My article from the Sept. 25, 2015 issue of FrontPageMag:
Pope Francis chided Americans yesterday for their supposed intolerance and xenophobia, the same thing President Obama does every day, in his historic address to the U.S. Congress.
Although Francis toned down his sometimes in-your-face rhetoric for his congressional speech, it was still a politically tone-deaf lecture on America’s failings, past and present.
It bore more than a passing resemblance to the many speeches President Obama has given around the globe apologizing for America’s history and greatness. The pope delivered this address standing on the dais in front of Vice President Joe Biden (D) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Both are Catholics. Boehner made this major debacle, which amounts to a propaganda boost for the Obama agenda, possible by inviting the pope to address Congress. (A full transcript of the pope’s address is available here.)
It may be significant that only four members of the nine-member Roman Catholic-dominated Supreme Court showed up for the Holy Father’s address. The attendees were Chief John Roberts (Catholic), Anthony Kennedy (Catholic), Sonia Sotomayor (Catholic), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jewish). Absent were Samuel Alito (Catholic), Antonin Scalia (Catholic), Clarence Thomas (Catholic), Stephen Breyer (Jewish), and Elena Kagan (Jewish).
The Left loves the pope’s message. Although the Left vindictively led the charge against the Catholic church during the various sexual abuse scandals, it now has the current pope’s back because, except for abortion, he agrees with leftists. For example, in recent days the Salon website, a hotbed of hostility to organized religion (except Islam), has switched sides. Salon has been running stories sympathetic to the pope with titles like “The transcendent compassion of Pope Francis” (by leftist mud-hurler Joan Walsh, no less), “Twitter tells the tale: Pope Francis’ speech does not sit well with the conservative ‘intelligentsia,'” “Conservatives who hate the pope rush to his defense,” “5 new ways Pope Francis is sticking it to the Christian right,” and “The GOP’s venomous Pope tirades are the ultimate example of hypocritical rage.”
President Obama, of course, adores Pope Francis, but not because he is the leader of the largest Christian denomination in the world. Obama views Francis as a partner fundamental transformation. Obama benefited early in his community organizing career from assistance from the Roman Catholic church. Obama has ties to the extreme-left Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) which has underwritten the rabble-rousing efforts of the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, Midwest Academy, Gamaliel Foundation, People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO), and Direct Action and Research Training Institute (DART).
Francis is solidly plugged in to the American Left. This summer community organizers from PICO and SEIU thugs flew to Rome to collaborate with Vatican officials in advance of the pope’s visit, as the National Catholic Reporter reported.
No wonder President Obama took the unusual step earlier this week of greeting this man who is technically a foreign head of state at the airport when his airplane landed. The president warmly welcomed his ideological soulmate on the tarmac after his Alitalia jet arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Tuesday afternoon. At the president’s side were First Lady Michelle Obama, their two daughters Sasha and Malia, Vice President Joe Biden, and a phalanx of church officials.
Yesterday, in what was the first oration any pope has given to Congress, the pope strangely invoked the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but didn’t mention abortion, which his church vigorously opposes. “The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development,” he said, missing a golden opportunity to condemn Planned Parenthood for trafficking in human body parts, a practice that disgusts Americans of all political stripes. Instead he focused on a non-issue, calling for “the global abolition of the death penalty … since every life is sacred.”
Francis also implied that the United States, the most immigrant-friendly nation in the world, treats immigrants badly. The pope dubiously connected American “sins and the errors of the past” against American Indians with the treatment of immigrants today, imploring the nation not to repeat these “sins” in current dealings with immigrants.
Rolling out the tired, old “we’re all immigrants” mantra, the pope said:
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 not fearful of foreigners, 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 descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. … Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.
The suggestion that America is anti-immigrant or is not profusely kind to immigrants is a baseless smear. The quantity of immigrants the U.S. admits has long been completely in line with or higher than other Western nations. The U.S. Department of State even claims this country “accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than the rest of the world combined.”
In 2013 alone the U.S. took in 990,553 “permanent” migrants and almost 1.8 million “temporary” migrants, according to an August 6 analysis by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Second on the list of “Inflows of foreign population into selected OECD countries and the Russian Federation” was Germany (1.1 million), followed by Russia (482,241), United Kingdom (406,000), Spain (307,036), South Korea (369,267), Japan (306,742), Italy (279,021), and Canada (258,480). (The excel spreadsheet cannot be linked to. To read it go to www.oecd.org/els/mig/keystat.htm and click on “Inflows of foreign population.”)
America selflessly takes in armies of immigrants even when its own economy is weak. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, CIS reported in 2010 that 13.9 million immigrants settled in the U.S. from 2000 to 2010. It was “the highest decade of immigration in American history, even though there was a net loss of jobs during the decade.”
America has endless compassion for immigrants. The U.S. makes it easy — some would say too easy — for immigrants. Affirmative action and other policies make many immigrants the beneficiaries of race preferences in hiring and higher-education admissions.
The U.S. lavishes welfare benefits on immigrants. A veritable minefield of welfare programs awaits immigrants, and not surprisingly, most immigrant households in this country are on welfare. Immigrants are eligible for many programs including Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, and school lunches. Immigrant use of welfare dramatically outstrips native-born use of welfare.
Americans don’t need to be lectured by a pope who is trying to guilt-trip the U.S. into accepting pro-jihad refugees from the civil war in Syria and other Muslim hotspots.
From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2013 the United States took in 115,617 refugees from the Middle East and granted asylum to another 10,026. The U.S. government also provided green cards to 308,805 immigrants from those Middle Eastern countries which makes them eligible to seek U.S. citizenship in five years and petition to have family members admitted to the country as immigrants.
In fiscal 2013, an astounding 91.4 percent of Middle Eastern refugees admitted to the U.S. between 2008 and 2013 received food stamps. Another 71.3 percent were on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance and 68.3 percent took in cash welfare, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
But it’s not just illegal aliens feeding at the trough. A recent Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report concluded that “[l]egal immigration is supposed to benefit the country, yet so many legal immigrants are not able to support themselves or their children.”
So the idea that the United States is mean to immigrants is only so much blatherskite. The pope and other leftists try to keep this lie alive because it is an essential part of the Left’s anti-American narrative.
As usual, Francis seemed unconcerned that Muslims are slaughtering Christians around the world while Christianity itself seems on the verge of being eclipsed globally by Islam.
His Holiness saw fit to lecture Americans on their attitudes toward religions other than Christianity. The pope presented a false equivalency between Islam, an inherently violent, intolerant, imperialistic faith and other major world religions that don’t punish apostates with death.
The pope tritely observed:
All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.
In the speech, after his throwaway line that “every life is sacred,” the pope failed once again to rally the faithful to demand action in light of the killing of Christians around the world by Muslims in countries like Bangladesh, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Uganda. (The Religion of Peace website documents these killings that “have nothing to do with war, combat, or insurgency. The victims are innocent Christians who were specifically targeted and abuses solely on account of their faith by those who claim their own religion as a motive.”)
Although he did not mention Islam by name in his address, he is a fierce defender of the Muslim faith. “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence,” he said in 2014. He has also said “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
Francis believes people should not mock Islam and those who do ought to expect violent retaliation from those who are offended. In January this year, not long after members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula stormed the Paris offices of the left-wing satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, murdering 12 and wounding 11, the pope expressed sympathy for the terrorists.
Although Francis said at the time it was an “aberration” to kill in the name of God and that religion should never be used to justify violence, he then contradicted himself. “If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said as he pretended to throw a punch in the direction of Alberto Gasparri, his travel coordinator.
“It’s normal,” the pope said. “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Evan Harris, a former member of the United Kingdom’s parliament, condemned the pope’s remarks, the Independent (UK) reported at the time:
He noted on Twitter that the pontiff was speaking on the same day that funerals for some of the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff took place, questioning whether this was in accordance with the idea of turning the other cheek.
“The Pope said ‘people’s faith must not be insulted’. Or else what, your holiness? Burning at the stake? Astonishing outburst from Pope,” he said.
Yet the pope does not seem troubled by the “fundamentalism” of Communist Cuba.
When the Holy Father visited Cuba earlier this week, he had very few bad things to say about that island hellhole. In a public mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, Francis praised Cuba for its “vocation of grandeur.”
He did this even though, as Daniel Greenfield writes,
Unlike Communist Cuba, America hasn’t seized and nationalized Catholic churches and schools. It hasn’t locked up Catholic clergy or installed surveillance equipment in their homes. It hasn’t denounced the Catholic church as “exploiters” and “fascists.”
The 78-year-old Argentinian, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, a Jesuit who took the chair of St. Peter in March 2013 following the abdication of the more conservative Pope Benedict XVI, appears to be a fan of Fidel Castro and his politics.
During his Cuban visit, Pope Francis praised the “spirit of poverty” and called poverty “the wall and the mother of consecrated life. Affluence “impoverishes” making “us poor in the only wealth that is worth having, to put our safety in other things.”
It could be said that the pope was certainly in the right place to be praising poverty.
After a half-century of estrangement between the U.S. and that totalitarian state, Francis helped to bring about a diplomatic thaw this past December. Since then Cuba has opened an embassy in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. opened an embassy in Havana.
Returning to the congressional address, the pope decried the arms trade.
Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Chicagoland ally of President Obama’s anti-American preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, attended the address and was delighted by it, dutifully regurgitating the papal talking points, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Why are we selling deadly weapons? He was very clear: It is money. It is money drenched in blood.”
Only the leftist mind can reconcile the pope’s condemnation of the arms trade with his gung-ho support of President Obama’s nuclear nonproliferation agreement with Iran. That porous pact guarantees the “fundamentalist” Islamic dictatorship will start a nuclear and conventional arms race in the Middle East.
The U.S. sanctions regime that took over 30 years to create was a peaceful way of dealing with Iran, but Obama and the pope threw those sanctions away while piously prattling on about the need for peace. Now it is just a matter of time before war breaks out.
During his address, the pope mentioned four Americans he considers worthy of high praise. He lauded Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and left-wing Catholics Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
Of Day, who embraced anarchism, he said:
In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.
Francis described Merton, a Cistercian monk, as “a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people.” Merton “was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.”
Although many Catholics, even non-radical Catholics, admire Day and Merton today, the pope didn’t mention that both were radicals, extreme pacifists, and admirers of Fidel Castro. But unlike Catholic Mercedes Marxists such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and actor-activist Martin Sheen, Day and Merton weren’t hypocrites or political hacks. They lived what they believed in, shunning luxury and worldly possessions. Day said she didn’t like the welfare state; she thought there was a better way to help the poor.
No one in the Capitol complex was more excited about the pope’s speech than Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vermont), himself a self-described socialist. He acted as if the pope’s observations about Day in particular constituted a kind of political endorsement of his candidacy.
“The name Dorothy Day has not been used in the United States Congress terribly often,” Sanders told the Washington Post. “She was a valiant fighter for workers, was very strong in her belief for social justice, and I think it was extraordinary that he cited her as one of the most important people in recent American history. This would be one of the very, very few times that somebody as radical as Dorothy Day was mentioned.”
“We need to change the system,” Day wrote in the 1950s. “We need to overthrow, not the government, as the authorities are always accusing the Communists ‘of conspiring to teach [us] to do,’ but this rotten, decadent, putrid industrial capitalist system which breeds such suffering in the whited sepulcher of New York.”
The Post account continued:
Recent support for Day’s possible canonization has angered some conservatives. “Vatican archives are filled with reports of Christians martyred under the regimes that Dorothy Day supported,” wrote Virginia State Senator Dick Black in a 2013 letter to Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict. “I am revolted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ support for the canonization of a woman whose views supported the violent extermination of Christians throughout the world.”
Sanders continued to heap praise on Pope Francis for lauding Day, a socialist and an extreme pacifist who, before becoming a devout Catholic, had an abortion.
The pope “is willing to identify with an extraordinarily courageous woman whose life was about standing with the poorest people in America, and having the courage to stand up to the very powerful,” he said. “You know, her newspaper was the Catholic Worker, and she stood with the workers of America and fought for justice.”
“His calling out for social justice, his talking about income and wealth inequality, his talking about creating an economy and a culture that works for everybody, not just a few, is a very, very powerful message.”
Although Day, who died in 1980, did have some libertarian tendencies and was far from being the most extreme of left-wing Catholic activists, the Catholic Worker Movement she founded is radically left-wing. As Discover The Networks advises, the movement attacks capitalism in Marxist terms. Capitalism is considered to be a “bourgeois” economic system whose underlying “profit motive” and its “prevailing concern for acquisition and material interests” renders it “far from God’s justice.” Under capitalism, says the organization, “those in power” constitute “a non-producing class” of exploiters who “systematically rob” every laborer of “that wealth which he produces over and above what is need[ed] for his bare maintenance.”
The movement advocates “a complete rejection of the present social order”; “a withdrawal from the capitalist system so far as each one is able to do so”; and “a non-violent revolution to establish an order more in accord with Christian values.” The movement wants society reorganized into a series of “decentralized cooperatives” in which the “widespread and universal ownership by all men of property” functions as “a stepping stone to a communism that will be in accord with the Christian teaching of detachment from material goods.”
Merton, a poet-priest who died in 1968, protested the Vietnam War and briefly belonged to the Young Communist League. Like Day, he embraced the half-baked semi-utopian philosophy of “distributism,” which was promoted as a middle path between capitalism and communism. The philosophy rejects both capitalist factories and socialist welfare dependency.
Pope Francis mentioned the two activists because he is walking in their footsteps.
So is President Obama.