Conservatives are freaking out over the man who used to be a Janitor (no doubt a member of the 47% of You People), Pope Francis, calling him names to try to beat him into submission.
Instead of joining conservatives in their hate Olympics, the Pontiff has focused on things Jesus championed, like taking care of the poor and the vulnerable and embracing the marginalized. Pope Francis doesn’t gobble up power and resources as his due, but instead demonstrates sharing. He is American conservatives’ worst nightmare: A religious figure who walks the talk instead of using power to con the gullible while sneering in contempt for the vulnerable, as is the modern conservative way.
A new poll CNN/ORC International poll released on Christmas Eve found that 88% of American Catholics approve of how Francis is handling his role. But even bigger — the Pope has found a way into the hearts of Americans of all beliefs and non-beliefs.
Nearly three in four view Pope Francis favorably.
Wait, because it gets worse for conservatives. More than 85% of American Catholics say Francis is neither too liberal nor too conservative, and 86% say he’s in touch with the modern world. In other words, 85% think he’s just right. His values are just right with theirs. His values are not extreme, and they mesh with the values of the person being polled.
See what that means? Conservative ideas aren’t nearly as popular as they would have the public believe. Rush Limbaugh called this Pope a Marxist (which is also what they call President Barack Obama, in case this salient fact is lost on conservatives) and Sarah Palin accused this Pope of having some kind of liberal agenda, but 86% say he’s in touch with the modern world and 85% don’t think he’s being too liberal. Conservatives have accused the Pope of underminig the message of the church. Seriously. In other words, Republican conservatives are left behind again.
It’s a true Christmas miracle.
You see, Jesus was a liberal. Not politically, of course, but in values, Jesus championed social justice, compassion, not judging others, feeding the poor, hugging the marginalized, and spreading love not hate. These are things that identify modern day liberal values, in stark contrast to the hateful contempt and prideful superiority shown by the Right. Democrats fight for a living wage while Republicans grab more resources for the already rich and powerful. Democrats fight for food stamps for hungry children while Republicans cut food stamps and blame single mothers for hungry children.
Contrary to the narrative sold by the Right, Democrats aren’t championing giving away resources to reward failure, but rather out of a belief that everyone needs a little help sometimes and if they work hard, they deserve that chance. For every “lazy welfare” mother (that would be rural whites, in case Republicans are confused) Republicans find to justify starving children, there are many more appreciative, down on their luck people who don’t want charity but also don’t want their kids to starve.
And then there is the American public. While for years, the Darwinian value of survival of the fittest has been successfully preached from the Right, as we see the results of those values we are not impressed. The Nuns protested Paul Ryan’s budget because it was immoral. Many Catholics felt the same. Many Americans felt the same. They craved true moral leadership, someone to aspire to or be inspired by.
Then along came Pope Francis. Hrafnkell Haraldsson played some of this Pope’s highlights:
He is the first Pope (to use the vernacular) in, like, forever, to say, “Who am I to judge?” and to suggest that atheists, too, can go to heaven. He has attacked “ecclesiastical narcissism” and championed the poor. He has condemned ideology posing as religion and said he has no use for ideologically-driven bishops.
This Pope has lit the way out of the darkness for those using fake religious beliefs to harm the vulnerable and take advantage of the weak. You don’t have to believe in organized religion to support the values this Pope espouses.
This moral agreement is the value Democrats need to explain to the public in 2014.