SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: Prayers of the wicked kind

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 9 Dec) – We’ve been taught since childhood to pray and believe in prayers. Regardless of religion and the rituals we perform, we pin our last hopes on God’s compassionate hands – especially when we face adversities, calamities for example.

During typhoon Yolanda last year and typhoon Ruby this month, the Filipino’s brand of religiosity played a central role as both a collective and personal coping mechanism. Endless storms may batter our shores and land, but expect the Filipino’s faith to surmount the difficulties, destruction and even death caused by nature’s wrath, and in a way that has made the rest of the world confused and amazed at the same time.

We pray for deliverance from the winds, floods, landslides and whatever hazards a storm brings. We pray for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our neighbors, for the whole nation to be safe.

But to pray for ourselves to be spared at the expense of other human beings is something else. That’s exactly what TV Patrol news readers Korina Sanchez and Noli de Castro did when they publicly asked for prayers for Ruby (Hagupit) to take a northerly track so that the Philippines could be spared – never mind if Japan would be hit instead because that country can cope and recover more easily anyway.

Sanchez and De Castro were basically asking divine intervention to save the Philippines at the expense of Japan. Granting their wish happened, would we say “Thank you, God, for saving us and unleashing the typhoon’s fury on the Japanese”? How would have I felt if I heard my neighbors thanking God for burning just our house and not theirs, during that fire that razed our home 10 years ago?

A few years back, a European friend confided that he felt awkward attending a thanksgiving mass for a friend of his who was saved from a bombing incident. “Morag nagpasalamat no nga ang uban lang ang namatay dili siya?” he asked rhetorically. I believe though that that friend of his had no such thing in mind; she was simply thankful for being saved and at the same time saddened that some people died in a violent manner.

Sanchez’s and De Castro’s utterances, however, were entirely different. They went too far, asking God to be kind to us and wicked to the Japanese, as if the latter belong to a sub-human species unworthy of any empathy. “Lord, sila lang please.”

Never knew until now that religiosity borders on sadism – never mind stupidity. So unbecoming of two public figures – one a former vice president, the other the wife of a high-ranking Cabinet official.

Sanchez might as well say goodbye to her dream of becoming the next First Lady.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at