Sarah Palin is worried about “liberal” Pope Francis I. In fact, she is “dismayed.” She told CNN’s Jake Tapper Tuesday that, “He’s had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me.” Like most conservatives, she misses former Hitler Youth Pope Benedict XVI, who said “Truth” trumps tolerance and enthusiastically participated in their culture wars.
Palin even got in a dig at the mainstream media that perpetuates and facilitates her lies and abject ignorance when she suggested that same media might be guilty of a false portrayal of the pope: “There again, unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media.”
No, Sarah, neither will we.
Watch Sarah struggle with the English language courtesy of CNN:
There is no doubt that Pope Francis I is turning some heads. 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.
If Sarah Palin may call this Pope a liberal and other conservatives are insisting he can’t possibly be meaning what he is saying, a Virginia Catholic blogger, Steve Skojec, is convinced the Pope’s words “undermine the teachings of the church” and complains of the Pope’s message,
Are they explicitly heretical? No. Are they dangerously close? Absolutely. What kind of a Christian tells an atheist he has no intention to convert him? That alone should disturb Catholics everywhere.
But that can only be true if the Church has deviated from the teachings of Jesus because the words coming out of the pontiff’s mouth are words that came out of Jesus’ mouth, his concern for the poor and the downtrodden of our society, his ideas about judging others. This, if we follow Skojec’s logic, makes Jesus himself a heretic – a logical impossibility given Christianity is a religion about Jesus.
Even the Great Commission, the basis for centuries of oppressive Christian proselytizing, is missing from the earliest copy of Mark still extant, marking as dubious the claim that Jesus wanted his followers to proselytize to the world.
In other words, the kind of Christian who eschews conversion could reasonably be said to be a Jesus-type of Christian; I would go so far as to suggest that the more a person objects to what Pope Francis is saying, the further that person has fallen away from the teachings of Jesus.
Which tells you all you need to know about Sarah Palin’s Christianity and the Christianity of her fellow conservative Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, a group for whom Jesus is just a weaponized name to be directed at their enemies as a means of deligitimization.
The New York Times reported a few days ago that “conservative U.S. Catholics feel left out of the Pope’s embrace.” Conservatives don’t like hearing that “the most serious of the evils” today are “youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.”
They want a Jesus who hates, a Jesus who condemns marriage equality and abortion and contraception, but that is a Jesus that never existed, for Jesus never talked about marriage equality and contraception. He did not defend “family values.” He never condemned abortion.
Unsurprisingly, Pope Francis’ back-to-basics approach has not only sucked the wind out of the bigot chorus but has made him very popular with people wondering where Jesus had got to. The thing is, and this is another one of those pesky facts people like Sarah Palin will ignore, most American Catholics agree (68 percent) with the Pope that the Church has become too obsessed with culture war issues.
The fact is the pope is the most most talked about person on the Internet. When was the last time a Pope was that relevant?
Quite possibly, Pope Francis I is the best thing to happen to the Church in a great many years. The last thing the Papacy needed was another reactionary old dinosaur who catered to conservative bigotry.
It is refreshing to find that there is a radical Jesus at the heart of the Church after enduring Benedict’s culture war ethos, and because conservative Protestants still seem to anxious to lose a guy who championed the poor and condemned the rich.
It has been so long since we heard from Jesus and we could use a little more. Can you imagine actually hearing a conservative Christian talk about the the radical Beatitudes?:
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20).
Wouldn’t that be something?
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.