9 Times Pope Francis Was More Progressive Than The Republican Party When It Came To U.S. Policy
This week, the Republican Party will face opposition from an unsuspected source: Pope Francis. At some point this week, the pope will release a statement on climate change, according to CNN, which will likely express the dangers of global warming and call the world to stop it for moral reasons. The ideas of Pope Francis, who has been known for controversial speeches and creating a more inclusive church, have often clashed with the fundamental values of the Grand Old Party.
The Vatican will release Pope Francis' climate change encyclical, which is a document containing teachings of the pope, sometime this week, according to CNN. This is the second encyclical in his time as pope. In April, the Vatican hosted a climate change meeting that had attendees from the religious and scientific communities, according to The Washington Post. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and famous economist and activist Jeffrey Sachs were in attendance.
The group created its own statement to precede the pope's, which noted:
Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity.
The GOP is somewhat divided on the issue of global warming. Some of its members, such as Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and Ted Cruz, don't believe in human-caused climate change, according to The Guardian. Others believe it exists but do not want to use government funds to prevent it.
This isn't the first time Pope Francis' teachings have conflicted with conservative ideals. Here are eight other notable ways they disagree:
Many Republican candidates like to use a tough-on-crime image while campaigning and support the death penalty. Pope Francis condemned capital punishment in March, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Today capital punishment is unacceptable, however serious the condemned's crime may have been. It is an offense to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person which contradicts God's plan for man and for society and his merciful justice, and it fails to conform to any just purpose of punishment.
Republican politicians are famous for often defending "the sanctity of marriage" and voting against gay rights. According to The New York Times, aboard the papal plane in 2013, the pope said:
If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?
Economic equality and wealth redistribution programs tend to be associated with the Democratic party, but His Holiness is quick to express the importance of helping the poor. According to the USCCB, he said in 2013:
While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good.
He also said that day:
I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of Saint John Chrysostom: "Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs."
One poll says that 49 percent of Republicans don't believe in evolution, according to MSNBC. The figure is staggering, especially because the leader of the Catholic Church does seem to accept the theory. According to The Washington Post, he said during an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
God is not... a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.
Many Americans, Republicans especially, use the word "communist" as a synonym for "bad" or "evil" without fully understanding what the economic term means. Pope Francis understands that fundamental communist and Christian values occasionally intersect. According to Reuters, he said with a laugh:
I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel. ... Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: "but then you are Christian."
Immigration is one issue that will always make a Republican turn red. Conservatives often find success within their party by opposing immigration reform. However, according to the USCCB, Pope Francis calls for charity toward immigrants and refugees:
Above all I ask leaders and legislators and the entire international community above all to confront the reality of those who have been displaced by force, with effective projects and new approaches in order to protect their dignity, to improve the quality of their life and to face the challenges that are emerging from modern forms of persecution, oppression and slavery.
He said a year later, in 2014:
It is necessary to respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of charity and cooperation, in such a way as to make the conditions of migrants more humane. At the same time, greater efforts are needed to guarantee the easing of conditions, often brought about by war or famine, which compel whole peoples to leave their native countries.
Republicans have a history of blocking legislation that would ease the pay gap between men and women. Some deny that it exists or blame women for it. Pope Francis has spoken about the importance of women in the church and condemned the pay gap. According to reporting by The Washington Post, he said:
Why should it be taken for granted that women must earn less than men? The disparity is pure scandal.
Republicans are often tough on defense and homeland security. They have a record of supporting United States involvement in foreign conflicts. When the pope met with President Obama, they discussed social issues and war. Obama said of the conversation, according to The Washington Post:
The theme that stitched our conversation together was a belief that, in politics and in life, the quality of empathy, the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes and to care for someone even if they don’t look like you or talk like you or share your philosophy — that’s critical. It’s the lack of empathy that plunges us into wars.
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