So, it is not OK for the Pope to talk about poverty and climate change?

There have been a series of comments by Republican presidential candidates and leaders directed at Pope Francis for having the nerve to talk about helping people in poverty and doing something about climate change. They have basically told him to stick to religion and one even said “helping us be better people.” I am having a hard time coming to grips with these comments, but I guess these folks felt like they had to say something to counteract the veracity of the Pope’s message. And, some of the candidates are even Catholic, no less.

Let me first say I agree with the messages of the Pope who is probably the greatest leader we have on the planet today. No, he is not perfect, but he is speaking about issues the Catholic Church has always stood for, helping people in need. More global charities to help the poor have been started by the Catholic Church and other churches for that matter than any other source. So, for the Pope to speak on poverty is part and parcel with the history of the church and Jesus’ teaching to look after who he called “the least of these.”

Further, the Christian bible and other religious texts are filled with passages about taking care of the environment, so speaking to climate change as a source of concern is also part and parcel with the history of the church. The Pope has noted that people in poverty are more impacted by climate change and environmental problems than other folks. So, his message on climate change has a dual purpose. Yet, with him coming to speak to Congress, we will witness a mountain of public relations unleashed on his right to speak to these issues. To be frank, this will backfire on the assailants and should.

But, to make these comments even more bizarre are the comments that are seemingly condoned by religious leaders who support the Republican Party. So, by virtue of the Presidential candidates’ silence, the following comments must be OK.

– Reverend Franklin Graham’s consistent indicting rhetoric toward Muslims and LGBT people. Contrast this to the Pope’s comments of a year ago when asked about gays, when he responded, “who am I to judge?”

– A minister in Maiden, NC who says we should put gay people behind an electrified fence, so that they will die off, a message which was reinforced by a minister and public official in Alabama.

– Pat Buchanan who says the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling could start another Civil War.

– The State of Oklahoma GOP’s statement on Facebook equating feeding wild animals and people in need, which is particularly offensive  (see link below).

– Pat Robertson’s comments that hurricanes are God’s response to various civil rights changes. I always find this one of interest, as the last two GOP Conventions have been shortened a day by hurricanes. While one was in Tampa, the other one was in Minneapolis, MN not known for its hurricanes. So, Reverend Robertson, does that mean……

We have a global poverty problem which is also apparent in the United States. It is a shame that so many Americans go hungry and cannot make enough money to live. Also, climate change is real and is man-influenced. It does affect those in need more, as people’s livelihoods are being washed away. And, the Pope not only is right to speak about these issues, it is well within his rights to speak about them. By the way, he has a Masters in Chemistry, so he also has a scientific mind which adds some gravitas.

My strong advice to these candidates is to watch what you say. Your current position is in the wrong and if you follow the advice of your funders, it will haunt you. You are definitely barking up the wrong tree on this. This Pope has far more credibility than any Presidential candidate throwing mud at him.

21 thoughts on “So, it is not OK for the Pope to talk about poverty and climate change?

  1. Fabulous! Well Said! I can’t believe these nincompoops, especially the catholics who speak out against their faith leaders. When it comes to faith, money speaks louder than religion, and the pope is in second place behind the big money (koch brothers, Adelson, etc). Wow.

    Republican candidate Lindsay Graham spoke out yesterday against the “i’m no scientist crowd.” He said that he wasn’t a scientist, either, but questioned if 9 doctors told these candidates that they were deathly ill, and a 10th told them they were just fine, would they blindly believe the 10th?

    It just seems to me that the far right candidates are painting themselves into ever smaller corner, from which they won’t be able to extricate themselves.

    Great post

  2. Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today and commented:
    I keep getting pictures in my head of these idiots sticking their fingers in their ears, dropping to their backs and kicking their feet while going “LA LA LA LA LA!!!!” Really, really Loud . . . they show the mental and emotional equanimity of two year olds. Destroy your toys at will, because mummy will just buy you more, scream and rage and throw temper tantrums because you aren’t held to a higher standard, steal everyone elses toys and hoard them for yourself.

    Weren’t these people supposed to learn better than this in Kindergarten?????

    • Thanks for the reblog and child tantrum analogy. At some point, people are going to look behind the curtain and notice their is no substance to the critics’ claims.

      • Truly, the only hope is out of the limelight. Many GOP politicians know climate change is real and man-influenced, they are just restricted by their funders from saying. Boehner and McConnell are recorded by video saying these words dating back to 2008. It had only gotten worse not better, so why the change?

      • $$$$$$$$$$ Oil companies want to drain every dollar before the oil runs out. The car companies want to sell as many cars as they can on gasoline engines because they want to make as much money as possible before the oil runs out and their manufacturing plants become useless and they have to pay out to switch over to other fuels. Power companies are the same, other forms of power such as wind and solar can be set up by individuals so won’t make them tons o’ cash, so they have to stop that and keep oil based plants running as long as possible. It all comes back to the money. The individuals have more money than they could spend in centuries, and yet they keep piling it up. When the gas is gone, the ‘regular’ people will suffer and be left cold, hungry and destitute, sort of like any one of the post apocalyptic books out there these days (One Second After by William J. Forstchen is a good one – life after a massive EM pulse strike. Very realistic – and no zombies!). No food deliveries, no medical supply deliveries, hospitals can’t function, you get the idea. But the uber rich will be fine – stockpiles, private farms, etc….. It may not be “right now” but it is coming, it is inevitable unless we do something. But as long as they only think about themselves, it doesn’t matter. And if you have enough money to build the technology that you bought up and hid, you can have clean air, good food, health care, everything we took for advantage before the banking crisis and we started losing our grip on being anything other than an upcoming slave class. Freaky thought processes? Well, not so much if you sit down with charts and graphs of what has happened over the last half of the last millennium and where we are now. And We, The People, sit back on our collective asses, ignoring it all, listening to the sort of propaganda we were talking about the other day – the vicious ranting of vicious people.

        On another note: this might interest you?

      • Leiah, most profound. The apocalyptic movies should be redone, as nuclear disaster will not be the culprit, it will be due to the inability of our dear water supply to support a growing population. Plus coastal wetlands will be exhausted. The lust for squeezing profits from fossil fuels will be the cause through climate change and use of water to create steam to power and frack. Duke Energy has projection that the river that supports Charlotte metro and other cities cannot support our growth unless we change our energy growth, yet is that news? No, as it is beyond leaders’ time horizon. I will link to the blog you noted. Thanks, BTG

  3. Note to Readers: I was chatting with people from The Nature Conservancy and Sierra Club and both said even they have a few members who are not fully convinced climate change is man -influenced, yet to a person they agree that it is critical we take care of the environment. So, there is always common ground to be found if people would only look for it. So, chastising the Pope, especially with the veracity of his comments is inappropriate.

    • I am amazed that members of those organizations, who are supposed to be fairly smart, can ignore the wealth of evidence that this mess is, in part at least, man-made! Let’s hope you are right and some common ground is found — but not at the cost of the whole truth.

      • Hugh, I think it is traceable to Republicans used to believe in conservation and the environment more than they do now. So, we have a few members who are exposed to more rhetoric than fact. Also, there is a group that is called “Conservatives for Clean Energy.” They are all for the cleaner energy and see the benefit to jobs and the environment.

        I think Bob Inglis, the former GOP Congressman who was highlighted in “Merchants of Doubt” when he went to Antarctica and saw the climate change impact as measured. He took the message back to Congress and spoke openly about climate change and then got trounced by an oil backed candidate in the next primary. It was not even close. So, I think he is trying to sneak up on people without mentioning climate change. Thanks for your comments, BTG

  4. Can we get an AMEN over here? The Pope Rocks! and that is coming from someone who turned in her Catholic card years ago. I agree that he is by far the only one making any sense when he speaks these days. As for the opinion of those circus members/candidates, they are clearly blinded by their hateful misinterpretation of anything Jesus had to do to say.
    Pope Francis is coming to my city in September and I am honored to have him drop some truth bombs during his stay.

    • He does rock and this is from a non-Catholic, so I had no card to turn in. When people speak about universal (and obvious problems), they are on the side of the Angels.

  5. I am impressed by the Pope’s willingness to speak out on social issues, and also to focus on this cause, among many he could have chosen. It’s sad that we don’t even expect significant world leaders to have an opinion on the big issues, so we are surprised when they do!

    • I daresay American politicians have opinions, but they are reluctant to express them publicly for fear of losing financial support from those who have paid their way. They know which hand feeds them!

      • The interesting result is more folks are taking matters into their own hands. The wind and solar markets are occurring with or without help from leaders. They really are not leaders as much as followers now and in some cases hired guns for lobbyists.

    • Thanks. What amazes me here is a leader speaking obvious truths and he is being ridiculed by presidential candidates who have been told by their funders to downplay climate change and blame the poor entirely for being poor, which is the unfortunate rhetoric of the “haves.” This is why Jeb Bush’s comment of needing to work harder is not resonating with people who are working two part time jobs.

  6. Note to Readers: I saw a flippant reference in the anonymous tidbits that papers solicit. The comment referenced the Pope as a “loose cannon.” My guess is this is how those who are scared of his comments are playing it as a defense mechanism. May he continue to be a “loose cannon” as someone with clout should speak of these things. Bernie does not have as far a reach.

  7. Republicans represent big business and big business doesn’t want to hear about the environment because it gets in the way of making more money. It’s great that the pope is talking environment. But I have one problem with the church’s position. In 1804 (best guess) the world population hit 1 billion. In 1927 it hit 2 billion. When I was a kid it was 3.3 billion. Now it is over 7 billion. And the Catholic church is still against any form of birth control that isn’t abstinence. You CAN’T be a credible advocate for the environment and maintain this position, in my opinion. Anything we do to slow down per-capita impact on the environment is offset if we keep increasing the number of “capita”s we have to count. I welcome the pope’s enlightened stance on the importance of the environment, but the church needs to move past it’s historical opposition to birth control. I’m not Catholic,so I’m not sure if it is related to “be fruitful and multiply”, but if it is, we are multiplying ourselves, and many other species on the planet, into catastrophe.

    • Excellent comments. What is interesting there is a group called Conservatives for Clean Energy that is advocating the environmental and job creation that comes with renewable energy. Their voice is not loud enough to overcome the money invested by the fossil fuel industry, but they are on the right path.

      Relative to birth control, this is one of my references to the Pope not being perfect. Yet, about 90% of American Catholic women use birth control against the Church’s position. The other benefit as shown in Colorado and other states, abortions decline in places where family planning and birth control are advocated. Thanks for your comment.

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