The Pope’s comments on redistributing wealth, immigration and the death penalty left many Conservatives in shock today during his address to Congress. He also attempted to justify our government’s actions by claiming that they’re doing what’s best for the people.
This veiled call for socialistic government economic intervention then gave way to a completely incorrect interpretation of American politics: “The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.”
No, actually. Cooperation is not the general spirit of American politics, nor has it ever been. American politics has been based around the notion that contentious debates regarding policy generally end in gridlock, preserving freedom by preventing an ever-growing government. But the Pope seems to be reading from President Obama’s hymnal, in which government is simply a word for what we all do together.
Pope Francis made a veiled reference to religious freedom without referring explicitly to either Obamacare or the latest legislative attempts to destroy religious businesses on behalf of homosexual marriage (“It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard”), then moved quickly onto illegal immigration, where he proceeded to relate America’s treatment of immigrants to original American settlers’ treatment of Native Americans:
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. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. 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. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.
Dissecting this logic requires a neurosurgeon. Apparently, the Pope believes that America’s original immigrants mistreated the natives, and that the current native-born of America thus ought to welcome illegal immigrants. This, to be sure, makes no sense, but it certainly places the onus on Americans instead of those breaking American law. The Pope continued along these lines:
Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.
To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Opposing illegal immigration is not matter of discarding “whatever proves troublesome.” It is a matter of preserving a country with values worth preserving, and doing so by either assimilating new immigrants or limiting immigrants to those who wish to assimilate.
The Pope’s only reference to abortion came next: “The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”
This, you would think, would lead to a full-scale attack on America’s disgusting abortion culture, funded and promulgated by Democrats sitting in front of the Pope. But no. That veiled reference was it. And the Pope used the veiled reference to swivel not to abortion but to the death penalty.
Yes, the death penalty.
The Pope was far more interested in lecturing federal legislators about saving the 35 murderers executed in the United States under state law in 2014 than the million innocent unborn children killed every year in the United States under federal auspices:
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.
Would he tackle abortion now? Not a chance. The Pope again launched into a broadside against capitalism, praising Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement before adding, “I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty… It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth.”
But the Pope did not attribute the global rise in living standards to the power of capitalism. Instead, he called for its tremendous limitation on behalf of global warming.
Does any of this sound familiar? The resemblance between the Pope’s way of thinking and that of President Obama is haunting. If Conservatives were on the fence about Pope Francis before, this speech probably knocked them to the ground.