This week, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s orthodoxy office, issued a formal response to a question regarding clergy having authority to bless gay unions. As it turns out, the world’s oldest and continuously functioning religious institution still follows the doctrines developed over thousands of theological debates rather than Bidenism.
I don’t have a doctrinal stake in this fight, but I was taken aback by the reaction of CNN’s Don Lemon, who noted that: “God is not about hindering people or even judging people.”
Now, I’m not a Catholic, or a theologian, or even a believer. I don’t care what people do in the bedroom. Yet, I would vigorously maintain that any religion worth following has a God that “judges” and “hinders” His people. An appreciation for moral order and tradition makes me a bit of a Catholphile — all the hindering and judging, but also the forgiveness. And after some rudimentary research, I found that the New and Old Testaments — depending slightly on your denomination’s preferred version — specifically cast God as the judge of mankind somewhere over 70 times.
“But God is the Judge . . .” Psalm 75:7
“For God Himself is judge. . . .” Psalm 50:6
“For the Lord is our judge . . .” Isaiah 33:22
“The Lord arises to contend,
And stands to judge the people . . .” Isaiah 3:13
“. . . and to God, the Judge of all . . .” Hebrews 12:23
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy . . .” James 4:12
“For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people . . .’ Hebrews 10:30
“. . . in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge . . .” Timothy 4:8
“. . . they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. . . .” Peter 4:5
“And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. . . .” Acts 10:42
And so on.
God does a ton of judging and smiting in my favorite parts of the Old Testament. The Lord levels entire cities, peoples, and nations for their moral infractions. And who doesn’t believe the Amalekites got what was coming to them? Then again, though fairly educated in biblical tradition, I am, admittedly, unfamiliar with the codes of free-for-all God-less denominations such as Unitarian Universalists, Episcopalians, Reform Jews, or what have you. Do any of them follow a holy book in which God does not judge mankind’s behavior? If not, to which God is Lemon referring?