Republicans have always been perfectly happy for Catholic leaders to get involved in politics when it comes to castigating Democrats over social issues, but let the pope focus on climate change and suddenly it's outrageous
for a church leader to be all political by trying to save the planet.
In a draft of the document leaked on Monday, Francis reiterated the established science that burning fossil fuels are warming the planet, said the impact threatened the world’s poor and called for government policies to cut fossil fuel use.
This isn't aimed at American elections, it's about a thing that's happening that threatens millions of lives. It's not Francis's fault that this is an issue Republicans have politicized by digging in and denying the science, but:
“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Mr. Bush said. “And I’d like to see what he says as it relates to climate change and how that connects to these broader, deeper issues before I pass judgment. But I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”
I don't know about you, but to me—and apparently Pope Francis—preventing cities like Miami from ending up underwater makes us better as people. This issue is about to hit home for Republican Catholics in Congress and running for president, since Pope Francis is very popular with American Catholics and is expected to focus on his climate message in an upcoming visit. But Jeb Bush isn't the only Republican who's comfortable blowing off that message, even from his church's leader.
Republicans really are amazing. When it comes to climate change, they keep saying they're not scientists. So perhaps the most significant faith leader in the world steps up and says this is a moral issue, and Republicans suddenly want religion out of politics. Apparently the only people with the authority to speak on climate change are Republican politicians and maybe oil and coal company executives.