I recently got my monthly National Geographic Magazine and to my surprise Philippines is in it. Last Sunday while reading the church bulletin, Philippines was also mentioned in regards to smuggling ivory. Ivory has been one of the materials for making religious status in the Philippines.
The article was about the continuing mindless killing of elephants for its ivory. The Philippines is one of the top 10 countries that use and smuggle ivory. Ivory in the Philippines is mainly used for religious statues. People has this belief that carving a saint, the images of Jesus, Mother Mary, and other religious icon using the very expensive ivory is giving glory to God even to the point of breaking the law. Most Catholics now has this twisted understanding of our faith, we are never worshipers of icons but we have reverence for the saints and relics and we use their images in the form of a statue, painting, and others to draw our focus to God and the good example of the saints. We are not idol worshipers.
God would love you to give the money you use to buy ivory to the needy and not use it to buy ivory and carve His image but your faith is does not rest on Him but rather on the value of your possession.