Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ashley Madison in the Philippines, Agree or Disagree?

According to reports, around 2,500 to 3,000 Filipinos have already signed up to extramarital dating site called Ashley Madison.com and quickly, justice secretary Leila De Lima said last Sunday that she is seeking to ban the website saying that it facilitates the crimes of adultery (for women) and “concubinage” (for men). Ashley Madison is a Canadian firm and recently launched their website here in the Philippines at the advent of Advent season this year. In Singapore and South Korea, the site believing that it poses threat to family values, was banned. Aside from the Philippines, they are accessible in other 5 Asian countries of Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, and India.

The firm in return sued the South Korean government on the ground of “false allegation of illegal activity”. I believe that same legal argument will also be asserted here in the Philippines just in case the DOJ bans the site.

But it seems that Christoph Kraemer, the site’s international spokesman, is not worried about them getting banned in the Philippines as De Lima have warned while admitting they did not talk to the Philippine government. He said, “What we have is a legal counsel to advise us on the laws that you have here, and we’ve done what we have to do.” Kraemer made it a point that what they are doing is just to provide alternatives to those who are not happily married. He further said, “We did not invent nor do we promote infidelity. All we do is offer an alternative for those who want to have an affair in a discreet manner.” He even concluded that it could empower the feminists for giving them the opportunity to have an affair.

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) of the Philippine Catholic church said that Ashley Madison is only exploiting troubled marriages for profit. Liza Masa of Gabriela, a militant women’s group, supported Castro calling it as “commercialization of adultery”. But I really doubt if the government, the Catholic Church and the militant feminist groups would seriously and act, like how serious they are about Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, against this purportedly exploitative business venture. Besides, for government officials, officers of women organizations and the Church leaders, this isn't a priority. Eventually, I think, all of this news about Ashley Madison, sooner or later, will fade out.  

It appears that here is the new norm Ashley Madison is propagating: Do not restrain the sexual instinct and without hesitation, live it fully and have an affair. We are now living in a sexually-emancipated society where the life-style of the elite is aimed by middle class and social climbers where suppression of sexuality is considered as opposed to freedom. For them, this suppression hinders the development of one’s personality. The fulfillment of one’s sexual wish is generally considered self-realization. Humans, as ever, indeed are overly overwhelmed with pleasure and desire and Ashley Madison is just one of its many manifestations but we have to brace for more!  

But the most powerful defense against this subtle attack on marriage is marriage itself. True enough, there’s no amount of extramarital dating sites could ruin a solid and happy marriage, not even the legal action to be taken by the government or the advocacy campaign of the militants and moral persuasion of the Church. News and occurrence like this, no matter how immoral or alarming they may be, in a way, do make many married couple even stronger by resisting temptation. High hope, indeed, pins on the sanctity of the individual marriage, the uniqueness of lasting union, of cycle of relationship of forgiveness, fidelity, trust and love being “one flesh”.

A Filipino marriage life that “does not conform to the standards of this world”, as what Apostle Paul have written the Romans…

(Photo: Huffington post)


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