Rand Paul: Obama should explain to Pope Francis why he’s infringing on faith

posted at 12:01 pm on March 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

In two days, Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican, Obama’s second trip to the Holy See. The Vatican state visit will take place as part of a tour of Europe, where Obama’s popularity has fallen considerably as a result of the NSA scandal and his foreign-policy decisions on drone warfare. Senator Rand Paul suggests that Obama could break the ice with Pope Francis by promising not to spy on him anymore, but then tells Fox News that Obama should also pledge to stop infringing on the religious freedoms of those in the business world with free-contraception mandates:

“He ought to explain to the Pope why he is telling businesses in America they can’t remain true to their faith and stay in business,” the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.” …

“The ‘Hobby Lobby’ case is being discussed today, and I think it’s important that he tell the leader of the Catholic Church why he thinks that businesses owned by Catholics can’t make their own decisions with regard to health care,” Paul said.

The outspoken senator said he agreed with the Vatican chief justice, who reportedly in a recent interview said Obama’s policies are “hostile” to Christians.

“And I think is something that really should be discussed in our country,” Paul said. “Most of us, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, believe … in free exercise of your religion. But if they’re telling you that your tax dollars have to go to something you find morally reprehensible, I think that’s not free exercise of religion.”

The Vatican chief justice, Cardinal Raymond Burke, offered a strong criticism of Obama in an interview last week in the Polish news magazine Polonia Christiana. His comments went beyond specific policies and addressed an overarching hostility towards faith and liberty:

10. The policy of the President of the US towards the Christian civilisation becomes more and more aggressive. Does Your Eminence notice any symptoms of Catholic reactions against this policy? If yes, what are they, if not why?

It is true that the policies of the President of the United States of America have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies. Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions. Such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago. It is true that many faithful Catholics, with strong and clear leadership from their Bishops and priests, are reacting against the ever-growing religious persecution in the U.S. Sadly, one has the impression that a large part of the population is not fully aware of what is taking place. In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly. It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect. It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation.

In my column today for The Week, I preview the summit between Francis and Obama at the Vatican, and note that the power dynamic has reversed since Obama’s 2009 visit:

Obama met with now-Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the first year of his presidency, but the stakes and the calculations were much different in 2009. Benedict XVI had very little of the affection and sympathy that today’s media has showered on Francis since his succession last year. The abuse scandal weighed heavily on the Vatican at that time, as did a financial scandal involving the Vatican Bank. The sense was that the Pope’s supposed conservatism was making the Church into a figurative fortress, rather than a relevant force in the lives of the faithful. Obama, in contrast, exemplified the dynamism of secular hope and change, and had become the toast of Europe. Just a few months later, Obama would win the Nobel Peace Prize, an aspirational decision by the committee that they had reason to regret not long afterward, when Obama ramped up troop levels in Afghanistan and defended drone warfare and “kill lists.”

This time, it’s Obama who needs a boost — but it won’t come easy.

Obama has tried to invoke Francis of late in his attempt to assert his income-inequality agenda over the disastrous ObamaCare narrative dominating domestic politics, but don’t expect the Pontiff to let this opportunity pass. The Vatican has already summarily dismissed a New York Times attempt to paint Obama as an adopted son of the church, and Francis has his own agenda in mind:

The New York Times gave this history a sympathetic look this past weekend, shining a light on a little-known episode from Obama’s work before his political career began. Although not Catholic himself, Obama worked for the Diocese of Chicago in its outreach and service to black Catholics, part of the community-organizing work Obama did at the time. The Times‘ Jason Horowitz reports that the period “played a powerful role in his political formation,” and that the current director of that office credits Obama with playing a “key” role in developing the skills used to attract new members.

The timing of this article seems to be part of a charm offensive aimed at the Vatican, but so far it’s not exactly warming up his hosts. Horowitz includes a reaction from a senior official at the Holy See, who pointedly notes that the upcoming visit won’t be the love fest Obama would prefer. “We’re not in the old days of the great alliance,” Horowitz was told, a reference to Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II’s united front against communism. Instead, the Vatican wants to confront Obama on more recent issues — the ObamaCare contraception mandate, certainly, which has American bishops as outspoken on political issues as we have seen in quite some time, as well as the drone policies of the U.S.

Obama may have thought that this would be an easy photo op, and it will certainly provide one — but it may be that Obama will have walked into the lion’s den.


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Yeppers

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Right on.

crrr6 on March 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

RWM, it’s devastating to see the toons these days.

That Ramirez “Madness” one, leaves out so many lands.

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 12:06 PM

He should explain it to more than Pope Francis. He should explain it to the American People why he’s IMPOSING his own religion (Obamaworship) onto us as well.

Obama has already violated the Constitution enough times and in enough ways to be hanged for Treason…

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Breaking News @BreakingNews
Supreme Court seems divided, after arguments, over whether employers’ religious beliefs can free them from contraceptive mandate – @AP

Flora Duh on March 25, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

It would appear that the GOP has someone in its corner who ain’t afraid to play a little offense…

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions.

That’s because all progressives (and many so called right-of-centers) think freedom of religion means freedom from religion. Since they can’t square that with the text of the first amendment, they change it to one that fits.

nobar on March 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

This is the guy who attended Reverend Wright’s church? If you expect anything other than hate Whitey, you expect too much. Beyond that Obama is his own Messiah. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” remember?

trubble on March 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Looking forward to the Pope’s statements… and the resident RCs at conservative sites telling me he really did mean what he actually said.

Francis doesn’t like O’s infringing on control of their organizations (the spiritual sword being superior to the civil sword), but at the core, they’re both social-engineering idealists (in the worst sense of the word).

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Looking forward to the Pope’s statements… and the resident RCs at conservative sites telling me he really did DIDN’T mean what he actually said.

Francis doesn’t like O’s infringing on control of their organizations (the spiritual sword being superior to the civil sword), but at the core, they’re both social-engineering idealists (in the worst sense of the word).

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

FIFM

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Beyond that Obama is his own Messiah. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” remember?

Bammy to the Pope: “Let me be clear….I AM therefore I DO!”

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Go Rand Go!

gophergirl on March 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

It would appear that the GOP has someone in its corner who ain’t afraid to play a little offense…

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

That might scare some folk at the top of the GOP as well. Those who aren’t comfortable playin’ offense.

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Go Rand Go!

gophergirl on March 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Yup.

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Dear @Pontiflex: Throw some Holy Water on the #SCOAM

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

The Pope may be very concerned about how O’s policies affect RC institutions, but he doesn’t give a ratline’s arse about anyone else. Perhaps that’s all he should care about, but it doesn’t make him an ally. In the long-run, he’s not a friend of liberty.

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

A closet Muslim going to see the Pope?
Will Obama greet the Pope with, “As-Salaam-Alaikum”?

albill on March 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

It would appear that the GOP has someone in its corner who ain’t afraid to play a little offense…

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Retweeted by David Burge
Tony Lima ‏@TonyLimaPOL 6m

“@baseballcrank: Best opening line in the history of campaign commercials. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9Y24MFOfFU …” @iowahawkblog Iowa content

davidk on March 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

A closet Muslim going to see the Pope?
Will Obama greet the Pope with, “As-Salaam-Alaikum”?

albill on March 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Any bets on whether Bammy will bow in greeting the Pope?

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

but it may be that Obama will have walked into the lion’s den.

Hardly, one socialist to another…

right2bright on March 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog 4m

As someone who also grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, I’m a bit disturbed by her cheery enthusiasm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9Y24MFOfFU

davidk on March 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Any bets on whether Bammy will bow in greeting the Pope?

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Even money is Obama will extend his ring hand to be kissed

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

OT: obama calls Russia a REGIONAL power

ConservativePartyNow on March 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Rand Paul: Obama should explain to Pope Francis why he’s infringing on faith

Paul is wrong here. The rat-eared wonder doesn’t speak to minions. When he arrives at the pearly gates, Obama will personally tell God how He’s doing it all wrong.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Remember, this is the same guy who says the Turtle is a conservative.

Brock Robamney on March 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

OT: obama calls Russia a REGIONAL power

ConservativePartyNow on March 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Well, isn’t it? More scary is the idea floated by the Russians that Ukraine should be divided along the lines agreed to by the Nazis and Soviets.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Rand is a man to watch. He has a knack for capturing the spotlight in a (usually) positive way.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Kudos to Sen. Paul.

And Thank you Cardinal Raymond Burke for saying plainly that Obama’s policies are dangerous to Christian Civilization.

Obama is a Fascist and his policies are dangerous to Christians and Jews (especially those that reside in Israel)

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Any bets on whether Bammy will bow in greeting the Pope?

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Even money is Obama will extend his ring hand to be kissed

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

HA!

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

At least one Republican gets it….and is smart enough to express it properly.

Not casting dispersions on other Republican’s who may be favored by some, but Rand has the ability to not only take a position, but to explain it.

Tater Salad on March 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Do you think the Pope should bring an exorcist?

njcommuter on March 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I can guess their meeting now.

Then Obama said to Francis, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Parts of the Catholic Church are beginning to see the dangers of trying to replace God’s plan of faith, hope and charity with bureaucracy.

Fenris on March 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Tater Salad on March 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

And he does it in a way that attracts attention but does not descend into a look at me while I stand on my head and spit nickles clown act.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Francis is perfectly happy with Obungle’s socialist views as long as it doesn’t infringe on the Catholic church. But the church is his job. He’s the head of a religion not a country.

crankyoldlady on March 25, 2014 at 12:40 PM

The RCC has no interest in religious liberty. Historically, it instructs the State to favor RCism over everything. Pius IX going as far as to declare it a sin not to believe that RCism should be “the religion of the state to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.”

One of the things that distinguishes the history of central and South America from the history of the US is the role of religious liberty. There was very little to no such liberty in Central and South America.

Popes have declared that the state is to move at the will of the priest, liberty of conscience is “madness”, the State must declare RCism as its basis for Justice, etc. Gregory XVI attacked freedom of the press and “shameless lovers of liberty.”

Francis will do what he needs to keep RC institutions independent of the tentacles their support of the welfare state has wrought, but that does not mean he cares about liberty in general. When Popes speak of religious freedom, it is for RCism.

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Rand is a man to watch. He has a knack for capturing the spotlight in a (usually) positive way.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

He’s just like his crazy racist daddy. He does well when it comes to laying out well-reasoned principled positions one minute and wearing his tin foil hat and talking about isolationism the next.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

I find it odd that Obama would even meet with the Pope. He is the most openly hostile anti-Catholic president I’ve ever seen.

John the Libertarian on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

And he does it in a way that attracts attention but does not descend into a look at me while I stand on my head and spit nickles clown act.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Like say, Palin, right MJB?

OT, when is HA going to post the comments by Don Rumsfeld
about Obama?

We need an explosion on here…

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Do you think the Pope should bring an exorcist?

njcommuter on March 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I would think His Holiness is quite capable of performing exorcisms on his own.

Trafalgar on March 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

It would appear that the GOP has someone in its corner who ain’t afraid to play a little offense…

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

That might scare some folk at the top of the GOP as well. Those who aren’t comfortable playin’ offense.

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Unfortunately, most republicans are in that category.

I look forward to the next few years. Rand Paul taking it to Obama. And I agree with another poster who said that Rand Paul
is not afraid to speak out and articulates his positions very well.
I have been keeping an eye on him for quite a while and really
like what I see.

Amjean on March 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Leo XIII was very clear on this issue. The only religious freedom that matters is religious freedom for “true” religion of RCism (Libertas). Don’t believe for a second that Francis has anything else in mind.

The Papacy has no interest in your personal liberty.

Pope Gregory XVI castigated those who “desire vehemently to separate the Church from the State, and to break the mutual concord between temporal authority and the priesthood.” He goes on to conclude wisely: “It is certain that that concord which always was favorable and beneficial for the sacred and the civil order is feared by the shameless lovers of liberty”

Source: catholiclane.com

Mirari Vos available at Vatican.va

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

I find it odd that Obama would even meet with the Pope. He is the most openly hostile anti-Catholic president I’ve ever seen.

John the Libertarian on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

He’s not anti-Catholic; he hates everybody. Comes from truly believing that he’s the smartest kid in the room. All the more pathetic when you reflect on just how lazy, stupid, and uneducated the filthy rat-eared bastard is.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I find it odd that Obama would even meet with the Pope. He is the most openly hostile anti-Catholic president I’ve ever seen.

John the Libertarian on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Everything Obama does is a PR stunt – “Look at me, I am the good
guy; I am all powerful and wonderful”….or….Obama intends to
blackmail/threaten the Pope in person.

Amjean on March 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM

I’ve always found a good rule to beL if you don’t want to hear the answer don’t ask the question.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

That’s why we should leave religion to the religious and our form of government to Thomas Jefferson.

Tater Salad on March 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Tater Salad on March 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

You’re making all kinds of sense today :-)

I would add that Obamacare starkly illustrates why we need to get employers out of the health care business. This whole mess is a result of government essentially deputizing industry to be their insurance distributors.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM

I’ve always found a good rule to beL if you don’t want to hear the answer don’t ask the question.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Awwww, come on!! But I DO want to hear your answer!!

we all do!! Don’t hold back now….

I’VE always found a good rule to bet:

If MJB commends any Republican for a particular stance
and commentary on a given issue, two people, Palin and Cruz
will be derided. And ALL Social Conservatives. Isn’t that right?

In fact, I can take that to the Bank.

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

So then why ask?

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

That’s why we should leave religion to the religious and our form of government to Thomas Jefferson.

Tater Salad on March 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

If the federal government was as tiny and limited as Jefferson envisioned it, it wouldn’t be an issue.

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

So then why ask?

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

because you’re always entertaining, if nothing else….

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

ToddPA on March 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

TY, I try :-)

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Oh, I think he’ll get an earful from the Holy Father. He’ll be nice about it, but it will be unambiguous.

Ward Cleaver on March 25, 2014 at 1:42 PM

I find it odd that Obama would even meet with the Pope. He is the most openly hostile anti-Catholic president I’ve ever seen.

John the Libertarian on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

I don’t know why the Pope would meet with Obama, the most pro-abortion POTUS ever, the man who voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

Barry should have taken Sandra Fluke with him so it could be a real par-tay.

I have several problems with the Catholic Church, but right at the top of the list is the hierarchy’s almost across-the-board refusal to call out the Pelosi-Kennedy-Kerry-Biden-Cuomo “Catholics” who very publicly support abortion rights.

Meredith on March 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM

I find it odd that Obama would even meet with the Pope. He is the most openly hostile anti-Catholic president I’ve ever seen.

John the Libertarian on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Why would you find it odd that Obama wants to meet with one of the most popular guys on the planet?

As for Rand Paul’s comments, if he wants to impress moderate Catholic Republicans like myself, he should do so without invoking words from the Catholic Church’s very own cross between Oscar the Grouch and Liberace. I’m not a fan of Barack Obama, but I also detest Raymond Burke and his version of Catholicism. Obama has been pretty discredited and will be off to Hawaii in less than two years from now while Burke will be able to continue to taint the Catholic Church with his demagoguery for another ten years.

Illinidiva on March 25, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Rand is a man to watch. He has a knack for capturing the spotlight in a (usually) positive way.

MJBrutus on March 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM
He’s just like his crazy racist daddy. He does well when it comes to laying out well-reasoned principled positions one minute and wearing his tin foil hat and talking about isolationism the next.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

+1000

Bob Davis on March 25, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Obama may have thought that this would be an easy photo op, and it will certainly provide one — but it may be that Obama will have walked into the lion’s den.

…I will pay to see that…and starve the lions!

KOOLAID2 on March 25, 2014 at 4:29 PM

It would be a serious mistake to assume that it is Obama alone who is at war with Christianity–the ranks of the left and of the right reek of rejecting God, His truth and His love…but they all want to keep and extend the rights that He alone gave us.

Don L on March 25, 2014 at 4:40 PM

He’s just like his crazy racist daddy. He does well when it comes to laying out well-reasoned principled positions one minute and wearing his tin foil hat and talking about isolationism the next.
Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Exactly

Brock Robamney on March 26, 2014 at 5:47 AM