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“People power” and the Bible


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’…” (Matthew 22:37-39, the Holy Bible).

“PEOPLE POWER” IN THE CONSTITUTION: The phrase “people power” has been invoked twice in the history of our country to denote the right of the people to oust their leaders in government who are perceived to be corrupt, abusive and ineffective. “People power” is now enshrined under Section 1, Article 2, and  Section 16, Article 13 of the 1987 Constitution.

Section 1, Article 2, says: “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

Section 16, Article 13, says: “The right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making shall not be abridged. The State shall, by law, facilitate the establishment of adequate consultation mechanisms.”

“PEOPLE POWER” IN THE BIBLE: On the other hand, there are various parts of the Holy Bible that forbid the people against fighting and rising up against their leaders in government. These are Romans 13:1-2, Titus 3:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13, and Hebrews 13:17.

Romans 13:1-2 says: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

Titus 3:1-2 says: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient…” 1 Peter 2:13 says: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors…”

Hebrews 13:17 says: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you…”

BIBLICAL MEANING OF “PEOPLE POWER”: But, “people power” proponents are asking, how about leaders and officials who are corrupt, abusive and who persecute their constituents? Should they be allowed to continue with their corruption, abuse and persecution of the people?

The answer is no, but, as the foregoing Biblical passages will show, the remedy is not to fight and oust them. Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, said the remedy is for the people to love them even more and pray for them, thus: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44). Consequently, “people power” should therefore mean “people praying for their leaders”, not “people fighting and ousting their leaders”.


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