger siblings. She would cook for them, bathe them and take care of them causing her to be absent from school most of the time. This child never had the time to play like normal kids her age because at an early age, she was forced to become her siblings’ “mother” due to the irresponsibility of her father.
It is a pitiful thing when we see children who are supposed to be playing, enjoying their childhood but there, taking care of their younger siblings and growing up not experiencing how it is to really become a child. This forced growing up may lead to improper physical development of a child. In my own observation, many abused children are those whose physical built are not well and are short of height. Medical theories teach that if a child grows in a family exposed to fights especially at night, causing the child to lack sleep, physical growth may be hindered. I believe in this, I, myself is an example. I did not have that appropriate height for my age unlike my other siblings who were not able to experience witnessing parental fights.
Being a child passes only once in a lifetime. If these children who are exposed to domestic violence would continue to suffer for the irresponsibility of their fathers, this society would be filled with fearful children.
Infants and toddlers who witness violence show excessive irritability, immature behavior, sleep disturbances, emotional distress, fears of being alone, and regression in toileting and language. Preschool children may develop enuresis and speech disfluencies, such as stuttering.
Incidentally, children who are caught in the middle of their parents’ fight can be injured when household items are thrown. In some cases also, the older ones get hurt in trying to protect their mother.
Besides the physical effects there are also the psychological and social effects on children exposed to domestic violence.
’Exposure to trauma, especially family violence, interferes with a child’s normal development of trust and later exploratory behaviors which lead to the development of autonomy.’
Being a teenager is difficult, as most of us remember. But being a teenager and living in a house infected with domestic violence can have devastating, life-long effects. Teens living with domestic violence face the unique problem of trying to fit in with their peers while keeping their home life a secret.
As a growing teen, I know how it felt like growing in a family where you see your father who is a drunkard, who every time he goes home would throw everything he sees blocking his way. During those times, I found it hard to befriend teens of my age. So most of the time, I would be alone. In fact, the violence I saw led me to become a loner and develop the feeling of inferiority.
I could still remember how it felt when my friends talk about my family situation because my parents again where heard last night fighting and my father throwing all the plates everywhere. It’s really hard growing in a family environment like that.
This led me, after my parents separated to live a secluded life. I am with my friends but I lived a life of separation though I am with them then. Meaning I am in my own world though I am playing with them.

Long Term Effects
While there are short term effects of domestic violence, there are also long-term effects that could even last a lifetime. Some of these are anxiety, chronic depression, chronic pain, death, dehydration, dissociative states, eating disorders, emotional over reactions to stimuli, general emotional numbing, health problems, malnutrition and panic attacks.
In my ministry with the youths, one of their reasons why they engaged in drugs is having an atmosphere of fight in the home. Domestic violence can greatly contribute to drugs and other substance abuse. I have heard of some also as having suicide attempts. The children indeed are the helpless victims of this abuse.
The parent’s ability to proper nurture their children is impaired causing them to be emotionally withdrawn or numb causing the lack of emotional and practical support for their children. Children without the emotional support of parents may withdraw from relationships and social activities.
This causes the child to develop the feeling of inferiority over the friends he or she has. Ask a child withdrawn from friends for the reason why and you will find out that he or she belongs to a family with constant parental fights. In turn, the social life of the child is under developed. He becomes aloof with people and most often loners and suspicious over other people.
The gravest long-term effect of such violence I think is that children who were victims of domestic violence are said to have the higher risk of becoming perpetrators themselves .
This means that violence then becomes a cycle. The child who was once exposed as a witness and a victim then becomes the victimizer. Indirectly and unintentionally, whether he likes it or not, he then might hurt other people may it be friends or even a future family as a result of the psychological effect of the violence on him.
It becomes a psychological problem which he carries on to his future life. I believe many husbands who are hurting their wives were once children of a father who also beat a wife in the past.
This, for me becomes the worst effect. If this cannot be prevented, our society will be full of violent people from generation to generation. If this is the case, the family which was said to be the most important single factor in the molding of a human being, preparing a child to reach his ultimate destiny and fulfillment, will instead cripple and inhibit him from attaining his original potential.
Seeing how domestic violence can cripple a society, are there any other things which can be done by the family to help change a child’s future as a violence perpetrator himself? What has the government done with all the statistics coming out every year? Where does the church stand on this matter? How can it be of help to the women and the children who are in its membership and are daily experiencing violence in the home?

A. The Role of the Family
First, and foremost, it is the prime responsibility of the family to protect a child who is suffering from domestic violence since it is the instituted authority by God to develop and form a child’s character and life.

Relatives’ Support
That night is still painted on my mind when I was running all the way to the house of my grandmother crying. I was only five years old then. Reaching the house where my aunties and my grandmother lives, I started knocking at the door, shouting,” Nanay, nanay, tulong.” (“Mother, mother, help”).
That was the night my father and my mother were fighting and we as innocent victims of the fight sought the help of our grandmother and our aunties.
A child with a battered mother has to be helped by other members of the household. The grand parents or the uncles and aunties or who ever relatives are present should offer a lending hand to the child seeking for help.
The relatives will become a great moral support to the child who is hurting. He would feel he has someone to turn to.
A child in the middle of a fight becomes very frightened for two things: seeing the mother being hit and getting hurt himself.
Based on experience, if there is a relative whom the child can turn to, the fear may be lessened and the idea of getting hurt may be removed because he or she believes, somebody is there to protect him or her.
Relatives then are to take this child from that home and for the mean time allow him or her to live with them while he or she is recovering from the pain or until that violence and conflict within the home is settled.

Concerned Neighbors’ Help
In cases where no relative is present, any concerned neighbor should not hesitate to help a child in this circumstance. I remember another incident during my childhood when my father was drunk and was throwing all things in the house, my mother with our youngest then who was still a baby, ran outside the house. My older sister ran also and I was the only one left inside with my drunk father.
I did not know what to do; I was so scared that my father would hit me also. I wanted to jump out of the window but could not do it because I’m still a child then though it was not really that high.
All of a sudden, two hands grabbed me from outside the window and pulled me. Little did I know that it was our neighbor who saw me crying and frightened after hearing all the noises caused by my parents’ fight.
Neighbors should also show concern to children who are helpless and could not protect themselves from being hit by their fathers as well.
With these people around to help, the child is given a feeling that he or she is now secured from being hurt also.
So I think that the family household, relatives and neighbors should all extend their hands in helping children who are exposed to domestic violence.
The idea where in we grew with the family fights are private affairs do not anymore apply to this time especially when lives are at risk. I think that lives are more important than ideas and traditions, so concerned family relatives and neighbors should act appropriately on this matter.
After the family has done its part, government authorities should also take their stand in this fight.

B. The Role of the Government
Besides the family, it is the state’s responsibility to protect every child from harm and abuse.
The Child is one of the most important assets of the nation. Every effort should be exerted to promote his welfare and enhance his opportunities for a useful and happy life because he is not a mere creature of the State and so his individual traits need to be cultivated to the utmost in so far as they do not threaten the general welfare of the state.
According to the law, it is every Filipino child’s right to be defended and assisted by the government and to be given protection against abuse, danger and violence brought by war and conflict.
The government has that role also of protecting the child from being hurt and harmed by conflicts. The Senate has enacted House Bill No. 376 called the Domestic Violence Act of 2001. This intended to strengthen and protect the family as the basic autonomous social institution. For a more effective and felt benefit of these acts, I would like to give some practical suggestions:

Review Laws’ Loopholes and Implementation Programs
The laws enacted also include Republic Act 9262 which deals about domestic violence against women and their children. Many legislators and government agencies have already taken their stand on this matter because of the rise on the rates coming out everyday from news. This means that it is no longer just something as an event that happens in the family but rather, an alarming issue in the society that needs attention.
Early this year, I helped a member of our church who was hit by her husband on the head with a samurai causing serious damage and her children witnessed the crime. I accompanied her to the police station to file a complaint against her husband and so that he may be arrested. This is when I came to know about the act I’ve mentioned above. The policemen were unable to arrest the suspect because twenty four hours had already lapsed and according to them, the law only applies within 24 hours. What can be done only is to file a complaint to the fiscal.
The depressed mother went home very sad feeling she wasn’t able to acquire justice for her cause.
Sad to say, many of the laws here in the Philippines remain just laws or many of them are with loopholes in it. There may be laws for it but still the state is unable to act in more competent and specific ways, and hesitant to provide protection and help to the victims due to the absence of mandate on who will carry and what agency shall take such responsibility.
I think that the government should conduct a careful study and review the laws enacted in order to really provide protection not just for the women but most especially for the children who are eye witnesses of such crime committed within the home.
While it was written in the Child and Youth Welfare Code of the Philippines that ‘the emotionally disturbed or socially maladjusted child shall be treated with sympathy and understanding, and shall be entitled to treatment and competent care, there are still many children and teens out there who have not been given the protection intended by the government for them.
I think that the government should once more review the laws and provide actions on how this problem on domestic violence and its effects on Filipino children can really be addressed.
Educational Programs for Barangay Officials and Police Men
Police men or barangay officials should be vigilant enough to respond to cases of violence within their communities. I remember three years ago, there was an incidence near our place where a father is beating his wife and the children were heard crying loudly; the barangay tanods were there but were just outside the house seemingly waiting for something to happen. They were not pushing their way through the house because the husband was saying that was a private affair and they should not interfere.
I think that the government should hand down laws concerning domestic violence to every barangay official who will then have to conduct seminars or symposia on what a barangay official or personnel can do in times like that. That is one thing lacking in most barangays. I have never seen or known any barangay which has conducted seminars on the roles of its personnel in responding to domestic violence.
Barangay chairmen should be given awareness of this problem within their community. Many of the Barangay chairmen I saw were concerned with the beautification of their vicinity, educational scholarship and benefits for youths, recreation and livelihood projects; but I have never known a Barangay chairperson conducting a program on how to deal with domestic violence within their community.
Information Campaigns on Women and Children’s Rights
Every woman or child has the right to know what her rights are. To strengthen a nation, it should start within the barangays. A proper and diligent information campaign on every woman and child’s right should be done.
Printed materials should be posted picturing a woman’s rights against violence, leaflets and brochures should be distributed in schools in order to inform the children about what they can do when their fathers are already beating their mothers. I have been to several barangay halls already and I have seen print materials regarding health, smoking, pregnancy, etc. posted; but I have never seen any poster giving information on domestic violence. This, too, should be addressed by many barangay officials.
Most specially, teachers and school staff should lead in this campaign. I have seen before students coming to school who have the symptoms of being exposed to domestic violence and many of them are direct victims. I have seen one who has a mark of heated iron on the face and the school officials did not react about it.
The teachers are the second parents of a child. They need to protect the child against an abusive parent.
In fairness, I would like to acknowledge the works of many non-government organizations (NGO) who continue to help women and children who are victimized by domestic violence.

C. The Role of the Church
Domestic violence does not include the Christians for it can even exist in homes where the Bible is present. But behind the reported cases of domestic violence,’ statistics here in the Philippines is very difficult to gather because not all women will come out and tell the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that they’ve been battered but in studies conducted, ten out of twelve women are being battered.’
‘Many women are afraid to come out in the open because of fear that no one will believe them because husbands who batter their wives most of the time look docile, quiet and look like they don’t beat up their wives.’
It is also the church’s role to address domestic violence because the Christian family is not an exemption to this crime. I have heard of many cases of such violence from many Christians I have met before.
One of the reasons why they would not come out is because of the fear that no one would believe them because their husbands are leaders of the church and they don’t look like batterers. What are the things the church can do to help in this matter?

1. Conduct Parental Classes
The church should therefore conduct seminars on family matters like how a husband should treat his wife or how he should treat his children. A proper education on raising a family is very much needed in order to avoid domestic violence.
All of us have our own fallen nature meaning, even if we become Christians, there are still opportunities for the old nature to come out. And this old nature may be irritable, easily angered, hot tempered and many other negative traits there can be. When these traits come out, there is a temptation for anybody in the household to beat or hurt family members.
It is therefore important that this issue be addressed by the church. Pastors should not only concentrate on church growth but on the realities that every family of the church faces. Counseling on such matters can also be done in order to help.
In this way, the church can be of good testimony to those outside and will be strengthened because the families are also strengthened.

2. Provide an Atmosphere of Acceptance
One of the reasons why many battered Christians do not come out in the open is the idea that no one will believe them.
The church should provide an atmosphere of acceptance and belief in order for the mothers and the children who are victims of domestic violence to come out in the open.
Somebody from within the church should believe the testimonies of these women whenever they would come out. This gives an idea of having someone to their rescue. Sad to say, many departments are being put and built in the church for the growth of its members but forgetting serious and real cases like these. Christians should be able to accept the reality of this fact in order to be able to welcome women and children who are hurting inside.
I believe that along with these departments, one for this case should be addressed by the church. Provide an office that victims of such crimes can come to. The church should work on the whole person meaning, not just the spiritual but also the physical, emotional and intellectual aspects of the man.
A holistic approach of the church on a man’s need is essential to nurturing its members.
The church is to be a place of refuge for the victims of domestic violence. I remember hearing a story from one of our neighbors who was battered by her husband who was an addict. When she was about to be hit by him, she ran all the way to a Catholic Church and there hid.
I believe that that woman knows that the church is to be a place of refuge for her even in times like that. The church is not only for the spiritual nourishment of a person but a place for one to seek refuge when harmed and attacked by a person.
Every believer considers the church as a second home; a place to go home to; a place to seek comfort, feeding and belongingness. It is therefore the church’s role to really provide an atmosphere of becoming a second home indeed. Christians or pastors should avoid blaming the woman for the cause of the abuse because as it is, there could be no valid excuse for the commitment of the abuse.
In the movie Dahas, Emily the battered wife sought the help of a Christian friend who happened to be a cell group member also. Through this friend, she was able to tell her secret.

Domestic violence can be considered a social disease. A lot of families in the society we now live in are having this problem and the Christian family is not an exemption to this.
The child who suffers greatly should be cared for by other members of the society, the family, the government and most especially, the Church.
The family is a place for molding the child’s character and shaping his future. The family should therefore be responsible enough in the training and the teachings being given to the child. Fathers should learn to really be fathers to their children by being godly and becoming models to the future fathers. Battered wives need the care of other relatives as well. They should be taken cared of by concerned relatives.
The government should carefully study all the laws enacted by providing awareness programs and pointing out what agencies should carry on the process.
The church should provide a department that would give an atmosphere of acceptance in addressing the issues concerning domestic violence.
The Filipino family is an important institution of the country. If the Filipino family will be taken cared of, this nation would indeed be strong and stable because a nation’s stability and growth starts from having strong families.


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Ramiro, Laurie S. “Domestic Violence in Urban Filipino Families.” Child Protection.Com Online. http://www.childprotection.org.ph . September 2, 2008.


(The Effects of Domestic Violence on Filipino Children)




Prof. Lizette Tapia-Raquel
Prof. Revelation Velunta


Elmer S. Victoria
Joey Y. Cunanan
Sonny T. San Pedro
Joselito G. Ibanez
Randy G. Ugaddan

OCTOBER 16, 2008