WTF? GOP Balks At Honoring Pope Francis Because He “Sound[s] Like Obama”

The Centers for Disease Control may want to get involved soon because the epidemic of Obama Derangement Syndrome is spreading unchecked in the halls of Congress. A draft resolution to honor Pope Francis, authored by Republican Peter King and Democrat John Larson, has been stalled by an acutely myopic band of GOP obstructionists.

Pope Francis

H.Res.440 seeks to recognize Pope Francis for “his humility, his commitment to economic justice and improving the lives of the poor, and his outreach to individuals from all walks of life.” Those surprisingly non-controversial reasons for honoring the new Pontiff has the Tea Party Republican caucus steeping in anger and refusing to join the tribute. According to a GOP source who spoke to The Hill, the alleged reason for their disrespectful non-participation is that…

“Some Republicans believe the pope is ‘sounding like [President] Obama. [The pope] talks about equality — he actually used the term ‘trickle-down economics,’ which is politically charged,’ the GOP official said.”

OMG! The head of the Catholic church has debased Christianity by daring to discuss equality and empathy for the poor. Certainly Jesus would never have done anything like that. And to the extent that President Obama has articulated the same philosophy, the Pope is obviously aligned with his Marxist agenda.

That’s why, of the 221 co-sponsors of the bill (more than enough to insure passage), only 19 are Republicans. But at this point, GOP Speaker John Boehner has refused to bring it up for a vote. The Hill’s source also complained that Francis is “too liberal,” as demonstrated by his distaste for the harmful effects of unbound free markets and his tolerance for civil unions.

To be sure, Pope Francis has shown himself to be a devoted advocate for the disadvantaged of the world. He has made headlines for his willingness to humble himself before those he serves in profound ceremonial gestures like washing the feet of the poor, including women, and embracing the sick. In an official Vatican “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), The Pope went into stark detail about the greater harm of the greed and power associated with world markets and unfettered capitalism. Some of the more illuminating excerpts include…

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

“In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market.”

“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.”

No wonder the Republicans view this Pope as the reincarnation of Karl Marx. And this isn’t the first time that Francis has been disparaged with an association to our president. Last December News Corpse reported on a story on Fox News that declared that “Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us.” The story warned that the popular new Pope is already headed in the wrong direction and that “just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.” That was a rather remarkable insult coming from a network whose roster is heavily dominated by Roman-Catholics.

And that’s not all. Rush Limbaugh said that “If it weren’t for capitalism, I don’t know where the Catholic church would be. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope.” Sarah Palin complained about his “liberal statements.” Glenn Beck, although not referring directly to the Pope, begged his disciples to “run as fast as you can” from any church that uses the words “social justice,” which, of course, are the very words the Pope used.

However, no one should be surprised by the overt hypocrisy that runs rampant through the ranks of America’s right-wing. They have never been particularly pious except when it justifies their political bias. To them Catholic teachings are only meant to be followed so long as they are in harmony with Republican doctrine. And often, they are not. But Pope Francis had something to say about this as well:

“Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good. [...] I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!. It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”

As far as Republicans are concerned, that was a campaign ad for the Democratic Party.

Father Bill O’Reilly’s Execrable Exhortation On The Pope, Capitalism, And The Far Left

A couple of months ago, Pope Francis delivered an exhortation on the state of global poverty and society’s response to it. It was a rather profound critique of the conservative economic principles that have been the central political focus of the Tea Party and its Republican benefactors. Ever since, right-wingers from Sarah Palin to Rush Limbaugh have walked the tightrope of respecting the Pontiff while blasting his guidance as extreme liberalism and pure Marxism.

Pope Francis
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Now Bill O’Reilly has joined the fray with another of his Talking Points Memos that articulate his notoriously vapid opinions on whatever is irking him that day. He titles this one “The Pope, Capitalism, And The Far Left.” It started out as a rebuke of lefty pundits who have embraced the Pope’s call for income equality. O’Reilly accuses the left of distorting the words of the Pope, but he doesn’t provide a single example of any such distortion. Not one. He does, however, leave out numerous excerpts from the Pope’s writings that explicitly condemn conservative economics like the “trickle-down theory” and advocate on behalf of the poor. For instance:

“[S]ome people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.” [...and...] “It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”

O’Reilly further declares that “I can tell you with certainty that the Pope opposes” economic justice, which O’Reilly recasts as socialism. From whence he gets his certainty is unexplained. It certainly is not from the Pope’s own words that include…

“[N]one of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice.” [...and...] “We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth,” he said, adding that it requires “processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income.”

The Pope is using very specific and carefully chosen language that demolishes any hope of right-wingers dismissing his meaning. “Social justice” and “distribution of income,” phrases the right has tried feverishly to demonize, are not accidental rhetorical flourishes on the part of the Pope. Nor is it accidental when O’Reilly, nevertheless, dismisses the Pope with hollow posturing by saying that the left “want to impose a nanny-state that redistributes income,” or that “The left doesn’t care about the facts. It’s all about hating America.”

When it comes to hate, O’Reilly has a distinct advantage. Aside from having an academic study prove that he uses derogatory names on his program once every 6.8 seconds, he took this latest opportunity to harshly disparage the people about whom the Pope was talking. O’Reilly assigned blame for the tribulations of the poor only on their own alleged shortcomings, asserting that they refuse to “work hard, be honest, stay sober, and get educated.” He would never acknowledge the responsibility of the government’s institutional bias in favor of wealthy elites for the economic imbalance that clamps down on society’s less fortunate. It’s far easier for those in O’Reilly’s social strata to insult the poor as lazy, lying, drunken, illiterates.

Bill O'Reilly

If O’Reilly actually believed that the left was distorting the Pope’s words, he would have provided an example. Instead he made a blind allegation that he never bothered to support, all the while ignoring the fact that the Pope’s words were not ambiguous in their contempt for compassionless elitists like O’Reilly. It’s an indication of just how desperate the right is to pretend they have a moral alliance with the Pope when, in reality, they are scrambling to avoid any remotely honest discourse about the income inequality that Pope Francis spoke about so eloquently.

Fox News Compares Obama To Pope Francis – And Not In A Good Way

Here it comes, folks. The Fox News sufferers of ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) are exhibiting advanced symptoms of ever greater severity. Their determination to demonize President Obama is returning to the absurdly elevated levels that characterized the last two elections when they portrayed him as a friend to terrorists and a foreign-born Marxist who hates America.

The latest in their cavalcade of lunacy is a report that compares Obama to Pope Francis with a headline feature, “Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us,” that is insulting to both of them.

Fox News

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The story, in predictable Fox fashion, assails the President as a weak, ineffective leader who naively panders to his enemies. What was less predictable is the attribution of the same failings to the previously infallible Pope. The author, Fox News editor and self-described Catholic, Adam Shaw, begins by declaring that the popular new Pope is already headed in the wrong direction and that “just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.” That’s a pretty strong condemnation directed at God’s anointed representative on Earth. Either Shaw knows better about what’s best for the church than the Lord Almighty, or he just wants to exploit this matter to beat up on a president he and his bosses despise.

Shaw’s argument supporting this view loiters around feverish criticisms that the Pope is insufficiently dismissive of gays, contraception, and those churchly nuisances, the poor. He chastises the the Pope for grumbling that “Francis thinks by talking vacuously about the poor, he will be respected.” What Shaw means by “vacuous” is the Pope’s remarkable exhortation on economic inequality that rebuked the idolatry of money and trickle-down economics (you know, like Jesus did). It’s a theme the President picked up on yesterday in his speech on the same subject, but what Shaw called “vacuous” Obama called “eloquent.”

“The Pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. ‘How can it be,’ he wrote, ‘that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?’”

Shaw sums up his screed with a twin-barrel attack on both Obama and the Pope as confused and deceived dupes of some sort of covert socialist cabal:

“Like Obama, Francis is unable to see the problems that are really endangering his people. Like Obama he mistakes the faithful for the enemy, the enemy for his friend, condescension for respect, socialism for justice and capitalism for tyranny.”

There is nothing particularly new in Shaw’s offensive rhetoric. It is a rather typical example of the Fox News, right-wing disparagement of any advocacy on behalf of society’s less fortunate. Any public activism that doesn’t inure to the benefit of elite, wealthy individuals and corporations is looked upon as tantamount to Marxist tyranny in the eyes of modern Tea Party conservatives. And the opportunity to wrap their hostility in a blanket of feigned spirituality proved just to compelling to resist. God help us, indeed.

The Anti-Pope: Rush Limbaugh Pimps For The Money Lenders Lobby

Poor Jesus. After going to all the trouble of throwing the Money Lenders out of the temple, now he has to deal with cretins like Rush Limbaugh who think that the church founded in his name is beholden to secular profiteers and godless corporations.

Rush Limbaugh

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How else could Limbaugh explain his opinion that the Catholic church would be lost “If it weren’t for capitalism?” It is astonishing that the people who most aggressively impose their religious beliefs on others, who demand that the whole of society celebrate their holidays and insist that their values be codified into law and school curriculum, these people seem to have the shallowest grasp of the faith they profess. And Limbaugh is not alone in his Adoration of Greed. A few years ago Bill O’Reilly said on his Fox News program that…

“Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable.”

O’Reilly actually believes that this country should be grateful that Jesus came along because the holiday commemorating his birth is such a boon to businesses. Now that’s the Christmas Spirit, isn’t it.

Limbaugh’s tirade was sparked by a recent paper authored by Pope Francis that articulated a version of Christianity wherein a moral society cared for the least of its citizens. He explicitly repudiated Republican values like “trickle-down economics” and preached that economic “inequality is the root of social ills.” That is the sort of talk that unhinges right-wingers whose greatest fear is to be lumped in with the unclean masses who, ironically, are the producers and consumers of the goods their businesses peddle.

All of this comports with the Christian hypocrite dogma spewed by political hacks who are only trying to exploit people who follow Christ’s teachings. These pundi-vangelists couldn’t care less about faith or service. However, the Republican Party shares something in common with the worst aspects of the Christian church. They are both trying to sell stories on faith to ill-informed people who are motivated by fear. But these religious scam artists are only concerned with their own welfare. They have no real compassion or generosity. Their tunnel-blind self-interest is a stark affirmation of the wisdom of the revered Catholic Dom Helder Camara, Archbishop of Recife, who said…

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

Fox Nation vs. Reality: The U.S. Closes Imaginary Vatican City Embassy

In it’s ongoing struggle to find evermore outrageous atrocities to attribute to President Obama, Fox Nation has reported that Catholic groups are appalled that the United States is planning to close its embassy in Vatican City. There is just one little problem.

Fox Nation

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The United States does not have an embassy in Vatican City. Nor does any other country. The Vatican is simply too small to host any of these facilities, so they are actually headquartered in Rome. The truth of the matter is that the U.S. is closing one of its offices in Rome that houses the ambassador to the Vatican, and relocating it to a much larger compound that also houses the U.S. embassy to Italy. It will continue to have its own building and entrance, and its even a little closer to the Vatican itself.

This hasn’t stopped the right-wing media circus from hyperventilating furiously about some sort of imagined insult to Catholics. The Fox Nationalists, quoting from the “Moonie” Washington Times, which was quoting from Breitbart “made up” News, said that “The Obama administration, in what’s been called an egregious slap in the face to the Vatican, has moved to shut down the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.” That actually goes even further into false territory because it doesn’t simply suggest a relocation, but an elimination, neither of which are true.

It is curious that this particular crockery should erupt in the days following a rather remarkable publication from the Pope that condemns unfettered capitalism as abusive to the poor and other excluded members of society that the church is duty bound to protect. The Pope even went so far as to repudiate the conservative gospel of “trickle-down economics” as a theory that “has never been confirmed by the facts.”

Could it be that the Pope’s unambiguous support for income equality and the moral principle that “all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare,” has prompted the conservative fib factory to invent a new controversy as a distraction from a papal declaration that eviscerates conservative values?

Pope Francis: Economic Inequality “Is The Root Of Social Ills”

A couple of months ago, Pope Francis stunned many of his right-wing leaning flock when he came out strongly opposed to the economic inequality that has fractured many nations, including the Untied States. His admonition that “The world has become an idolator of this god called money,” could not have been a clearer denunciation of the chasm that separates the wealthy minority from the other 99% of society. Well, he’s done it again.

Pope Francis

In an official Vatican “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), The Pope went into even more detail about the greater harm of the greed and power associated with world markets and unfettered capitalism. I’ll let him tell it:

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”

“Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded.”

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

“While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”

“In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market.”

“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.”

“The economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.”

“Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good. [...] I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!. It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”

As I have noted in the past, Fox News is the closest thing in U.S. media to a Vatican PR office, with a roster that is heavily weighted with Roman-Catholics. They include: Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Brian Kilmeade, Andrew Napolitano, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Kucinich, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Father Morris. Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News parent News Corp was himself inducted into the “Knights of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great” by Pope John Paul II. And if that isn’t enough, the current Senior Communications Adviser in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Greg Burke, was previously the Fox News correspondent covering the Vatican, a position he held for ten years.

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It is interesting to note how divergent these parishioners are from the philosophy of their spiritual leader, but it isn’t new. In February of 2012, Juan Cole compiled a list of doctrinal variances between the church and the conservative hypocrites. In March of 2010, Glenn Beck outright begged his disciples to “run as fast as you can” from any church that uses the words “social justice” or “economic justice.” In other words, renounce any parish that practices the teachings of Jesus.

A few weeks ago Sarah Palin said the nastiest thing she could think of about Pope Francis. She called him a liberal. A couple of days later she had second thoughts and apologized to the Pontiff, who probably couldn’t have cared less. I wonder if she is rethinking her apology now.

Where Are The Fox News Catholics Now That The Pope Has Endorsed Income Equality?

Pope Francis has been breaking some stereotypes recently with commentaries that convey his infallible opinion that it isn’t the Vatican’s role to cast judgement on gays (“If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge”), or become fixated on abortion or marriage equality (“it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”). He even said that non-Christians may be welcomed into Heaven. Now the Pope has extended his reach into a more accepting and progressive practice of faith by embracing the notion of equality with regard to economics.

Pope Francis
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“The world has become an idolator of this god called money. [...] It is the consequence of a world choice, of an economic system that has at its centre an idol which is called money. [...] To defend this economic culture, a throwaway culture has been installed. We throw away grandparents, and we throw away young people. We have to say no to this throwaway culture. We want a just system that helps everyone.”

American conservatives have long wallowed in their self-righteous exploitation of what they deemed to be Catholic doctrine. They have attempted to apply their feigned moral superiority to political opponents, even calling for Catholic churches to deny communion to people like Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry. These views are commonly expressed on Fox News where their resident Catholic correspondent, Father Jonathan Morris, went so far as to denounce an entire faction of Americans simply because they voted for President Obama, saying “If anybody voted for Barack Obama because he is pro-abortion, that would certainly be an objective moral wrong.”

Fox News is the closest thing in media to a Vatican PR office, with a roster that is heavily weighted with Roman-Catholics. They include: Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Brian Kilmeade, Andrew Napolitano, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Kucinich, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Father Morris. Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News parent News Corp was himself inducted into the “Knights of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great” by Pope John Paul II. And if that isn’t enough, the current Senior Communications Adviser in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Greg Burke, was previously the Fox News correspondent covering the Vatican, a position he held for ten years.

The Catholic-centric dominance of Fox’s programming surely contributes to the network’s bias with regard to issues concerning abortion, gay rights and marriage equality. The Fox ministry even attaches Catholic dogma to peripheral matters like military service and ObamaCare. No wonder they wage a “War on Christmas” at the end of every year.

However, despite their pious adherence to alleged church doctrine when issues important to conservatives are raised, they blindly stumble past any criticism of Catholic politicians or pundits who stray from the path on matters like war and capital punishment, which the church vehemently opposes.

Now the message from the Pope is one that calls for turning away from rank profiteering and instead attending to the needs of the poor and those struggling to provide for their families; the elderly who have given their lives to build this nation and are now being abandoned by right-wingers who want to cut Social Security and Medicare; the young who, through no fault of their own, are suffering and hungrey and being denied decent housing and education. In other words, the Pope is standing up for the 99% who have done the most to make America what it is, but who are being trampled by an upper-crusty class of elitists, politicians, and gullible Teabaggers.

Pray for Fox NewsFor years Fox News has made it’s opinions known on following the teachings of the Catholic church that so dominates their ranks. Now will they continue to do so when their spiritual leader demands that they focus their efforts on behalf of the American people who need help the most, rather than the billionaires who won’t ease their greedy grasp on a few of their beloved dollars so that children won’t starve or their parents won’t be denied life-saving medical care?

Will the Pope’s admonition that it is not necessary to talk about abortion and Marriage equality all the time be heeded so that people do not become victims of the “throwaway culture?” Or will Fox persist in demonizing the poor as lazy moochers who are a burden to society? I’ll give you one guess.