A storm is currently brewing in Cuba that is set to ravage the conservative landscape across America — a force of nature I like to call NewPope™ (although Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the name Francis when he was elected Bishop of Rome). Many followers of Republican Jesus™ are flummoxed by His Holiness, but then again, papal encyclicals aren’t exactly required reading in conservative circles. NewPope™ insists that belief in Christ requires us to take ”swift and unified global action” to feed the hungry, advocate for economic justice and care for our planet. Naturally, Rush Limbaugh calls Francis a “Marxist,” and Michael Savage said he’s a “danger to the world,” and “directing mankind to worship the Antichrist.”
Presidential wannabe, (Jeb!) Bush was more politic, saying only “I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.” Clearly, he doesn’t get policy from Biblical Jesus®, either. It seems to be a common concern among American “Christians” these days: When they aren’t being “persecuted” for not being allowed to discriminate freely, they’re twisting themselves in knots denying that “once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides … it ruins society.” If they dared admit that simple fact, however, it would mean their political policies of giving money to rich people and expecting poor people to prosper is simply idiotic.
It’s far easier to blame the messenger, and equate the Vicar of Christ with Ché Guevara; he’s an out-of-control radical that rails against imperialism and monopoly capitalism. They can do this only because something in their brain allows them to ignore Batista’s brutal dictatorship of Cuba, including torture and widespread executions — while justifying the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians because George W. Bush told them “Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.” NewPope™ just had a private meeting with Fidel Castro, therefore Francis must be “a stealth Marxist in religious garb.” Yes, this is what followers of Republican Jesus™ actually believe.
According to GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump, he needs to send NewPope™ a stern warning: “You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican, you have heard that?” Nope — your grasp of international foreign relations is simply dizzying, Donald. Or maybe that’s just lunch coming back on me when I think about what a Trump presidency would mean for the republic. “I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing. Look, the Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is, if you look at what’s going on, they better hope that capitalism works because it’s the only thing we have right now.” Works for who, Mr. Trump? Because it’s not working for the majority of human beings on the planet — or even a majority of your fellow Americans. That’s sort of the point, champ.
Citing a Sufi poet, the successor of the Prince of the Apostles wrote, “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, (and) in a poor person’s face.” The biggest problem conservatives will have when NewPope™ addresses Congress won’t be his accent (he doesn’t speak English well, but he’s been practicing his address ‘religiously’), or his calls to end “obstructionist attitudes.” No, the elephant in the room will be this: the Catholic Church is now being led by an actual disciple of Christ; he’s the guy who apparently paid attention during catechism class. The lesson to take away from today’s Sunday Sermon™ is this: as the hyperbole of conservative “christians” grows ever more shrill during this papal visit, remind them to open a Bible and READ THE RED WORDS.