Pope told to butt out of global affairs
Wannabe American President Jeb Bush, above, has lashed out at the Pope over climate change, saying:
I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.
According to this report, the Republican presidential contender joined forces with the coal industry and climate deniers in a gathering conservative backlash against the Francis, hitting out against a leaked draft of the Catholic leader’s letter on climate change.
Bush said he would not be guided by the church when it came to climate change.
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 cardinal or my pope. I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.
With those remarks, Bush joined fellow Republicans, the fossil fuel industry, and the climate deniers of the Heartland Institute in trying to discredit the Pope’s much-anticipated message on poverty and climate change – even before its release.
In his first official day on the presidential campaign trail, Bush, a Catholic, told a town hall event in New Hampshire that Pope Francis should steer clear of global affairs.
Bush converted to Catholicism when he got married 20 years ago, and regularly cited church teachings when he was Florida governor – even enacting a law to introduce anti-abortion “Choose Life” car license plates.
The energy industry also turned on the Pope, with the lobbyist for one of America’s biggest coalmining companies sending out an email blast on Tuesday, rebuking the church leader for failing to promote fossil fuels as a solution to global poverty.
At least five of the Republican presidential contenders are Catholic. Two so far – Bush and Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and devout Catholic – have come out against the Pope on climate change.
According to the leaked version of the papal letter, the Pope will say climate change is real and caused by humans, and that fossil fuels must be phased out of the global economy.
He will call on leaders to reach a global deal to fight climate change and make sure to protect the world’s poor as they do so.
The Vatican has warned there could be changes ahead of the official release of his encyclical on Thursday – but the response from conservatives has been ferocious.
On Tuesday, Tom Altmeyer, a lobbyist for Arch Coal, the second-biggest coalmining company, sent out an email in which he argued the the Pope should be promoting fossil fuels if he really cared about social justice.
Industry, policymakers and social leaders – like Pope Francis – must work together to support policies that bring about new advances in fossil energy technologies so we can strike a balance between global economic needs and climate concerns.
Meanwhile Santorum told a Philadelphia radio station earlier this month:
The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re good at, which is theology and morality.
Other Republicans who have blasted Francis include the Oklahoma senator James Inhofe, who bluntly told reporters that Francis was out of line – “The Pope ought to stay with his job” – at a conference of the climate change-denying Heartland Institute.
Most Republicans in Congress deny the existence of man-made climate change and oppose regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Only one of the nearly 20 Republicans running for president acknowledges the danger of climate change: Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator, who is considered a long shot.