Unless you live under a rock, you know the Pope visited the US last week. There was much hope that this Pope might further soften the exclusive tone of Catholic doctrine as espoused by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and while never moving to change doctrine, he did give several speeches indicating that he believed the Church’s emphasis needs to move away from culture war issues to caring for the poor and taking care of our planet. This, of course, set the hair on fire of many of America’s evangelical wing. When Ratzinger was Pope, they had a friend in Rome, but now the two branches of Christianity seem to be, once again, going their separate ways.
By now, a lot of the gloss has worn off the Pope’s visit after it was finally confirmed that he did meet with Court Clerk Kim Davis. I’m going to reserve my comments on that for another article, so understand this is just an examination of how much the krazy kristian kooks of this country can’t be satisfied…even by the Pope.
However, because he didn’t get up in Congress, preach a homily, and give full-throated condemnation of marriage equality, he’s on the shit list of the teabangelicals.
A commenter started it off with this:
The politician known as the Pope’s speech today was both Humanistic in content and sub-Christian in ignoring the primary Second Great Commandment to support suffering fellow Christians like the persecuted whom he entirely ignored. He was not an obedient Christian but a Humanist politician (which is why our Humanists love his labours so much).
Instead of obeying the Command to love innocent babies in the womb, thus again breaking the Second Great Commandment like his silence on our persecuted brothers and sisters, he broke God’s law by advocating disobedience to God’s death penalty.
Thus he conformed almost exclusively in his entire trip here to his heretical Jesuitism and Communism and denied Christ–all popular with his political allies here.
I replied with the following: “If his words moved even one person to get off their couch and help the needy, then God’s Kingdom was advanced greatly. All the Apostles who knew Jesus talked about our Works, as did Christ. If you think the Kingdom of God is only advanced when someone preaches, you do not understand what that means.” And the commenter above, David Scott Carter, replies:
Can one help the needy and do nothing for them eternally? What profit a man to gain the whole world then lose his soul? Are temporal needs “the Kingdom?” The Kingdom of God is not meat or drink but righteousness , peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I understand it perfectly.
So here we see, again, the Pauline version of Christianity lite at work. This guy believes that works don’t matter, and that you only help a person if get to give a profession of faith. It doesn’t matter how cold or hungry they might be, just so long as they first say the “magic words.”
Don’t worry, it gets worse. Not only are we supposed to make people profess their faith before helping them, according to James Mace, if we actually help them, just because it’s the right thing to do, we’re committing a sin:
To “help the needy” in a Humanistic way supports Humanism, not the Kingdom of God. A disordered love, such as furthering Humanism by Humanistically “helping the needy” is sinful, for it is a disordered love. Cf. Augustine’s Ordo Amatis, C. S. Lewis’ “Four Loves,” etc., to see that something that is loving in one context becomes sinful when taken out of its proper God-ordained context / order.
And of course, never mind the human disaster we are racing towards with Global Warming, that pales to protecting marriage, and proclaiming that discrimination is OK, so long as it is Christians doing the discriminating. Mark SallyClay writes:
The Pope’s message was important and uplifting, and I certainly am familiar with the “reading between the lines” required here, but I think the Pope missed a golden opportunity to speak out, even more boldly, for life and marriage and for persecuted Christians throughout the world. Certainly that would have been more appropriate and unifying than delving into divisive issues like global warming.
I was joined by a Philip J. Brooks who tried to explain, “Helping the poor also shouldn’t be a divisive issue in Christianity. Caring for God’s green earth shouldn’t be a divisive issue. Welcoming strangers in accordance to Jesus’ teachings shouldn’t be a divisive issue. But they are unfortunately. And why shouldn’t the Pope and all Christians be invested in economic and environmental stewardship? We’re Wesleyans, Mark. That means we believe among others things in the pursuit of total sanctification or becoming righteous and pious in ALL THINGS, not just our family lives, our marriages, how we treat our bodies, but all things, including business, economics, and our relationship to others and to nature. There’s no part of our lives God doesn’t have claim on. If anything I’m thrilled by how much Pope Francis reminds me of a certain 18th century preacher from Britain.”
But of course, Mark SallyClay says it is only divisive if you disagree with his view on how things should be handled:
Philip J. Brooks, you are constructing false analogies..who said helping the poor was divisive? Or that the environment should not be protected? It’s the way in which these things have been proposed, via discredited socialistic schemes, that is divisive.
Brooks went on to point out, in defense of the Pontiff, “Philip J. Brooks He did make multiple Biblical references though. I can understand that if people went in expecting a sermon, they’d be disappointed. We need to remember that the Pope is both a spiritual and political leader, meaning he has his own state, the Vatican.” But of course, James Mace, who understands scripture better than the Pope, responded with:
Even the devil quotes Scripture, and so that means absolutely nothing at all as to whether Fran’s message was from God or his enemy. All the Scripture I recall that Francis quoted was misapplied. And he at least once opposed Scripture.
Some guy named Peter Griffith decided to jump in and go on and on about what the Pope didn’t say, so I had to challenge that, claiming, apparently, just like him, the Pope shouldn’t have a conversation or give a speech that isn’t a come to Jesus evangelical tent revival meeting sermon. He finally says, “The Pope is not my spiritual leader. He is NOT the head of the church where I worship.” To which I responded, “Then why are you so worried about what the hell he did and didn’t say.”
He posted some ridiculous meme to which I responded, “But some of us know how to respect others who call us to a better world.” Of course, Griffith asks, “which “better world’ did he call you to?” My reply was:
“One in which people don’t use their religion as an excuse to oppress others, one in which we care for the poor and needy, one in which we care about planet and the environment as gifts from God…to name just a few, and I’m not even Catholic, but was proud to see him appeal to better angels of our government and society. I’m not about finding fault with that. Why are you?” Griffith’s reply:
Because he is supposedly a “Christian” leader but never mentioned Christ. Because everything he said could be said by a secular humanist with no conflict of interest. Because he did not REPRESENT. I am sick of the meme plastered all over FB where a liberal and a conservative stand on either side of the pope claiming, “He’s with me.” Then, Jesus is seen claiming, “No, he’s with me.” That was simply not true from what I saw of this visit. He never even mentioned JESUS. In no way did he represent Jesus if he never mentioned Him.
After that tirade, I asked Griffith, “So you don’t believe that any of the things he called us to are Christian principles then? Right, because that would make a lot of sense?” That’s when his head exploded and here’s where it finally got just about as ugly and off the rails as ever I have heard the beliefs of the Teabangelicals explained. It is beyond frightening how self-absorbed they apparently are. Folks, I give you Teabangelical theology in all its glory:
Where is climate change found in Scripture? Where is a discussion of military arms found in Scripture? Where is a discussion of national treaties found in Scripture? You are deceived if you think this man espoused “Christian principles.” He was extremely vague on abortion if he actually mentioned it at all! He was vague about same-sex marriage. Finally, he said that we must be careful not to distinguish the difference between “the righteous and sinners.” That is nothing like the messages that Jesus gave in Scripture.
I leave you with that, and if you claim to be a Christian, and words like this don’t make you ashamed; you are NOT a Christian, so stop saying you are. And understand, it’s this kind of thinking that is and will spell the end of Christianity in this country.