John Kennedy said, Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your courntry. I recall that as a stunning reflection of idealistic values at the time.
President Obama said atheists shared with religious people a desire to serve the common good. That was the first time anyone can remember a President saying something positive about atheists.
Now, Pope Francis has joined the common good team. For the first time, his Christmas day message included an ad lib remark that atheists and the faithful should unite in seeking the common good.
Although we all know there will be some disagreement as to what is meant by the “common good”, there is more to be gained by seeking it than labeling some groups as sinners. In the past, remarks attributed to President Bush One said atheists are not patriotic citizens. Demonizing of atheists and gays by political and religious leaders alike have not contributed to finding ideals all parts of society can agree on.
The common good also could be introduced into the abortion issue. If all parties could agree the health and welfare of mothers is important and that unwanted pregnancies are to be avoided, everyone could work toward the same goal, reducing abortions.
Sin is the obstacle to uniting around a common good. When one set of people believes there is such a thing as sin, is certain it knows what that is and wants it codified into laws, we’re at an impass.