Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why Republican's Fear the Pope's Environmental Message

Pope Francis is on his way to the US and his position on a number of issues is at odds with the core of the GOP's platform. The historic visit will include an address to a joint session of the Republican controlled Congress on Thursday, September 24th. Francis will be the first Pontiff ever to address Congress.

Republicans have warned the pope to avoid speaking on environmental matters, some, like Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who is himself a Catholic, have even vowed to boycott the Pope's speech.

Republicans feel betrayed as the Pope has put forth views that are diametrically opposed to their positions on the environment and climate change in particular. The Encyclical that was released by Francis this summer flatly refutes the Republican's stance on global warming. Not only did the Pope say that human activity causes climate change he clearly indicated that politicians must work to develop policies that combat it including moving away from fossil fuels.

The Catholic church was once the spiritual refuge of conservatism, but that has changed under the leadership of Pope Francis. Rather than review the anti-science folly of their own position the GOP has turned on the Pope.

This does not bode well for Republicans as the majority of Americans like this Pope while those who sit in congress are more unpopular than they have ever been. Christian conservatives have long made up the core of Republican support, however, many of these Christians respect Francis whether or not they identify as Catholics.

The Republican's disdain for the Pope's views extend far beyond his embrace of a science informed view of environmental issues. They are also at odds with the Pope's take on immigration, guns and capitalism. The GOP dismisses the Pope the same way they dismiss anyone whose views conflict with their own. According to Republicans the Pope should not be listened to because he is a progressive liberal, and a socialist.

Although the GOP would prefer that Americans ignore the Pope's message that is unlikely to happen. Millions of Americans will follow his address as will House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both of whom are Catholic. Although the Pope's visit will undoubtedly challenge his party's position Boehner nonetheless called it, "one of the biggest events in the history of the Capitol."

Republicans have good reason to fear the Pope's message. With the 2016 are elections just a little more than a year away, a rebuke from the world's most prominent faith leader is cause for concern.

Related
Pope Francis and COP21
Pope Deprives Republican Climate Deniers of Religious Support
Science Adds Weight to the Pope's Environmental Encyclical
The Pope's Encyclical Opposes Fossil Fuels and Supports Renewables
Pope Francis' Moral Call to Environmental Action
The Pope's Encyclical is an Indictment of Capitalism
The Encyclical of Pope Francis Calls for Revolution
Implications of Pope Francis' Environmental Encyclical and Attacks from Republicans (Videos)
Pope's Environmental Encyclical Supports the Poor While Demanding Change from the Rich
Leaked Papal Encyclical Lauds the Climate Movement and Derides Deniers
Spoof of Pope Francis' Environmental Encyclical (Video)
Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
Faith Based Environmental Leadership

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