Let me preface this post by saying that while I am not particularly religious, I was raised Church of England (Episcopal, or Catholic Lite, if you will). I’d like to think there is a “higher power”, if only to explain to me why there are mosquitos but no unicorns (why mosquitos, why?) Also, I have witnessed, first hand, the comforting power of prayer and Faith upon some who could have been forgiven for abandoning them.
Here we are at the beginning of a long presidential election cycle that has, so far, proven to be the political equivalent of a pie in the face gag. Against all the laws of the universe, The Donald of Trumpington has a huge lead in a comically packed Republican field. If I wasn’t seeing it unfold before my eyes, I would think someone was taking the piss. Having said that, he doesn’t have much competition; already Rick (I wear Smart-Guy glasses) Perry and Scott (Asshole) Walker have dropped out the race for the Republican nomination. If I was a gambler, I would be ‘down the bookies’ putting money on who will be next.
The level of political discourse is at kindergarten level (sorry, kindergarteners), with each GOP candidate trying to out-do The Donald in bombastic absurdity. Just stop already! You can’t beat him, he practically invented Gold-Plated Narcissism.
“Let’s build a Big Wall to keep out those pesky Mexicans!”, “Repeal Obamacare!”, “No Gay Marriage!”, “Women are Too Stupid to be in charge of their own healthcare needs!”, “There’s no Global Warming, coz it snowed yesterday!” These are people who think it is a good thing to be called “anti-intellectual”. Nothing like playing to the lowest common denominator!
Add to this heady mix, the holier-than-thou declarations of Christianity, Bible-thumping and feeling the need to state their “favorite” Bible verses; it’s all playing out like a Trump-produced reality show – “The Real Christian Conservatives of DC”.
And then, lo, from the East, like a breath of fresh air in the monkey house, comes His Holiness, Pope Francis. He is the head of the Catholic church. He is God’s Representative to millions of Catholics around the world. As it happens, he is also possessed of unusual humility and sympathy. He emanates an aura of kindness and generosity of spirit. He is also a man of science (he studied Chemistry before entering the church), and has a global awareness of environmental concerns and the problems associated with vast inequalities of wealth.
Surely, such a Man of God would be welcomed with open arms by the Christians who claim that their whole life is dedicated to “God’s Will”? Ahhh…hmm…well not really. It seems that all Gods are not created equal. Caring for the poor and needy and treating one another with kindness is, apparently, open to debate. Being compassionate and non-judgmental is “weak”.
I am not implying that the Pope has turned the Catholic church on its head regarding issues such as abortion or homosexuality, but he has certainly taken it at least a step in the right direction. For centuries, the Catholic Church advocated fear and intimidation in its quest for power and riches – no-one is denying that, But Pope Francis appears to be opening the dark, medieval windows to at least acknowledge the winds of change.
But what of the Christian Conservatives who claim to be doing “God’s work” by stigmatizing minorities (many of whom are Catholic) and denying basic human dignity to the poor and needy? Wherefore art thou, Compassion and Humility? The level of hypocrisy and hate spouted by the “Christian” Conservatives is staggering in its ignorance of the realities of the 21st century. In this age of iPhones and (practically) self-driving cars, they are the ones whose views now appear medieval. It remains to be seen if the Pope’s visit has any discernible effect on these twisted ideologies.
There Endeth The Lesson.