The church’s transition to the present

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By Logan Weeter

The recent Marriage Equality Act and other current progressive social movements have been met with no shortage of resistance as of late. I’ve seen a significant increase in protests and public condemnation coming from celebrities to the common man.

Just about every one of these protests in America has been in the name of God: specifically, the Christian God.
As much as we do our best to maintain a healthy separation of church and state, the simple fact of life is that people largely base their morals on their faith, and those morals often influence the law of the land. 

Should the views of the church alter the views of the collective people, in turn, the law would be likely to change as well. Between the incidents in the media, such as Kim Davis refusing to give a marriage license to a gay couple and the never-ending supply of preaching protestors on the Quad, my view of the church began to grow more and more negative; I saw nothing but hate come out of it, and in turn, out of the majority of society.

This past week, however, one of the most renowned people on the planet made me reconsider all of that.

Last Thursday, Pope Francis attended a joint meeting of Congress, and called for many changes largely favored by progressive parties. In his address, he heavily defended United States immigration, encouraged more lenient borders, endorsed environmentally-friendly legislation, mercilessly condemned the arms trade, plead for the abolishment of the death penalty and even went as far as to refer to unbridled capitalism as the “dung of the Devil.”

Kyle Fouts, sophomore in DGS and a deistic Christian — the belief in God based only on reason and nature — spoke very favorably of the Pope’s address, stressing how much the church needed this shift in attitude.

“The pope’s thoughts were a refreshing change of pace for the Catholic Church, an organization steeped so strongly in the past that their modern policy leaves bitter tastes in the mouths of many,” Fouts said. “I expected a certain amount of progressivism from good old Frank, but he far surpassed my expectations. I think that overall, his actions were a step forward for society as well as the church, and I couldn’t be happier.”

So how can we merge these social ideas with religion so they can work together?

Look at how church policies changed from the 18th to 20th centuries. Not even 60 years ago, interracial marriage was still illegal in half the country. Rules like these were developed centuries ago in the name of the church, and though it definitely happened far later than it should have, the ethics of the church have progressed with society. 

We definitely should not stop progressing now. The pope’s address may be the start of another shift in religious morals, and with the recent social uprising seen in the past decade or two, a backing from the Church just might be what this country needs to send us into a new age of political and social progression.

Alyssa Solis, freshman in FAA and a practicing Catholic, largely favors religion’s evolution with society and hopes for further change in the future.

“Religion should definitely progress with the times; it’s absolutely stupid to live by the same standards as we did thousands of years ago,” Solis said. “I’d like the Church to be more opening and accepting of all people regardless of religion, sexual orientation, gender, age and race.”

Now, don’t mistake this event for the Church entirely turning a new leaf. Two days ago, Pope Francis openly defended Kim Davis’s right to refuse the marriage license in the way she did, due to a “conscientious objection.” Church policy hasn’t completely evolved with the times, and it still has a ways to go to erase millennia of hate practiced in the name of God.
Let’s also remember that there are dozens of other denominations of Christianity that don’t follow the Pope’s lead; last Thursday’s address was by no means a massive overhaul of policy.

But it’s a place to start.
One massively influential man displayed, if nothing else, an open mind last week. That open mind can lead to the influence of millions, if not billions, of others across the world. This is how change is made, and this is how we evolve as a society. 

Logan is a freshman in LAS.
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