Category Archives: POTUS

Pope Francis–The Foremost Ambassador of Humility

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson                                      

 This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.  For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.”
This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the ‘deadly’ sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all ‘heavenly’ virtues, Humility. This is a “clash of the titans” of Evil vs Good. And it makes me think about Pope Francis with his innocent smile and his natural affinity to children and the disabled and downtrodden. It makes me realize that the most famous man on the planet is also the most humble.
 Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wears this mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner.

Pope Francis

Yes, he wears that mantle and it is always fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he shows the whole world what it means to think of yourself last before all others. (Don’t you love the black shoes he wears)?
Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never “lobbied” for these positions or sought them out in any way. He did not have “super-pacs” at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God’s call so he would make his life pleasing to Him.
Make no mistake, God called him to the papacy. The secular world mocks that concept but that is why they cannot experience the joy the faithful experience when he visits other countries and millions of these folks turn out to see him, waving and singing and even crying as he goes by. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts they may find the elusive peace that evades them.
Pope Francis is the successor to St. Peter. He is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the “uppity-ups”. He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers.
During his stop in Washington, D.C. last year, the Pope visited with President Obama and then, after offering Mass in the Cathedral, made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He was sending a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life.
That message required no words—just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841. The fact that the Holy Father had just visited with the President of the United States surrounded by the opulence attached to the visit and then, after being cheered by millions as he headed to the Cathedral, mattered not. His smile was broadest while he spent his short time with the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Pope Francis leaves every country he visits a more contented and inspired nation. He reaches out to everyone and many respond. And the reason is so basic; he represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brings to us. He is His ambassador on earth. He does his work well. But, as is the way of things, after he leaves a place, the pride that consumes humankind comes back and makes itself known again. The good news is, after a Papal Visit, pride has fewer followers.
Thank you Holy Father, for the grace, inspiration, love and example you give us. Hopefully we can get you back to America soon. Our country could use a booster shot of humility, especially in the political arena.

                                         ©Larry Peterson 2016  All Rights Reserved

The Great Enigma in Our Society–Gender Dysphoria (Gender Identity Disorder)

IT  MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

On June 21, the President of the United States once again bypassed  the Congress of the United States and signed an executive order barring federal contractors (including faith based agencies) from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Here was my problem with this:  I have no understanding of  what “gender identity” is.  I mean, how can a guy think he is a girl or a girl  think she is a guy?  Deep down inside me I knew there had to be  much more to this phenomenon than a simple choice of lifestyle preference?  But it was so bizarre to me I just could not handle it.  Some folks might call that “denial”.  Maybe it was.

I am a Catholic man who tries to stay true to his faith and not pass judgment on others, (especially those whose behavioral lifestyle I do NOT fathom).  The truth is I have personally avoided this topic because it just always seemed so “out there” to me.   After all, I am a man and I know it.  My wife is a woman and she knows it.  All the men I know and have known knew they were men.  Same for the women. How can you NOT know what you are?  The worst part was it was being politicized.   That was deplorable.  So what kind of ambiguous term is “gender identity”?  What does it mean?     Finally, I kicked  the strange fear of confronting this subject to the curb and I decided I should look into it.

 It did not take me long to realize that I truly had kept my head in the sand when it came to this subject.   In so doing I had failed myself.  I have now come to realize that among the great enigmas in our society today is the paradoxical condition known as Gender Dysphoria (aka: Gender Identity Disorder).  This is real and this is a fact of life and it has existed for a long, long time.  I have also come to learn that this is  a  medical “disorder” and not simply a “lifestyle” choice.  I also admit that I am a bit ashamed I never had the guts to confront the subject.

 Evidence shows that besides psychological and behavioral causes, biological ones (genetics) play an important part in a person having this condition.  A person who is born with Gender Identity Disorder has a very high mountain to climb.  They live in a society that, for the most part, looks at their condition as nothing more than a perverse lifestyle choice.  I cannot imagine a person having to live every day pretending to be a gender they  knew they were not.  The alternative for them would be to live the way they knew they really were and be treated as one of society’s aberrations constantly facing rejection and derision .  I now understand the desire for hormonal treatments and  transgender surgery.   I also understand that these people need our compassion and understanding.  But, like it or not, this Great Enigma brings forth the other side of the story.

President Obama’s executive order seems to place “gay rights” above all other rights, including religious rights as set forth in our Constitution.   In 1994 the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was proposed by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Gerry Studds of Massachusetts.  It has been proposed in ten sessions of Congress and has never passed.  Obama’s order is his way of passing his own ENDA.  It provides no protection for religious groups even though civil-rights laws recognize these rights.  The laws have recognized that religious employers have the right to hire people who share their faith and moral standards.   ENDA proposals exempted these groups.  Not anymore.

The president’s order has bypassed all of this and permits federal agencies to cancel contracts with “noncompliant” employers including faith based agencies who can also be ‘blacklisted” from future contracts. This will effectively shut down many faith based agencies.  Look at how Catholic Charities has already been declared “unfit” to place children for adoption in Washington, Boston, San Francisco and the State of Illinois.  I believe that the executive order of July 21, 2014 will usher in a new wave of religious intolerance and persecution the like of which has never been seen in the United States of America.  The people who suffer from Gender Dysphoria are simply pawns in a quagmire of ideology.  Theirs is not so much a sexual problem as it is a correctable medical problem.  They deserve better from all of us, especially from a president who uses their condition to advance his own agenda.