Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities.-Pope Francis
Recently Pope Francis made comments criticizing “trickle-down economics” and the wealthy disparity around the world. Pope Francis’ condemnation of the “idolatry of money” has drawn harsh criticism from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and the rest of the conservative right. This isn’t surprising to me that the right would have something bad to say about the Pope.
Like many of the people I follow on social media, I’ve been very impressed with the Pope thus far. As I stated earlier his stance on wealthy disparity mirrors my own but his acts of public kindness and gestures are not like those I’ve witnessed from other Popes. From embracing a severely disfigured man to washing the feet of convicts to choosing to wear simple papal regalia and living in a guest house at the Vatican I love the choices that Pope Francis has made in his short time as the Pope.
This led me to a series of thoughts. I was raised in a Methodist type church (C&S Nigerian church to be exact) with specific values, standards and ethics. These values that were taught to me were taught to my parents and their parents before them. I’m going to marry a woman of the same faith as me and we’ll teach our children these same principles. So what ideologies would I hold today if I wasn’t conditioned by my parents and to a larger extent by my church as a youth?
Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God.-Pope Francis
There are certain doctrines that I have the utmost certainty that I would still possess regardless of what type of church I was raised in. I know killing is wrong and under extreme circumstances I couldn’t see myself taking another life. Loving my neighbor as I love myself and honoring my mother and father are other principles that I believe are found across various religions.
I’m entirely sure that if I weren’t Christian I would still uphold these principles. I wonder if I was raised on a deserted island and reemerged into society without any prior influence or knowledge of organized religion which one I would follow if any at all.
If my first exposure to Catholicism were Pope Francis what would I favor being Catholic? If I first learned of it was priests and inappropriate contact with young boys how would I feel then?
Would I lean towards Christianity if I observed the charity and compassion or would I hate the hypocrisy Christians tend to portray and how it’s been used to justify slavery?
Would I fall victim to stereotypes linking Islam to terrorism? Or would I admire the discipline and intellectuality of the religion?
Could it be possible that I would rebuke all organized religion?