Pope Francis is TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for doing nothing at all

On December 11, 2013 TIME Magazine made their year’s big announcement, the Person of the Year. It chose Pope Francis.

One must wonder then, if the act of doing nothing is all it takes these days to be a person of the year. Sure the Pope has said some really nice things:

Photo: Casa Rosada
Photo: Casa Rosada

Atheists can go to heaven. That’s nice, but atheists don’t actually believe in heaven, so really, it’s just a kind gesture. Lets not forget though, church officials quickly said he was wrong. (Infallible?)

The Catholic Church should back off from the fight against homosexuality. Again, this is nice, but he only suggested it, and did not change a single church policy or endorse same-sex marriage or for that matter announce the church would recognize such unions.

Capitalism cannot solve poverty. He is right, it cannot, and hearing the Pope criticize capitalism was awesome. Too bad he did it sitting on a pile of billions of dollars.

What the Pope has not done however is persecute a single child rapist priests, or even come up with a plan to do so (he talks about making a plan, but again, this guy is all talk). He hasn’t used the churches billions to make real change. Hell, IKEA donated more money to the Philippines disaster than the Catholic Church.

The Pope has also not ended the churches stance on condom use, he mentioned it once or twice, but did nothing to change it and help curb the continued spread of HIV and AIDS.

All this Pope has done is spew PR jargon. He keeps saying all the right things and making all the Catholics love him while actually doing absolutely nothing. He is selling a product less and less people are buying these days, so they are changing their message, but only their message, they have not updated their product. You are getting sold on one thing, and delivered another.

This Pope is no person of the year; he has done nothing to earn such a title, even from a failing and irrelevant magazine. Though what should we expect from a magazine that has chosen Adolf Hitler and twice chose Joseph Stalin as Person of the Year.

This article originally appeared on The Examiner.

Transgender acceptance in the atheist community


In the first weekend of June 2013, I attended the American Humanist Conference here in San Diego, CA. On the second night, they awarded journalist and author Greta Christina with the LGBT Humanist Pride Award. Her acceptance speech was amazing. She wowed the crowd with ideas and inspiration to get out and work, and she did speak about what the humanist and atheist movement can learn from the LGBT movement. But she brought up one point that really stuck out to me, one that left me thinking the whole drive home and the next day.

In the humanist and atheist movement, we are traditionally and overwhelmingly accepting of the LGBT community, but we need to do better. The area we need to improve the most? The T part. We are amazingly accepting of LGB, but we fall short on the T, the transgender community. I am not personally sure why this is, but I have some thoughts.

When it comes to the LGB, we all seem to know someone, either very directly and personally or indirectly. We understand their struggle and we want to fight right along with them. However, I think very few have a direct connection to the transgender community, or at the very least, we don’t think we do, because of the terrible social stigma still attached to it. Many of us probably do know someone who is transgender, but is still too afraid to come out.

I think the fact that it is still so hard for the LGBT community to come out in so many parts of this country is one of the biggest battles transgender people face, and as humanists, we will embark in this battle with them, but we have to make sure to include them all, not just who we know. It is our duty, as humanists, to work towards erasing the social attitudes towards traditional gender roles, and create an environment of safety and understanding for those who do not fit into our society’s current gender roles. No matter how small a group appears (and I say appears because I do believe it’s much larger than we know, and once we rewrite social norms, we will get to know many more) we should be fighting for their rights as humans.

So please, learn as much as you can about the transgender community, especially in your area, reach out to them and offer support through your humanist group, or on your own. Find out what you can do for them and let’s be sure to include everyone in our struggle together. L G B and T.

This post first appeared on EmilyHasBooks.com in June of 2013.

(Image: Ted Eytan / Creative Commons 2.0)