Although I am not a Roman Catholic, there is a lot I admire about Pope Francis. His devotion to God and his love for people is inspiring. Out of that devotion and love, the Pope demonstrates a deep concern for the poor and will often speak out against systems of economic oppression that bring great harm to the poor. Much like the prophets of ancient Israel, and much like John the Baptist and Jesus, Pope Francis uses strong words and imagery to draw attention to the ongoing plight of those who dwell in poverty.
Last week President Obama spoke at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event where religious leaders (predominantly, but not exclusively Christian) gather to hear inspirational speeches about the role of faith in civil life along with personal testimonies about how that faith has impacted individual lives in a positive and meaningful way.
It is customary for the President to be in attendance and to speak at this event. And President Obama has honored that custom in previous years, as he did again this year. But this year, the President sparked controversy over comments he made related to the way in which good religions can be twisted and perverted into ugly tools of violence and hatred.
Okay, let me preface what I am about to say with the following disclaimers:
- I am not a scientist
- I am not a “young earth creationist”
- I am a Christian who believes that the Bible is inspired by God
- My Christian Faith is not dependent upon the age of the earth.
- My Christian Faith is not destroyed by the Theory of Evolution.
- I believe debates between creationism and evolution are a waste of time and energy.
The controversy of the week is the response of A&E Network to a recent article in GQ Magazine featuring an interview with Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan. Since the television show Duck Dynasty became a huge hit, much has been made about the Robertson family and their traditional Christian values. The Robertsons themselves have used their newfound fame as a platform to share their religious views and offer a Christian perspective on a variety of issues. I recently enjoyed watching an interview with Jase and Missy Robertson, where they shared how their Christian faith has strengthened their marriage.