Of all the firestorms that could be reignited on a Friday morning, this is definitely one of the popular ones lately.
Some groups were horrified that the pope wasted 10 minutes on a low-level county clerk who refused to issue gay wedding licenses. Others saw it as just another victory for the LGBT movement.
Where we need to clear our heads in America is in this crazy association that politics and religion are equivalent actions.
And it worked.We need to clear our heads (of) this crazy association that politics and religion are equivalent actions.
It set him apart as an heir-apparent to the right’s social agenda, while damaging some of the social credibility of other candidates (but it still wasn’t enough).
In fact, two or three of the contenders directly stated that Kim Davis was wrong in her actions by operating outside of the rule of law — that you cannot pick and choose the laws you follow.
This kind of debate and dissention is terrific for politics: it stirs the pot, makes people address issues, yet it unfortunately gives way too much airtime to “stupid” news happenings.
Enter the pope — leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics visiting the United States, with the five current (and former) Republican hopefuls having to do significant damage control between their faith and their politics.
We’ve definitely come a long way from a Catholic church that would excommunicate heretics for not agreeing with how many “angels could dance on a pin” (circa. 1270) to having six prominent Catholic Republican politicians telling the public and the pope (who is at least religiously seen as infallible) that he is wrong on climate change, poverty, and wealth distribution.
All of this comes at a time when the Catholic vote still continues to drift left in politics, a trend that has gained steam since 2008 — a potentially political dangerous move.
So back to Pope Francis: why wouldn’t he visit Kim Davis?
This pope is one of the most physically active pontiffs in decades, and he fills his calendar with all kinds of meetings and events — from writing letters pleading for Georgia to not execute its first female prisoner in 70 years, to eating at a homeless shelter, to visiting Kim Davis.
But he’s following a pattern: showing mercy to the sinners, hope to the helpless, and guidance to public officials in difficult positions.
His job is all about religion, and thus far he seems to be getting it done. All we can really hope is that our politicians get to the point where they can focus on lawmaking instead of sound bite religion, and then perhaps they might get a few more things done as well…