October 4, 2015

Why Are We Surprised the Pope Met With Kim Davis?

Pope Francis Korea Haemi Castle 19 (cropped)I understand that many atheists do not particularly care for Kim Davis, and the reasons for this make sense to me. While I oppose the efforts to publicly shame her online, I do not approve of her behavior. I also understand that many atheists are no great fans of the Pope - the current one, any of his predecessors, or the institution he represents. And again, the reasons for this are not what I'd characterize as unclear. I share these negative feelings.

What is less clear to me is why the news that the Pope met with Ms. Davis during his visit to the U.S. was so compelling that it had to be reported on over and over again by so many atheists. Did I miss the memo where the Catholic Church announced their unequivocal support for same-sex marriage and apologized for taking a leadership role in promoting bigotry for so long? The Pope's meeting with Ms. Davis did not strike me as particularly surprising. In fact, it seems rather consistent with what I would have thought most atheists would expect.

The Catholic Church is an institution that still exorcises "demons" and has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of empathy for children who have been sexually assaulted by their own priests. They continue to oppose contraception in regions ravaged by HIV/AIDS even as people die. Would we really expect better from their leader?

When I heard that the Pope had met with Ms. Davis, the first thought that went through my head was, "That sounds about right. Mike Huckabee met with her too." That did not strike me as terribly surprising either. Of course Huckabee was going to meet with her. And yes, it seems consistent with the organization the Pope leads that he might meet with someone like Davis as well.

I suppose anything the Pope did in the U.S. was going to be newsworthy. In a nauseating spectacle worthy of ridicule, our mainstream news media fawned over him like he was worthy of great respect. With a few notable exceptions on the right, it seemed like one politician after another lined up to praise him (or steal his glass of water). I wonder how many kissed his ring while they were groveling?

As for me, I don't find the Pope's meeting with Kim Davis terribly interesting. I'm also not terribly impressed with anything he has to say on the subjects of the environment or capitalism even though I agree with some of what he has said on these subjects. I'd rather repeat my previous call for him to do something meaningful to end Catholic clergy abuse.

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