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Stop politicizing faith

Will Sorrell

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If you’ve been awake this week, you know that Pope Francis is in the United States, and he’s turning tables per usual. From rolling around D.C. in a Fiat, to becoming the first pontiff to canonize a saint on American soil, to snubbing a dinner date with Washington’s top dogs to dine with the homeless, Pope Francis never ceases to drop jaws.

The interest of the nation peaked most, perhaps, at his address to a joint meeting of Congress. It’s not difficult to envision the sea of dark suits donning blue or red blouses and ties, sweating at the thought of certain agendas supported or leaping at the hope of certain ideologies espoused. Yet under the bright lights and countless cameras, the pope humbly beckons us to remember, reflect and respond.

“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us once were foreigners,” Pope Francis said.

Christians believe that we, as adopted daughters and sons of God, were once far off, and we were brought near by the blood of Christ. If Christ reconciles his people into one body by tearing down the dividing wall of hostility, then Christ’s people certainly gain nothing by building up a dividing wall of hostility to exclude those far off from opportunity.

“Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life,” Pope Francis said.

Christians believe that as a man and a woman commit to covenant, the two become one as God joins them together, and we mustn’t separate this bond. We mustn’t separate this bond by degrading the value of sexuality and the strength of women by sitting passively as cultures of sexual assault run rampant. We mustn’t separate this bond by disregarding thematic and canonical principles regarding marriage as simple tradition to be forgotten and buried. We mustn’t separate this bond by accepting the lie that broken homes are and will always be the norm.

“[E]very life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes,” Pope Francis said.

Christians believe that Christ has died once for all, the just for the unjust, so that he might declare his people innocent into life everlasting. From this perspective, the curtailment of life is the execution of hope, whatever the stage or circumstance. The pro-life movement must extend beyond the womb and into the lives of those born into disenfranchisement, affliction and inequity. While crime is inexcusable, marginalizing criminals as less than human is a crime as well.

Everyone from Washington to New York to Tuscaloosa wondered to which political party Pope Francis would give the nod, when instead he stood for the merciful justice of the Christian faith and the heart of the person of Christ.

Stop trying to put the pope in your political box.

Stop trying to put Jesus in your political box.

As Reverend Samuel Rodriguez once said, “We need a Christian movement not married to the symbol of a donkey or an elephant, but to a Lamb.”

Pope Francis reminds us that faith does not fit within politics; faith transcends politics.

Will Sorrell is a senior majoring in finance. His column runs biweekly.

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Stop politicizing faith