The Pope is said to come out defending homosexuality. Supposedly, in a private conversion with Juan Carlos Cruz, the Pope told the main whistleblower in Chile’s clerical sex abuse and cover-up scandal, “Look Juan Carlos, the pope loves you this way. God made you like this and he loves you,” Cruz told The Associated Press.
The Vatican has neither confirmed nor denied the Pope said this.
The Roman Catholic Church has numerous doctrinal problems given the fact that many of their doctrines are not found in the Bible. Where in the Bible does it say there should be a Pope and priests can’t marry? Peter, who is said by Roman Catholics to be the first Pope, was married (Matt. 8:14-18; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41; 1 Cor. 9:5). Priests in the Old Testament were married (Ex. 6:23). Aaron had children (Lev. 10:1).
By the way, there is no need for priests in the New Testament since Jesus is our High Priest (Heb. 4:14).
My point in this short doctrinal excursion is to show that if you’re going to claim the Bible as the authority (or even an authority), you better be able to make a convincing case from the Bible.
This brings me to Rev. William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign. The headline of the article I’ve read has him saying, “Jesus set up free healthcare clinics everywhere he went. He healed everybody and never charged a leper a co-pay.” No one’s stopping Rev. Barber from setting up free healthcare clinics. It’s a great idea. I wonder, however, if Rev. Barber gets a salary or lives in a house. Jesus didn’t (Matt. 9:58).
When Rev. Barber, other ministers, and doctors can heal people without medicine, expensive medical equipment, nurses, hospitals, medical training, a government bureaucracy, mandated health coverage for abortions and sex-change operations, birth control pills, then he and they will be on equal footing with Jesus.
A government-mandated healthcare system is not the answer.
The Guardian article reports on Rev. Barber and his efforts:
As one group of faith leaders celebrates the fruits of a decades-long alliance with the Republican party, another is mounting a multi-faith challenge to the dominance of the Christian right, in an attempt to recapture the moral agenda.
“There is no religious left and religious right,” Barber, a pastor and political leader in North Carolina, told the Guardian. “There is only a moral center. And the scripture is very clear about where you have to be to be in the moral center – you have to be on the side of the poor, the working, the sick, the immigrant.”
Frustrated by conservative Christians’ focus on culture wars over issues such as abortion and gay marriage, Barber leads an ascendent grassroots movement that is trying to turn the national conversation to what they believe are the core teachings of the Bible: care for the poor, heal the sick, welcome the stranger.
There is some of what Rev. Barber says that I agree with, although I don’t see how issues like abortion (a procedure that kills unborn babies) and homosexuality (that is specifically singled out for condemnation in the Bible).
Those on the so-called “religious right” have had a lot to say about caring for the poor, working people, the sick, and immigrants. the difference between the those on the Left believe that it’s the government’s job through higher and higher taxation, wealth redistribution, and government mandates that are the solution.
What is Rev. Barber advocating?
The demands of the Poor People’s Campaign are as ambitious as they are progressive. They have called for a repeal of the Republican tax cuts, federal and state minimum wage laws and universal single-payer healthcare. Other proposals also mirror those of politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Jesus certainly didn’t teach that Caesar should be involved in such things. Of all the verses in the Bible dealing with the poor and disenfranchised, there’s not one verse that directs the civil government — the State — to be involved.
The article goes on to report:
Barber, a co-chair of the campaign, says some conservative faith leaders have “cynically” interpreted the Bible’s teachings to demonize homosexuality, abortion, scientific facts and other religions. They are guilty, he says, of “theological malpractice” and “modern-day heresy.”
There’s nothing cynical going on. There is no support for same-sex sexuality or abortion in the Bible. Both of these practices devalue human life and God’s design on the family. To support or ignore them will bring down a civilization in a generation or two. We’re already seeing the negative effects…