Distrust Obama and a pope of 'firsts'

Beware bright and shiny leaders à la Barack Obama circa 2007: charming, wide-smiling, seemingly "regular guys" who talk in ambiguous and veiled phrases like "the fundamental transformation of America" that the foolish blindly tie their hopes to.  Pope Francis is riding such a high tide of Obama-like popularity and "newness" since becoming the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013.

See the parallels.  He is a pope of many "firsts": the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Southern Hemisphere and Latin America, the first non-European pope since the Syrian Gregory in 741.  Recall that Obama was also a candidate of superficial "firsts."  In Pope Francis's case, he has the reputation of being less formal and appears more down-to-earth than his predecessors: he utilizes the political "average person" optics of a modest Fiat 500L rather than a limousine and chooses to reside in the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ guesthouse rather than the grand papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace.  As slick as presidential candidate Obama, Pope Francis also makes vague "sound-good" statements like "Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people."  Last time I checked, charity is very much grounded in the foundational Christian ideals of kindness, brotherhood, and liberation from hardship.  To deny that as pontiff is frankly nonsensical.

As life experience teaches the wise to evaluate based upon an individual's actions rather than statements, let us look at this pope through that lens. He visits Cuba – a brutal, repressive, totalitarian, 56-year regime – but does not outspokenly criticize that government's inhumane treatment of its citizens or imprisonment of dissidents.  Likewise, the pope calls 21 Middle East Coptic Christians beheaded by Islamic terrorists "martyrs" but does not address the underlying savagery of radical Islam or sharia law.  As with Obama's pro-Islam rationalizations, Francis tries in vain to philosophically untangle this tar-baby: "Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence."  So Christianity's lack of understanding or supposed bigotry is the "real" problem here, not the religiously intolerant hands that customarily separate heads from shoulders?

Now that pro-life Pope Francis is in America, I wager he will not speak out against the barbaric practices of infanticide (and the selling of baby body parts) by Democrat-supported Planned Parenthood so as not to ruffle political feathers by alienating Mr. Obama.  What these choices demonstrate is that Pope Francis, like our president, sells a politically spun image designed to rehab the lackluster reputation and waning fortunes of the Catholic Church.  Whether or not he stands for anything of consequence – especially when it is meaningfully controversial – remains to be seen.

Don't forget to leave your capitalist-earned donations in the collection plate.  

David L. Hunter blogs at davidlhunter.blogspot.com.

Beware bright and shiny leaders à la Barack Obama circa 2007: charming, wide-smiling, seemingly "regular guys" who talk in ambiguous and veiled phrases like "the fundamental transformation of America" that the foolish blindly tie their hopes to.  Pope Francis is riding such a high tide of Obama-like popularity and "newness" since becoming the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013.

See the parallels.  He is a pope of many "firsts": the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Southern Hemisphere and Latin America, the first non-European pope since the Syrian Gregory in 741.  Recall that Obama was also a candidate of superficial "firsts."  In Pope Francis's case, he has the reputation of being less formal and appears more down-to-earth than his predecessors: he utilizes the political "average person" optics of a modest Fiat 500L rather than a limousine and chooses to reside in the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ guesthouse rather than the grand papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace.  As slick as presidential candidate Obama, Pope Francis also makes vague "sound-good" statements like "Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people."  Last time I checked, charity is very much grounded in the foundational Christian ideals of kindness, brotherhood, and liberation from hardship.  To deny that as pontiff is frankly nonsensical.

As life experience teaches the wise to evaluate based upon an individual's actions rather than statements, let us look at this pope through that lens. He visits Cuba – a brutal, repressive, totalitarian, 56-year regime – but does not outspokenly criticize that government's inhumane treatment of its citizens or imprisonment of dissidents.  Likewise, the pope calls 21 Middle East Coptic Christians beheaded by Islamic terrorists "martyrs" but does not address the underlying savagery of radical Islam or sharia law.  As with Obama's pro-Islam rationalizations, Francis tries in vain to philosophically untangle this tar-baby: "Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence."  So Christianity's lack of understanding or supposed bigotry is the "real" problem here, not the religiously intolerant hands that customarily separate heads from shoulders?

Now that pro-life Pope Francis is in America, I wager he will not speak out against the barbaric practices of infanticide (and the selling of baby body parts) by Democrat-supported Planned Parenthood so as not to ruffle political feathers by alienating Mr. Obama.  What these choices demonstrate is that Pope Francis, like our president, sells a politically spun image designed to rehab the lackluster reputation and waning fortunes of the Catholic Church.  Whether or not he stands for anything of consequence – especially when it is meaningfully controversial – remains to be seen.

Don't forget to leave your capitalist-earned donations in the collection plate.  

David L. Hunter blogs at davidlhunter.blogspot.com.