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Interview with Marianne De Guzman Tucay — Member, Humanist Alliance Philippines International


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/08/28

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Was there any familial background in religion?

Marianne De Guzman Tucay: If your asking if I was part of a religion. I was Catholic. I was starting to piece together some things weren’t right in the book and felt that people take the Catholic Bible too seriously. Which is fine by me, people can believe whatever they want. But as an individual human being I felt that religion isn’t for me.

I want to be able to let other people think on their own and be open minded to sciences and facts, education, and many things.

Jacobsen: How did you find the non-religious community in the Philippines?

Tucay: I was friends with Andrew Sheurich and directed me to Marissa Torres Langseth. She is one of a woman that I think that stands for humanism. She’s head strong and her passion to think freely is now spreading out there. I think she is right and I understand. I understand the struggle in the Philippines and religion isn’t answer to everything. I think that emotional and also mental health is important. That is something that all humans have to be aware. Is to love themselves internally first-emotionally and mentally. It’s something that haven’t been talked about but lately is coming about.

Jacobsen: How are religion and politics mixed in the country there?

Tucay: If you meant (Philippines) religion and politics should not be mixed. There is an establishment clause. It prohibits the endorsement of any religion by the government.

Jacobsen: What is your own opinion on the functionality of religion?

Tucay: It should be private practice and should not be out in public. If it’s out in public, keep it to yourself and should not influence any doctrine laws. Nor should be shove on other people’s faces and throat.

Jacobsen: Is religion in general positive or negative for women’s rights? How so? Any examples of the bigger positives and negatives?

Tucay: It is both negative and positive. Positive: I used to work in a psych facility unit. It is interesting how people are different from one another and also different problems and depends on the person. I saw lost humans walking around lost in their own world and trapped themselves in a negative situation. Religion and God is a tool they need to cope. Religion and God are stepping tools to help them emotionally and find love in themselves-internally. But you can also find love in many different places not just religion or God but also through yourself for self improvement to boost your confidence. In general religion-God holds them together finding peace within themselves and a good practice in a positive way. Negative side: using religion and god for exploitation. It happens all the time and depending on who the people are. Religion is truly about business. This is why churches should pay taxes to help educate women not just women also MEN. It isn’t about women’s right also men’s right to respect women, it’s about people who are in position of power-religion that are willing to recognize women as equal partner in both religion and society-they live in that means letting them work and in position of their family. Whether or not the rules within their religion help or hurt women are they fair to the woman. Sometimes yes but many times NO. I truly believe that men should step up the plate it’s a two-way street.

Jacobsen: When you reflect on the nature of the presentation of women and men in the narratives of the Bible and Quran, how are men and women portrayed?

Tucay: The Christian, Catholic, and Quran have similarities. But I truly cannot speak for the Quran. I have learned from my Muslims friends. The attitude of these books are generally the same. The biggest difference between the new and old testament is the treatment of Mary the mother of Jesus as compared to many other women found in the Old and New Testament. In the old testament it’s usually partnered with their husbands and often times used as lessons example Eve was the one the bit the apple of knowledge. Lott’s wife was the one that turned around despite being told not to turn around looking back at the burning city. God turned her into a pillar of salt. The idea of submissive to their men is not a new idea. If you can change the Bible many times by humans I challenge them to change it.

Jacobsen: What seems like a healthy relationship between religion and science?

Tucay: It is not sciences job to prove religion or the existence of God. Sciences job is to observe the universe. Religion does not necessarily have a role in scientific discovery how ever let’s give credit when credit is due. We had to use religion to observe scientific phenomenon the Greeks had many gods but explain many aspects that explains the many aspects of nature and humanity from we moved; polytheistic to monotheistic. We have one God to explain everything moving through your that process we have been able to take principles to establish in more definitive and understanding of the known universe via the other scientific method. We’ve taken much of the framework of what we learned using religious ideals and applied them so that they are universal and repeatable.

Jacobsen: When you reflect on the situation i the Philippines and the non-religious community, how can the non-religious achieve greater legal and cultural equality?

Tucay: well… it all start with the people and respecting other people’s belief and some peoples non belief. And if we did strip away believe in the concept of non-believe we are still people. people don’t disappear. So perhaps people need to look at it as if there was no God Because all you have to depend on is each other.

I like this one can I post it. 😀

Jacobsen: What are the main impediments to equality for the non-religious in the Philippines?

Tucay: Christianity and Catholicism have deep roots in The Philippines and other countries. So it is understandable for people who lives in that society. To have difficulty tolerating in people who don’t share those beliefs.

But the main thing is to think empathy one must understand that all people have degrees of belief. And that there are laws that may disproportionately affect those who are not religious and in this case it’s all about how people treat each other.

Jacobsen: How did you find HAPI? What are some of the better accomplishments of the organization?

Tucay: Facebook have some great sources to find groups of people like HAPI. I first was recommending Marissa Torres Langseth and thought she was going to make me buys to those Mary Kay make up. I nearly did not add her but I am glad I did because I took upon understating her organization HAPI and how it can improve the lives of people if those people are open to free thinking. And as a free thinker you can accomplish a lot. Specially those children. I want people to be strong. I want kids to grow up as human beings to show empathy, love, happiness, and taking care of yourself as an individual human being.

I am glad HAPI exists.

Jacobsen: Any ways for people in or out of the country to help the non-religious community?

Tucay: I think respect is a two-way street and it helps atheists to understand people’s religion because it will help them understand the culture and biases. And at the same time, religious people should also be open to exploring the possibility that there is no God, and we’re it.

It’s a scared idea for people who are religious and I can understand the apprehension. But if we truly want to believe that there is something bigger than ourselves we also have to accept. That there might be NOTHING. And that we are specs of the known universe. That this is our one chance to make an impact to live positively or negatively depending on what you want.

But please do live positively.

Scott Jacobsen: Any final thoughts and or conclusion?

Tucay: In general, there is a moral imperative that could be followed regardless of belief or none belief and that is to be kind. Life is short be kind. I want to thank you for your time Scott. I hope that everyone live HAPI.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Marianne.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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