First the Pope…then Pat Robertson
In light of some recent unexpected statements made by some highly influential people in our world, I have been exploring more deeply the underpinnings of why we believe what we believe, and what it takes to create significant change in long and tightly held belief systems. What is the aftereffect globally when someone who has the massive outreach of the Pope or the controversial but well-known televangelist Pat Robertson publicly speaks outside of the box which holds their traditional points of view?
In an article published by The Huffington Post, “The 83-year-old televangelist [Pat Robertson] sat down on Sunday for the ‘Bring It Online’ advice portion of his Christian Broadcasting Network show, ‘The 700 Club.’ A viewer named David wrote in asking how he should refer to two transgender females who work in his office and have legally changed their genders. Instead of criticizing the trans individuals, Robertson approached the situation in a seemingly level-headed manner.”
“‘I think there are men who are in a woman’s body,’ he said. ‘It’s very rare. But it’s true — or women that are in men’s bodies — and that they want a sex change. That is a very permanent thing, believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated and when you have shot up with various kinds of hormones. It’s a radical procedure. I don’t think there’s any sin associated with that. I don’t condemn somebody for doing that.’”
“He went on to say he would ‘question the validity’ of someone who just says, ‘Well I’m really a woman’ because you ‘don’t count somebody as female unless they really are, or male unless they really are.’”
“When his co-host said the viewer doesn’t know the intentions or medical history of his co-workers, Robertson rebutted, ‘It’s not for you to decide or to judge.’”
Yes, Mr. Robertson’s unpredictable statements are still interwoven between layers of intolerance and judgment, but couple his message with the most-recent comments by Pope Francis which have been making spectacular headlines around the world where he told reporters “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” I am just wondering what might be happening here.
When the people who have been placed collectively at the forefront of large groups of people — whose numbers easily reach into the millions — change their points of view about long-held beliefs, or when they express new thoughts about old ideas, how does this impact the belief systems of the people who associate themselves closely with those groups? What is the ripple effect? Do large numbers of people “change their minds” because someone now told them to, whether that be for “better” or “worse”? How do we know when someone is a messenger versus a manipulator?
Of course, we know that truth, real truth, is a knowing that emanates from deep, deep within. So why is it, then, that so many of us experience our lives as a journey of seeking and finding, gathering our truth from places that exist external to us, perhaps even in the words of someone else’s truth, ignoring the accuracy of our own internal compass and pushing painfully past the true nature of our feelings?
Imagine a world where each and every one of us stood in the light of our own truth, where we didn’t say “yes” when we meant “no”; where we didn’t say “no” when we really truly wanted to say “yes.”
Perhaps in that kind of world we wouldn’t have parents giving birth to children on Saturday, July 20, and waiting until Wednesday, July 24, to name their newborn child, a precious new life, so they can find out what Prince William and Kate Middleton named their child first and follow suit accordingly.
Maybe in that kind of world it would be highly unlikely that some of the highest-rated television programs would continue to be “reality” shows which depict the “reality” someone else is choosing for us instead of the one we have the ability to create ourselves. Perhaps we would simply not desire to watch television at all…unless we do.
Maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t be shooting people in our own neighborhoods because they look different than we do. Do you think it is possible that within the space and light of our own truth we would not ever feel moved to hurt or oppress another because we would understand at a very deep level that the “truths” we have been told, the stories we have made up about each other or been handed down, the ones which cause us to hurt each other in the first place, are simply not true?
And perhaps in that kind of a world people in positions of power and influence, such as Pope Francis and, yes, even Pat Robertson, will continue to break free from the bonds of history, tradition, and sameness to demonstrate that change, significant and lasting change, is not only a remote possibility, but it is something which is actually taking place right here, right now.
I’m just wondering how the tide of change will roll onto the shore of Humanity in the wake of some of these surprisingly refreshing and recently made comments. If we are going to live in a world where we continue to adopt someone else’s truth as our own, maybe we should be paying close attention right now to the new “truths” that are yearning to be heard and the new “story” that is desiring to be written.
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)