The recent issue plaguing the management of the influential religious sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has been all over the news lately. Who would have thought that an institution that should only be concerned on the worship and glorification of their deity and the ‘salvation’ of one’s soul would be involved in something outside its original objective; that its name would be dragged not by what it was originally meant to be but by its officials and various involved parties. That it would be talked about by people in a way that they did not expect.
A recent post by a number of members from the Iglesia ni Cristo has made its round in various social media which seems to indicate that there was an alleged official mandate or a circular spread in various worship service in Iglesia ni Cristo to boycott various local news organization that paints the Iglesia ni Cristo in a bad light.
This was elaborated by Inquirer in its January 29th, 2016 online article. Inquirer then sought a statement from the Iglesia ni Cristo spokesperson Edwin Zabala who denied such allegations, but added that he personally understood where some of its more outspoken members were coming from.
Upon checking the social media account of the featured outspoken INC members who have openly shared their dismay and protest against the alleged bias media coverage of local news organization, one will see that he did this out on his own “free will” as clearly seen in a more recent post.
Yung news ng mga bitter natataranta na, parang nag papalakas nalang ng loob hehehe.. Kaya pinalalabas nya magka kontra ang sagot ni Ka Edwil Zabala sa post ko, (The news by the ‘bitter’ people shows they are panicking, it seems that they are encouraging themselves so they are implying that Bro. Edwil Zabala is against my post.)
Tama naman ang sagot ni Ka Edwil Zabala sa tanong nila, kung may sinerkukar ba sa pagsamba, WALA NAMAN TALAGA CINERCULAR SA PAGSAMBA AT HINDI NA KAILANAGAN UN, (Bro. Edwil Zabala gave the right response to their inquiry if whether there was a circular released. There was no circular released in a worship service and there was no need for it.)
at gusto ko lang ipapansin sa sumulat ng pahayag na ito kung sino kaman nagkamali ka ng paggawa ng kwento, una wala akong sinabi na CINERCULAR SA PAGSAMBA WALA NUN… (I want to bring to the writer’s attention that you are sorely mistaken when you weave such stories. First off I didn’t say that there was a circular in a worship service. There was none.)
Kahit ako ang tanungin mo kung meron ba ang sagot ko ay wala, dahil hindi na kailangan iserkular pa, (Even if you ask me if there was one, I will answer you that there is none because there is no need for one.)
Hindi pa sineserkukar yan natataranta na kayo, bagsak na station nyo, ako palang yan isang pangkaraniwang kaanib sa loob ng Iglesia ni Cristo, ano pa baga KUNG ICERCULAR PA SA PAGSAMBA? (That hasn’t been included in any circular and here they are already panicking. Your station is already a failure. You are only contending with me, an ordinary member; what more if it gets released as an official circular in a worship service?)
Sa susunod kapag babasa kayo uunawain nyo mabuti hindi yung basa lang ng basa, para hindi napapahiya o sumasabit ang balita, mag research kayong mabuti at alamin ang pawang katotohanan hindi yung ano lamang ang ayon sa inyong kagustuhan o kalooban, (Next time, try to thoroughly understand what you are reading so you won’t be humiliated or deliver false reports. Do your research carefully. Seek the entire truth and not out of your own whim. )
Hindi nyo kami malilinlang dahil ang Dios ang nasa likod ng mga gawaing ito! (You cannot fool us because God is behind all of this.)
It is obvious that this is a sentiment coming from a staunch critic of local news organizations who felt aggrieved by the way the news organization portrayed the officials of the religious organization he is a part of; of how reports are prejudice against their leaders.
There are a number of things to complain about various media practices; that one can’t be helped but be cynical and skeptical about how they are presented to us. It is alright if the majority of Filipinos consuming such news knows this, but most do not even bother to listen to the other side, do their research before making their conclusions, and to think critically.
What happens is most fall prey to gullibility and merely accept what news organization pass out as the “truth”. This is probably where these calling for boycott and that is their right to do so.
Why would it matter to a television network or news organization if a number of person have decided to boycott their programs, many people have done that. I have done that on one news organization I found distasteful. So why make a big fuss out of it? There will always be someone out there that will be aggrieved by how news is delivered. The question now is how should news organization step up their game and as much as possible avoid showing obvious biases. The mere fact that there is a lack of coverage when it comes to controversial issues surrounding the Roman Catholic church may add fuel to the fire of the Iglesia ni Cristo defenders.
To the credit of Iglesia ni Cristo, it is going to create more controversy if ever they release such circular in their worship service in these sensitive times. Some members who have troubled informing themselves with the issues surrounding their beloved church may find such course of action to be distasteful. In times of unity for the church, the last thing that officials would want is further division.
Damage control is the right term for it. The loyal followers of INC may have the prerogative to act on what they think on how they should respond to bias news reporting, but it doesn’t mean that they have to be ordered to do it. They have their “devotional” faith that compels them to do it.
Iglesia ni Cristo has grown to power and is considered one of the the most influential Christian religious sect in the country; probably next to Roman Catholicism and Islam. Influential because of the solidarity showcased by its members which can be seen at how its followers come to its defense even if it does not directly involved them or the case is already rolling in the courts. A solidarity that has seemingly affected how the country functions; politically speaking that is.