In Depth

Duterte sparks outrage by calling God ‘a stupid son of a bitch’

Outspoken Philippine president rules a largely Catholic population

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is facing a backlash from church groups after calling God a “stupid son of a bitch”.

In a televised speech on Friday, Duterte questioned the Bible’s story of man’s creation and asked why God created Adam and Eve only to allow them to succumb to temptation that destroyed their purity.

“Who is this stupid God? This son of a bitch is then really stupid,” said the 73-year-old leader. “How can you rationalise a God? Do you believe?”

Duterte “lamented that Adam and Eve’s sin in Christian theology resulted in all the faithful falling from divine grace”, says the Associated Press.

“You were not involved but now you’re stained with an original sin... What kind of a religion is that? That’s what I can’t accept, very stupid proposition,” he said.

“You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work,” he added.

The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) said it was “immensely offended” by Duterte’s comments, and that it was “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”.

Catholic bishops also condemned Duterte for his outburst, reports the Financial Times.

But the Duterte administration has “remained defiant in the face of escalating criticism, attempting to turn the tables on the Catholic Church by demanding it deal with the wrongdoings of priests”, says The Daily Telegraph.

“I think the declaration of the president stemmed from his bad experience when still young. He was allegedly abused by a priest,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told Philippine broadcaster GMA News.

“This is an issue that the Church should face and perhaps it just happened that the president is one of the victims.”

Salvador Panelo, the chief presidential legal counsel, insisted that Duterte had not insulted God.

“He didn’t call God stupid. What he said was the theory of creation as expounded by the writers of the Bible is a stupid proposition,” Panelo sai .

Duterte “is a known and open critic of the Catholic Church in a country where more than 90% of the population are Christian and the vast majority of those are Catholics”, says the BBC.

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