Christians in the Philippines have expressed outrage at President Rodrigo Duterte after he repeatedly called God “stupid” and criticized the concept of forbidden fruit within the garden of Adam and Eve in remarks this weekend.
“Adam ate it then malice was born. Who is this stupid God?” Duterte said at a press conference. “That son of a bitch is stupid if that’s the case.”
“Who is this stupid God?” he continued. “You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work.”
On Tuesday, Duterte doubled down his original marks, saying, “Your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense.”
Responding to the comments, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches said on Tuesday that it was “immensely offended” by the comments.
“It is completely inappropriate for our nation’s President to derisively curse at the God of the Christian faith, who is deeply worshipped not only by a majority of Filipinos but also by a vast number of people from all over the world,” the council said in a statement.
“We, therefore, appeal to President Duterte to refrain from issuing insulting statements against the Christian faith,” they continued. “We appeal to the President, as the foremost leader of a nation that is by nature religious, to instead lead in fostering respect toward different religious beliefs.
Some lawmakers also seized upon Duterte’s remarks.
“Between him and my God to whom I pray every single day and with whom I’ve found solace and comfort in all my difficult times, I don’t even have to think of my choice,” said Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who many consider a Duterte ally. “May my God forgive him and make him atone for all his sins.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque later defended Duterte’s comments, pointing out that the Philippines does not have blasphemy laws.
Roque explained, “I think the declarations of the President come from his unpleasant experience when he was younger and when he was allegedly abused by a priest.” Duterte has told audiences in the past that he was molested as a boy by a Catholic priest, who he named as Fr. Mark Falvey, S.J. Philippine reporters revealed that Falvey was accused of numerous acts of sexual assault on minors before his death in 1975.
Roque demanded that the Catholic Church apologize for widespread molestation and sexual assault claims against children, and added that Duterte practices “his own spirituality.”
“Offending religious freedom is a crime which we inherited from the archaic Spanish criminal code, and which has been superseded by freedom of expression,” he said. “The President thought to open the dialogue because there is only one society served by both the government and the church.”
Duterte has long had a contentious relationship with the Church, who have criticized his brutal war on drugs and other criminal organizations that has allegedly involved countless human rights abuses.
However, his remarks are just one in a long line of bizarre comments that have sparked concern across the international community. The 73-year-old leader has repeatedly called Barack Obama as a “son of a whore,” urged his security forces to shoot female communists in the “vagina,” and suggested human rights investigators should be fed to crocodiles.