The Pope's comments about homosexuality this weekend sent a strong message.
Attention, attention: Pope Francis takes a stand on gays, shedding new divine light on the rainbow flag!
I'm not sure whether it was exhaustion, divine intervention or jetting closer to heaven via the Papal plane, but whatever it was, something inspired Pope Francis to utter the words, "Who am I to judge?" in regards to his opinion on homosexuality and the Catholic Church.
I don't really care what inspired it. What I find encouraging about his words to the elite core of press aboard that plane is that they show a human being acting very human! Sure, he's the pope and a religious leader, heading one of the largest religions on the globe. Yet with five simple words he set a new tone for grace, acceptance and progressive thought.
Regardless of how this plays out in the Catholic Church, or on any pulpits throughout the world, there's now a slight shift in the mindset that until now lambasted the gay and lesbian lifestyle as evil and sinful. While many within the Catholic Church many not agree with Pope Francis' stance, you have to admit, the man has some gumption to step out on that limb!
This now begs the question, "What does this really mean for the gay community and for Catholicism?" Not being Catholic, I can't comment from that perspective, or on the impact it will have on the Church. However, having been raised in a fundamental Christian religion, Seventh-Day Adventist, my gut says this will bring many more religions to the "line in the sand" forefront as they cement, once and for all, their position on homosexuality. Although there is a separation between church and state (at least in the United States), this turning tide may have subtle or monumental impacts on gay rights. Everything from workplace discrimination to gay marriage will be open to discussion as more and more world religions take a firmer stand on "What would Jesus really do?"
It seems almost ironic that these words from Pope Francis come right in the midst of the horrifying treatment of homosexuals in Russia. While one world leader, President Putin, seems to be turning a blind eye and deaf ear on the atrocities happening within the borders of his country, Pope Francis mans up and asks the deeper question, "Who am I to judge?"
For me, the real lesson to be learned from the Pope's "I'll go out on a limb" statement is that who are any of us to judge? Outside of intentional murder, abuse, theft, and harm to others, quite honestly, who are we to judge?
These simple words are a cry for humanity to be more human, a plea to let people self-express just as they are an appeal for diversity of thought to prevail.
Yet, there's one deeper message that I hope doesn't get buried by the Pope’s words. Under the robes and behind the doctrines he's chosen to uphold, his words said one thing loud and clear: I am human, and I have an opinion. And so should you. And that’s OK!
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