Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Go Frank

Let me begin by saying that I have no problem with people of faith bringing their faith into their politics.  That is a very different thing than imposing one's faith on someone else but if one's faith does not impact the way he or she lives in this world, the way they vote, and the values they hold, then it is not worth having.  A particular faith commitment is never adequate for forming public policy but to expect an individual of faith to remove his or her faith from their deliberation on any issue of importance is untenable.

I've chuckled more than once at the way the religious right, non-Catholic and Catholic alike, has reacted to Pope Francis.  The lack of integrity is almost comical.  The same folk who cheered when the Roman Catholic hierarchy condemned gay marriage or the right to choose are apoplectic that the pope would call for world-wide economic reform or care of the earth.  They could not say any more clearly that they are fine with bringing one's religious values to political discourse only as long as it is supportive of their agenda.  So, when the pope speaks out on economic or ecological issues they accuse him of moving beyond his "religious" role and speaking to issues about which he is ignorant.  I'm especially interested in the way some Roman Catholic Republicans have so easily dismissed his teaching as being irrelevant. 

Here's the issue... Pope Francis and everything he has said and done falls so squarely in that blend of the Jesuit and Franciscan traditions that he represents as to be completely and absolutely expected.  That he chose the name, Francis, should have been a hint of what to expect.  That he is a Jesuit should have warned everyone that he would be a thoughtful activist, engaging the world.

It is no surprise to anyone who has read anything I've written that I am a fan.  Certainly, I do not agree with all of his stances - and as a Baptist, I have no obligation to - but I deeply appreciate his thoughtfulness, his courage, and the way he is pushing all people of faith forward.

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