I have often been accused of being "Jesuitical" in my way of thinking. I say "accused" because those who observed this about me were not being complimentary. Not at all. I used to be rather ashamed of this fact about myself, as I do think it is an accurate observation. As I have entered midlife, though, I have chosen to embrace it.
So, here we go.
I was thinking about the Pope's meeting with Kim Davis. This has some people wringing their hands and others jumping for joy. But -- let us remember -- the Pope is a Jesuit. And I'm wondering if the Pope pulled a Jesuit "fast one."
I am probably going to get a phone call from the Vatican because of this blog post, telling me that I am ALL WRONG. That's okay. It would be sort of cool to get a phone call from the Vatican. And I still think that what I have to say might be worth considering, even if it's not a Slick Jesuit Papal Maneuver.
I was reading the NPR article on the Pope's visit with Kim. (I just love NPR, don't you? They are always so calm and professional. I also love Ezra Klein on Vox. He is witty and hilarious and sort of a sexy nerd. But, I digress.) In this article, I noticed that the Pope used the term "conscientious objection" when discussing his visit with Kim. This is very interesting to me. VERY interesting.
I grew up during the time of the Vietnam War, and there were many conscientious objectors. My parents and their group of friends were rather divided on the validity of being a conscientious objector. Most of them thought that these individuals were, basically, unpatriotic cowards. Some of them, though, admired the values and courage of the "peaceniks." I once dated a guy -- for a little while -- who had been a conscientious objector. I decided that it was probably a good thing he had been thus, because he basically couldn't seem to stay awake. EVER. The dude would have been a very poor soldier. I would not have wanted to go into battle with this dude. He did have a cool car, though. And he helped me on a limnology project that I basically would have failed without his assistance. After said project, I never saw him again. I suppose traipsing around all those bodies of fresh water convinced him that I was MUCH too energetic for him. (OMG. I am digressing SO much today!)
Let's think, though, about conscientious objectors. In Vietnam, anyway, they were excused from the draft. I guess some of them did non-combat jobs. But, NONE of them performed the duties to which they objected. Why? Because they were excused/dismissed from the job which entailed those duties, meaning they were excused/dismissed from the job of being a soldier.
And this is the point. A conscientious objector was not allowed to become a soldier and then decide -- according to his conscience -- which of his duties he was going to perform and which of his duties he was not going to perform. Either he was in. Or he was out. And if he wanted to conscientiously object, he was OUT.
This is relevant to the case of Kim Davis. If she wants to hold the job that she has been holding, she needs to do that job. ALL of that job. As in the case of the soldier, she does not get to decide which duties she approves of and which she is going to abstain from. That kind of thinking brings chaos and anarchy. We would soon be a country resembling Gotham, if everybody got to do that. (Have you been watching the new season of "Gotham"? It is INCREDIBLE. They totally gave it a face lift from last year's season. And -- yes -- I have digressed again.) So, if the law has changed and Kim conscientiously objects to it, that is her human right. As the Pope stated. But, I bet the Pope is clever enough to realize that a conscientious objector needs to be excused -- or excuse himself/herself -- from the job to which he/she objects. Just as the soldier does not get to define his role, neither does Miss Kim. Perhaps this is the Pope's indirect and understated -- but, very Jesuitically clear -- message. And even if it's not his message, it's mine. ;-)
Now, I do think Miss Davis is a decent lady. She has basically been emotionally hijacked by and made a pawn of religious right-wingers. So, I kind of hope that the county for which she has worked will find her a new position that is both amenable to her conscience and provides for her needs. Do I think it's necessary for the county to do this? No, I don't. But, I think it would be decent. She probably won't need another job, though, because she's probably going to make a lot of money off the right-wingers. You know? With public appearances and podcasts and a YouTube channel and a book. There will probably even be a movie made about her by a certain university with which I am acquainted. Maybe I'm being cynical. I don't know.