Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Firing Away

A Filipino politician with a penchant for shock has some teachings in his crosshairs:
DAVAO CITY -- Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of this city has called the natural birth control measures espoused by the Catholic Church “stupid.”

"The population control program of the Church is stupid. It is not at all working. It has been there and tested for many years but what [has it achieved]?" Duterte, who has been known for his fiery remarks on just about anything, said....

He said the country needed a serious effort to reduce the high population growth rate, which has been identified as one of the reasons development gains and initiatives have not succeeded in reducing poverty....

He, however, stressed his opposition to abortion.

"There is nothing wrong about preventing women's fertilization. What we want is to prevent unwanted pregnancy. We prevent women from getting pregnant," Duterte said.

During the 1st International Meeting of Experts on Emergency Contraception here last week, Duterte publicly opposed the sexual abstinence promoted by the Church, claiming that priests’ vow of celibacy made them "neurotics."

Given the church's clout in the Philippines' national life, not to mention its politics (People Power, anyone?), it's quite the fight Duterte's picked.