Tea Party Christians were jubilant when their most recent patron saint, the homophobic county clerk Kim Davis was apparently invited for a secret meeting with Pope Francis during his first official U.S. visit. They saw it as a vindication of her stance on same-sex marriage and an endorsement of the idiotic stunt she pulled when she was jailed for refusing to do her job and issue judge-ordered marriage licenses. Unfortunately, Davis and Ted Cruz will be severely disappointed, as the Vatican has come out denying her version of the story:
The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points: Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family. The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.
Pope Francis did not tell her to “stay strong” as Davis purports. The Pope did not know who Kim Davis was when the meeting occurred; a writer at Esquire believes it was a stunt organized by the papal nuncio, a supporter of the previous Pope. A senior official at the Vatican reports that there is a sense of regret about the meeting; they did not want to give the impression of endorsing Davis’ homophobia or her attention-seeking, self-imposed “martyrdom”.
The Pope actually met and embraced a gay couple he had previously worked with in Argentina before meeting Davis. While we should remember that the Holy Father isn’t quite the bastion of liberalism that we would like to believe, he is the most progressive pope we’ve had in some eighteen hundred years, and his refusal to be associated with the Kim Davis media circus should be taken as a condemnation of her bigotry.
Opinion columnist and former 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.