The Pope is going to walk on American soil for the first time, today.
And America doesn’t like it. America is preparing for a scolding. America is going to be hoisted by it’s own sanctimonious petard today, when the Pope let’s loose. And let loose he shall. He doesn’t give a flying f–k about anybody, this Pope.
In America, Pope Francis will be coming face-to-face with myriads of different forms of Christianity, besides Catholics – Methodists, Baptists, Protestants, Lutherans, Mormon, Jehovah’s witnesses, African episcopalians, Evangelists, Russian orthodox, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Dutch reformists, Anabaptists, Menonites, Amish, Opus dei, Adventists, Pentacostals – I am sure the list is longer.
All in all, though, Americans are more regular at Church, as per a 2014 Gallup International poll, which says that 41% of American citizens report they regularly attend religious services. The most racist and segregated states of the US – Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah and Tennessee) have the highest church attendance – over 60%.
In comparison, some of the other developed nations have church attendance figures that are far lower –
France – 15%
Britain – 10%
Germany – 6.2%
Australia – 7.5%
I guess I wouldn’t be very far from reality if I stated that America is to Christianity what Saudi Arabia is to Islam.
Neo-conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh, is convinced the Pope is a communist, arriving to spread dangerous ideas about closing the income gap and enhancing state-subsidized social security for the poor and the weak, taxing the super-rich to get it done. He has already indicated his support for LGBT and doesn’t mind it if a girl in trouble seeks an abortion.
The Pope believes in all those things that you and I believe in and he isn’t afraid to say it. And trust me, the Pope is a very powerful man. He has the unquestioning vote of 1.7 billion folks who believe what he wants them to believe. Fortunately, he is a good man and hasn’t misused his power.
Already, one Republican Congressman, Paul Gosar of Arizona, has announced he will boycott Francis’s speech to a joint session of Congress because of the Pope’s climate-change crusade. Gosar says “to promote questionable science as Catholic dogma is ridiculous.”
Jeb Bush, one of the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, dismissed Francis’s recent Laudato Si encyclical – a papal letter sent to all bishops – because it places human activity at the center of climate change. “I don’t get economic policy from my bishops, my cardinals or my pope,” Mr. Bush said.
And all this, when Frankie has approval ratings in the United States that would be the envy of any politician. The Pew Research Center found that 7 in 10 Americans, regardless of religion, or lack thereof, viewed him favorably. Among Catholics, the figure is 9 in 10. Catholics and non-Catholics everywhere have been won over by his reforming ways.
In just two years, he has cleaned up the notoriously opaque and probably corrupt Vatican bank and clamped down on the bishops who covered up sexual-abuse scandals. The American establishment (more specifically – the Republican Party and it’s neo-conservative hyenas) – is clearly worried. Confronting unadulterated good can make unadulterated evil uneasy.
My urgent message to Frankie – Dude, watch out. If your motorcade happens ta pass a grassy knoll, duck.
ps: I took the title of this piece from Matthew 20:16
‘So the last will be first and the first last, for the called are many and the chosen ones are few’