The Prayer Brouhaha

There’s been a lot of hoo-ha in the Pinoy blogosphere of late in light of people protesting Fr. Stephen Cuyo’s invocation at the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards Night. The protest was not so much on the message, Fr. Cuyo’s “A Blogger’s Prayer.” but on the fact that it disrespected people of different faiths and persuasions who had no desire of listening to Fr. Cuyo’s supplications. Sounds acutely familiar to me, living in a very cosmopolitan city where you find people of all faiths the world has to offer. I live in a country that had passed the same sex marriage law, one of the two countries , the other Belgium, that shocked the world with its radical departure from tradition . This fact alone had religious zealots condemn Canada as hell and a bastion of homosexuality. But as the former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin put it very plainly – “we are a country of minorities”. In a country built by immigrants , hence groups of “minorities”, the unifying factor of people with different faiths and persuasions is tolerance and adherence to political correctness. I have witnessed both the good and bad of the “political correctness” game but I have come to the conclusion however that it is pointless to argue about who is right and wrong in a religious dispute and the only effective remedy to the dispute is the immediate donning of the political correctness suit and retreating to your own domain, to your people who think like you, to your nest. You have not caused a conflict that would end in tragedy and more importantly, preserved unity. Religious disputes are won by the sword and not by argument.

The prayer brouhaha at the Blog Awards night could have been avoided if the organizers had a sense of political correctness in their decision to include an invocation in the program of a technology conference. But again, Pinas is not Canada and church has the ultimate say on everything , even whether condoms are to be sold in the drugstores or not – what do you expect? Do Pinoys understand what political correctness really means?

I am attending this technical conference tomorrow. Will there be an invocation of any kind?


As I was driving home today, a radio station was sampling people’s response whether they would be willing donate one of their kidneys for $5,500. The province of Ontario is entertaining thoughts of following the province of British Columbia’s program of reimbursing organ donors some amount of money to cover expenses in form of travel, lost wages and other incidental expenses related to the operation. Result? Almost everyone queried said NO. Others have no problem donating a kidney to a loved one. $5,500 ? Laughable, isn’t it? Don’t you think your kidney should be worth more than a Porsche? Add a couple of zeros to the $5,500 and I’m sure many will have second thoughts. The thought of not getting out alive from the operating table is already scary.


50 Responses

  1. I’ll just hoo-ha with you on the first post.

    Donating a kidney? Man, that’s some deep and thorough thinking process if you have to do it for a very sick friend, but for a family member, I think that’s a lot easier to deal with.

    I am still hoping that I won’t see
    a kidney deal on E-bay one of these days starting at $5,500 and take PayPal for it.

    I believe kidneys for sale has been going on for a while and is available where there’s demand for it.

    Hoping also that a better cure for sick kidneys come up soon, and they are, so we can see less of these organ free trade business.

  2. Because I grew up in the Philippines, I can understand the inclusion of invocation in almost any Pinoy gathering – from kids’ parties to graduation ceremonies. It’s just the way it has always been done. Actually, this is the first time for me to hear of such an issue as the “prayer brouhaha” at the PBA. I was curious as to what the prayer actually was; unfortunately I couldn’t open the link. Will check it again later. Anyway, does this mean that Pinoys are slowly reawakening to political correctness? So how long would it be until we hear from parents protesting against prayers being included in their children’s school-related programs and ceremonies because it clashes with their beliefs?

    As for the kidneys for sale, $5,500 does not seem high enough, but for a Third-World citizen making a choice between feeding a family and losing a healthy kidney for money may not be so difficult. But I guess the solution is not so much about eradicating kidney problems entirely as it is about finding ways to better the people’s living conditions so they won’t have to make that choice anymore. Just my two cents’ worth. 🙂

  3. malaking pera ang $5500 pero kung dagdagan pa ng isang 0 ay baka nga marami ng mag se second thought

  4. No comment on the first post about “A Blogger’s Prayer.” There are just more important things to do than waste time debating whether the prayer was politically correct or not. (I don’t mean you in particular.)

    As for the kidney donation topic, I think a lot of cash-strapped Pinoys would sell their kidneys for USD5,500 apiece. People can be very desperate in Pinas which saddens me.


    Hi, BW. Hope you had a nice Easter celebration with your family.

  5. I agree with Kathy, any Pinoy event always start with an invocation. It being a technical event? Not sure. Maybe because it was so close to holy week? I would not mind the least. Any prayer is good for me.

    I would not sell my kidneys. I’d lovingly give it to a close family member if the need ever arise.

  6. I don’t understand the fuss. I am not a religious person but I don’t see the big problem about doing a prayer or an invocation before starting an activity. Filipinos abroad are doing this quite often too.
    I don’t say thanks to the Lord before my meals but it happens that guests at my table ask for a small prayer before the meal. Why not? They don’t do something bad. So they can go ahead and I don’t start a religious battle for this.
    The more you travel around the world the more you appreciate the difference. All those different cultures and beliefs are enriching you.

    It seems poor Filipinos are selling their kidneys.

    An eye opener at:

    People live in shanties and makeshift houses and children crowd the mud-sputtered streets. Ms. Vida Florendo, a resident and tanod of Baseco, describes their place as the “poorest of the poor”.
    Nowadays, it has a new label derived from a growing enterprise of kidney donating, or selling. Isla Baseco is now called by the inhabitants themselves Isla Walang Bato.

  7. Invocations during a blog awards night? Isn’t the church kinda over extending itself? I mean, not all blogs are about religion and enlightenment… tsk tsk

    As for my kidneys, add some more zeros and maybe… just maybe, I will reconsider. 😀

  8. They say a prayer at the beginning of of my camera club meeting — a fellow member is a priest … hehehe. It’s all right, doesn’t bother me one bit.

    As for the PBA awards night, I didn’t attend; nonetheless, the invocation wouldn’t have bothered me, either.

    What bothers me is that I’ve emailed one of the organizers asking how I could have my trophy picked up. To date, I haven’t received any reply … hahaha!

    As for organ donors, didn’t they use to get ample supply from those incarcerated at China’s penal system? Or have they depleted the supply?

    Have fun at your conference!

  9. Noypetes – kidney for sale at Ebay ? LOL : ) Hope they don’t charge you for shipping cost ! Time will come they say ,that with the exploitation of stem cell technology that organs can be farmed in the lab for the purpose of transplantation .

  10. Kathy – the fallout of the desire for political correctness is segmentation, with people forming their own groups and associations so they can do what they want without reprisal from any other group.
    That is why folks who would like prayers to continue in school may want to send their kids to a Catholic school ( publicly funded in Canada) or to a private Christian, Muslim or Jewish school.

    You bet, the best approach is prevention , esp control of high blood pressure which could stress the kidneys and avoidance of salty diet.

  11. Iskoo – at $55,000 siguro marami ang mag-iisip, esp the have nots 🙂 Again it really depends kung
    ang tao ay gusto talagang tumulong o magkapera lang.

  12. Leah – it’s sort of common na sa Pinas but this time people complained so I think the writing is on the wall. We need to look at the issue with caution and sensitivity. I wouldn’t sell my kidneys too 🙂 there’s people who survived well with one kidney so I guess if a loved one really needs it, we ought to be able to donate it.

  13. Sidney – the prayer brouhaha seems to have awakened people that things that they view harmless is offensive to others ! I hope they sort this out amicably so we all can move on 🙂

    That Baseco phenomenon is very tragic indeed. There’s unscrupulous people who may have profited in this scheme for all we know. I also saw on a 20/20 program that prison inmates are willing to donate their kidneys as a sacrifice for the atonement for their sins. In one case a priest was the recipient of the kidney.

  14. Jayred – you are right. No sense in debating about the invocation but I could say there’s something to take home on the “lessons learned” side of things. Hopefully in the future people will not squabble with this issue anymore, whatever the decision would be.

    I agree. desperate folks would sell their kidneys for money… Yes, I had a cold Easter Sunday 🙂 Hope you had a good one too 🙂

  15. Sngl – there’s people saying that the invocation wasn’t required in a technical conference and these are folks who are themselves of the Catholic faith. THe technical conference I went to today as expected did not have an invocation as expected otherwise the organizers will get a ton of backlash from the public, for lack of political correctness 😦

    Yeah, a couple of zeros added won’t be bad eh?

  16. Eric – i wouldn’t be bothered myself with the invocation because frankly, the way we treat prayers in Pinas, we are no different that the biblical Pharisees.. LOL 🙂

    Again, there is a fine line between expressing and sharing one’s faith and both have to be done with humility. I am not impressed with boxers who etch a bible verse in their shorts and climb up the ring and start knocking down another person senseless !

    You haven’t gotten your trophy yet? You should have just assigned a proxy 🙂 That’s good because you have maintained your much desired anonymity for one hehe 🙂

  17. naremember ko tuloy nung college ako when my friend was asked to lead the prayer, since different religions (may muslim din), he just made us reflecton what to be thankful for, sorry for and to ask for. after that, lahat kme (even yung muslim) were like asan yung prayer? hehehe. di daw kse nya alam pano magpray. but i think here in the philippines, accepted na din ng ibang religion na laging may prayer sa umpisa and it’s a catholic prayer.

    about the kidneys naman.. i agree with sidney na there are poor filipinos who seel their kidneys even for a really low price

  18. Tin – where’s the prayer ? now that’s funny…hehehe.. I totally agree with you that sa Pinas, common na yung invocation sa mga ocassions.

    To be honest Tin, sometimes it is good for people that they are challenged when someone complains because it makes them think of things they take for granted. If someone stands and says – YES, I demand and insist there should be an invocation ! that person better have a more convincing reason other than adhering to tradition 🙂

    I think my kidney is worth $550,000 hehe 🙂

  19. binasa ko yung blogger’s prayer… natawa ako dito
    “Deliver us, Father, from spams and viruses, from pride and selfishness, and from the temptation to replicate images without permission and copy ideas without crediting the original authors.”

  20. Cruise – LOL.. there’s a bit of humor in it too I agree 🙂

  21. I was there at the recent PBA, I thought it was a serious pryer then I heard those other words related to internet and blogging and find myself in between laughing or trying to be sincere as possible since this is a prayer.

    Anyways, I’m willing to offer my kidney for 5million dollars. Any takers? hehe

  22. lol @ the blogger’s prayer. ano ba yan. general na lang sana yung prayer nya. pwede na sana yun isama sa cover ng programme. I’ve read one blogger prayer before.

    RE: kidneys.

    hmmm…for a loved one, yes. for 5k, tq. 🙂

  23. I joined in the series of debates in several sites in Pinas regarding that invocation, citing our Charter and arguing on my perspective and experience in living in society that Tolerance and Acceptance are Reality and end up being labeled by one as Intolerant and my final argument that I didn’t believe he himself is tolerant for insisting I am intolerant (MLQ III).

    For that token amount for donating “live” kidney and liver d to strangers, to me that’s an insult. If I want to donate my kidney to or part of my liver to a stranger, I’ll do it voluntarily.

  24. again we have a law currently in the book that prohibits receiving any amount for our organ. this suggestion is going around the law, and mr. smitherman should know better, because election time is coming and we at the conservative will have another issue in the sack…

  25. vhcwnWhoa! Organ farming? Cryonic labs for preservation?….better invest on this ventures now I suppose:-)

    This will put those penile enlargement snake oil(no pun intended)manufacturers out of business. Could you imagine stem cell derivatives to farm the male reproductive “organ”?..That is if you have to replace the only one you got and lost it in a bet!…will Miracle Grow work to enhance and speed up the growth of the “farmed” male reproductive organ?:-)

    Does anybody know the climate of political correctness in the Philippines right now? What’s the big fuss about the PBA invocation anyway!? I’m not dissing anybody’s faith here but I guess you just can’t please everybody right? I go with what the majority faith invokes…and for those non believers?….Tune out, it’s easy to do.

  26. I’ve read about the Blog Awards mishap in a blog. One party says insensitivity… the other party defends oversensitivity. It’s one of those unresolvable issues. I’m all for “When you’re in Rome…” but I am also an adamant anti-doormat advocate. Respect for one side… and understanding from the other. Easier said than done.

  27. BW, there are bloggers out there who don’t even want to discuss about this issue and think that this post is of the devil. Trust me, that’s how narrowminded some people are.

  28. Ferdz – I know what you mean. I particularly don’t have any problem with the humor part but I agree it grabs people a bit differently 🙂 So you upped my call 10 times ha? THat’s money to die for hehe 🙂

  29. Vic – it’s kind of a chicken and the egg question really. Tolerance of another religion is something that Pinoys haven’t been challenged with. The predominant religion is the default standard and everything else is being asked to go with the flow.

    Suffice to say that political correctness is a phrase that Pinoys don’t comprehend fully because they haven’t been subjected to the challenge of true multi-culturalism. When you cohabit a city with people who don’t look like you, believe in a different religion, eat different kind of food and sometimes speak a different language then you would understand the meaning of political correctness.

  30. Alternati – insensitivity is another word that plays big time in this debate. I think people should be a bit more understanding before using the word. Sometimes the perception of insensitvity is the result of ignorance, where malice is never intended. I think this prayer brouhaha has shades of ignorance on the part of the organizers.

  31. This is a sad story:

    Two years ago, a friend of mine needed to have kidney transplant. Her daughter, without any second thought, gave one of hers. Unfortunately, after the transplant, my friend succumbed to complications. She died on the third day after the operation.

    My sister also, some years ago, needed a new kidney. Doctors said, the best one would have to come from one of us, her siblings. But we were already all married then, and our spouses did not give consent. My sister died seven months after diagnosis of her kidney ailment.

    Oh my God, naiiyak tuloy ako.. . 😦

  32. Sorry to hear this Rhodora. I thought science has perfected the organ rejection technology by now. I know that there is an elaborate process for donor organ matching but I guess the chance of rejection albeit slim is still there.

    One guy who had a kidney transplant is Alonzo Mourning, an NBA player for the Miami Heat. Surprisingly he is still a very active player.

  33. Also, I will add that during my two years off for some health issue, I frequented St. Michael Hospital in Toronto, and I met this young Pinoy of around mid-30 who had a kidney transplant and had his usual regular checkup and medication to boast his HDL (good cholesterol) and I asked him how was his health and told me he was as normal as could be, and enjoying his disability pension.

    I think bw would agree with me that somehow that fellow was lucky, and we in general are, because besides that our medical care is publicly funded, we are entitled to public disability pension in case we can no longer work because of illness.

  34. I think it’s just much ado about nothing and some individuals are just overreacting. It’s just an invocation and we all know that suually prayers precede programs. But some trend says that invocations may be politically incorrect anymore given the fact that in a modern society, not everyone is christian anymore, as could be presume so many years ago. Now, because of multi-cultturalism, a moslem or a buddhist might just be around. Hey, there might be those that don’t believe in religion at all.

    I think Fr. Cuyos’ prayers was a little bit attempting towards humor and it is just sad that some have given it a bad rap.

  35. Vic – good for this guy that he had a working kidney transplant and yes, we are a little luckier that we have a publicly funded health care system, that we don’t have to spend money to maintain our health.

  36. Major Tom – over reaction seems to be the verdict of most people althought the complainants insist on insensitivity. I think it is really ignorance without malice on the part of the organizers more than anything. Suffice to say there was no harm intended and this could be a learning case for everyone going forward.

  37. This entry reminds me so much of the movie Turistas

  38. what’s wrong about asking God’s presence in every event or activity?

    kidney donation? i’ll do it for my family for free, but will never do it outside family abode even for a million dollar.

  39. i think it depends on the mindset of an individual whether he is a Christian or an atheist. personally, the prayer did not sound or read as presumptuous. must be an over-reaction.

    kidneys being sold here in the Philippines is way cheaper.

  40. for my love ones i would be very happy to donate mine.

    grabe pwede pala ibenta kidney, ah sa bagay dugo at sperm cell nga nabebeta na rin ngayon. napanood mo ba yung “turistas”?

  41. Jeff – now I’d have to watch that movie 🙂

  42. Curacha – that used to be the general assumption but is being challenged. There are people nowadays who insist on their rights under the name of “freedom”.

    Most people don’t want to sell their kidneys for just the money!

  43. Bingskee – that’s what most people think really – an over reaction. This is just an indication that what used to be normal and ordinary might not be the case anymore.

    I can understand how people, esp the poor, can give away their kidneys for cheap money which is very tragic.

  44. Cruise – in the case of the province of B.C., the remuneration is really a reimbursement to those who are “willing” to donate. Most people interviewed are willing to donate theirs to loved ones who will need it.

    Nope, I did not watch Turistas. I’ll get a dvd copy of it soon 🙂

  45. Try offering the same amount to Pinoys for their kidneys and you’ll be surprised there will be a lot of takers. I remember a poor father with 7 children say on tv, “If anyone wants to shoot me for fun and pay my family P30,000 (less than USD600), I will willingly offer myself.”

  46. Hi Bro. Heard of the landslide in Canada…poor in geography so I don’t know where that happened but I hope you’re family’s safe and sound.

    Anyway there’s a place here in the PI where lots of people are selling their kidneys due to poverty. Sad but true.

    Me I wouldn’t dare even if they’ll offer me a million pesos (if its a million dollar i might change my mind hehe) if it’s for family…i wouldn’t have second thoughts of course 🙂

  47. Abaniko – I know and that’s that’s really tragic bro. P30,000 is just a month’s salary for some people and for someone to give up his life for that kind of money makes you wonder the extent of poverty the person is going through 😦

  48. Verns – we are ok Lil Sis and thanks for your concern. There’s lot of exciting things happening here hence the reason for my mini-hibernation 🙂 There are reasons why people donate their kidney and most people surveyed won’t sell their kidneys for money. Yeah, for a million dollars ( P50M) you won’t have to work for the rest of your life hehehe… make that $50M for me for consistency in currency 🙂

  49. Prayer Brouhaha, really? I do agree that being PC nowadays is quite trendy, but I still think that we Pinoys are still a wee bit behind the fashion stakes. Where else can you find a politician whose chances of winning an election gets higher the more mistresses he’s got under his belt? If this is not degenerate, I don’t know what political correctness is. LOL! I have to say people in the west try really hard to be PC. I remember when I went to take oath for citizenship, admin people were so polite to ask me who I should pledge allegiance to. The choice is between God and Queen. And I thought: both are archaic institutions I can never commit loyalty with. I am a complete and utter cynic. “Bloody heck, there really is no choice here”. In the end, I chose the lesser EVIL. I contemplated really hard at that brief period before I took my oath and I thought “get it over and done with.” I decided, duh! God.

    BTW, I’m going to spend holidays in Toronto this coming June. Yehey!

  50. Howling – you bet , PC is becoming trendy here in North America 🙂 Same with me, I was given a choice to swear between the queen and the bible and I took the bible. Obviously, non Christians had no choice but to swear to the queen LOL.. Canada is still part of the commonwealth so the queen is being recognized here 🙂

    Good that you are coming to Toronto… hope you enjoy. Man , airfares have been so great lately here. Round trip ticket to London sometimes sell for $399 🙂 Been to London a couple of times myself. Got family there too. cheers..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: