Pope Francis came to town in Washington, DC, this week, calling for a “revolution of tenderness,” and bringing his powerful messages on climate change and poverty to Congress. Naturally, wingnuts don’t want to hear it.
Right-wingers have been giving Pope Francis the side-eye ever since he took up residence in the Vatican. On economics, Pope Francis is closer to Bernie Sanders than Paul Ryan. And Francis’ views on subjects like capitalism, poverty, and climate change, gave conservatives the vapors from day one.
“Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities.”
– Said in criticism of the government of Néstor Kirchner, former President of Argentina, in 2009
“Money has to serve, not rule.”
– Speech to new ambassadors to the Holy See, in 2013
“Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry. We all have to think if we can become a little poorer, all of us have to do this.”
– To students from Jesuit-run schools in Italy and Albania
On The Environment
“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. … A number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.”
– From Pope’s encyclical on the environment, in 2015
“God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one. I believe that we have exploited nature too much.”
– Press conference, flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, January 15, 2015
On Social Issues
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn’t marginalise people for this. They must be integrated into society.”
– Interview with Vatican correspondents, in 2013
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”
– Interview with America: The National Catholic Review, 2013
No wonder right-wingers were unhappy. The complaining started will before Pope Francis even set foot on American soil.
- Rep. Paul Gosar (R, Arizona), who is Catholic, said he will boycott Pope Francis’ historic address to Congress, because of the Pope’s view on climate change.
- Radio host Michael Savage, who believes Pope Francis is full-fledged Marxist following in Pol Pot’s footsteps. Savage said that Francis’ speech to Congress means “the communist revolution is complete.”
- A group of climate change denialists assembled by the Heartland Foundation warned of “pagan forms returning to the Church,” because of the Pope’s climate change views.
- Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa) suggested the Pope stick to abortion and same-sex marriage.
- Conservative columnist George Will called the Pope’s views on climate change and poverty “demonstrably false and deeply reactionary.”
- Fox News host Brian Kilmeade called Pope Francis a “Marxist” who should “stay home,” because he “doesn’t like capitalism.”
Wingnuts whined even louder after Pope Francis arrived. There was plenty to upset them.
- Upon arriving at the White House, the Pope gave a brief address in which praised President Obama for his climate change initiatives: “Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’, we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about ‘a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change’ (Laudato Si’, 13).”
- From there, Francis was welcomed at an LGBT-inclusive White House reception. Invited guests included openly gay former Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson; Margie Winters, a Philadelphia Catholic school teacher fired for marrying another woman; and Mateo Williamson, a Catholic transgender activist. The event reportedly went off without a hitch.
- Though he practiced English for his White House speech, the Pope delivered his first mass in America in Spanish and Latin, and most of his speeches during his US visit will be delivered in Spanish.
- Five-year-old Sofia Cruz of California, got a papal welcome when she crossed the police barricade at the parade for the Pope in Washington, DC. Spotting her, Pope Francis gestured for Sofia to come forward. Secret Service officers handed Sofia over to the Pope, where she received a hug and a blessing. Pope Francis also accepted a gift from little Sofia: a bright yellow t-shirt that read in Spanish, “Pope: Rescue DAPA so the legalization would be with your blessing.” DAPA is the Deferred Action For Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, President Barack Obama’s executive action to extend deportation protections to the parents of the approximately 5 million U.S. citizens and some permanent residents.
If that wasn’t enough, Pope Francis followed his White House speech with a historic address to a joint session of Congress. In a speech that went on for nearly an hour, Pope Francis:
- Echoed #BlackLivesMatter, making his thoughts on the fight for racial equality clear when he invoked two civil rights champions — Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr. — and spoke of the need to “defend and preserve the dignity” of all, especially those “in situations of greater vulnerability or risk,” and of building “a culture which enables people to dream of full rights for all their brothers and sisters.” He added that, “just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”
- Gave a shout out to Dorothy Day, the radical social activist who started the Catholic Worker Movement and was an outspoken advocate of pacifism and labor right. Oh, and she was a socialist, too. Francis cited her as one of the most important Americans in recent history, but he stopped short of canonization — for now.
- Maintained his virtual silence on same-sex marriage, despite right-wingers urging him to stick to bedroom issues. On his first visit to the most powerful country in the world, which just legalized same-sex marriage, Pope Francis said nothing of it.
- Continued to speak out against greed, also known as “the love of money,” “the root of all evil” — or as Pope Francis has called it, “the unfettered pursuit of money,” and “the dung of the devil.” He went on to denounce the “boundless thirst” for wealth and power, when he addressed the U.N. General Assembly.
- Instead of the expected anti-abortion spiel that brought congressional conservatives to their feet Pope Francis pulled a death penalty switcheroo. Speaking of his belief in the Golden Rule, Francis said, “This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.”
- Vindicated the immigrant rights movement, and did Sofia Cruz proud: “In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent are now fearful of foreigners because most of us… because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descendants from immigrants.”
And away they went.
- Conservatives were outraged that gay Catholics were invited to meet Pope Francis as the White House.
- Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called the Pope’s White House visit “a cattle call for gay and pro-abortion activists,” in an op-ed for Daily Caller.
- Fox News host Andrew Napolitano questioned “the political motivations behind this pope from Latin America.”
- Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called Pope Francis “a little naïve,” and said, “I don’t think he understands the robust capitalism that we have in this country.”
- Fox Business host Stuart Varney exploded into a 20-minute tirade after Pope Francis addressed climate change while speaking at the White House. “Where’s the statement about saving my soul?” Varney asked. “The holy father is in the United States of America, a minister to my soul, the soul of all Catholics, all Christians. Come on!”
- Former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Pope Francis shouldn’t discuss climate change, because “he’s not a scientist.” Except, as awe already know, Pope Francis graduated from Technical School as a Chemical Technician before he decided to become a priest.
Twitter was the usual love-fest.
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) September 24, 2015
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) September 22, 2015
How many refugees is the Pope planning on housing in the Sistine Chapel, again? #justaskingthequestion
— Andrea Tantaros (@AndreaTantaros) September 24, 2015
Obama: “We are all made in the image of God.” Yes, we are – even the little ones butchered by Planned Parenthood.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 23, 2015
Pope and White House stage open borders Kabuki theater with 5 yr old amnesty pawn http://t.co/EUO4RuyCiV
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) September 24, 2015
THIS Pope’s philosophy of worshiping the poor, blaming the rich leads to Latin American poverty. American Catholicism leads to success.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 23, 2015
Pope Echoes Obama’s ‘Offensive’ Prayer Breakfast Remarks… http://t.co/1g7WY2Z8PM
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) September 24, 2015
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 21, 2015
Fox News host Shepard Smith had the perfect response to Pope Francis’ right-wing critics: “consult a mirror.”
It’s the only news bigger than the Pope coming to town. One day after meeting the pontiff, House Republicans won’t have John Boehner to kick around anymore. House Speaker John Boehner is resigning from Congress, come October.
Did he jump, or was he pushed? Probably a little from column A, and a little from column B. Column A: the tea party caucus in the House pushed Boehner out because he wouldn’t shut down the government over Planned Parenthood. Column B: facing a likely no-confidence vote, tired of saving the House GOP from itself, Boehner decided 20 years was a good run, and left to go work on his tan and his golf swing.
Wingnuts jubilantly waved Boehner’s scalp on Twitter.
Ted Cruz on Boehner resignation: “I have long called on Republican leadership to do something unusual, which is lead.”
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) September 25, 2015
Cruz on Boehner: “There is a frustration in this country and it is volcanic.”
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) September 25, 2015
YAY!!!!!! Boehner is resigning.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 25, 2015
Had Boehner and his staff just not treated other Republicans like jackasses, he’d still be Speaker. http://t.co/eMABhTGZ62
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 25, 2015
Thank you, FreedomWorks activists! pic.twitter.com/uIkyd6GJKB
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) September 25, 2015
— Tea Party Patriots (@TPPatriots) September 25, 2015
ONE LAST CRY: BOEHNER TO RESIGN FROM CONGRESS http://t.co/d576Qt7D4B
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) September 25, 2015
Today, conservatives cry tears- of joy! RT @edhenry: Boehner’s tears yesterday make a lot more sense today
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) September 25, 2015
Good news: Boehner out come October. Which will guarantee him enough time to ram through a crappy budget deal funding Planned Parenthood.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 25, 2015
Rubio to Value Voters: “Just a few mins ago, Speaker Boehner announced he will be resigning.” HUGE ovation. Many standing.
— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) September 25, 2015
And the reaction of the crowd at the Values Voters conference pretty much says it all.