Religion, Faith and Sprituality

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's All So Calculated: Kim Davis and The Pope

When my pastor announced that our New York parish was running a lottery for giving away the two tickets apportioned to our Roman Catholic parish, he disclaimed: Ticketholders would have to line up several hours before mass. Getting to a restroom might be a problem. One might have to take off work. Those attending the mass would have to be in their seats a few hours before the introit. The priest wanted to be sure that frail persons in devout desperation to be in the presence of the Holy Father would not receive non-transferable tickets and die trying to see Francis in the flesh. How many devout Catholics People stood in the streets, travelled miles and miles, contested with urban parking and incurred expense just to catch a glimpse of the pope? 
It was difficult, no doubt, for the pope to grant many private audiences, yet the did have time for Kim Davis. 
Who is not even Catholic. 
Who though unemployed, flew or was flown from Kentucky to DC, on someone's nickel, possibly her own. 
Or maybe the president of USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville--helped out. The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), under Timothy Dolan's leadership, devoted much time and effort to fighting same sex marriage
Pope Francis may be the "who am I to judge?" pope, but he still opposes same-sex marriage and has not said otherwise. "His Holiness" may be "a breath of fresh air" but he still views LGBTQ Catholics as undeserving of marriage. The pope's meeting with Kim Davis is disgraceful, in that he strung those who thought he might make change, along. But again, it should not surprise. 
Kim Davis did what saints do. She sinned in her female weakness, took a stand, found Jesus, threw down with God, lost her job as a direct consequence of her devotion, and found herself in jail for upholding God's law. She's a perfect totem now, for the DOMA true believers. 
Don't be surprised to see her convert to Catholicism. 
Granting Kim Davis an audience was the pope's way of looking over his shoulder and winking on his way out the door--at the old guard. 
Non-Catholics need to recognize that the "breath of fresh air" pope presides over a misogynist and homophobic hierarchy and is doing little to change that.
Catholics need to know that there is one way to make change in the leadership of the church. Cash. 
"It's all so calculation/she's such a calculator." That's Elvis Costello's line. If we want to see change, we should boycott the collection basket and Diocesan Appeals. 
I wish Pope Francis had devoted Kim Davis's 15 minutes of Catholic fame to seeing some of those lovely rosary-clutching ladies at my church who adore him. It would have required little effort for me to catch a glimpse of the pontiff. I didn't care to try. 
I'm the daughter of a NYPD cop. I know a Good Cop, Bad Cop scenario when I seen one.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Richard Glossip is Scheduled to Die By Lethal Injection Tomorrow

So much has been written about Richard Glossip.
I write this because I cannot not write what I feel on this matter. 
My feelings and convictions as they pertain from the death penalty come purely and directly from my religious feeling as a mother of Jews (informed by learning and prayer in the Reform Jewish tradition), a practicing Roman Catholic, and Christian. 
Jesus was the victim of the Death Penalty.
In the North America, we in the U.S. alone employ the Death Penalty.
In the Americas we are joined by only a few nations who use the death penalty.
Most of the “civilized” nations of the world abandoned Capital Punishment long ago.
I believe the death penalty damages the selves of those who countenance it. 
I tend to believe that the executioner sustains more spiritual injury than any monstrous felon ever could.
I know, we all know that Capital Punishment does not make us safer. It does not deter criminals. 
Most men and women would, giving the awful choice, much prefer death to a life behind bars.
We grant ourselves lenience, not the man slated for death, when we decline to execute a prisoner. 
When we execute criminals in the state’s name we make murderers of ourselves, while ironically perhaps, granting the peace of death to those whose lives we end in the name of Justice.
Thanks to the advances in forensics, we have come to experience the unique spiritual anquish and and hideous remorse of knowing how much more common false convictions are than we might have previously imagined.
Richard Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his Barry Van Treese, his boss.
There were no witnesses to the murder in question. Only hearsay evidence ties Glossip to the crime in question. 
Glossip is not accused of stands physically murdering anyone. 
The man, Justin Sneed, claims he was commissioned by Glossip to carry out the murder.
Sneed, who beat Van Treese to death with a baseball bat, is serving a life sentence, yet the man he claims hired him to kill Van Treese is scheduled to die tomorrow (September 30) by lethal injection.
Let us say for argument’s sake that the man who bludgeoned Van Treese to death is telling the truth. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that both men are guilty. Let us say that under certain circumstances Capital Punishment may be seen as just. Is justice served by the State of Oklahoma's choice to execute the man who commissioned the killing as it spares the life of the actual killer?
The actual killer, by the way, traded testimony for a lighter sentence. His parlayed this testimony to obtain life in prison. It is truly good that Oklahoma will not kill two men. 
Sneed traded his own life, in a sense, for Glossip’s. 
Richard Glossip has no prior history of violent crime.
Many of those who have been ministering to and counseling Glossip are people who oppose the death penalty under all circumstances. Read what they have to say about Richard Glossip.
Not only did Richard Glossip not commit the murder, he appears to be innocent of the crime.
If you are the praying kind, please keep Richard Glossip, his family, loved one's and defense team and the State of Oklahoma in your prayers.
If Governor Mary Fallin elects not to spare the life of Richard Glossip, she will need prayers too.
She wears a gold cross on her neck in her formal portrait. How curious. 
Governor Fallin, you might want to take that gold cross on a chain off your neck. You look ridiculous wearing it as you preside over the death of a possibly, probably innocent man. 
Please take a minute out of your day to let Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin know how you feel about this case. Go to go to Sister Helen Prejean’s Richard Glossip page and what you can do to prevent this grave injustice from transpiring tomorrow night.
Michele Somerville

Friday, January 16, 2015