America has a great history of struggle against bigotry and oppression. The struggle has not changed as today’s politicians ignore the needs of the weak. Whether the weak are born or unborn, each side of politics is culpable in its mistreatment and abuse of those who cannot help themselves. For Christians who follow Jesus Christ neither side of politics can call itself completely true to the teachings of Christ. The pope has often made American politicians angry for exposing their hypocrisy. In the past, instead of repentance, there have been angry outbursts and false accusations of the pope.
I’m sure the pope is well aware of the firestorm his past criticisms of capitalism without restraints have caused. The pope is clearly not against capitalism, merely unbridled and selfish capitalism. And selfishness is the exact opposite of true Christianity. The false gospel of health and wealth is not wrong because God is against health and wealth, but because its emphasis is on selfishness and not self-sacrifice. True Christianity is all about self-sacrifice. The cross teaches us that. God sacrificed himself on the cross for all of humanity. When Christians take up their cross, they take up a life of selflessness, not selfishness.
The problem with American politics on both sides is selfishness.
A selfless mother, whose life is not in danger, chooses life for her infant, even if it is inconvenient, costly or the result of horrible circumstances. That’s what selfless people do, give their lives for others. After all, the baby is innocent. It is not the one who needs to be punished, if indeed someone needs to be punished for a crime. If the mother’s life is in danger that is a different matter of course.
A selfless nation welcomes foreigners, not criminals and terrorists, but honest foreigners who want to contribute to the nation in a positive way. A selfless nation says as did a German politician recently, we don’t know how we can afford it; we don’t know where we will find shelter, but welcoming refugees is the Christian thing to do. A selfless employer wants to give employees more income and does not take the lion’s share of income for themselves while others suffer. Of course, the cost of business must be taken into account and not every business can afford to pay $15 an hour. However, many selfless employers pay themselves last and they are true American heroes.
And the pope recently spoke of selfless politicians. They may not make headlines because they seek reconciliation rather than fictitious divisiveness. And much of what divides Republicans and Democrats is pure fiction, fiction invented to create division for selfish, vote-winning purposes. The problem with such tactics is that it hurts the nation, creating division and wasting energy over artificial issues rather than creating unity and useful energy directed at our real problems. How many of our politicians eat regularly with the homeless?
May we listen to this pope, an emissary of the Christian Church. After all, most Christians agree with 95% or more of what he teaches. We are remarkably unified in the essentials of our common faith.