The Washington Post

Who am I to judge?

The pope said a mouthful when he asked that question. I don’t want to get into religion, except, yes I do. The Christian faith is a fascinating one. Its core message, of Love your enemy is counterintuitive, to say the least, and speaking of least, the other message of Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me, is truly breathtaking in its meaning.

It was a pretty effective message at gathering up a lot of least-of-theses, and the faith counts a pretty impressive membership as a result. Of course, once you’re in and not-so-leasty-anymore, then the calculations start to change. Just look at the similar ‘wretched refuse’ line on the Statue of Liberty. Maybe we were wretched then, but surely not as wretched as the ones asking to get in NOW.

No, once you’re in a country, or a religion, the real fun begins with judging OTHERS to be the sinners, or the problem. ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ disappears, becoming as invisible as the angels of our better selves. The real message of Christianity is to judge YOURSELF very harshly and to forgive and forgive and forgive again everybody else. Expecting people to do that is a tall order in the land of the munchkins.

But every once in a while, from the top of a religious hierarchy (improbable both for its size and worldly trappings to have been built on such a doctrine), the core message is mentioned again, and it is as startling now as it was 2000 years ago.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.


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