I assure you, I will avoid making this article about a debate over religious matters. It is not that persons are not allowed to have such beliefs and nor is it intended to negate their importance. However, our nation is currently giddy as a schoolgirl over the presence of the Pope and yet simultaneously fearful at what he might say. You see, Pope Francis has spoken up recently on matters of global warming, wealth distribution, immigration and others. As you can imagine, various elements of the American political establishment are either thrilled or aghast at what he said. But again, what he said is not the point of this discussion. I am simply asking the following question. Does his presence and words matter for the United States of America?
Pope Time in America!
The Pope is viewed as the head of State for the Vatican. Yes, he is a head of a religious denomination or even God’s representative on Earth depending on how literally you interpret it, but for matters of State, he is but a fellow head. If Vladimir Putin, fellow head of State, came to America and said America should open its borders to refugees we would probably tell him to suck it and go back to the USSR. If the President of China came to America and said we should abandon military support of Taiwan, we would likely rattle the sabers and tell him to come and get it, Molon Labe style. These men have no authority over America and we are happy to refute it as is our patented American, we do what we want style.
But the Pope, while having no stately authority, can be viewed as having a heavy sway over at least 25% of the American population who report to be Catholic. Then, he is still revered by many as a Godly man and his words instantly weigh on the hearts of Americans. Consequently, as the Pope prepares to address Congress, seriously he is going to do that, the American political establishment is on edge at what might be said for fear that it actually sway the hearts and minds of Americans. And we must ask ourselves as a nation whether that should be the case? Does he warrant a Congressional address and should our policies be influenced by a foreign head of state?
Lastly, we must ask ourselves whether or not America should heed his words. Again, I am not jumping into the fray of religious authority. Rather, the Vatican is a unique state and its leader fairly unique among most. America is constantly embroiled in divisive partisan politics where America has dug in their heels, dug their trenches, and engaged in long-term political warfare. So what’s the harm of listening to a guy with an outside perspective?
We are not obligated to listen to him and obey, but are there wise words that can be heeded from a man not aligned with partisan politics? I don’t think he is planning an invasion of the United States no matter how many guards with Pikes he might have and I hardly think he has political ambitions to run for office here in America. As such, could this widely respected man be a source of outside wisdom for us all? Should his words matter, Catholic or not, and if they do weigh on you, will you dismiss them because he is the Pope? Is there anyone outside of George Washington himself that you would allow to convince you that you are wrong about a particular matter?
It will be in the news all week America, so you might as well start thinking about it now. Should the Pope be granted such a prominent spot in American politics today? And if he is, how much should you weigh his words? It doesn’t always have to be about religion, but it ought to be about reasoned thought and good conversation. Hash it out America, this is where you take over.
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