As I begin this post, I should give at little background. I am Catholic, no longer by how I was raised, but by choice. I choose to believe in God, and also to always question my faith along my journey.
I just began a new learning experience on my journey, a sociology class called Race, Class, and Gender. I decided to take it as an elective, or an otherwise not required class for my major. I wanted to take this class to push my limits, move out of my comfort zone, and join the conversation on important issues.
As I sat there listening in class to the various words I would hear over the next 15 weeks, justice, equality, value, and, of course, society, I started to think about the injustices we hear about every day. Instances of prejudice, racial slurs, and general comments that we could live without hearing.
I began thinking, I am a Catholic. For years my religion has taught me about love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Kindness towards my brothers and sisters. All of the latest social movements plead for the exact same thing. Why do religion and social movements seem to conflict if we are all striving for the same foundation of love?
I don’t speak for all churches, and I definitely don’t speak for all social movements. I also understand that certain issues, like abortion, are difficult to reconcile. What I am thinking about specifically are Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter movements. Religions that value the standards of acceptance and brotherhood should especially be involved in these movements. But is that idea accurately reflected? I’m not sure.
There is a natural quality within me to advocate for those who aren’t given an equal chance. We learn that it isn’t right in so many different forms and mediums, but why doesn’t this lesson translate and come together as a whole?
This puts me at a great crossroads in the 2016 Presidential Election. Where do you belong when you side with none of the candidates? Where do you stand when you agree with bits and pieces? When I was 18, I couldn’t wait to become registered to vote, and now that I can, and no matter how many debates I watch or how much research I do, I still have no idea how I’ll be casting my ballot. Neither left or right is right for me.
If anything, I am strong in my foundation, my values. I know myself and I know when something is right. I am a Catholic, I am a feminist, I am a social justice advocate, and I may be a contradiction, but I make it work.