Monday, December 19, 2016

Pope Francis Says Money Dominates Politics

Pope Francis (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Pope Francis had strong words for world leaders’ priorities, including United States president-elect Donald Trump last week.  During a speech the pontiff decried politicians who promote corporate profits above the common good.

“The ‘distraction’ or delay in implementing global agreements on the environment shows that politics has become submissive to a technology and economy which seek profit above all else,” he said.  Humans are not “owners and masters of nature, authorized to plunder it without any consideration of its hidden potential and laws of development.”  Pope Francis called for “an ecological conversion capable of supporting and promoting sustainable development.”

The speech echoed the calls he made in his 2015 environmental encyclical.  In this landmark document directed at Catholics and all people, the pope warned “Doomsday prediction can no longer be met with irony or disdain.  We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.”

But Trump has treated these warnings with disdain.

He promised to renege on the global climate agreement signed in Paris last December.  He called climate change a Chinese “hoax.” He tapped Oklahoma attorney general and close friend of the fossil fuel industry, Scott Pruitt, to run the EPA.  This makes it likely the US will adopt policies that put the economic gains of a few companies above the global good and the needs of the vulnerable.

How do these actions align with Christian beliefs?  They don’t, and Pope Francis isn’t the only one pointing that out.

Evangelicals have also condemned the president-elect.  In October, leaders wrote an open letter opposing Trump for fueling “racial, religious, and gender bigotry.”  Russell Moore, president of Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called Trump “reality television moral sewage.”

These religious leaders have a point.  Despite promising to pick socially conservative Supreme Court justices, Trump has done little to align himself with religious values.  People of faith have a moral obligation to urge Trump to adopt policies that benefit the poor, oppressed and vulnerable.  That includes urging him to care about dirty air, unhealthy water, rising sea levels, and chaotic weather patterns.

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