The Reproductive Health (RH) Bill making its slow, painful way through Congress will give all Filipinos who ask for it, free scientifically-correct knowledge and information as well as medical services that will let them plan their families the way they want to.
What could be wrong with supporting a public health program like this? Nothing. Except that if you do, you are a spawn of Satan who will rot in hell because you will have helped bring about a global culture of death, ushering in massive promiscuity and thereby attracting heaven's holy wrath in the form of strong typhoons and floods.
And oh yes, you're gay.
There are Filipinos opposed to the RH Bill who are reasoned, calm and logical. I'm not here to talk about them, I'm here to talk about that category of rabid religious online zealot who see the RH issue not as a legislative discussion but as a holy war of the apocalypse; a zealot who, for want of a better description ("fundamentalist kook" comes close), I've taken to calling "katolitroll."
I don't think katolitrolls represent what is good and right in Catholicism. Neither do I think they represent the majority of Filipino Catholics. Sometimes, I'm not sure what they represent, apart perhaps from the need to pass an MH -- Mental Health -- Bill.
I met my first katolitroll two years ago on a Facebook page supporting the RH Bill. He announced his arrival by declaring he had superior language skills to everyone, then proceeded to warn all and sundry they were going to Hell. Then he posted material on HIV and condoms which, a close look showed, dated back to 1987.
There are, at the moment, numerous pro-RH FB pages. The one I frequent (I Support the RH Bill) is an unmoderated forum, with more than 32,000 likes, where RH partisans can post news, information and graphics. Very often, katolitrolls drop by and we engage in a pleasant discourse full of witty repartee, hearty banter conducted deftly in a courteous tone that's a credit to civilized manners.
Oh goodness me, there I go again, lying blatantly. What I actually meant is that each time a katolitroll visits, everything swiftly degenerates into a flaming shambles involving name-calling and biblical imprecations. Now, I realize trolling and flame-baiting are routine in online fora, and that on the Internet, nobody ever wins an argument. But katolitrolls bring a special character to these online arguments.
How can you tell you're dealing with a katolitroll?
First of all, through its deep sense of religious history -- and by "history," I specifically mean "Dark Ages". Talk long enough to katolitrolls and you get the idea they regret the abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books, which apparently happened just when they were getting over the shock of losing the garrote, auto-da-fé bonfires and the Guardia Civil.
Second, through its unique religious sense of geography. To a katolitroll, the Philippines is a Southeast Asian archipelago of more than 7,1000 islands, and its capital is called "Vatican City."
Third, through categorizations. To a katolitroll, RH supporters are babykillers, abortionists and pro-death. Females are "sluts" or "sex maniacs. Males are "gay" -- or as a katolitroll helpfully clarified recently, "screaming faggots." Maybe they take their cue from the bishops, who have called pro-RH Filipinos "satanists", "terrorists" and "fascists".
Fourth, through their sense of conspiracy. The RH Bill is a plot, instigated by the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, US State Department, pharmaceutical companies, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Any information from these groups is mocked.
Fifth, a katolitroll becomes agitated by words such as "sex", "condoms" and "Catholics for RH." Start using those in any discussion and you'll immediately be called a babykiller, abortionist, etc (see above).
Oh, and by the way, that inevitable moment when katolitrolls lugubriously tell you they're praying for you and hope you fare well in the afterlife when you die? The way they say it clearly indicates they are rather hoping otherwise.
So, what's my advice to you should you encounter a katolitroll? Brace yourself, don't take it too seriously and prepare to be called all sorts of interesting things.
Take it from someone who's been labeled a warlock, heretic, satanist and mermaid (I still don't understand that one, but I'm assuming it must have some deep katolitroll connotation).
I'm working my way towards earning what is apparently the worst imprecation in the katolitroll lexicon: "Protestant."
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.