Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Z_CNHI News Service

December 6, 2013

Liberals listening to Pope Francis - selectively

Editor's Note: If you're not a weekly subscriber to Taylor Armerding's column, you can publish this one if you notify him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

- See more at: http://www.cnhinews.com/cnhins_opinion/x633307300/Tis-the-season-to-beware#sthash.xbk6VysY.dpuf

Editor's note: CNHI newspapers that are not weekly subscribers to Taylor Armerding's column may publish this one if they notify him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

Pope Francis, at least for 15 minutes or so, has become a darling of the left.

It likely won’t last. If he has the temerity to reassert the church’s position on “social issues,” he will once again become the religious extremist, bigoted leader of an outdated institution deserving only scorn and ridicule.

But, for the moment, he is way cool. The pope’s recent encyclical is seen as an attack on capitalism, especially as it is practiced in the United States. He’s blaming America first! How awesome is that?

And, indeed, the pope does decry what he calls “the idolatry of money.” He declares the alleged benefits of “trickle-down” economics “have never been confirmed by the facts,” and that our “throw-away culture” throws away the poor.

This had the Los Angeles Times salivating, figuring it would likely “cause Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul D. Ryan some distress.”

No word from the paper on any possible distress for Democratic millionaires in Congress whose charitable giving is slim to none, and for whom “compassion” consists of spending other people’s money.

But it is strange that the left suddenly thinks the pope’s words should have any influence on government policy in the United States.

If he or any Catholic leader affirms the church’s position on abortion, gay marriage or female clergy, they are immediately told to stop imposing their morality on the rest of us  or trying to violate the separation of church and state.

If the pope is allowed no standing in those areas, why is he welcome in others? Could it be because those on the left perceive him to be attacking their enemy – capitalism? How convenient.

Actually, if they bother to read the whole document, their ardor for the pontiff may cool. The alleged attack on capitalism takes all of about four of 84 pages. The majority of it is about evangelism – proclaiming the Gospel to nonbelievers in an effort to convert them to Catholicism.

That, even through persuasion rather than force, is anathema to the left.

And even the part they are applauding deserves some examination. It turns out I have some common ground with the far left: I don’t believe the Pope is infallible. He himself says numerous times in his encyclical that context is important.

For example, his denunciation of unfettered capitalism is welcome. But capitalism in the United States is the opposite of unfettered. It is drowning in regulation – enough to discourage entrepreneurs, many of them minorities.

The pope is obviously correct that there is inequality in the United States, as is the case everywhere. The more important point is that this nation remains the destination for millions from other countries.

If, as self-appointed scold Noam Chomsky declares, America hates its poor, why do we provide them with billions of dollars worth of food stamps and other benefits? Why are they not fleeing our borders for Mexico, instead of the other way around?

Yes, the pope is correct that there is greed in the United States. But all we hear is about corporate greed. What should we call it when public employee unions – particularly those in public safety – demand work schedules that the rest of us could only dream about, make double or even more what the average taxpayer they “serve” makes, and get benefits grossly out of proportion with those in the private sector?

Does the fact that they are “only” making tens of thousands more than average taxpayers, instead of hundreds of thousands, mean they get a pass? Is greed only a matter of degree?

The pope lumps “exclusion” and “inequality” together as factors that create an economy that “kills.” That is only half right.

Yes, the ideal should be to banish exclusion; equal opportunity is one of America’s sacred goals. But equal opportunity does not guarantee equal results. To demand that is as absurd as me demanding that I make the NBA because I tried as hard as Kobe Bryant.

The anti-capitalists are especially excited at the pope’s smackdown of the “trickle-down” economic theory, which he contends has never brought about “greater justice and inclusiveness in the world … (and) expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power ….”

That point deserves a substantive response from conservatives. But, again, context is important. The pope should say how “trickle-down” theory, or capitalism in general, compares with socialism in the former Soviet Union or totalitarian communism practiced in China.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • HallofFameBraves.jpg Hall of Fame adds businesslike Braves, Frank Thomas, managers La Russa and Torre

    Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and their manager, Bobby Cox, dominated much of baseball during the 1990s. This weekend they went into the Hall of Fame together.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.