Pope Francis just gave his first speech to the U.S. Congress, and immediately succeeded in making House Republicans very uncomfortable with his message of economic justice, peace, and the need to care for our planet- the polar opposite of the Republican Party’s agenda. The pontiff, who was invited to speak by House Majority Leader and rabbleking John Boehner, gave a politically charged speech that essentially called out the House for their obstinate refusal to face the real problems facing our nation and the world as a whole.
Specifically, the papal father warned a room of Republican political extremists and religious fundamentalists about the dangers of extremism and religious fundamentalism. He said that
“Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps.”
His words echoed throughout the chamber, forcing each and every one of the legislative terrorists that have been relentlessly obstructing progress and dragging our nation backwards to face the implied rebuke hidden behind the Pope’s speech. It was certainly no coincidence that the Holy Father chose those topics to discuss. The Republican Congress has become a glaring symbol of our government’s self-imposed dysfunction. Blinded by ideological zeal and obsessive in their devotion to our nation’s corporate oligarchs, they have done nothing to address the real problems facing this nation.
Instead, they have squandered our nation’s time and money fighting pointless and unwinnable culture war fights, made fifty-four attempts to repeal the legislation which brought healthcare to 30 million Americans, attempted to impose their extremist religious morals on our entire nation, deny women agency over their own bodies, redistribute our public lands to corporations to be ravished for profit, cut taxes for the rich and cut support for the poor, actively encourage the proliferation of deadly weapons among the population. The Republican congressman are so intent on dragging our nation into yet another unnecessary and unwinnable foreign war that forty-seven traitors began contacting foreign governments with the intent of weakening the sitting President. They are so delusional that our government is in danger of shutting down over a healthcare clinic that receives government funding for cancer screenings and sexual disease treatment.
The Pope called for Congress to look beyond “the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners.” The way Mitch McConnell and John Boehner’s chambers have behaved, it appears that they are obsessed with anti-Obama extremism, at the expense of our national unity and prosperity. Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) shed a tear when the Pope began speaking about immigration. Was he reflecting on his good fortune to find himself in the U.S. Senate chamber, being the son of immigrants? Did he think about the brutal hypocrisy of when he announced that he’s ruled out granting lawful permanent residency to undocumented immigrants?
Our Congress has needed a visit from a true humanitarian for a long time now.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.