Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pope Francis’ Economic Ideas Rattle the GOP

As noted before, the far right - most of whom falsely claim to worship Christian values - and their minions in the Republican Party are REALLY unhappy with Pope Francis and his views of economic views pertaining to economic opportunity, wealthy inequities and vulture capitalism.  Rush Limbaugh, the veritable pope of the GOP has attacked Pope Francis as a communist and subversive.  The reality, of course, is that Francis is adhering to the true message of Christ in his remarks, so ultimately the far right and the GOP are attacking Christ and his message.  Their hypocrisy is complete and shameless.  Politico looks at the GOP's displeasure with Francis for calling out rapacious capitalism, the economic agenda favored by the GOP.  Here are highlights:

He draws crowds like a rock star, was named “Person of the Year” by Time as well as a gay rights magazine, and drew the ire of Rush Limbaugh for his criticism of “trickle-down” economics. Pope Francis has dramatically shifted the message and tone of the Vatican in the last nine months, and he’s forcing Republicans in Washington to reassess their relationship with the Catholic church.

For years, Catholic leaders’ staunch and very public opposition to abortion, gay marriage and the contraception-related provisions of Obamacare made them natural allies for the GOP. But Francis has scrambled the equation by de-emphasizing hot-button social issues, warning against unchecked capitalism and pushing a populist message at odds with the core of the anti-spending, anti-big government Republican Party.
Last month, Francis blasted “trickle-down” economics as an “opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, [that] expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” He also criticized the “idolatry of money” and unbridled capitalism as “a new tyranny.”

Conservative radio host Limbaugh slammed the comments as “pure Marxism” and other commentators on the right also vehemently disagreed with the pope’s message. One derided Francis as the “Catholic Church’s Obama.”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who grew up attending Catholic school and graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s law school, told POLITICO that he disagreed with the pope’s economic message. He considers the phrase “trickle-down” to be a “pejorative” term, “like some liberal speechwriter stuck it in.”
His inclusive outlook may have played a role in his decision to remove Cardinal Raymond Burke from the Congregation for Bishops, an influential Vatican organization. Burke, an outspoken conservative, in 2004 signaled he would deny communion to John Kerry, a Catholic running for president at the time, because of his support for abortion rights.
For Democrats, Francis has been a gift. Just as the liberal base and President Barack Obama have begun talking more about income inequality, along comes the pope to boost their cause.  “I love this pope,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “Jesus focused so much on helping the poor and the downtrodden and the least among us. And I think his refocusing on that, to me, has been a breath of fresh air.”

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania said Francis is a “game-changer” for “social justice Democrats.” He sees opportunities for the pope’s message to play out during budget battles and fights over unemployment benefits and other social programs.

Gillis said he doesn’t expect Francis to encourage bishops to weigh in as vocally as they have in the past on sensitive social issues, though he noted they will still likely speak out.  For some lawmakers, the pope’s influence has gone beyond policy and politics and into the personal. McCaskill, for instance, said some of her children are now considering going back to the church.
Until there is substantive change in Catholic Church doctrine, I for one will not be rushing back to Catholicism.  That said, I do think it wonderful that Francis' statements on the poor and unrestrained capitalism are highlighting the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the Christofascists and their political whores in the GOP.  

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