Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A pontifical-portrait toaster, Papal brewskies, pontifex-inspired milkshakes, a life-sized, cardboard cutout of Francis himself, and even, yes, holy cheese! Sounds like the pope has come to town.

On Tuesday, Pope Francis landed on U.S. soil for the very first time, and on Thursday he will become the first pope in history to address a joint session of Congress. For days, the political pundits have pontificated (pardon the pun) on what Francis might say. Seen by many conservatives as leftist-leaning, there have been numerous predictions that he will preach on economic inequality, environmental issues and opening our borders — both in regards to immigration and refugees.

It is not surprising that the world expects the pope to come to America to lecture us on the evils of capitalism, but it is my hope that he would use this incredible opportunity in the midst of the most powerful legislative body in the world to speak about the issues that tear at the very soul of our nation.

I wish the pope would speak of celebrating, cherishing and protecting life at all stages. I wish he would say that all lives matter. That all are created equal, and unmistakably created in God’s image. That all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made, with our days ordained for us before we came to be.
That life is precious. That abortion is murder. And that the selling of aborted baby parts is an unconscionable act of horror.

The Bible speaks very clearly about the importance of families. They are ordained by God and are the most basic of unit of governance in any society. Families should be strengthened and encouraged, and the importance of strong families to a strong nation should be recognized.

I would hope that the pope would celebrate freedom as the ultimate gift from the Creator of All. Men were meant to be free — it is God’s will for us. And, undeniably, there is no freedom without economic freedom. A free market is the key to maintaining our strength and our rights as Americans. No economic system has ever done as much to lift more lives out of poverty than capitalism. When people own the product of their minds and their hands, they are empowered, filled with a sense of pride and self-worth.
Yes, income inequality does exist. There are poor and hurting and hungry Americans who are in need of help. Christ told us that what we do for the least of the brothers and sisters of his, we do for Him. We as Christians must take care of one another, not simply depend on the government to do so.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” — so said Founding Father and U.S. President John Adams. Our system guarantees freedom of religion, yes, but today’s threats to religious liberty are real and insidious — they must not be ignored by Congress. As long as our leaders are forced to worship at the altar of political correctness, the free worship of our faith is impossible.

Pope Francis, I implore you to speak the words this nation needs to hear. Words that come straight from Holy Scripture. Words that can lift us from the place where we find ourselves and help us glimpse the way things could be. Protecting our environment is important — yes. But it cannot have a higher priority than protecting our most precious resource — the next generation. When our children — both born and unborn — are at risk, our very future is in jeopardy. When families are diminished, the heart of our society is diminished. When the liberty to speak and worship and practice our faith are threatened, our very freedom is shaken to the core. We are on unsteady ground, Pope Francis. This is a mission field where the “harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Luke 10:2)

Life. Families. Freedom. Faith. This is the message our nation needs to hear from you, Pope Francis. May God bless your time in America as you see with your own eyes how He has so richly blessed Americans. Encourage us to be good stewards of these blessings as individuals in our communities. And pray for us that our faith may not fail. And when we have turned back, and when the excitement of your visit has died away, that we would strengthen our brothers. (Luke 22:32)

Peace be with you.

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