As you may know, I make it a point to read Sr. Joan Chittister’s column, From Where I Stand, in The National Catholic Reporter every week.  I find her words to be not only relevant and prophetic, but very real.  Her column this week hits home because I am in the midst of reading Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics.  There is much to be said about the religious moral debate in America and how it has been moved to political grounds.  Morality, as I’ve recently said, can come from religion but does not always, nor does morality stem from one religion.  Sr. Joan articulates this in only a way she can:

This is not the first time in U.S. history, however, that politics began to look like religion and single-issue religion tried to drive politics.

It was religion that fostered prohibition on moral grounds and its notoriously ineffective decline into the speakeasies operated by organized crime syndicates.

It was also religion that supported slavery and segregation and the argument that God made the white man (sic) superior.

It was religion that fueled the fire or provided the basis for many a war or Crusade.

It was religion that inveighed against dissection and all the medical information that came from it.

Religion—including Christianity–however sincere, has often been proven wrong as time went by.

Also, for all of you Michigan perusers, there is an amazing Catholic priest in your midst.  I’d heard of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton many times but never knew the ways in which this man is a Bishop among Bishops.  I’d long given up on Catholicism by the point that I’d even heard of him.  Now with my new vision of what Catholicism should be, I find Bishop Gumbleton to be a shining light in a very lackluster Archdiocese of Detroit.  His work in forwarding peace and his opposition to war, his proclamation that gays are not hated by God, and his neverending pursuit of social justice are just the beginnings of the description of an amazingly complex and gifted man.  He is an inspiration to all, secular or religious.  Here is an excerpt from a Detroit Free Press article on Bishop Gumbleton:

A founder of the Catholic peace group Pax Christi, Gumbleton remains a persistent but soft-spoken advocate for progressive and pacifist causes. He championed for poor people and fought against social injustice in Latin and South America. He spearheaded humanitarian missions to Iraq before the war to protest the UN’s economic blockade of goods and services.

Gumbleton also has been a visible advocate for more acceptance of gay people, questioning the church’s teaching that gay sexual relationships are wrong. Gumbleton, saying a person’s sexual orientation is defined at birth, has called such relationships a matter for each person’s conscience. He said he spoke out after conversations with his mother and a brother, who was gay. Gumbleton reassured his mother that God would not punish his brother for living as a gay man in a long-term relationship.

In the 1990s, Gumbleton said he saw no reason that women should not be ordained priests, other than the church’s traditional refusal to do so. The only other Catholic bishop in the United States to express such a view was Gumbleton’s close friend, the late Saginaw Bishop Kenneth Untener.