My God is not the God of Roy MooreBy Madeline Anscombe | 12/03/2017 7:09pm
This past summer I was lucky enough to score an internship that most Irish Catholics only dream about: I worked for the Kennedy family. My boss, Chris Kennedy, is a gubernatorial candidate in the state of Illinois running on the Democratic ticket. His father was the late Bobby Kennedy, who was survived by his wife and medal of honor recipient Ethel Kennedy, and his uncle Jack was the first Catholic president in the United States.
Through this internship, I was honored to get to know many members of the family, and I learned from them how to live out my faith in a way that serves those around me. My faith is strongest when I use it to help others and learn to love them the way God intended me to. While I do not believe religion should be forced onto any constituent, faith and spirituality certainly has a place in the hearts of legislators across the country and world.
In perfect practice (such as what I have observed in the Kennedy family), spirituality can do great things, rooting individuals in service and compassion. But recently, I have seen an incredible amount of distrust in the church and have felt it in my heart as well. The God I follow is not the same God so often politicized and marketed by politicians such as Roy Moore. The God I believe in is not a scapegoat for truly abhorrent beliefs.
I am not on any sort of moral high-ground as an Irish Catholic. Like every other religious institution, the Catholic church has a plethora of problems with roots in sexism, racism and homophobia. Of course, I took many of the lessons I learned in church with a grain of salt, and I found that religion was not merely about whatever did or did not happen with Mary and Joseph. Rather, it was about finding bigger thematic messages such as finding faith when you have little to believe in.
Whenever all of the people who sat down and decided to write the Bible, they did not do so to condemn people 2500 years later for wearing mixed fabrics, but because they wanted to share stories that could unite people around themes such as love, acceptance, and hope. For these reasons, I am proud to be a Catholic and proud of the themes that tie us all together regardless of religious background.
Islamic faith, for instance, shares similar values to Christianity with strong ties to service and helping those less fortunate. It is not only Christianity that places incredible value on being a good citizen and accepting person. These morals are infinitely more important than the footnotes and small details of texts written by people so distant from our contemporary society. When politicians or individuals use faith as a justification for hatred they fail to understand what should be central to any belief system; doing good and preventing harm to others.
But the God that I follow does not hurt young children because he is powerful — Matthew 18:6. My God does not demand control over women’s bodies — Romans 12:4 — and my God certainly didn’t plan 9/11 as some sort of revolt against the country’s changing attitudes towards homosexuality as Roy Moore has said.
The God I follow accepts anyone with open arms, he challenges me to serve others and love people regardless of differing beliefs. He does not condemn those who choose to follow other faiths but loves us all unconditionally. He hopes to aid the poor, the sick and the dying. When I am hurt, he welcomes me and helps me find hope in what is left to come.
Even though I may read from the same Bible as Roy Moore and those who use religion to justify bigotry, my God is not his God. The God I follow, and that many good people to follow as well, does not approve of the actions and ignorance of a select few. The God I follow encourages civic engagement and promoting the greatest good for all. In regards to this upcoming special election, my God helped me register to vote so that I can vote for Doug Jones for the US Senate on December 12th.
Madeline Anscombe is a senior majoring in anthropology and her column runs biweekly.