Pope Francis, Prime Minister Netanyahu Remind America of Our Religious Moorings

REV. MARK H. CREECH
REV. MARK H. CREECH

Pope Francis’ historic visit to America has the entire nation abuzz with energy. The news media has covered his every move. Social media is on fire with comments about him.

I am not a member of the Catholic Church. I am a Protestant, a Baptist to be more specific. I reject numerous doctrines embraced by my Catholic friends: prayers for the dead, veneration of angels and dead saints, the exaltation of Mary, worship of images and relics, celibacy of the priesthood, transubstantiation, confession of sins to a priest, the apocryphal books added to the Bible, the belief in purgatory, and the infallibility of the Pope in matters of faith and morals, to name a few. I don’t mean by these remarks to minimize or disparage, but only to state the differences.

There are many other points with Catholics on which I do agree: the inspiration of the Scriptures, the deity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, the miracles, the resurrection of the Body, a future judgment, heaven and hell and many other Bible truths. In such common ground with Catholics, I rejoice.

Moreover, I heartily agree with the great moral principle stated by Pope Francis in his recent address to a joint meeting of Congress. I have never heard a more eloquent statement of our traditional commitment to being “one nation under God.” Pointing to the figure of Moses in the form of a white Vermont marble relief on the House Chamber wall, the pontiff said:

“Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and the lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.”

I think it is also interesting to note that when Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel spoke before Congress in March of this year, he too pointed to that same image of Moses hanging over the gallery doors and reminded Congress of our common cause with the great lawgiver.

The irony that two great world leaders, one a Jew and the other a Christian, would stand before our nation’s highest body and remind us of our religious moorings is almost eerily prophetic in its implications.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Rev. Mark H. Creech is executive director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina Inc.