Conscience is defined as a human being’s inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives that are supposed to impel one to action. After seven days in America touting his “Jesus” credentials, such as preaching to care for the poor and the environment they are suffering in, Pope Francis likely departed for the Vatican with a clear conscience. He certainly worked tirelessly to endear himself to Americans, and to an extent he succeeded in fooling even some non-Catholics and atheists that he is a truly progressive Pontiff. However, one wonders how he has a clean conscience when he promoted and endorsed Americans who blatantly violate the U.S. Constitution, abuse Americans’ civil rights, and break the law according to the dictates of their criminal conscience.
The Pope was asked on the flight back to the Vatican, “Do you support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials when issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”
The Pope replied saying:
“Yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.”
So there it is; because the United States Constitution, and U.S. Supreme Court, guarantees all Americans have equal rights, holding a violator accountable is “denying their right” in yet another dirty “Christian persecution” ploy; this time from Progressive Pope Francis.
Here is the issue about conscience, though, that Francis likely did not consider; the majority, if not all, of the atrocities committed on humanity were, and are, driven by conscience; that inner sense of what is right and wrong. Kim Davis believes in her black heart that violating court orders and the Constitution by single-handedly disallowing same-sex couples their 14th Amendment rights is the right thing to do according to her conscience. However, using the “conscience argument” goes both ways and glorifies all manner of outrages. When extremists in ISIL slaughter innocent Muslims and Christians, it is according to their deeply held inner sense of what is right according to their conscience. It is no different with the ultra-rich and corporations that force hundreds of millions into poverty and hoard trillions of dollars out of sheer ungodly greed; it is the true and right thing to do according to their deeply held consciences.
Obviously the Koch brothers and their various oil, mining, and general energy industry cohort exacerbate climate change and block any and every government effort to protect the environment and the climate according to that “inner sense” of what is right according to their consciences. Catholic priests who sexually abuse little children, not because they enjoy destroying young lives but because of their conscience, are apparently compelled to do so according to their “inner sense of what is right and wrong.” Perhaps it is because they sexually abused children according to their priestly consciences that the Vatican has not brought in law enforcement to put a stop to priestly pedophilia.
It is also true that the American border patrol agent who shot a Mexican child 10 times for target practice while the boy was standing on the Mexican side of the border was acting according to his “conscience” that drove him to believe shooting Mexican children was right according to that “inner sense.” Although the border patrol agent was finally indicted for murder, the Pope thinks he should be “allowed” to violate the law and take an innocent human life. According to the Pope, the agent’s “rights were denied” because he acted according to conscience. However, here is the one monumental problem with the Pope’s advice to break the law according to one’s conscience; it is a gross violation of god’s law.
In the Holy Father’s bible, that rule book containing every single one of god’s utterances, it plainly says to obey the government authorities, period. It gives nobody a pass if obeying the government bothers one’s conscience; it is a passage the Pontiff surely may have read at some juncture during his rise to the “Vicar of Christ” designation that makes him the uncontested leader of 1.2 billion Catholic devotees worldwide.
It is likely that the Pope is a lot closer to teabaggers, climate deniers, anti-immigrant hate-mongers and trickle down advocates devoted to America’s bastardized version of Christianity than a true follower of Christ and ardent bible adherent. Otherwise, he would have never suggested “allowing” conscientious objectors free rein to violate the U.S. Constitution, or federal court orders, much less condemn the authorities for holding them accountable for disobeying the government. Of course the Pope is well-versed in Catholic dogmata such as the truly tyrannical Humanae Vitae, but according to Judeo-Christian dogma, god wrote the Christian bible and a man, another pope, created did the Humanae Vitae. That document the Pope has seemingly elevated over “every utterance from god’s lips” in the so-called Holy Scriptures.
It may be true that America’s evangelical malcontents have never read one word of their rule book, the Christian bible, but it is almost certainly true that Pope Francis has at least a passing remembrance of his almighty god’s commandments in Romans 13: verses 1 – 7 where it says:
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.”
That simple passage is anathema to evangelical fundamentalists, theocratic legislators, anti-gay county clerks and apparently it is abhorrent to Pope Francis. What is particularly telling is that when the subject of same-sex marriage, or homosexuality for that matter, comes up, Mr. Progressive Pope reverts to archaic church dogma that has no foundation in the bible. It is true people can have their beliefs and consciences, and Old Testament mean-god condemned “male homosexuality,” but nowhere in that Christian bible is it the Pope’s, evangelical Republicans’, or Kim Davis’ job to judge or regulate anyone according to their stinking conscience; if one believes the bible, that purview is solely god almighty’s.
Still, this Pope, “Mr. Holy Progressive,” continues talking out of both sides of his mouth. On one hand he said “who am I to judge gays?” And then he promptly rejects an openly gay high-ranking diplomat chosen to represent France in the Vatican simply because he is gay. Within a month of that “Jesus Christ-like” loving determination, based on his Christian conscience, the official Papal response to Ireland voting to legalize same-sex marriage was that it was the “defeat of humanity,” and Catholics were officially ordered not to attend those weddings.
For seven days, Pope Francis actually appeared that he was a progressive Pontiff; although he never ever said one word that another Christian, President Barack Obama, has not been preaching ad nauseam over six years he has been in office. What is unacceptable though, is that Pope Francis dares parrot the President of the United States on climate change, income inequality, immigration, and unbridled trickle-down economics and then encourages American evangelicals to blatantly violate the U.S. Constitution and court orders based on their dirty consciences.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.