Friday, May 29, 2015

What a pope

There are a lot of people out there who think Pope Francis is a super sort of person.  His fans are not just among Catholics though, but in fact he has a lot of supporters in my crowd of people, the atheist/agnostic left wing set.  The main argument that they tend to default to is that he is so much better than previous Popes, which is definitely true.  His stances on things like gay rights, women's rights, and other progressive issues are better than previous incarnations of the office.

But he is still awful.  "Better than the old Popes" should not be our yardstick for greatness!

For example, when Ireland recently passed new legislation making same sex marriage legal the Vatican's response was to call it "a defeat for humanity".  Francis responded to this by stressing that marriage is between a man and a woman instead of taking the opportunity to call for change.  The organization Francis heads is one of the most powerful institutions in the world for deliberately oppressing gay people.  It still is openly and unapologetically sexist.  It still pushes programs and ideas demonizing contraception that are substantially responsible for the AIDS epidemic in Africa in particular, and enormous suffering throughout the world in general.

Francis' opinions are slightly less evil than the standard line for Popes in the past, but that is because doing so is the way to gain the most approval, support, cash, and converts.  He can't get away with the hard line rhetoric of the past in most first world nations anymore so he backed it off a notch.  Just enough to gain support from people willing to look for any improvement, no matter how small, but not nearly enough to avoid being an evil bigot.  After all, he wants to keep all the homophobes in the fold.

It is like Francis is Darth Vader and the progressives who cheer him on are Luke Skywalker.  "There is good in him, I know it!" they cry.  I would have a lot more patience for Luke's whining if Vader hadn't been so happy to blow up Alderaan, and I would have a lot more patience for people supporting Francis if he wasn't an absolute monarch living in unthinkable opulence while taking great pains to stomp on those among us who are already struggling the most.

If you want to find someone good to support then find someone actually doing the right thing, someone who fights through incredibly difficult or tragic circumstances to help those in even greater need.   That person is not Pope Francis.

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