The political church


We could charitably grant that some of them were genuinely grieving. But the attendance of politicians of various stripes, including Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, at the wake and/or interment of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Erano Manalo was nevertheless a political act.

INC control over 1.5 million “command votes” could make and probably has made the difference between losing and winning at the polls, especially in such closely-contested elections as those of 2004. One survey says some 84 percent of its members vote for candidates endorsed by its leaders, in keeping with the INC doctrine of “religious unity” that the late Manalo once said was “essential to spiritual salvation.”

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