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Thursday, October 01, 2015

This is My Opinion Of Pope Francis's Meeting With Kim Davis. Do Not Read If This Subject Bothers You.

The following is all my opinion. It is not meant to be anything other than that.  The formatting is also my fault. Hopefully I'll get it cleared up before bedtime tomorrow.

Well...now that's out of the way. Let's proceed, shall we? 

In a nutshell: Pope Francis came to the U.S.  There was a lovefest for His Holiness.  I don't begrudge him a lovefest.  Why not?  He's a nice guy.  He says the right things. He's got a lovely smile. He has that jovial teddy-bear look about him. He washes the feet of prisoners.  He says, "Who am I to judge?"  He used to be a bouncer in a nightclub--how cool is that?  If he could throw a big drunk guy out onto the sidewalk at 3 a.m., then Satan has surely met his match.  Francis kissed a baby who wore a tiny little Pope hat. The people of the United States opened their arms in welcome to His Holiness. The pesky ones who lay down in the street to protest the non-ordination of women in the church were swept aside so as not to cause a kerfuffle.  A good time was had by all...well, at least by many.

Francis is headed home to the Vatican now, having spread love and goodwill, and canonized Junipero Serra as well.  You all know how I feel about that.  I find it appalling that His Holiness declined to speak to any Native American groups about the canonization of the man who oversaw the absolute decimation of California's indigenous tribes, at least not before he put the seal of approval on Serra.  I'm tired of hearing about all the nice things Serra did for the Native Americans.  The article below tells a story I believe is true. I proceed from this standpoint regarding Serra and the California missions:

http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/calif.html

Now on to the esteemed Kim Davis.  I won't dwell on her marital history: she has the right to do anything with whomever she pleases, and I am sure she would defend her right to do that, though she would gladly withdraw that right from others. She does remind me a bit of the "widow next door" in the "I'm 'Enery the Eighth I Am" song, but she's only been married four times before, not seven.  She has the right to be married as many times as she cares, as long as she's not committing bigamy.  Any couple over the legal age, including two people of the same sex, may marry in our country.

In a nutshell, Davis, member of a small and conservative (some would say deeply fundamentalist) Christian sect, is the county clerk of Rowan, Kentucky.  She refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the grounds that it would violate her religious beliefs.  She is hailed as a near-martyr for the Lord in some circles. She has gone to jail for breaking the law of the United States, based on her faith.  The religious right and the GOP have elevated her to celebrity status. I'm not surprised if she'll run for office one day (perhaps with Donald Trump as her running mate).  The separation between church and state is nil at this point when it comes to the GOP, sorry to say.  What a far cry from Lincoln, who was a Republican and is likely rolling in his grave at the utter catastrophe.  So much for the angels of our better nature. Anyways...

Personally, I hate seeing this foolish and bigoted woman have a platform of any kind.  I was hoping she would just dry up and blow away at some point, and get shuttled to a dreary office in her county building where she can do less harm.  As far as I'm concerned, she's the worst poster child for religious freedom in decades, perhaps ever, in the history of the United States.  As for conscientious objection: okay, maybe she technically is. I will grudgingly concede that, but I hate seeing her lumped in with people who have suffered immensely, even died, for the sake of conscientious objection to senseless wars, human rights violations, etc.  She can go home at night, microwave a Hot Pocket if she feels like it, and watch Fox News if that's her pleasure. There are conscientious objectors across the globe who can never have a shred of comfort, never see their families, who endure untold misery.  Kim Davis is lolling in the Four Seasons of conscientious objection, as far as I'm concerned.

Pope Francis met with Kim Davis in a private meeting this week. It has come out that it was arranged some time in advance by those friendly folks at the Vatican. He asked her to pray for him (poor fellow, be careful what you wish for). He said he would pray for her.  He then thanked her for her courage, and told her to stay strong in her faith and convictions (which is, in a nutshell, opposition to the laws of this country because she opposes gay marriage, and he knows that).  Now the esteemed Ms. Davis is glowing like a Roman candle (literally), waving her rosaries around with giddy joy and basking in even more undeserved fame.  She's crowing about how Francis supports her cause, even though her sect believes  that the Pope is the Beast of the Apocalypse.  Isn't consorting with the Antichrist  in opposition to her faith?  Sorry, splitting hairs, I know.

Since this story began to break, there's been a scuffle to explain away what His Holiness had in mind with all this. First, it was said to be a hoax. Next, it was said to be a fiction her lawyers cooked up. Then, when the private meeting was confirmed by the Vatican and credible news sources, it was diminished to "only fifteen minutes". Then the Pope himself was given a lot of slack: he didn't know her specific case.  He does not read American newspapers, so he had no idea of the controversy. He was merely praising conscientious objection, not her stand on gay marriage.  Honestly, I've never seen so many draperies come down since the finale of the last symphony I attended.

If the Supreme Pontiff indeed doesn't read American newspapers, he had better pony up for a subscription to The New York Times: whether he likes it or not, his position is a political as well as a religious one. Though he can make no laws (except in terms of Church doctrine), his stamp of approval or disapproval on anything carries enormous weight. He heads the Catholic Church, one of the most powerful institutions in the world. American Catholics make up a huge part of his flock. It is in his best interest to be savvy about the current political climate of every country he visits, too.


This visit, it's said, was arranged by others a couple of weeks ago. Representatives of the Vatican have said that there was no need to brief the Pope on who Kim Davis was, as her story is known worldwide. If he wanted to avoid seeing her, he could have politely declined, as he did with the Dalai Lama. He could have seen any number of persons who have put their lives on the line for the sake of conscientious objection. He gave an audience to her. He's no lunkhead; he's an educ:ated man, and hopefully not fully dragged about by the people who arrange such meetings.


It is very obvious to me that he was, in essence, hailing Ms. Davis for her religious belief that gay marriage is an abomination, and by default gay people, too, and her willingness to break the law for that belief. Why, then was she given an audience with the pope? Because the Church feels the same way: it is opposed to gay marriage and has inflicted untold suffering and hatred on gay people since the day Saint Peter sat upon his rock; they will never err from this course. Kim Davis is an unfortunately public figure who upholds that conviction as well, and the Vatican wanted to give her a pat on the head and a couple of rosaries for it.  Sorry, Pope, if the lovefest ever began for me, it ended there.

Of course His Holiness knew who she was. He's perfectly fine with what she stands for. Did I expect something along different lines from him during his visit?  Yes.  I expected he might have gone the "Who am I to judge?" route and given audience to an actually worthy person who does not represent hatred and narrow-mindedness.  For me, it's a very big ding in the Pope's carefully burnished halo.