cross posted at the demise

Pope Francis

A progressive pope and a regressive president?

In the brave new bizzarro world where the head of the two thousand year old capital serving, land owning, supporter of bloody imperialists and thieving enterprises on 6 of the seven continents known as the Catholic Church comes out as an unabashed adherent to the transmitted ‘teachings’ of the barefooted, long-haired, anti-institutional religion, anti-capital accumulation, anti-money lending institution, supporter of the poor and dispossessed, promoter of the union of brethren humans including our avowed ‘enemies’, exclaimer to a world of owners, “give up all that you own and follow me,” wandering philosopher and proto-hippie known as Jesus of Nazareth, we have the opportunity to reassess the claims of talk-tv screamers, political reamers, surgical strike schemers, imperial pipe-dreamers, military full-steamers, geo-political extremers and America-first home-teamers whose dreams to pillage and plunder abroad and pacify peasants at home have always been couched in language exactly like this; “I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.” (Barack Obama, Washington DC, 09.10.13)

So, using the exclamations of the nation’s current most vocal supporter of what is known as “American Exceptionalism” (by the way, this word “exceptionalism” always comes up on spell-check as ‘not in the dictionary’) let’s see what we can glean about what exactly “That essential truth …” is here in the good ‘ol USA;

Pope Francis on capitalism:
We must say: ‘We want a fair system; a system that allows everyone to move forward.’ We must say: ‘We do not want this globalized economic system that does so much harm.’ At the center has to be man and woman, as God wants – not money.

Barack Obama on capitalism:

Well, first on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehmans and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless.

Pope Francis on economic growth:

This is not just a problem of Sardinia; it is not just a problem of Italy or of some countries in Europe. It is the consequence of a global choice, an economic system which leads to this tragedy; an economic system which has at its center an idol called money. Grandparents are thrown away and young people are thrown away…And we must say no to this throwaway culture…A change of attitude… is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world. Development cannot be reduced to economic growth alone, often attained without a thought for the poor and the vulnerable.

Barack Obama on economic growth:

We can do more. So I’ll push new initiatives to help more manufacturers bring more jobs back to America… Let’s tell the world that America is open for business… Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening… We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest… I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most…

Pope Francis on immigration:

Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity, they are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more. Not infrequently, the arrival of migrants, displaced persons, asylum-seekers and refugees gives rise to suspicion and hostility. There is a fear that society will become less secure, that identity and culture will be lost, that competition for jobs will become stiffer and even that criminal activity will increase.

Barack Obama on immigration:

What we can do is then carve out the DREAM Act, saying that young people who have basically grown up here are Americans that we should welcome. We’re not going to have them operate under a cloud, under a shadow. But if we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option.

Pope Francis on speaking to poverty:

I would like a church that is poor and is for the poor.

Barack Obama on speaking to poverty:

We’ll need Democrats to question old assumptions, be willing to redesign or get rid of programs that no longer work, and embrace changes to cherished priorities so that they work better in this new age.

Pope Francis on war:

Weapons and violence do not lead to peace, war leads to more war…May the cry for peace enter the hearts of everyone so that they may all lay down their weapons.

Barack Obama on war:

I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike…That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress…I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria…This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective.

Strange that the policies that define “American Exceptionalism” in a self-regarded “Christian Nation” seem on paper to refute some of the fundamental components of JC’s philosophy as it is being interpreted by the mitered Frankie. Reminds me of what Gandhi once pointed out; “The materialism of affluent Christian nations appears to contradict the claims of Jesus.”

Well, leave it to the appointed representative of the Christian God here on earth and the replacement for the ‘retired’ Ratzinger to give the myriad victims of the ongoing American Exceptionalist conquest pogrom of pretend to defend but instead spend, upend and offend a little advice; “To all of you who have work, and to those who don’t, let me tell you: Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope.”

Oops, maybe too late for that.

Photo by presidencia.gov.ar released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.