This is a classic example of an Administration’s complete disregard for human laws and human dignity. The current Executive Minister, Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo has lost his grasp on reality and continues to live in his ego-fed world as if everything and everyone revolves around him and will bend to his will, wants, and whims. He has completely lost the capability to see things from other people’s perspective, thus his inability to care about people other than himself. What do we expect, if he isn’t even able to feel deeply for his own mother, how is he going to be able to feel deeply for others such as the members of the church that he leads. God has turned His back on the current Church Administration and allowed it to fall into irrational and illogical decision making and humiliating mistakes that were unheard of during the spiritually guided years of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo and Bro. Eraño G. Manalo.
This is a respectable and active family in the Church, who was recently expelled by the Church Administration just because they aired a valid concern that unfortunately fell onto the deaf ears of an immature and short-sighted Church leadership. They have been born and raised in the church. They devoted their whole life in the Christian way of living and in following God’s commandments. But when they simply asked for a valid explanation for their unjust expulsion, their resident Minister, and even the District Minister cannot provide a single sound reason and the only response was, “We don’t have any answer, we are only relaying the decision from the Executive Minister.” And by the way, to set the record straight, it was only Sister Arlet Bairan who refused to give her thumbprint, yet the husband and even the innocent children were also expelled, thereby trampling on the well-established church procedures and doctrines regarding due process on church expulsions. When asked if they can’t see anything wrong with that decision, they would blindly answer like any other brainwashed minion and would state in unison that, “There is nothing wrong with the decision of the Executive Minister and we are One with Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo”. How do you argue with a minion? You simply can’t.
So in behalf of this family and the rest of the innocent families whose lives have been so deeply affected by UNJUST EXPULSIONS, please read and understand the simple message from a family who firmly stood for what is right.
A Message to our Friends and Family
It’s been one week since we received the shocking news about our expulsion from our Church. I was expelled because I refused to provide my thumbprint. This new requirement was introduced in August 2015 and last month, I was followed up.
I tried to explain that this was in breach of the Australian Privacy Principles and that I wasn’t comfortable with their request (knowing that our prints are now used to access mobile and tablet devices, as well as applications like online banking). Unlike a password that can be reset, a fingerprint is impossible to replace.
Hubby and the kids have been expelled too, no reason provided except to say that the decision came from the Executive Minister.
We are devastated. Our family and social circles have been built up around church life, and unfortunately, the rules around ex-communication prohibit our church friends and family to continue to see us.
Azer and I want to give our heartfelt thanks to those of you who have extended your well-wishes and support. It means so much, and we are relieved that people have chosen to act in accordance with their personal values and, the natural, human thing to do.
The Hypocrisy of the INC Church Leaders
Now the problem with having egotistic leaders in the church is that they have an overwhelming sense of self-importance that they no longer associate themselves with the flock that they are supposed to serve and protect. Leaders like these simply do not care about others, the law, cultures, rules, and regulations outside their own. They only care about themselves and expect that everyone will conform and measure up to their unbendable yardstick. Their egos have overpowered their souls, thus, they have lost that part of them which tells the human brain and the heart that other people matter to the least, just as much as they do.
The current Church Administration and their equally incompetent Legal Department failed to realize is that the Australian Government has specific laws regarding Australian Privacy and it is something that cannot be bent or influenced by the Church.
Maybe they should read up on it first before they start enforcing O.W.E.-made instructions that breach Privacy Principles of the Australian government.
This is just an excerpt of the Australian Privacy Principle that is worth looking into.
Australian Privacy Principle 1 — open and transparent management of personal information
1.1The object of this principle is to ensure that APP entities manage personal information in an open and transparent way.
Compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles etc.
- the kinds of personal information that the entity collects and holds;
- how the entity collects and holds personal information;
- the purposes for which the entity collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information;
- how an individual may access personal information about the individual that is held by the entity and seek the correction of such information;
- how an individual may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles, or a registered APP code (if any) that binds the entity, and how the entity will deal with such a complaint;
- whether the entity is likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients;
- if the entity is likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients—the countries in which such recipients are likely to be located if it is practicable to specify those countries in the policy.
Australian Privacy Principle 3 — collection of solicited personal information
Personal information other than sensitive information
3.1If an APP entity is an agency, the entity must not collect personal information (other than sensitive information) unless the information is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, one or more of the entity’s functions or activities.
3.2If an APP entity is an organisation, the entity must not collect personal information (other than sensitive information) unless the information is reasonably necessary for one or more of the entity’s functions or activities.
Means of collection
3.5An APP entity must collect personal information only by lawful and fair means.
Australian Privacy Principle 6 — use or disclosure of personal information
Use or disclosure
6.1If an APP entity holds personal information about an individual that was collected for a particular purpose (the primary purpose), the entity must not use or disclose the information for another purpose (the secondary purpose) unless:
- the individual has consented to the use or disclosure of the information; or
- subclause 6.2 or 6.3 applies in relation to the use or disclosure of the information.
Note: Australian Privacy Principle 8 sets out requirements for the disclosure of personal information to a person who is not in Australia or an external Territory.
6.3This subclause applies in relation to the disclosure of personal information about an individual by an APP entity that is an agency if:
- the agency is not an enforcement body; and
- the information is biometric information or biometric templates; and
- the recipient of the information is an enforcement body; and
- the disclosure is conducted in accordance with the guidelines made by the Commissioner for the purposes of this paragraph.
Australian Privacy Principle 8 — cross-border disclosure of personal information
8.1Before an APP entity discloses personal information about an individual to a person (the overseas recipient):
- who is not in Australia or an external Territory; and
- who is not the entity or the individual;
8.2Subclause 8.1 does not apply to the disclosure of personal information about an individual by an APP entity to the overseas recipient if:
- the entity reasonably believes that:
- the recipient of the information is subject to a law, or binding scheme, that has the effect of protecting the information in a way that, overall, is at least substantially similar to the way in which the Australian Privacy Principles protect the information; and
- there are mechanisms that the individual can access to take action to enforce that protection of the law or binding scheme; or
- both of the following apply:
- the entity expressly informs the individual that if he or she consents to the disclosure of the information, subclause 8.1 will not apply to the disclosure;
- after being so informed, the individual consents to the disclosure; or
- the disclosure of the information is required or authorised by or under an Australian law or a court/tribunal order;
Australian Privacy Principle 11 — security of personal information
11.1If an APP entity holds personal information, the entity must take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to protect the information:
- from misuse, interference and loss; and
- from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
- an APP entity holds personal information about an individual; and
- the entity no longer needs the information for any purpose for which the information may be used or disclosed by the entity under this Schedule; and
- the information is not contained in a Commonwealth record; and
- the entity is not required by or under an Australian law, or a court/tribunal order, to retain the information;
the entity must take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to destroy the information or to ensure that the information is de-identified.
Any individual has the right to privacy and if the Church should impose such requirements from its members then the members have the right to know how the information is being used and they should have equal rights to refuse without fear of persecution or expulsion. The current administration has indeed capitalized on this fear and continues to use this against us especially on those who are deeply rooted in the belief that expulsion from the church for whatever reason is the ultimate punishment- the condemnation of one’s soul. May I remind you that in the end, God has the last word- not me or you.
But, this is the truth of the matter- The Bairan family like many others they have expelled have become such a threat to this now cultish organization because members who question their authority have disturbed their well-kept balance. They hate strong-willed families like these and once they realize they cannot be fooled into blind submission, they expel them and brand them as “trouble-makers”, because if they could only be made to disappear, that would be their best solution. But if you really come to think about it, we are not “trouble-makers”, we are just “whistleblowers”, and we all know who hates whistleblowers…those who are guilty of doing something wrong. Then they take hatred to a different level by separating families or shunning them from one another. Mothers are not allowed to talk to their son, fathers not to witness or walk their daughter in their wedding, and brothers and sisters, cousins and relatives used against each other as false witnesses. They will be cut off and pushed out from the tightly knitted religious family which is the source of their spiritual, social and emotional support. This new cruel and barbaric practice of the church’s current Administration is utterly contemptible and should be outlawed if they still claim to be a church which identifies with our Lord Jesus.
Until then, we can expect more and more brethren who will bravely stand their ground on the right side of the truth and will courageously refuse to be blind followers of a misguided Church Administration. Expect more families to be unjustly expelled for speaking the truth and demanding answers to valid inquiries regarding the true state of the church. Let us all be vigilant, continue speaking the truth and never be silent.
For the Lord said, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent!” – Acts 18:9 (ESV)
~ Antonio Ramirez Ebangelista
***Disclaimer: All statements are solely based on the opinion and first-hand knowledge and experience of the author and not of the people mentioned in the article.
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