Columnist: I like Pope Francis

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

Larry Summerour

Contributing columnist

Everyone has a favorite religious leader.

I personally still like Billy Graham. I always liked Graham because he has always been very moral.

Unlike some televangelists, his morals have consistently been impeccable. Graham brought people together because he intentionally emphasized John 3:16.

I have always respected Dr. Martin Luther King because he was willing to take a public stand against racism. While Catholics and Protestants sat on the sidelines, he gave his all to help blacks receive their freedom.

King hated segregation so much that he was willing to die so that others could eat at a public restaurant and have the right to vote. What a great legacy Dr. King left.

If you take a serious look at today’s religious landscape, the man who stands tall is Pope Francis. There are so many reasons why this man is superior to other ministers — Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.

Thankfully, Francis is trying to take care of the poor. Let’s face it, the people who need help the most are the poor.

God has generously blessed me and my wife with material blessings. We don’t need help from Uncle Sam. However, there are millions of precious little children in this country who live from day to day.

Most people in Troup County are Republicans. Well, I am not one of them. I especially dislike most of the Republican leaders in Congress because they do not have a passion to help the less fortunate. I believe that with my whole being.

Pope Francis is trying to make the Catholic church less judgmental. Unfortunately, a lot of churches spend too much time condemning others.

I agree with Francis that everyone is important to God; that God loves all people; that the doors of a church are open to the masses.

Certainly, churches should have high moral standards. My own personal ethical system is very conservative. My wonderful wife and I have been married almost 47 years. In that time I have never committed adultery.

Our standards, however, should not keep us from ministering to people we find offensive. The greatness of Francis is that he affirms this.

As Francis has preached, the church is not a haven for saints. Instead, it is a hospital for sinners.

Francis rightly says that we are all sinners. Therefore, we all need to be repentant when it comes to our relationship with God.

My financial advisor and his family attend the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta. That church now has 30,000 members.

While that church affirms traditional marriage, it also goes out of its way to welcome homosexuals and lesbians. Francis would approve that kind of church.

Larry Summerour of Troup County is a retired pastor who enjoys political commentary.