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David Diskin: Pope's comments are a refreshing change

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Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 3:00 am

The News-Sentinel asked: Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, recently said “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gay members of the church. Do you agree with his statement? Do you think it will bring any changes?

While Pope Francis may have had a dubious past, his recent statements about homosexuality, atheism, and compassion are refreshing. Never in my life have I heard such positive statements from the papacy, and it’s my hope that world will take notice. Sadly, the Vatican’s official response to his statements have been retractions. So much for being infallible.

This isn’t the first time that atheists have agreed with the Catholic Church. In the 1950s, Pope Pius XII declared that the theory of evolution was not incompatible with Catholic dogma. That statement was later reaffirmed and expanded upon in 1996 by Pope John Paul II. And for the decade that followed, the Catholic church appeared to be moving toward a more progressive era. Today’s Catholic schools teach evolution alongside their secular counterparts, while fundamentalist Christians attempt to force Intelligent Design into science classes.

And so like evolution, I see a gradual change occurring – not just for the Catholic Church, but for religion altogether. Our country’s support of same-sex marriage, of equal benefits to partners, and allowing gays to defend our country is on the right path. Though his church’s spokespeople might disagree with him, the Pope’s comment about judgment is absolutely correct. Whether we are the product of random mutations or divine inspiration, love is love.

David Diskin is the co-organizer of Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers.

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