Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Impact of the Pope

Many good things have happened of late. Among which was the visit to the United States by Pope Francis. His address to Congress was the highlight of his trip for us non-Catholics. He spoke so movingly about many of the issues in the world today, admonishing not only Congress, but all of us of our moral, social, and political - if not religious - duty to follow the precepts of the Golden Rule, which is recognized by all religions and philosophies around the world.

He covered everything that the world is facing today from the issues of the mounting refugee crisis, war, the unequal distribution of wealth, human trafficking, the poor and needy of all nations, to the critical state of climate change. His speech brought tears to my eyes many times; so much so that whenever they showed him speaking during his whole trip I teared up. (As did Speaker Boehner. I'm still convinced the Pope instigated his reason for resigning the next day.) To see the Pope being drawn to the children and afflicted along his routes.. and kissing babies.. well, no politician on earth could ever match the adulation of this man. We as a nation, and our politicians in particular, needed to hear his message at this crucial time when the candidates for President in 2016 are running rampant across the country. More and more of the GOP candidates' messages seem to be targeting the wealthiest citizens and corporations, rather than the average citizen.

Perhaps we need to be reminded of the following:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, 
for this is the law and the prophets.

(Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31)

What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow
man. That is the whole of The Torah and the
remainder is but commentary.


            (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)              

Do unto all men as you would they should unto
you, and reject for others what you would reject
for yourself.



Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.


(Udanavarga 5.8)

Tzu Kung asked: "Is there any one principle upon
which one’s whole life may proceed?" Confucius
replied: "Is not Reciprocity such a principle?-
what you do not yourself desire, do not put before


(Analects 15.23)

This is the sum of all true righteousness -
Treat others, as thou wouldst thyself be treated.
Do nothing to thy neighbor, which hereafter
Thou wouldst not have thy neighbor do to thee.


(Mahabharata - Ganguli, Book 13 CXIII)

Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself.

(Guru Angad - Macauliffe vol2, p.29)

A man should wander about treating all creatures
as he himself would be treated.


(Sutrakritanga Sutra 1.11.33)

Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain; and regard
your neighbor’s loss as your own loss, even as though you
were in their place.


 (Tai-Shang Kan-Ying Pien)

Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee.



(*from the GRO website)

I found these statistics very interesting. At the swearing in of Congress in January of 2013, the following religions - or lack thereof - were represented:

Republicans: 232 members said they are Christians of different denominations
1 member was Jewish
Democrats: 164 members said they are Christians of different denominations
21 members were Jewish
15 members listed "other" or "unaffiliated" (or refused to answer)

Republicans:  All 45 members were of a Christian denomination
Democrats: 51 members were Christians
11 were Jewish
3 members listed "other" or "unaffiliated" (or refused to answer)

Am I the only one who finds it ironical that so many of our representatives in Congress seem to ignore The Golden Rule in all its many forms? Especially those who claim to be Christian?

It is tiresome hearing the self-righteous persons in Congress who have just passed the bill to defund Planned Parenthood in the House, and our state of Texas legislature which has already defunded Planned Parenthood, refused Federal funds for Medicaid when the ACA Act went into effect, and will reach a final decision next week on defunding more Medicaid benefits Texas Tribune, continually lump together the many hungry, the sick, the poor, and the elderly with the few who take advantage of the programs, as a reason for cutting the assistance to those really in need. It's time the millionaire Christians in Congress begin to act like Christians. Its time that the wealthiest 1% and the huge corporations in the United States start paying their fair share of taxes ("Render unto Caesar.." Mark 12:17), which would make it possible to fund programs they are currently trying to cut. 

The things I hear the Congressional right-wing Christians speak out about the most are healthcare, reproductive rights, abortion, and homosexuality. They want to defund some of the very programs that help the most needy. By defunding Planned Parenthood, what will happen to these poor (often unwanted) children who are brought into the world to an existence of poverty or even abuse and neglect? Who's going to provide their healthcare, nutrition, education? What kind of homes will they be brought up in? What about the 16 million children in the U.S. who struggle with hunger? What will happen to the explosion of elderly as the baby boomers reach their "golden years" and they find their Social Security and Medicare benefits reduced or eliminated? 

Bless Pope Francis for speaking out against judgement of homosexuals. He has shamed the anti-gay establishment. That is truly what Jesus would do if he were here today. Apparently, that is one area in which the conservatives are losing ground today, as more and more states are passing laws to allow same-sex marriage. In spite of people like Kim Davis. It is past time for their equal rights be observed throughout the United States.

Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic candidates for President, stands for nearly everything expected of us as a moral society. At times, his message seems to come directly from the Christian Bible. However, he doesn't stand much of a chance of being elected in the political climate today. I love this saying at the right. My oldest son, Craig sent this to me that he got off Facebook. Jesus, as Socialist Jew? Oh, yeah..

On a positive note, I have more good things besides the Pope's visit that I will cover in my next blog post. Even in Texas there is sometimes a very good reason for optimism. Stay tuned!

Peace and love,


  1. All good stuff!! You go girl. And isn't also great that the Pope isn't just for Catholics any more?

  2. He is a Pope for all times, all faiths, and all people. Let's hope that the right-wing Evangelicals don't ignore his message because he is Catholic! I still remember the outcry when John F. Kennedy ran for and won the Presidency.