Add this to the list of greatest improvised metaphors of all time: On Saturday, the pope stood before Independence Hall in Philadelphia and defended the “polyhedron” of pluralism and global religious freedom.
“I like to use geometry here,” he said, looking up from his notes in a tell-tale sign that his speech was about to get real. “If globalization is a sphere where each point is equidistant from the center, then it isn’t good, because it annuls each of us. But if globalization joins us as a polyhedron, where all are together but each conserves his or her own identity, then it’s good and gives dignity to all men and grants them rights.”
Unfortunately, there were no graphical aids to help those in the audience who lost Francis at the geometry imagery, but his point, emphasized throughout the rest of the speech, was clear. America declared its independence from Britain in order to preserve the rights of its residents, including the right to religious freedom. But today, “in a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without a right to a voice in the public square … it is imperative that the followers of various religions join their voices in calling for peace, for tolerance, and for respect for the dignity and rights of others,” the pope said.