Juan has a good write-up today on the passing of the Pope. (I knew he would; it was one of the first things I checked this morning.) I also watched the re-run of the Frontline program about John Paul., and was quite touched by it. While liberals would get irritated at him for his stance on birth control, abortion, women in the priesthood, etc. (In my forthcoming article on women's exclusion in the Baha'i Faith, I note the striking parallels between his position and that of the UHJ. They are virtually identical.) But there's no doubt he did much to advance religious tolerance, and he was a strong voice for peace and human rights. That's the things that our Protestant conservatives so often miss about the message of Jesus -- the care and compassion for "the least of these". According to the gospel, it is this that separates the "sheep from the goats"; if you don't have that, then you can't pretend to be "saved". Don't believe me? Go look it up. Matthew 25:31-46.
At least John Paul was consistent in his promotion of the value of human life -- not only concerned about the unborn , but the condemned murderer, the starving, the oppressed, and those slaughtered on the battlefield. And he used the immense prestige and charisma of his office to speak out on behalf of "the least of these." May he rest in peace with the Lord he served so well.