We have seen two stellar examples of standing up for your beliefs in recent weeks. Each serves as an example of human behavior that should inform us of which model is best.
The first is the Kentucky Clerk of Court who refused to sign a marriage certificate from a gay couple that was seeking to be united in wedlock. With the recent Supreme Court decision, they felt they were acting on rights accorded all American citizens. This particular Clerk of Court disagrees. She believes that despite the Supreme Court decision, it is perverted according to God’s law - and she chose to stand with a higher power than the government whose laws she swore to uphold. Under further scrutiny, it was discovered, and subsequently reported that she had been married four times and had twins conceived out of wedlock. Certainly, God must have spoken to her on selective issues that taught her to be tougher on others than she was on herself. In many circles this is seen as hypocritical. If she was guided by “thus said the Lord”, it would seem that she would be aware of the many sins that she had committed on her life’s journey. I am reminded of the adage “be aware when you are pointing a finger, there are three pointing back at you”. Nobody faults her for her beliefs. However, I cannot understand why she would represent herself as an agent of the government but refuse to obey the law. Maybe resignation is appropriate.
We were also visited by Pope Francis this week. From New York to Boston to Philadelphia, he was a model of humility. Not only did he bless others, he sought the prayers of others for himself. We are all too well aware of the struggles of the Catholic Church particularly the heinous acts perpetrated by some of the priests upon young people charged to their care. To see a person who speaks truth to power was truly inspiring. Some things are right and some things are wrong. It seems that we have gotten off track. We have forgotten that the true reflection of God here on earth is how we treat our fellow man. We have forgotten that we can’t be callous, haughty and self-centered while expecting others to love us. We can’t incarcerate millions who are disproportionately poor and minority but call ourselves a “just” country. We can’t live in opulence and abundance while others are starving and hold ourselves up as models for the world. America is a nation of too many contradictions. Like the church, we must find our way back to what is truly fundamental.
While I am not Catholic - that was the message from the Pope that resonated with me. We are all human beings subject to error and sin. But we are never so far lost that we cannot find our way back. There, as the Pope said, “is always room at the table”. We must find a way to not be pompous and self-righteous. We must understand that we live with other human beings in the world. We should seek peace and forgiveness, and approach others with charity and love. If we do that, and stick with it, we can truly hold ourselves up as models for human behavior and a society that all should emulate.