ON CRIME, RELIGION AND IDEOLOGY
In a community where poverty lurks, where ignorance prevails, where government neglect is apparent, there are three symbols which people tend to look up to. There is crime, there is religion and there is ideology.
Ideology proclaims justice and competence. Religion promotes faith and perseverance. Crime on the other hand, while exceedingly outside the loop of what is basically a collective norm for purposes of order, promises food on the table. Ideology and religion are perceptibly matters within the purview of dream-like luxury while crime is the only option for survival. In a dirt poor community, one does not expect philosophy or sainthood but rather some form of hooliganism, bordering on terror. For those whose life is on the edge, there is no other remedy except to get what one wants “no matter what.” That mode exists only where gangsterism reigns. No other law, canon or otherwise, can serve to obstruct what is a must as far as living through is concerned.
Crime however is not a phenomenon existing in drainage. There are more of those low lifes who succeeded in ending up on the ladder of material surfeit and surplus. It is everywhere. It has even permeated the ranks of those espousing genuine ideology and has penetrated the positions in the hierarchy of the religious. It is so endemic, so common that one is even tempted to call it within the curve of normalcy.
When ideology ignores democratic space and would insist on its parochial application, it becomes a crime. When religion is conducted through bigotry and exploitation, it likewise is transformed into a crime. I have as yet to see crime becoming an ideology or religion. It is almost a pure science from whence all other fields fall under or would fall on.
It is therefore not surprising to note that in prison, where mostly guilty offenders are lumped, the attraction of ideological principles and religious rituals are almost automatic and understood. An ideologue need not bask and indulge in firebranding, a spiritual guru need not feign miraculous incidents, offenders are just too trusting to imbibe everything shown them. After all, these ideologues and religious personalities derive their comeuppance from those in the thick of crime.
Worst, ideology and religion serve as cover for crime. If crime means the creative and bold way of producing something through every means foul and fair. After all, there was crime even during the first evolution of mankind succeeded to birth the complicated generations that followed. It is religion and eventually ideology that defined the refinements and crudeness of civililization. It was however crime which served as their predicate.
Man’s quest for advancement has never been smooth and petrifying had their creative impulses not seen and even penalized as crimes.
Socrates, the father of philosophy, was sentenced to die, in his time, as an unrepentant criminal. And so are those who are now declared as heroes. Once before, Jesus Christ, Mohandas Gandhi, Jose Rizal, Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, St. Augustine, St. John, Ninoy Aquino…..and more were confirmed criminals. From their minds rose religion and ideology.