Originally published on Eden Keeper.
When House Speaker John Boehner invited Pope Francis to address a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress in March 2014, he probably thought the Catholic leader played for “Team Republican.” But Boehner’s assumption — as is often the case — was wrong.
Pope Francis sounds more like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren than Jeb Bush when he speaks. He cares passionately about income inequality and providing for the poor, which leads the “People’s Pope” — naturally — to care about climate change and the environment. In fact, this week Pope Francis will urge Congress to take climate action to protect America’s poor and vulnerable from the devastating effects of drought, severe storms, disease, famine, and sea-level rise.
The Pope’s progressive rhetoric has made conservative Christians in the United States nervous. Just a few months ago, a contingent from The Heartland Institute — the world’s leading think tank promoting science denial and continued reliance on coal and oil — traveled to Rome to “educate” the Pope during a major climate change conference. And Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic, urged the Pope to back off talking about climate change.
Now, as Pope Francis prepares to address a Joint Meeting of Congress this week, another Catholic conservative is attempting to build a grassroots movement against his holy father. In a letter published in Town Hall last week, Rep. Paul Gosar from Arizona, declared that he will boycott the Pope’s address because Pope Francis plans to talk about climate change.
He explains, “this climate change talk has adopted all of the socialist talking points, wrapped false science and ideology into ‘climate justice’ and is being presented to guilt people into leftist policies. If the Pope stuck to standard Christian theology, I would be first in line. If the Pope spoke out with moral authority against violent Islam, I would be cheering him on. If the Pope urged the Western nations to rescue persecuted Christians in the Middle East, I would back him wholeheartedly. But when the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politicians, then he can expect to be treated like one.”
He continues, “I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life. If the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend.”
This would be funny if it wasn’t so awful. In the same letter where he extolls the virtues of his Catholic education and notes that he’s been taught to welcome debate and discussion, Gosar disrespected the leader of the Catholic Church and promised to boycott an event that may lead to more debate and discussion. Simply put, Gosar is using the floss of his faith to promote his personal politics. And, what’s even more alarming, Gosar’s district covers the Grand Canyon — one of God’s greatest gifts.
It’s hard to imagine a world where Pope Francis cares what Gosar thinks about him. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t. If Gosar wants to call himself a Catholic, he must respect Pope Francis. If he wants to call himself a Christian, he must respect God’s creation. And if he wants to represent the people of Arizona, he should care about devastating floods, wildfires, increased asthma rates, and soaring temperatures Arizonans are facing.
However, if Gosar wants to admit that he only cares about unborn Christians, then his letter would make more sense.
Reprinted with permission.