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A ‘Righteous Intervention’: Megachurch Christianity and Duterte’s War on Drugs in the Philippines

In: International Journal of Asian Christianity
Authors:
Jayeel Cornelio Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines, jcornelio@ateneo.edu

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Ia Marañon Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines, ia.maranon@obf.ateneo.edu

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Megachurches, which are among the fastest-growing religious organizations in the Philippines, have been apolitical towards Duterte’s war on drugs. In contrast to some influential religious groups, that they have not released any statement is glaring. At the same time, megachurches have adopted interventions that aim at the rehabilitation of drug-dependent individuals and the moral renewal of police officers. What accounts for these actions? For megachurch pastors, the war on drugs is a ‘righteous intervention’ on the part of a God-ordained administration. At the same time, addressing the proliferation of illegal drugs is ‘humanly impossible’. Thus responding to substance abuse can only be a spiritual matter. The task of the church is to treat it as a spiritual condition to which the answer is conversion and moral recovery. The article ends with a critical reflection on how these theological views ultimately reflect the interests of the class these megachurches represent.

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