The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has made more bizarre comments regarding the God that many were convinced he worshiped. Duterte, who recently faced backlash for calling God “stupid,” has now asserted that he will resign his position if anyone can prove the Almighty exists.
“If there is anyone of you…who say you’d been to heaven, talked to God, saw him personally, and that he exists, the God is yours, and if he does, it’s true, I will step down the presidency,” he said during a science and technology event in southern Davao city, according to the Independent.
Duterte has a tumultuous relationship with the Church. In the same speech, he revealed that he stopped being a Catholic because of a “terrible” incident – as a child, he allegedly suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest. “Something terrible happened when we were young. It’s not really that serious. While confessing, we were being fondled,” the President said in a speech in Davao City. He added: “So when I graduated, I was no longer a Catholic. I was no longer a Catholic at that age. I was not even in politics then.”
He has been openly critical of some key tenets of the Catholic faith, including infant baptism.
“Where is the logic of God there?” Duterte asked in the speech, according to Fox News.
He has also criticized the Catholic Church’s appropriation of financial donations, which he says are used to “maintain the palaces and the luxurious things that the rest of humanity do not have.”
“If you are really helping people, why do you ask money from them?” he asked.
Two weeks ago, Duterte sparked outrage when he called God a “son of a b****.”
“Who is this stupid God? This son of a b**** is then really stupid,” he said. “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.”
Many members of the Catholic Church were deeply disappointed with their president’s derogatory remarks.
“I would say that from my take in the area of Davao that a good number of people are pained by this,” Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles told reporters Monday, as reported by ABS-CBN.
When the Church demanded an apology from Duterte, he replied: “Not in a million years.” One Catholic bishop has called him a “psychopath” as a result of his erratic behavior, with opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV calling him an “evil man.”
The Senator added that Duterte’s comments were “very much consistent with the deceitfulness, heartlessness and ruthlessness of his policies.”
The 73-year-old has become notorious for his brutal crackdown on drug offenses in the majority Christian nation, ordering a shoot-to-kill policy on any drug dealers caught in the act. According to Human Rights Watch, the president’s “Drug War” has resulted in the death of more than 12,000 people.
Rev. Franklin Graham reacted to Duterte’s comments in a scathing Facebook post:
“I feel sorry for Philippine President Duterte—or anyone else—who doesn’t believe in the one true God—our Creator, our Heavenly Father,” he wrote. “President Duterte has offered to resign if someone can prove that God exists! God exists, and no one has to prove it.”
He continued: “The Bible says there is no excuse for not understanding that He exists. He has made it evident and continues to reveal Himself. The Bible says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).”