Tag Archives: Religion

To the Party of Christian Values…”Who Am I To Judge Them?” Pope Francis

Pope FrancisSt. Peter's Basilica

Pope Francis On Gays: Who Am I To Judge Them?

By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush posted: 07/29/2013 8:01 am EDT  |  Updated: 07/29/2013 11:34 am EDT Huffington Post

ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT — Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis was much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

Francis’ remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip in Brazil.

He was funny and candid during a news conference that lasted almost an hour and a half. He didn’t dodge a single question, even thanking the journalist who raised allegations reported by an Italian newsmagazine that one of his trusted monsignors was involved in a scandalous gay tryst.

Francis said he investigated and found nothing to back up the allegations.

Francis was asked about Italian media reports suggesting that a group within the church tried to blackmail fellow church officials with evidence of their homosexual activities. Italian media reported this year that the allegations contributed to Benedict’s decision to resign

While stressing Catholic social teaching that calls for homosexuals to be treated with dignity and not marginalized, Francis said it was something else entirely to conspire to use private information for blackmail or to exert pressure.

Francis was responding to reports that a trusted aide was involved in an alleged gay tryst a decade ago. He said he investigated the allegations according to canon law and found nothing to back them up. But he took journalists to task for reporting on the matter, saying the allegations concerned matters of sin, not crimes like sexually abusing children.

And when someone sins and confesses, he said, God not only forgives but forgets.

“We don’t have the right to not forget,” he said.

Life Liberty and Justice for All

“Who am I too judge them” a great question for Christians.  For the past 30 years the Republicans have used “homosexuality” as a wedge issue and the Catholic Church was complicit in the persecution of the gay community.  Today Pope Francis took the first step in pivoting the Holy Roman Catholic Church back to focusing on social issues, income inequality, hunger, healthcare and the plight of the poor.   The comments from the Pope are Biblically rooted and for years have been ignored and overlooked by conservative Christian religions around the world.

Jesus Christ spoke for the poor, sick and disenfranchised.  As Christians we are asked to be Christ-like and the Holy Scriptures are clear, we are not to judge each other:

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;”

Romans 14:1-23 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …

Corinthians 4:1-21 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. ..

John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Matthew 5:22  “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire”

Romans 2:1 “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”

 John 3:16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”


One more “wedge” issue has fallen.  Again I urge “ALL” atheist, agnostics, progressives, liberals and Democrats to hold the “Party of Christian Values, the GOP” to the tenets of the Holy Scriptures.  Take the judgmental wedge issues from them and use the Bible to do it!  The Republican time of division is over…

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him…”


The American Reformation? The GOP’s misplaced and futile efforts to legislate morality…

The American Reformation?  The GOP’s misplaced and futile efforts to legislate morality…

There are 313 different and recognized religions and denominations in the United States, from monotheists who believe in one God (in the Judeo-Christian and other traditions), to polytheists who believe in many Gods, to others who believe in no God, or a God as represented by animal spirits, alien groups, or psychoactive substances.  There is no official religion in America.  Congress is prohibited from establishing an official religion by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Church and State

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

For those Constitution loving Evangelicals, Rick Perry and the Tea Party/GOP calling for Congress to make “Christianity” the official religion of the United States, news to Christians, “Christianity” is a Religion; therefore Congress is prohibited from making “Christianity” the official religion of the United States of America.

Temecula IntoleranceMosque in Temecula

or prohibiting the free exercise thereofA few years ago Americans across this Country tried to stop the building of Mosques, from New York City to Temecula, California, intolerance raised its ugly head in moves that prohibited the free exercise thereof, Muslim Americans to practice Islam the world’s largest religion. In 2008 the Vatican released this statement, “For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

St. Peter's BasilicaMecca

He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population — a stable percentage — while Muslims were at 19.2 percent. When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population, Formenti said.  33% is where I would like to start.  Catholics and Protestants.

The Protestant Reformation

Catholics and Protestants a quick history of reformation. By the middle of the 16th century, Lutheranism had spread into the various principalities and kingdoms of northern Europe. The reform movement also spread into Eastern Europe. Poland, though remaining predominantly Roman Catholic, acquired a large Protestant minority in the late 16th century. Reformation gained no lasting hold in Spain or Italy. In Spain this was primarily the result of the conflicts of the previous century, when Christian Catholics strove to achieve political, cultural, and religious unification by converting or expelling the unbelievers—the Jews and the Moors. The Inquisition was introduced in 1482 to root out all remnants of Jewish practice among the Marranos, the Jewish converts to Christianity. The non-Christian Jews were expelled from a culturally unified Spain in 1492.

The English Reformation

The English Reformation started in the reign of Henry VIII. The English Reformation was to have far reaching consequences in Tudor England. Henry VIII decided to rid himself of his first Catholic wife, Catherine of Aragon the beloved Spanish Queen Consort of England and Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, after she had failed to produce a male heir to the throne. He had already decided who his next wife would be – Anne Boleyn. Divorce at the time of Henry the VIII was not something the King could do without permission from Rome.

The Roman Catholic faith believes in marriage for life. It does not recognize, let alone support, divorce. Those who were widowed were free to re-marry; this was an entirely different issue. But husbands could not simply decide that their marriage was not working, divorce their wife and re-marry. The Roman Catholic Church simply did not allow it and to this day, divorce in the Church is difficult to get and requires an annulment from Rome to dissolve the marriage.

Ken CucinelliMSNBC Sodomy quote

If we were to adopt an official religion of the United States, would it be Protestant or Catholic?  If Catholic would we adopt an amendment to the Constitution that would require all Americans to be married for life?  Require an annulment from Rome?  Ken Cuccinelli the Republican Gubernatorial candidate is already using his Catholic doctrine as a platform for sexual morality, which would apply to all Virginians regardless of your personal faiths and beliefs. Catholics believe in a strict sexual doctrine, missionary position “ONLY” and “ONLY” for the purposes of procreation, contraception for Catholics is limited to the “Rhythm Method” no other contraception is accepted by the Church in Rome.   Sex for pleasure is a sin.  I am pretty sure that is not the belief of Protestants across this Country.

Ken Cuccinelli has been advocating for strict sodomy laws that would apply to both straight and gay Virginians, Christian and Non-Christian alike. Under Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” statute, never formally repealed, “If any person … carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a [felony.]”  Yes America pleasuring your partner or legal spouse orally would be a “felony”.  How is that for Republican intrusive government overreach?

Dissension among the Protestants themselves over how far the reform of the Church should go. The Puritans were virulently opposed to the elaborate ritual and liturgy of the Catholic Church that they believed was still too prevalent in the Church of England (Anglicans, future American Episcopalians), and who resented and wanted to eliminate any religious practices that in any way still resembled the Catholicism from which this new church had sprung from. The Puritans were adherents of the Reformed theology of Calvin, and their beliefs attached great importance to preaching, the supremacy of God, a literal belief in scripture, and worshipping in a simple manner without the rituals, crosses and ornate church decorations that they so despised in the Catholic Church. So if we choose an official religion, will it be the Calvinism form of Protestantism that brought the Pilgrims to the Colonies.  The Founding Fathers of our “puritanical” beliefs rather than those of the Episcopalians and Lutherans whose liturgy is almost word for word catholic.

Will there be an American reformation movement that legislates the closing of Catholic Churches as the Protestants did in England? The banning of Islamic Mosques as some in the Republican Party are calling for today. Requiring those in the Jewish Faith to convert to Christianity and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior, the only road to salvation believed by American Evangelicals? Will there be an amendment to the Constitution that will require the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to call for the removal of Crosses and Ornate Church decoration as immoral?

Scopes trialevolution-creationism

Calvinist and their beliefs attached great importance to preaching, the supremacy of God, a literal belief in scripture that has influenced the fight for creationism in American schools, rejecting science for the literal interpretation of the Bible and creation.  Labelling “evolution” as an immoral belief of non-believers or blasphemy from Christians that do not believe in the literal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

Life Liberty and Justice for AllGod hate fags

Fundamentalism has also created a major rift in the acceptance of homosexuality in America.  Evangelicals’ strict adherence to literal Biblical interpretations are threatened by marriage equality and the recognition of the LGBT community into the mainstream of American life.

The Scarlet Letterpuritan-punishment-whipping

So did the Pilgrims (Puritans) who bravely crossed an ocean in order to start a new life and build communities where they were free to live and practice their religion as they chose, then offer this same freedom to other migrants when they got there? Absolutely not, once settled in New England the Puritan communities demanded complete unity of thought and behavior from their members. As many Evangelicals Americans call for today, in their rigid and strict adherence to fundamentalist doctrine.

Salem Witch TrialsHysteria

Remnants of the Salam Witch Trails in the United States today. The Salem witch trials occurred in Puritan colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil’s magic—and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to captivate the popular imagination more than 300 years later.  Today questioning of President Obama’s religious beliefs as Islamic rather than Christian; Mitt Romney’s LDS membership as blasphemous; the Catholics as idolaters; LGBT Americans as un-Godly heathens; suspicion of the Jewish Faith; Hinduism and Buddhism as illegitimate religions; Lutherans, Methodists and Episcopalians as too liberal and accepting;  and the search for black mass satanist in child molestation cases finds its origins in the Puritans paranoia and non-acceptance of other beliefs, using satan as a moral excuse for the persecution of the “others”.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.” Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was a pamphleteer whose manifestoes encouraged the faltering spirits of the country and aided materially in winning the War of Independence.

The Founding Father’s understood the difficulty in legislating the morality of religion on the new Nation.  During the colonial times it was the divisions between Christian doctrines that caused strife and division.  Those divisions have hardly disappeared.  You only need listen to the Evangelicals decry the Lutherans, Episcopalians and Methodist as to liberal and too accepting.  The Catholic imposition of sexual morality on the other denominations, calling for the criminalization of sexual infidelity, contraception, sodomy laws and a Women’s right to choose.  But today we not only have to reconcile the beliefs within the Christian community but with over 300 other religions here in the United States.

The Church of Latter Day Saints and Islam are a couple of the fastest growing religions in the United States.   Logic would tell you they could one day be in the majority and in a position of power to impose their beliefs on Evangelicals, Baptist, Catholics, Buddhist, Methodist, Lutherans, Hindus, atheist, agnostics, Adventist and those of the Jewish Faith.  The Jewish People will give testament they have been living the imposition of other religious beliefs and intolerance for many centuries.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment was the best idea for pluralistic society.  Americans need to stop and re-think their religious fervor and calling for an “official” religion of the United States.  There are deep division within the Christian community.  Catholics, Protestants and Republicans maybe sorry for what they are asking for, a changing demographic holds no guarantee for Christian dominance.  Let’s treasure the protections for the minority from the tyranny of the majority.  Christians may find themselves in the minority in a future that is rapidly changing.  Legislating morality, sexuality and religions is a misplace practice of beliefs, it has been throughout history causing nothing but conflict and war; veering from the message given by the Prince of Peace…Jesus Christ

Prince of Peace